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  • Day135

    A quick stop in Singapore

    July 8, 2017 in Singapore ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    I think I'm in in some sort of utopia, or maybe it's a dystopia depending on who you ask, it's certainly like something out of a novel. I landed in Singapore and immediately sensed the 'perfect' environment. Everything is clean, there is literally no rubbish anywhere, no graffiti, no paper, no gum, no mess at all. On the train to the city I noticed that you'd be subject to a 500 dollar fine if you ate or drank anything on public transport - subsequently the train is spotless, it makes London Underground look a shambles but becuase I'm not used to it, it's also slightly weird to see a place so 'perfect'.

    Singapore is next door to Malaysia and I'd heard it was an interesting place. It's not disappointing - it's a very rich city which is opposite to most places I've been on this trip and comprised of lots of Asian and Western influences. Officially the language is English but Chinese and other Asian dialects are also widely spoken. There's a lot to see in three days or so and I started with the Gardens by the Bay: a stunning public green space in the city centre. It's got these amazing man-made trees which somehow produce oxygen and look amazing in the night all lit up. The gardens are beautiful, I spent a half day just wandering around the area. Parodoxally there's a McDonald's here which kind of takes away the atmosphere a little, but it's tucked out the way, so not too bad. I confess I did pay a lunch time visit. 🍔

    Also in the Gardens are two massive undercover glass domes - one is a cloud forest with the world's largest indoor waterfall and the other is a flower dome which had many varieties of plants and flowers from every continent. The cloud forest mimics natural cloud forests from around the world - apparently it's the only place that has all the different varieties from across the globe, it was very cool.

    Looming over the Gardens is the magnificent Marina Bay Sands hotel and leisure complex - this colossal building looks like some sort of outerspace or alien spacecraft. Perched on top of three giant buildings is a huge boat-like structure which houses an enormous infinity pool for the guests lucky enough to stay here. You have to pay to go to the official viewing deck but I met someone who said just go up to the top of the first building, so I walked into the hotel lobby to the elevator. I found the view next to the infinity pool and no-one seemed to care as long as you didn't enter the hotel pool. A guard made sure of that - he sat by a barrier which gave a glimpse of the pool and watched all of us peasent non-guests like a hawk. The views overlooking the bay and Singapore harbour are awesome though. Unchallenged, I came back for a second view in the evening too - what a rebel! 😈

    The following day I went to the main shopping street but soon got bored as the prices were astronomical and I'm not really in the market for a 3000 dollar Gucci handbag, so I headed back to the marina and walked around a bit more exploring the area. After that I went to the freakily shaped science and art museum - there were two exhibitions on, one on human advances and one on future and art. The human one was fascinating but the second exhibition was very interactive and had way too many kids; may as well have been a crèche. In the evening I watched the light show in the Gardens where all the man-made trees light up - it was quite good but the show at the marina was even better. Water and light were used together to form patterns and imagery. It was pretty impressive and free - bonus!

    The next day I wandered around the Chinatown area which is probably the only part of Singapore that looks slightly shabby - it's still impossibly clean though. There's some great food there too, so I indulged in the cheap eats. In the evening I caught up with a couple of guys I'd met in Malaysia and we went to Singapore night safari, the queue was ridiculous but the safari was really cool. You got on these mini trains and could stop off and explore the different areas. Most of the punters lazily stayed on the train but we got off to have a closer look at the animals, there were lions, elephants, tigers, massive bats, giraffes, and all sorts of other nocturnal animals - it was great seeing them in the dark and I was pleased to see the zoo was well run with nice large and natural enclosures for the animals - Singapore does it right.

    I'm off to Indonesia now - the final country on this trip, I can't believe it. Hope it's a good one! 🤞
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