Visit to Singapore

Sitting as it does practically on the Earth’s equator, Singapore has only one climate all year round. Hot. Humid. Frequent torrential downpours. If like me you have hair that’s prone to frizz at the first sign of humidity, you may as well resign yourself to ‘bad hair days’ for the duration of your stay in Singapore (as the attached pictures of me clearly demonstrate!).

The last time we visited Singapore was in 2004, during our ’round the Pacific’ honeymoon tour. It was nice to come back, but the city has changed a great deal since then.

Me on the Singapore Flyer

The best way to get an overview of the city is to take a trip on the Singapore Flyer. It’s a giant ferris wheel with ‘pods’ (very like the London Eye). From the top of the wheel you get a panoramic view of the city, with all of its sky scrapers and carefully landscaped gardens. You also get a commentary as you ride the Flyer, which explains how the entire city has been built on the principles of Feng Shui, thus ensuring good luck for all who live there. Whether or not there is any basis of truth in Feng Shui I couldn’t possibly comment. But it has to be said the majority of people who live in Singapore seem happy enough.

Singapore is, on the whole, a nice place to be. Very modern and clean – it’s illegal to leave gum or any other litter anywhere in Singapore, and a city-wide indoor smoking ban was in force before this was introduced anywhere else in the world. The oppressive humidity tends to mean that you don’t want to spend any length of time walking around outside – you get very tired very quickly. But everywhere indoors is air conditioned, and the underground metro system is quick and reliable – and also air conditioned. So you really don’t need to be walking very far.

F1 Track and Paddocks - view from the Singapore Flyer

The Formula One circuit is a new addition since last time we were in Singapore. You get a very clear view of the track and the paddocks from the Singapore Flyer. I am actually a fan of Formula One racing and I found it quite exciting to walk on the track. Naturally the track is quiet at this time of year – race season is over. But the tyre skid marks on the track can clearly be seen, and I wondered, as we walked on them, whose car made the marks. Was I walking in the tyre tracks of Lewis Hamilton or Jensen Button?

Another recent addition to the Singapore skyline is the luxury hotel and casino the Marina Sands. It has a very distinctive design – three skyscraper towers with an immense concrete ship balanced on top of them. It’s not quite finished yet. The hotel is open for business, as is the casino, but the huge shopping centre at the foot of the complex is still mostly empty, with only a few shops currently in occupation.

Me & the Marina Sands

You can take a lift up to the top of the building – up into the ‘boat’ bit – for another impressive view, but it’s actually quite expensive to do this. Entrance to the casino is free of charge – if you’re a tourist, and can produce your passport to prove this. Locals have to pay a hundred Singapore dollars to get in. Apparently the government does not want to encourage its citizens to gamble. But clearly it has no qualms in taking tourist gambling dollars.

Singapore is perhaps more cosmopolitan and Westernised than other Asian cities. It’s clean and contemporary, full of skyscrapers and enormous shopping malls.

We arrived on 1 December, and moved on to Bali three days later. I will be blogging about our adventures in Bali soon. Stay tuned….


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: