Singapore

Singapore has much to offer and nine days is not enough to fully explore this wonderful city.


Singapore

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Rattie on February 24, 2004

1. The Asian Civilizations Museums at Empress Place and Armenian Street.

2. The Chinatown Heritage Museum.

3. Little India.

4. The Zoo and Night Safari.${QuickSuggestions} Singapore is a great place for walking -- there is something to see around every corner.

All prices quoted in my journal are in Singapore dollars.${BestWay} The public transport system is excellent. Taxis are reasonably priced and walking is a delight.


Raffles The Plaza

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Rattie on February 24, 2004

This is a superb hotel with spacious rooms, excellent staff, and excellent facilities. This hotel offers upgrades to the Raffles Inc floors at certain times during the year. This includes access to free breakfasts, evening cocktails, and access to the Raffles Inc lounge. Complimentary late check-out is offered when checking in.

Situated within the Colonial District, Raffles The Plaza is within easy walking distance to many places of interest.

Fairmont Singapore Hotel
80 Bras Basah Road
Singapore, Singapore, 189560
+65 6339 7777

Singapore Zoological Gardens

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Rattie on February 24, 2004

The Singapore Zoological Gardens provide an excellent day out in beautiful, lush surroundings. Unlike many zoos in South East Asia, the animals here are well cared for and housed in the least restrictive environment possible.

The zoo staff is informative and the sections have plenty of accurate information.

Take a trip around the zoo on the hop on/hop off tram service to orientate yourself and then browse at leisure.

A taxi to the zoo will cost around S$15. Public transport via MRT and bus runs frequently.

A variety of food outlets can be found throughout the zoo or bring a picnic. The stall selling Indian food is poor -- the only tasteless Indian food in Singapore !

Singapore Zoo
80 Mandai Lake Road
Singapore, Singapore, 729826
(65) 6269 3411

The Night Safari

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Rattie on February 24, 2004

This is a great opportunity to observe nocturnal animals going about their business. Walking trails allow you to get close to a wide variety of animals including the tiny mouse deer, fishing cats, small clawed Asian otters, and many others.

If taking photos, make sure your flash is turned off – unfortunately, some people did not follow the guides' requests regarding this and the flashes are disturbing to the animals.

The Night Safari is well serviced by public transport. A taxi will cost approximately S$15.

Night Safari
80 Mandai Lake Rd.
Singapore, 729826
+65 6269 3411

Chinatown Heritage Centre

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Rattie on February 24, 2004

Situated in a beautifuly restored shophouse, the museum recounts the lives of Chinatown residents from the first wave of immigration from China, through the Japanese occupation to the present day.

Excellent audiovisual presentations feature the personal stories of former residents. The hardships, courage and resillience of the people of Chinatown are revealed through interactive sections and the recreation of life in a shophouse.

Chinatown Heritage Centre
48 Pagoda Street
Singapore, Singapore, 059207
+65 6 325 2878

Little India

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Rattie on February 24, 2004

This is a colourful and vibrant area where the aroma of spices, sandalwood, and patchouli will seduce your senses. Follow your nose!

We visited on Sunday evening when Little India is at its most lively. Around 10,000 workers celebrate their day off by eating, catching up on news, and visiting their temples. Arrive around 5pm and stay for a few hours. By 8pm, the crowds make it difficult to navigate the footpaths.

The crowd is mostly male, but women shouldn't feel threatened by this if they follow the same precautions they would in their own city.

Food is a highlight and ridiculously inexpensive.

Shoppers will find much to tempt them, including Indian handcrafts and religious paraphernalia.

Little India/Tekka
North of Kampong Glam
Singapore

Asian Civilisations Museum

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Rattie on February 24, 2004

The flagship branch at 1 Empress Place offers insight into the various cultures of Asia. Allow plenty of time to enjoy the exhibits in this imaginatively designed museum. We spent three hours there and could easily have stayed longer if time had allowed.

Admission to the museum is free after 6pm on Friday.

The Armenian Street branch is chiefly concerned with Peranakan culture and history.

Asian Civilizations Museum

Singapore, Singapore
+65-6332 2982

Jurong Bird Park

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Rattie on February 24, 2004

Jurong Bird Park houses birds from around the world in a beautifully landscaped environment. This is a great place to escape from the bustle of the city.
Jurong Bird Park
2 Jurong Hill
Singapore, Singapore, 628925
65 6265 0022

Sentosa

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Rattie on February 24, 2004

This much-promoted island will mostly appeal to children. There are a few attractions that adults will also enjoy. Underwater World is excellent and well worth a visit.

