It’s struck me that I have been home for a few days now and that I might settle in to do a bit of travelogue on the journey.
I have already had a bleat about airplane etiquette, so we won’t revise the in-flight details other than to say that if you must fly any long distances in cattle class through Asia I cannot recommend Singapore Airlines enough. Unless you are extremely tall, or wide, then you will find a day-long flight to be perfectly comfortable. If you have to fly through the night, then it’s fair to say that if you can afford to do so, upgrade to business – no matter who you fly with.
It’s been about four years since I was last in Singapore, and this visit was too short to enjoy any great tourist moments. We landed late on Sunday night and headed for Traders Hotel which is a five minute walk from Orchard Road. The hotel itself was pleasant and airy, but the room was not particularly large. Breakfast the next morning was completely eclectic, reflecting the variety of guests’ cultures. From continental breakfasts through to dim sum and some things I couldn’t identify, even with name tags in front of them.
On the first day we did the rounds of customer visits, taking us literally from one side of the island to the other. If you didn’t know, taxis are an extremely cheap form of transport here. The maximum fare we managed to generate was around S$15 and that took us for a twenty to thirty minute trip out to Jurong. If you are here on business and need to get to a specific place on time and in a reasonable state (not dripping in perspiration) then this is the only way to travel. If you are doing the tourist thing and time is a flexible thing for you, then choose the MRT. You should be able to see most of the main sights in Singapore that way, only occasionally needing to resort to the local bus services, and maybe once you have walked yourself into a mobile sweat-factory, a taxi or two.
For those visiting Singapore here is a brief listing of the main tourist attractions:
I would recommend that you do spend a bit of time on your feet. There is much to be seen in the way of architectural amazements (for someone coming from a small city like Auckland) and unusual building design that we simply don’t have the money to do here. There are wonderful photographic opportunities in the central business district of the city – both modern and old. There is also a fair amount of public artworks on display – see the giant bird and children jumping into the river along Boat Quay near Cavenagh Bridge and the Fullerton Hotel.
You must visit the iconic Raffles Hotel, even if you don’t feel like parting with lots of dollars for the signature Sling. Next door is the modern Raffles Shopping Mall which has a nice selection of stores. Just across the way is the CHIJMES and a little way down the road is the electronics shopping mall – Funan Centre. For a good map take a look here.
If you can’t tell; I really like Singapore.
I like the heat.
I like the airconditioned malls.
I like the temples.
I like the MRT.
I like the modern architecture.
I like the local style of dress.
I like the feeling that everything is possible, as shown by the architecture, the public transport, the greenspaces.
So if you have the chance, take a week out of your schedule and wander around one of the nicest cities in Asia.