A Travellerspoint blog

Singapore

Singapore (22-25/4/2017)

The flight from Perth arrived in Singapore shortly after 0400 so we had to hang around the airport for a few hours and then our room was not available until 1400. We had stopped briefly in Singapore after arriving there at the beginning of the trip but this time we had three days for a proper visit and we chose to stay at a better standard hotel in Chinatown (instead of a cheap and tacky chain hotel in Geylang!).

We had found and booked the recently opened Hotel Mono, with modern minimalist black and white decor, but had to split the booking with a Deluxe Twin the first night and a Deluxe Double for the other two nights. Unfortunately we had not anticipated that a Deluxe Twin would have no window(!) – certainly not our preferred choice of room – but at least it was just the first night. The other Deluxe Double had windows onto the street and was great, and Chinatown turned out to be a very good base for our stay – a lively and characterful area with loads of restaurants and shops. We spent the first day checking it out!

The big change to Singapore since our previous visit there in 2009 has been the development of the Marina Bay area. We had tried to have a look at it back on our first visit but were thwarted by a big storm so, after spending the morning visiting more of Chinatown before moving rooms in our hotel, we spent a sunny afternoon in Marina Bay. Being reclaimed land and constructed from nothing, it is an extraordinary development, and the Gardens by the Bay have matured to become a delightful area to visit.

Arriving over a bridge we had an amazing experience when a spectacular kingfisher landed on the railing just a couple of metres away and seemed completely unmoved by the large numbers of people passing. Further on is the Super Tree groves, extraordinary constructions with an elevated walkway through the midst of the main grove – a unique and amazing place to visit.

Next day we started off in Little India, which gives a sanitised but pleasant taste of India, searched out some streets with attractive shop houses and then headed over to the small Arab Street area where, after stopping for lunch for some tasty murtabaks, we had a short look around as the weather deteriorated rapidly! Fortunately it had improved by nightfall so we headed down again to the Marina Bay area to see it again at night. It looked even more impressive in the dark and we arrived at the Super Tree Grove just as a music/lightshow was beginning – spectacular!

As this was our last real night of our trip we decided to finish the evening off ‘en toute beauté’ -taking the lift in Tower 1 of the Marina Bay Sands hotel up to the 57th (top) floor where we had cocktails and enjoyed extraordinary views over the city. Highly recommended ... and the cocktails cost very little more than the cost of a regular visit to the observation deck!

Our flight back to Europe left after midnight the following day – the end of a very varied and excellent trip.

Marina Bay from Helix bridge

Marina Bay from Helix bridge


Chinatown - Pagoda Street

Chinatown - Pagoda Street


Chinatown - Hotel Mono (  Lindsey at window)

Chinatown - Hotel Mono (+ Lindsey at window)


Chinatown - Pagoda Street

Chinatown - Pagoda Street


Chinatown - Pagoda Street

Chinatown - Pagoda Street


Chinatown - Temple Street

Chinatown - Temple Street


Chinatown

Chinatown


Chinatown - Shop houses

Chinatown - Shop houses


Chinatown - Sri Mariammam Temple

Chinatown - Sri Mariammam Temple


Chinatown - Shop houses

Chinatown - Shop houses


Chinatown - Thian Kock Keng temple

Chinatown - Thian Kock Keng temple


Chinatown - Thian Hock Keng temple

Chinatown - Thian Hock Keng temple


Chinatown - Thian Hock Keng temple

Chinatown - Thian Hock Keng temple


Chinatown beer stop

Chinatown beer stop


Marina Bay Sands from Helix bridge

Marina Bay Sands from Helix bridge


Marina Bay

Marina Bay


Marina Bay - Super Tree grove

Marina Bay - Super Tree grove


Marina Bay Gardens

Marina Bay Gardens


Marina bay Gardens

Marina bay Gardens


Marina Bay Gardens - Very friendly kingfisher

Marina Bay Gardens - Very friendly kingfisher


Marina Bay Gardens - Very friendly kingfisher

Marina Bay Gardens - Very friendly kingfisher


Marina Bay - Super Tree grove

Marina Bay - Super Tree grove


Marina Bay Gardens - Super Tree grove

Marina Bay Gardens - Super Tree grove


Marina Bay Gardens - Super Tree grove

Marina Bay Gardens - Super Tree grove


Marina Bay Gardens - Super Tree grove

Marina Bay Gardens - Super Tree grove


Marina Bay Gardens - Super Tree grove

Marina Bay Gardens - Super Tree grove


Marina Bay Gardens - Super Tree

Marina Bay Gardens - Super Tree


Super Tree grove

Super Tree grove


Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Marina Bay Sands Hotel


Downtown from Marina Bay

Downtown from Marina Bay


Little India - Buffalo Road shops

Little India - Buffalo Road shops


Little India - Buffalo Road shops

Little India - Buffalo Road shops


Little India - Buffalo Road shops

Little India - Buffalo Road shops


Little India - Buffalo Road shops

Little India - Buffalo Road shops


Little India - Little India Arcade

Little India - Little India Arcade


Little India - Serangoon Road

Little India - Serangoon Road


Little India - Hindu Temple and surroundings!

