Southeast Asia trip II: Singapore


We went to Singapore by train on the 8th of August, and at the arrival the first impression wasn’t that great, the train station was very old, rundown, smelly and the weather was even warmer and more humid than in Malaysia.
Picking up a taxi was a difficult task, we learned that cab drivers first ask you where you want to go, and if it pleases them, they’ll take you. After several failed attempts, we ended up renting a transport van with a group of crazy Malaysian women, which was fun.
Singapore isn’t that rich in history, apart from the Colonial core, everything around seems to be pretty much new. New, and clean, and shinny, and well kept, and organized, it’s crazy. There are signs everywhere reminding you of what not to do, and how much you’ll have to pay for the fine if you do so.
Since it was a British Colony in the past, everything is written in English and all the streets have English names. It’s pretty easy to get around, but once again, not exactly the pedestrian dream, sure it’s not like the Kuala Lumpur pedestrian nightmare, there are plenty of pedestrian crossings and street lights that actually work, but you might want to consider picking up a cab. We adventured walking around a few times and it always ended in dripping clothes from the sun and heat. We ended up using the hotel pool quite a bit.
Singapore has an impressive skyline, skyscrapers come up like mushrooms all over, and there are no old buildings, people work in skyscrapers and live in skyscrapers. It is also a shoppers dream since there is a jumbo mall in every corner, not joking. Too bad prices weren’t that much different of what we can find in Europe, the international franchises seem to apply the same prices all over the world.
The food wasn’t that different from Malaysia, but we adventured going on a Japanese restaurant that comes in tourist guides and ended up paying a huge bill. The secret is finding those little spots of noodles and rice. During this trip I got addicted to lemon ice tea, which you have to order as ice lemon tea or otherwise they will not know what you’re talking about. We also went to a Tibetan restaurant that served wonderful food, but once again, huge bill, at least according to Asian prices. Alcohol is particularly expensive is Singapore.
The only problem to me is that Singapore doesn’t have much to see once you’re done with the historical landmarks and with the walking around Orchard Road (where the larger than life malls are located) and the Quays. They have a pretty interesting Chinatown with a beautiful Buddhist temple that we had the opportunity to visit at night.
The day we left, the cab driver told us as we crossed the freeway to the airport that it could be converted into a runway in just one hour, it was made so that the middle section could be removed quickly so planes could land in case of war. How about that?
Singapore might be one of coolest places in world to live for people that enjoy big cities with nice architecture.

Check out my photos at my Flickr.

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