Arrival at Singapore’s Changi Airport meant a stroll along the corridors and a peremptory look at my passport and I was free to discover- or RE-discover the delights of this proud island state.
Long known as the “fine” city-$500 SGD fire for littering or chewing gum, or several other minor offences, the amount of state control makes Singapore a relatively clean and safe destination.
After a free early check-in (8.00am!) it was time to eat. The days of the hawkers selling their food off carts has long disappeared. In fact some of the local eating places even have aircon. What hasn’t changed is the varied tastes and cleanliness of these markets. For around SGD $3-4 each dish, it is easy and cheap to find tasty nourishing food.
In the afternoon it was time to meet friends in Orchard Road, leading to a very tasty dinner at Newton Circus
At the end of the meal, it was comical to watch three people trying to extricate the flesh from Thai Coconuts with very fragile plastic spoons. Even the vendor thought they were strange, as she said they never eat the flesh…
The following day was a trip to the Jurong Bird Park. This was a great day seeing many feathered friends in an environment where they were still able to fly around. The highlight was hand-feeding some Rainbow Lorikeets, but the whole experience was amazing, with colourful and noisy birds.
On the way home l also managed to find the shoes l had searched for but failed to find in my size. Also cheaper in Singapore plus a tourist refund. Shopping done … LOL … not! Singapore might not be the bargain bonanza it once was, but there is a wide variety of goods ranging from very cheap to impossibly expensive – markets to luxurious shopping malls designed to entice you to spend.
Talking of expensive enticement…the following day was a trip to Sentosa Island, Singapore’s Playground. Apart from the Images of Singapore museum, the Merlion and the fountain pathway, which are relatively untouched by the commercial crassness of the rest of the Island, Sentosa’s main purpose appears to be to separate you from your hard-earned dollars. It begins with the cable Car and then flashy luxurious hotels and a casino plus numerous “adventure experiences” abound.
Lunch at Coastes restaurant at Siloso Beach consisted of poor to mediocre food with lacklustre and unfriendly service, all severely over-priced. I guess you could say it meant eating on a beach, but then they threatened to charge SGD $30 to sit on a beach chair instead of the restaurant table. Save your money people! Don’t go to this restaurant … Now where is Tripadvisor when you need it.
Then the last day in Singapore. Leaving bags at the hotel, a rather long day was in store. A walk across the new Helix Bridge, with its view up to the Merlion and Clarke Quay past the floating stage – already setup for Chinese New year celebrations to welcome the year of the Horse.
Then it was over to the “Gardens by the Bay! This is a great concept, with a series of several themed gardens and a grove of Super trees-large metal towers covered with plants and taking its waterfrom the nearby bay.
Some of the super trees were connected by a high bridge.
I managed to quell my fear of heights to negotiate the bridge with a beautiful vista all round. Later an early Thai dinner and out to the airport for the 14 hour trip to France. Further adventures to come, but this was the end of our Singapore Fling.