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Singapore ~ The Lion City

Sunday 26th July


It now really feels as though we are on our way. So far Singapore has certainly exceeded my expectations. We arrived early in the day (our flight landed just after 7am) so getting through immigration at a speed that would be a mere dream in the UK was appreciated. We took a few minutes to have a cup of tea and get our bearings. We then easily sorted out getting tickets and boarding the shuttle bus which was amazingly good value at only S$9 (about £4.50) each. As we drove towards the city centre we were really surprised at how green everywhere looked. It is clear that a huge amount of money has been spent planting trees and shrubs such as Bougainvillea at the roadways. Whilst we were en-route we chatted to an Australian couple about our trip and their holiday in Europe which had included a visit to Scotland and a cruise down the Danube.

Once we arrived at our hotel they were amazingly welcoming and apologised for not having our room ready. We had expected this given in was still early morning so after a coffee we went and made use of the hotel pool. We were just hoping that we would be able to check in in time to get changed before we needed to leave for an excursion to Raffles Hotel for tea followed by a trip on the river. Fortunately when we went back to reception not only was our room ready but they had upgraded us to a suite which meant that we had even more amazing views of the Marina Bay.


We went on our Footsteps of Raffles Tour which was perhaps a little disappointing. A lot of the roads were closed or if not, very busy because they were holding another rehearsal that evening for the celebrations of 50 years of independence for Singapore which are taking place on the 9th of August. Nevertheless we got to find out a bit more about the history of Singapore and about the role of the British. Tea at Raffles was delicious, a combination of English high tea and Chinese Dim Sum. We sat with a very nice couple from America, one of whom came originally from Vietnam and the other was currently working primarily in Indonesia.


We then had a bit of time in which we could take a few photos before we went off on our boat trip. This was a great way to see the city although we were left feeling that perhaps we could have arranged both elements of the tour ourselves for less money. Given how tired we both were after our flight, perhaps that wouldn't have happened if we had bee left to our own devices.

We returned to our hotel for a while before taking the shortish walk to the SkyPark at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Whilst we were walking there we were able to see some of the Independence Day rehearsals with tank processions seen in the distance and some spectacular military fly pasts. The hotel was designed by Moshe Safdie, and comprises of three 55 storey hotel towers topped by the SkyPark which is home to bars, restaurants and an infinity pool for hotel residents. It was very busy when we got there partly because a lot of people had decided to use the SkyPark as a vantage point to watch the fireworks, yet another rehearsal for the forthcoming celebrations.


The building and the pyrotechnics were amazing although the massively long queue to get down was a bit challenging as both Nigel and I were getting really tired by this point. Once back at the hotel we decided to eat in our room, this had the double advantage of allowing us to just relax without having to make any further effort and was also a good value option in an expensive hotel as we have found that this is often cheaper than eating in the restaurant. Once we had eaten we just relaxed for a while, took the opportunity to take some night shots of the city from our room, before having a much needed good nights sleep.


Posted by Gill's Travels 09:16 Archived in Singapore

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