Little India - Hindu Temple and surroundings!


Little India  Umbrella trees!

Little India Umbrella trees!


Little India - Coconut milk stop

Little India - Coconut milk stop


Little India area - shop houses

Little India area - shop houses


Little India area - shop houses

Little India area - shop houses


Little India area - shop houses

Little India area - shop houses


Little India area - shop houses

Little India area - shop houses


Arab Street area - Martabak preparation

Arab Street area - Martabak preparation


Arab Street area - Martabak consumption

Arab Street area - Martabak consumption


Arab Street area - Sultan Mosque

Arab Street area - Sultan Mosque


Arab Street area - Sultan Mosque

Arab Street area - Sultan Mosque


Arab Street area - deteriorating weather!

Arab Street area - deteriorating weather!


Gardens in the Bay

Gardens in the Bay


Night

Night


Marina Bay Gardens - Super Tree grove

Marina Bay Gardens - Super Tree grove


Marina Bay - Super Tree Grove at night

Marina Bay - Super Tree Grove at night


Marina Bay - Super Tree Grove at night

Marina Bay - Super Tree Grove at night


Marina Bay - Super Tree Grove at night

Marina Bay - Super Tree Grove at night


Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow

Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow


Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow

Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow


Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow

Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow


Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow

Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow


Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow

Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow


Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow

Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow


Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow

Marina Bay - Supertree Grove lightshow


Marina bay Sands hotel

Marina bay Sands hotel


Marina Bay Sands - Skybar - Cheers!

Marina Bay Sands - Skybar - Cheers!


Marina Bay Sands - Skybar - views

Marina Bay Sands - Skybar - views


Marina Bay Sands - Skybar - views

Marina Bay Sands - Skybar - views


Marina Bay Sands - Skybar - views

Marina Bay Sands - Skybar - views


Marina Bay Sands - Skybar - views

Marina Bay Sands - Skybar - views


Marina Bay Sands - Skybar - views

Marina Bay Sands - Skybar - views


Last day - grey day views! Marina Bay

Last day - grey day views! Marina Bay


Merlion and clock tower

Merlion and clock tower


Last day - grey day views! Merlion

Last day - grey day views! Merlion


Last day - grey day views! Merlion

Last day - grey day views! Merlion


Last day - grey day views! Singapore river

Last day - grey day views! Singapore river


Final bottle of Tiger beer!

Final bottle of Tiger beer!

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

To Singapore via London Gatwick

Originally, we planned to fly into Kuala Lumpur (with Emirates from Nice) and start off our Malaysia journey there and then fly back from Singapore at the end of our trip. However, we found that it was about half the price (<€500) to take a return flight from the UK to Singapore! So, we booked to fly Easyjet from Nice to London Gatwick on Sunday afternoon and then fly out from there on Monday lunchtime to Singapore with Emirates.

We left our apartment in pouring rain to walk down the hill to catch the airport bus but otherwise everything was smooth and on time and we arrived in Gatwick to spend our night there.

We had chosen to stay overnight at the Premier Inn at Gatwick North Terminal (a 2 minute walk straight across from the terminal entrance). It was 5 star in TripAdvisor and top hotel in Gatwick area with over 5000 reviews and what an excellent choice! – particularly as we had booked early and got a ridiculously low price of £30 for the night. We were offered a room on the top (10th) floor, with window looking out to Gatwick South Terminal, which seemed quite a chore to get to from reception but we then found we had a separate lift which whisked us up and down in no time to the restaurant/bar area without any stops at the other floors! We took advantage of the excellent deal they have for £24.99 per person – 2 course dinner + free drink + breakfast buffet (with full English). Spacious comfortable room, pleasant bar with reasonably priced drinks, very good food, well organized and friendly staff of predominantly non UK nationals from the EU who are so important to the UK economy in certain key sectors(!) – could not be faulted!! We found out that it was the largest hotel in the Premier Inn chain with 701 rooms and on a busy night in summer the restaurant there does about 800 meals! Deserves its success.

Emirates is certainly a pleasant airline to fly with and the first 7 hour leg to Dubai went quite quickly as we spent a lot of the time chatting with the lady in the adjoining seat. We don’t like Dubai airport – it is large but does not seem to cope well with the large numbers of passengers transiting – big queue for hand baggage check is the first thing you get to on arrival and big queues for toilet facilities .. ... Happily, the stopover was only a couple of hours. The second 7 hour plus flight (from 0200 in Dubai to 1330 in Singapore) seemed very long, but at least there was an enormous selection of films and music. Finally we arrived at the attractive Changhi airport and took the MRT train to the area we are staying, arriving as we had left – in a downpour (although this time at 30°C)!

