Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Singapore Experience

Our experience in Singapore stands in stark contrast to both Manila and Siem Reap.  Whereas Manila (according to our daughter who lives there) is basically a dysfunctional city with a few enclaves for the rich amidst pollution and overcrowding, and Siem Reap is a sort of Western tourist enclave in an otherwise poor land, Singapore is a massively, modern, progressive, prosperous city where the influence of English calm and demeanor channels the Asian energy, hustle, and bustle.

It is extremely easy to get around.  English is a major language through at least four others are commonly in use.  There is an excellent rapid transit and bus system.  We bought 3 day, all you can use passes for $24 that were a real bargain.  The system promoted an app called How2Go which allowed you to put in your current location and your destination with the output being specific instructions of which bus/train combination to take.

The major objective of the Singapore was EATING!!!!!  Which was well accomplished and will be covered in the upcoming foodie posts.  But in between meals one had to do something to keep oneself amused and Singapore had tons to accomplish that.  Here is what we did.

Saturday, Dec 14 - We finished up our Pulandia interlude with a 90 minute massage (the price of a massage in a high class place is about 20% of what it would be in the US).  Then we went to the airport for our late flight to Singapore.  We got into Singapore at Midnight.  Like any major city, finding a good budget hotel can be expensive.  The hotel I found on TripAdvisor turned out to be magnificently located for our eating objectives.

Sunday, Dec 15 - Although we went to sleep around 2 AM we were up at 9 AM to go to the Tiong Bahru Market for breakfast, one of many, many food and hawker malls in the city.  Our neighborhood is more of a living in neighborhood than business/tourist center.  Then it was off to Orchard Street the major shopping area.  We picked up our 3 day transit passes.  The place was packed.  #2, who is 8 months pregnant, was feeling the heat and humidity.  Singapore was much more humid than Cambodia.  We went to a different rapid transit stop than we left from and took a bus to our hotel...except we went the wrong way.  This engendered much confusion and led to our turning a 10 minute trip into two hours.  It was after this that I discovered listed on a bus step the How2Go app.  A note on the Singapore rapid transit station, they are huge.  While everything else about using it was easy to figure out, it sometimes took us as long to figure just how to get out of one of them as it took time on the train.

Monday, Dec 16 - Went to the Botanical Gardens in the morning.  Then went to Little India for lunch.  Came back to hotel mid afternoon where we spent the afternoon in the pool

Tuesday, Dec 17 - Went to Chinatown.  Had breakfast in another hawker mall.  Visited a Buddhist Temple and explored shopping areas.  Then we went to the Clark Quay area where we caught a boat tour of the Singapore river.  We stopped off at an area where the Singapore Flyer (huge Ferris wheel like the London Eye) is which Wife and I went on while #2 rested.  We finished the boat ride, brought #2 back to the hotel, then Wife and I went to the Gardens by the Bay, a brand new, sustainable based, garden system.

Wednesday, Dec 18 - Went to the Tiong Bahru market again for breakfast before we went the airport and caught a flight back to Manila.


 Tiong Bahru Market just around the corner from our hotel


The market was hopping on Sunday morning

Happy Wife, Happy Daughter

Market scenes - so quiet and calm compared to Siem Reap
#2 calls Singapore "Asia Light

Don't forget to get your sea cucumber!

 Samples of the food delights you can get at your local Singapore 7-11

Ion on Orchard Street

No noisy rowdy folks allowed in our neighborhood

Entrance to the Botanical Gardens

Lotuses blossoming in the park.
Lotuses have deep spiritual significance in the Hindu faiths

Little India

Duded up motorbike in our neighborhood

The Locality map became our tool for finally figuring out how to get out of the rapid transit station effectively.


Hindu Temple (in Chinatown of all places)

Buddhist Temple

Shopping in Chinatown

...and please don't worry

Clark Quay

Scenes from Gardens by the Bay

"How the hell are you supposed to do these damn selfies?"

1 comment:

alexis said...

WOW - looks like you guys had a fantastic time in Singapore! I am so pleased for you. And some one on one time with Pu, something very rare these days. I am also heartened to know she is human and at 8mo does need to rest.