Singapore; the final stop in this adventure! I can’t believe we’ve reached the end (for now). The flights here were relatively painless. We flew from Flores to Jakarta, then from Jakarta to Singapore. On our second flight, the most bizarre thing happened. Shortly after take off, an air hostess came down the aisle, located the seats we were in and asked us to clarify our names. She then presented us with complimentary muffins and green tea! Only us, no one else, and we have absolutely no idea why. I’m not complaining whatsoever, but I would love to know why we were chosen to receive free snacks!
Singapore differs immeasurably from any city I’ve ever been to. Walking round, I feel like I’ve stepped into a simulation of what cities will look like in the future. The scale of it is immense, with towering skyscrapers and futuristic shapes filling the skyline. We only have three days here, so we knew we needed to have a good solid plan for getting everything done. I found a walking tour online that I tweaked to our preferences, and we’ve managed to get a lot done so far.
Today concentrated on the three main districts; Downtown Core, Chinatown, and Marina Bay. We started the morning with a traditional Singapore breakfast set; this consists of two soft boiled eggs, whisked in a bowl with a little white pepper and soy sauce, eaten with toast which is smothered in butter and coconut jam. Although delicious, I struggled a little with the (very) soft boiled eggs as they’re marginally slimy, but that is how they’re supposed to be. After breakfast, we had a little walk around Fort Canning Park, before commencing the walking tour of Downtown Core. This is the central business district of the city, with shiny new and uniquely designed office blocks at every turn. It’s fascinsting how designers incorporate nature into their work, with small forests appearing half way up skyscrapers, softening the vast metal and glass structures. From Downtown Core, we continued onto Chinatown and Clarke Quay, which reminded me of balamory. By now we had walked around 15km and were absolutely exhausted, so had a little rest at the hotel before heading out for the evening.
This evening we headed to Marina Bay, where the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel dominates the skyline. The whole area is shiny and new, but the hotel itself is so wildly unique that you can’t help but marvel in awe. From across the bay it looked pretty big, but as we walked around to it it became clear what a vast scale it was actually on. At the base is a huge shopping centre and food court. Food courts are incredibly popular here; they contain numerous Hawke stalls that would be out on the streets in other parts of SE Asia, however here they are gathered into these Hawke Centres where I imagine they’re much more regulated. They’re incredible places really, spotlessly clean and much better value than eating at restaurants, particularly for backpackers like us. We ate dinner in the Marina Bay food court and then wandered around the shopping centre, before heading out to Gardens by the Bay.
If you’ve not heard of Gardens by the Bay, you may recognise it from my pictures; vast and exquisitely designed gardens located around the back of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, a surprisingly calm and quiet part of the city with beautiful lighting. I’ve actually been surprised at how non-noisy the city is as a whole, given its size, but here when I closed my eyes, I didn’t feel like I was in the middle of a city at all.
Overall we packed a huge amount into our first day in Singapore, and I’m absolutely exhausted, but excited to see more tomorrow.
Today my sunglasses broke, which would be horrendously inconvenient had we not been leaving tomorrow. I don’t know what happened, they seemed to just disintegrate in my hands, but they’ve served me very well so I can’t complain.
The walking tour for today focused more on the smaller suburbs of Singapore, slightly further out from the centre. We started in Kampong Glam; formerly the Muslim quarter, Kampong Glam now exhibits a vast collection of street art, and alleyways lined with little boutique shops and quirky cafes. We then moved on to Little India, one of the most colourful suburbs of Singapore, with bustling food markets and a curry stall every few metres.
This evening we headed back to Marina Bay to watch the marina water show, and then went back into Gardens by the Bay to watch the light show there. Both were incredible; definite must-sees for anyone visiting Singapore. Afterwards we got frozen yoghurt and sat overlooking the bay with it. I really like Singapore, everything is so intricately and innovatively designed. It’s a really cool city.
Today we leave Singapore and Southeast Asia all together. I’m devastated that our adventure is ending, but I’m actually really excited to move onto our the next chapter in our lives.
This morning we went back into Downtown Core to our favourite Hawke Centre for our final breakfast. We had the traditional breakfast set again but this one was much better than the first and my eggs weren’t raw! So it was divine. Then we were planning to go and see Gardens by the Bay in the day as we’d only seen them by night, but a torrential storm hit, so we ended up perusing all the shops that we couldn’t afford in Marina Bay instead.
We checked out of our hotel and headed back into town for our final Hawke Centre meal; we both had Japanese teriyaki bento, which was absolutely delicious, so we definitely finished our Asian food on a high.