We are staying in Singapore for a few days at the end of our trip, so we just booked a couple of nights in Singapore for now so that we could get over the long flight and acclimatise. Singapore is expensive for accommodation so we checked out the budget local hotel chains (Fragrance, Hotel 81) and stayed at one a bit out of the centre in the Geylang area. Although we got a similar rate to the one we paid for the ‘famous’ Premier Inn at Gatwick, the comparison ends there! The standard rooms are minute and ours was a bit grubby around the edges but OK.

After crashing out for a couple of hours on arrival we headed out in the evening to the Old Airport Food Centre nearby, popular with locals, for a beer and tasty/spicy stir fry. Many dishes are just four or five Singapore Dollars (say €3-3,50) and a large 640ml Tiger to share is a bit over $6 (say €4). We only had one full day so just had time to have a look round the local Geyland area and then head downtown for a wander round the Colonial area, Singapore river area (recommend checking out the excellent home brew pub at Riverside complex "Brewerkz" on the way back downriver) and Financial area, where there is a great food centre (Lao Po Sat) for a late lunch, before heading along the waterfront area to where the iconic Merlion statue stands (at the moment completely shrouded in sheeting while it "has a shower"). The weather was pretty sultry all day ... and was deteriorating as we headed on the metro to the new major Marine Bay Sands complex (which was constructed since our last visit to Singapore in 2009) with the idea of having a wander round the gardens there. When we arrived it was in a major storm with torrential rain and so we had to forget about a walk round the gardens, have a look round the enormous atrium and call it a day!

Plenty left to see and do on our return for a few days at the end of the trip before flying back to Europe ...

A rainy start in Golfe-Juan!

A rainy start in Golfe-Juan!


English Breakfast - Premier Inn Gatwick North

English Breakfast - Premier Inn Gatwick North


Fragrance Hotel - Ruby (Geylang area)

Fragrance Hotel - Ruby (Geylang area)


Geylang Road

Geylang Road


Geyland Road 2

Geyland Road 2


Geyland Road 3

Geyland Road 3


Lane off Geyland Road

Lane off Geyland Road


Lane off Geyland Road - Clanhouse

Lane off Geyland Road - Clanhouse


Lane off Geyland Road - House with bicycle!

Lane off Geyland Road - House with bicycle!


Lane off Geyland Road - House Detail

Lane off Geyland Road - House Detail


Old Airport Food Court

Old Airport Food Court


Typical hawker stall. We'll give this one a miss!!

Typical hawker stall. We'll give this one a miss!!


Padang and Singapore Cricket Club

Padang and Singapore Cricket Club


From Padang to Marine Bay Sands

From Padang to Marine Bay Sands


Singapore Parliament Building

Singapore Parliament Building


Downtown

Downtown


Singapore river

Singapore river


Singapore River and Financial District skyscrapers

Singapore River and Financial District skyscrapers


Singapore River 2

Singapore River 2


Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay


Clarke Quay 2

Clarke Quay 2


Clarke Quay 3

Clarke Quay 3


Singapore river 3

Singapore river 3


Singapore River 4

Singapore River 4


Marine Bay Sands from river

Marine Bay Sands from river


Cavanagh Bridge

Cavanagh Bridge


Alternative to SELFIE!!

Alternative to SELFIE!!


Financial District skyview

Financial District skyview


Skyview from Raffles Place

Skyview from Raffles Place


Financial District skyview 2

Financial District skyview 2


Skyscrapers and Lao Po Sat food court

Skyscrapers and Lao Po Sat food court


Lao Po Sat Food Market - in Financial District

Lao Po Sat Food Market - in Financial District


Lao Po Sat Food Market

Lao Po Sat Food Market


Lao Po Sat Food Market 2

Lao Po Sat Food Market 2


Marine Bay Sands in good weather!

Marine Bay Sands in good weather!


Marina Bay Sands Atrium

Marina Bay Sands Atrium


Marina Bay Sands Atrium 2

Marina Bay Sands Atrium 2


Marina Bay Sands in bad weather!

Marina Bay Sands in bad weather!


Marine Bay Sands in bad weather 2

Marine Bay Sands in bad weather 2


Proboscis monkey

Proboscis monkey

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Singapore, 18 - 21 June 2009

Took the late afternoon boat back from Bintan to the Tanah Merah ferry terminal and then made our way into central Singapore by bus, rapid transport and finally taxi (to find the hotel!). The Robertson Quay hotel (very good rates on the Internet) is very well situated right in the modern Riverside area, which is definitely close to the action! Sensational view from our 10th floor room.