The monorail circuit is a good way to orient yourself and unlimited trips are included in the $2 Sentosa admission price. There are pleasant walking trails and bikes are available for hire.

Underwater World Singapore
80 Siloso Road
Sentosa, Singapore, 098969
+65 6275-0030

Chinatown

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Rattie on February 24, 2004

"Must sees" in Chinatown :

1. The Chinatown Heritage Centre (see entry).

2. Thian Hock Keng Temple. This is the oldest and most important Hokkien temple in Singapore. There is a shrine to the sea goddess, Ma-Chu-Po, to whom survivors of the arduous journey from China to Singapore gave thanks. The temple has been beautifully restored.

3. Sri Mariammam Temple. This is a spectacular South Indian Hindu temple with a colourful gopuram. A wedding was taking place when we visited and although the temple was open to the public, we didn't wish to intrude. However, the temple's exterior is spectacular and we could see the wedding party procession through the courtyard gates -- a riot of colour with the guests in their traditional finery.

4. Restored shops will appeal to architecture buffs.

5. Eating!

Chinatown
Outram District
Singapore, Malay Peninsula

Clarke Quay

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Rattie on February 24, 2004

Promoted as a festival village, Clarke Quay is crammed with bars, cafes, restaurants, and some truly awful souvenir shops.

We took a $12 bumboat trip around the river and harbour – it’s a great way to cool off on a steamy Singapore night and an opportunity to ogle the many lovely examples of colonial architecture.

Masochists can experience the joy (?) of being catapulted into the sky in a three-person bungee capsule. . . preferably before hitting the bars and food outlets!

We walked back to our hotel along the parks at 1am, a perfectly safe option in this friendly city.

Clarke Quay
3 River Valley Road
Singapore, 179024
6337 3292

Cable Car

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Rattie on February 24, 2004

My husband decided to challenge his fear of heights with a ride on the cable car from Sentosa to Mt Faber and back to the World Trade Centre. The views are splendid and a night trip would be spectacular.

Break your journey at Altivo on Mt Faber for a beer to steady your nerves.

Cable Car Ride
Mount Faber or Sentosa Island
Sentosa, Singapore

City Tour

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by Rattie on February 25, 2004

Befor arriving in Singapore, we booked a city tour through Viatours to help us get our bearings on our first day in the city. This proved to be quite unnecessary -- Singapore is well sign posted and distances between sights are small.



The tour made brief stops at Mt Faber, the National Orchid Garden, Little India, Chinatown, and a truly ghastly gem factory where aggressive sales staff dogged one's every footstep.



Our guide was informative, but there really is no need to take such a tour.


Shopping

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Rattie on February 25, 2004

Many visitors to Singapore head straight to Orchard Road and never leave the area. My husband and I didn't set foot in Orchard Road once. Shopping wasn't a priority for us. . . however, even the non- shopper will eventually be tempted to buy something.

Here's our list :

1. Banyan Tree at the Asian Civilisations Museum. Black-and-white postcards of old Singapore, books and items inspired by the museum's collection. We were unable to resist a wooden display case containing three brass representations of the Hindu deity Ganesh.

2. The MOMA gift shop at Raffles City Shopping Centre. Reproductions and items inspired by the New York museum's collection.

3. The Raffles Shop at Raffles Hotel. Although much of the stock is branded with the famous hotel's name in a not too subtle fashion, there are a few nice things, like attractively packaged green teas and Raffles branded morning tea.

4. Shops at CHIJMES. Laquerware items such as photo albums, Chinese silk handbags, and cloisonné ware.


Eating and Drinking

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Rattie on February 25, 2004

You will find great food everywhere in Singapore! From hawker stalls, food courts, coffee shops, bakeries, and glamorous restaurants, there is something for every taste and budget. Visit Little India and Chinatown and follow your nose.

Alcohol is very expensive, although most bars offer "happy hours" from opening time until 8pm. The bars in the courtyard at CHIJMES are pleasant and friendly. A post happy hour pint of Guinness and a vodka and tonic cost us S$25.


Walking

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Rattie on February 25, 2004

Unlike many large Asian cities, walking is a pleasure in Singapore. Thanks to the government’s efforts to calm traffic and the courtesy of Singapore drivers, walking around the city is relaxing rather than a game of chicken.

Take a bottle of water, a small towel to mop your sweaty brow, and just head off for an amble. The numerous parks are great for a relaxing walk. When the heat and humidity become too much, stop for a cool drink in air-conditioned comfort.

Late night walking is quite safe; you'll find families, couples and groups out enjoying the respite from the daytime heat.

The lush Botanical Gardens are open until midnight.


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