Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Singing the praises of Singapore

The first time we visited Singapore, twelve years ago, we were the beneficiaries of a random act of kindness. We were doing the rounds of all the clich├ęd tourist attractions  Jurong Bird Park, Singapore Zoo, Chinatown, Little India, Sentosa Island, Arab Street, lots of museums, etc., etc.  and had made the (then, quite complicated) journey to visit the Night Safari. While we were standing in the queue to pay, a local couple jumped in front of us. 'How rude', we thought. Anyway, it turned out they had a bunch of vouchers for the Night Safari, and had bought tickets for us! We've never forgotten that (thanks, strangers ;-) and in a way the experience has stayed with us through numerous subsequent visits. We still find the locals to be friendly, helpful and polite. It's one of our favourite cities.

We've spent the past four days in Singapore (following our foodie tour of Malaysia) and it's been a blast. The highlights have included:

– climbing Bukit Timah, Singapore's highest peak
– eating a vegetarian feast on Serangoon Road
– visiting Pulau Ubin, a ten minute bumboat ride from Singapore but far less developed
– window shopping on Orchard Road, and marvelling at the many delights in the Mustafa Centre
– enjoying lots of kopi c, kaya toast and nasi lemak, and
– checking out several excellent exhibitions at the ArtScience Museum.

Singapore's public transport is fantastic. Clean, cheap, punctual, safe and integrated. It makes it an easy place to get around, and an attractive place to return to. Usually when I tell friends back in Australia that I'm planning to visit Singapore, they say one of two things. Some people admit they've never stayed there, but have transited through the airport en route to somewhere else. My advice? Get out of the airport and have a look around. You'll love it! The second group of people say something about all the rules. Yes, Singapore has lots of rules and takes its laws seriously. But  so what? I'm a law-abiding person. Not inclined to (say) traffic drugs, paint graffiti, jaywalk, spit, or carry durians on trains. Provided you prefer order to chaos, it is a perfectly pleasant place to visit.

Today was our last full day in Singapore (this time) and we'll miss it when we go. Guess we'll just have to visit again, some day ...


Kopi C and kaya butter toast


Random sign!


Malabar Mosque  beautiful


Flowers at Pulau Ubin


More flowers at Pulau Ubin


Poor durians get no respect


Chinese egg tarts


We made it to the top!


Happy Deepavali, y'all

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