Globe-trotting couple Matt and Sharon Ward spent the second leg of their worldwide journey discovering the best of Singapore from a his and hers perspective. Here’s what they had to say about the south-east Asian city state…
We landed in Singapore and caught a taxi to the place of a friend of a friend, who’d kindly allowed us to stay at his beautiful 11th floor apartment on Parkway Parade. For the cost of a duty-free bottle of Bombay Sapphire, our first few nights’ accommodation were sorted. I had a few well-earned bottles of Tiger and Sharon a glass of wine on the balcony as we got to know our temporary landlord. We stumbled to bed around 02:30.
Matt’s ‘His Guide’
Feeling a bit delicate from the night before, we ventured out into the heat and humidity to see what Singapore had to offer. We discovered from the night before that taxis aren’t too expensive here, but our preferred mode of transport was the bus, which was cheap, reliable and frequent. $1.70 each could take us the 25-30 minute journey into the city centre.
We jumped off at Raffles Boulevard, which is fairly central, and from there you can access the Singapore Flyer ($33 each), cross the bridge and take a walk around Gardens by the Bay (free outside, $22 for two adults inside), and pop into The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. I would recommend the outdoor gardens for a relaxed start to your day. For someone who doesn’t have much desire to shop at the best of times, the Gucci, Armani and Prada stores within the mall didn’t appeal to me. I’d advise keeping the credit card away from your wife/partner!
Outside the mall you can take a stroll around Marina Bay, which is a nice spot for photos. On the opposite side from Marina Bay Sands you can find loads of shopping malls and food courts – expect street food-style dishes of all kinds to suit all budgets. A thunderstorm slowed down our sightseeing, but once it passed we headed back over the water to the north of the city. There we stopped off at Raffles Hotel and sampled its world-famous Singapore Slings. $26 each was a tad expensive, but for me it was worth it as it’s my favourite cocktail and The Long Bar was an interesting place. We quickly moved down the block to Swissotel for happy hour sundowners on its 71st floor bar, New Asia Bar. For someone who isn’t too fond of heights, I didn’t particularly like it – so after a quick photo it was time to move on.
For our next and final day, we wandered through Little India on our way to the Mustafa Centre. It’s a bit like Ali’s Cave but bigger and cheaper. For anyone on a tight budget, I’d recommend it as a place to grab a bite to eat, as just about everything here is under one roof. For our final evening we took a 30-minute taxi to Singapore Zoo for the Night Safari ($31.50 each). I was surprised at how close to the animals you get, so would definitely recommend it, particularly if travelling with kids.
On the whole, I think we covered most of the sights during our two whole days in Singapore, but I’d probably advise staying another day to see everything on offer. This is a safe and clean city, which I’d recommend to anyone.
Armed with a Singapore street maps, city guides and a bottle of water we jumped on the 36 bus, which cost us the equivalent of less than a pound each into the city. We made our way towards the Singapore Flyer, which closely resembles the London Eye. I fancied going on it to look at the view, but Matt wasn’t so keen and at $33 each, we decided we could find better ways to spend our money. We continued down to Gardens by the Bay, a nice place to spend a few hours – and most of it is free. The gardens lead to the Marina Bay Hotel and shopping mall – a beautiful display of expensive shops, which sends my hand straight for the credit card. Remembering we are on a budget, I reluctantly put my purse back into my pocket and gaze longingly through the windows instead.
After a short stroll around Marina Bay and lunch, we head for shelter from a thunderstorm before making our way to Raffles Hotel for Singapore Slings. The hotel reminds me of a scene from Passage to India or Casablanca with bamboo fans on the ceiling swishing back and forth keeping the bar nice and cool. We enjoyed our cocktails before moving on to our next stop: New Asia Bar on the 71st floor of the Swissotel. We were supposed to go for sundowners but the stormy weather didn’t offer much in terms of a view. I felt slightly underdressed in my denim shorts and Matt didn’t enjoying the 71-storey experience, so we decided to head off.
The next day we make our way to Little India to experience Mustafa’s; a shopping centre similar to Ali’s Cave but on a grander scale. It’s huge and things are dirt cheap. I wanted to spend all day there finding bargains; strangely Matt wasn’t so keen and his stomach was rumbling. That evening we took a taxi to the Night Safari at Singapore Zoo. We bought our tickets online for $31.50 each, which gives you access to the tram ride, trail walks and Creatures of the Night show – a really enjoyable three-hour experience. The only downside was you couldn’t take pictures using a flash, so we ended up with several pictures of pretty much nothing.
Overall, I feel there was still much more for us to see and do; the Tiger Brewery Tour, Orchard Road and Sentosa Island (Universal Studios) to name a few. Oh well, there’s always next time…
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