29/11/15 - 6/12/15 34 °C
So far on this trip I have managed to stick to my £25 a day budget but doing so in Singapore was an impossibility. Other than transport on the amazingly modern and highly efficient metro system everything is about three or our times as much as cities such as Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. For example, the cheapest large bottle of beer I found was just over eight Singapore dollars (£4) and a room was 50 dollars (£25) when I am used to paying somewhere between £5 and £8. It was obvious that my budget was going to be blown apart but I decided that it's only money and I may never be here again so why let a few money worries get in the way.
Singapore is one of those places with wow factor, and then some! There is still a large colonial era area with many notable buildings such as Raffles hotel and the old parliament building and some of the old waterfront has been preserved. Areas of the city such as Little India and Chinatown add to the mix of races and cultures and contribute their own special flavours. But Singapore is nothing if not an ultra modern city and the numerous new skyscrapers provide a dramatic skyline. The most impressive of these is the Sands Marina Hotel with its three tapering towers supporting a boat shaped platform with a garden, swimming pool and observation deck. The view from here takes in the harbour with its hundreds of ships riding at anchor, the river, the sycrapers and large parts of the city and is simply stunning, especially as darkness falls and the city's lights go on. There are other prestige developments like the futuristic Gardens by the Bay with its two enormous glasshouses and metal and concrete trees.
Central Business District
Sands Marina Hotel
Gardens by the Bay
Singapore at night
Singapore is more than aware of its place in the world as does all it can to attract finance, business and tourism. It's airport is frequently voted the best in the world (agreed) and it is constantly striving to develop new attractions to encourage tourism. One of these is the River Safari which now forms the third part of Singapore zoo together with the regular zoo and the Night Safari. At the equivalent of £50 a head for the three it is expensive but we'll worth it. I spent nearly 12 hours wandering around the enclosures, most of which allow close and unobserved views of the animals, and finally got back to my room on the harbour side at 11.30 pm, foot sore and exhausted but very happy.
It has taken five weeks to get around to writing this blog entry, mainly because I found Singapore to be such a fantastic place that finding the words to describe it has been a real challenge. It'seems still astruggle so therfore I'll conclude it here and let a few more photos do the talking for me.
Old Chinese shop house which are now very expensive private homes
My hostel is on the waterfront beneath the white tower
The view from my hostel
Gardens by the Bay
Chinatown at night