Enjoyed checking out the different traditional pockets of Singapore (Chinatown, Little India, Arab quarter). There's not a lot left and they are surrounded by skyscrapers but it was fun. We picked up a "Best of Singapore Food" pamphlet at the airport Tourist Info which was good reading for the many different food specialities and where to find them. We tried quite a few!

Singapore must have the best variety of food in the world ... and at the best prices. Dishes in the Hawker Centres and Food Courts are mainly between 1 and 3 euros - delicious! We particulalarly liked the Hawkers centres at Maxwell Street (great variety, near Chinatown) and Lau Pa Sat (surroundings, Satay stalls outside). Great murtabaks at Zam Zam in Arab quarter too.

Singapore Sling at Raffles was a disappointment on last evening (27 Singapore Dollars and tasted more like a "mocktail" (= no spirit!)). However, found a Bacardi Mojito evening in Clark's Quay near hotel on way back (10 Singapore Dollars and delicious) - great Latino band and excellent dancers in the local crowd too. The area near the hotel was a real bonus - very lively and picturesque in the evenings - Clark's Quay, Boat Quay, Riverside Point (with good microbrewery) ...

Last day today ... going to check out the Colonial area, sample a microbrew or two, food court for late lunch, make way to airport for late night flight ... ...

Now, in September, I am finally completing this entry!

Although we had checked out of our rooms, we had an hour by the pool and showered and changed there before it was time to head off to Changi airport. The taxi was not expensive to the airport and much easier than the metro (long walk to station + several changes). There's a decent outdoor bar to savour those last Asian moments before the long flight back to Europe ... ... then ... a few weeks on less exotic travels on a tour to visit friends and relatives round France and England and then ... back to work! At least we live and work in the Cote d'Azur, which is not a bad spot!

We could not have hoped for better from our two trips (to South America and Asia/Oz) during sabbatical break from work.

There's a wonderful world out there - its rude not to see it if you get the opportunity!

Robertson Quay Hotel - View from room 2

Robertson Quay Hotel - View from room 2


Chinatown 1

Chinatown 1


Chinatown 2

Chinatown 2


Maxwell Road Hawker Centre

Maxwell Road Hawker Centre


Maxwell Road - Queuing for Hainan Chicken Rice

Maxwell Road - Queuing for Hainan Chicken Rice


Maxwell Road Hawker Centre 1

Maxwell Road Hawker Centre 1


LIttle India 1

LIttle India 1


LIttle India 2

LIttle India 2


LIttle India 3

LIttle India 3


Shophouses 1

Shophouses 1


Shophouses 2

Shophouses 2


Shophouses 3

Shophouses 3


Shophouses 4

Shophouses 4


Singapore River 1

Singapore River 1


Singapore River 2

Singapore River 2


Singapore River 3

Singapore River 3


Singapore River - Clarke's Quay

Singapore River - Clarke's Quay


Temple downtown

Temple downtown


Boon Tat Street Hawker Centre - Satays !

Boon Tat Street Hawker Centre - Satays !


Boon Tat Street Hawker Centre - Satays 2

Boon Tat Street Hawker Centre - Satays 2


Boon Tat Street Hawker Centre - Satays 3

Boon Tat Street Hawker Centre - Satays 3


Arab Quarter Mosque

Arab Quarter Mosque


Arab Quarter Mosque 2

Arab Quarter Mosque 2


Arab Quarter Sam Sam Resto - Murtabak!

Arab Quarter Sam Sam Resto - Murtabak!


Arab Quarter Sam Sam Resto - Murtabak 2

Arab Quarter Sam Sam Resto - Murtabak 2


Raffles Hotel

Raffles Hotel


Raffles Hotel - Singapore Sling  ... Disappointing

Raffles Hotel - Singapore Sling ... Disappointing


Singapore - washing out to dry

Singapore - washing out to dry


Singapore - washing out to dry 2

Singapore - washing out to dry 2


Singapore River at Night 1

Singapore River at Night 1


Singapore River at Night 2

Singapore River at Night 2


Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night 1

Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night 1


Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night 2

Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night 2


Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night 3

Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night 3


Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night!

Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night!


Singapore Cathedral

Singapore Cathedral


Cricket and Colonial District - Howzzat!

Cricket and Colonial District - Howzzat!


Sir Stamford Raffles & Colonial District

Sir Stamford Raffles & Colonial District


Supreme Court Building - Norman Spencer Design

Supreme Court Building - Norman Spencer Design


Singapore's answer to Sydney Opera House?!

Singapore's answer to Sydney Opera House?!


Merlion 5

Merlion 5


Merlion 3

Merlion 3


Robertson Quay Hotel - Pool before flight home!

Robertson Quay Hotel - Pool before flight home!

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

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