After a long flight we finally arrived in Singapore at 6 in the morning! It was already the next day because of the big time difference (+7 hours from Germany!!). Inside the airport we already felt as if we were standing in a jungle, because everything was decorated with tropical plants. We arrived at the Park Hotel Clarke Quay around 7.30 am (I have never passed the immigration control so fast! No line and well staffed!).
Amoung other names, such as "Lion City" (The Lion is the symbol of Singapore!) or "Little Red Dot" (alluding to the small small size of this city state contrasting with its importance in the world), Singapore is also called "Garden City" because it's covered with greenery and has numerous parks in the city centre.
The taxi driver told us that Singapore has four official languages: Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil. Whereas English is the business and government language, Mandarin is the mother tongue of most habitants (the majority of the population comes from China) and therefore mostly spoken.
As we arrived, our room wasn't ready, so we walked around the city towards Orchad Street. This is the heart of Singapore with many shops and restaurants. After a little coffee we decided to take a look at the famous Raffles Hotel. This colonial style building exists since 1887 and is called after Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles, the founder of the present Singapore (interesting fact: the cocktail "Singapore Sling" was invented in this hotel between 1910 and 1915!!). It looked funny between all those sky scrapers and gave us an impression of how Singapore must have looked like during its colonial times. Suddenly it started to rain, so we went inside and sat down near the bar for a short time.
I only knew Sigapore from the third movie of Pirates of the Carribbean. Indeed, the small fishing port was a safe haven for pirates (Once beeing a trading port city, the Kingdom of Singapore had fallen into oblivion after its destruction.) until Raffles from the East India Trading Company arrived in 1819 and made it a British trading post. During the Second World War it was shortly occupied by Japan which was the largest capitulation in British military history. We drove along the place where the Japanese surrendered and our tour bus dropped us off right in front of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. This is definitely the most amazing Hotel I have ever seen!! Three enormous Pillars with numerous hotel rooms carry one big ship which is the top of the building. We took the elevator to the top floor and had our first Singapore Sling in the rooftop bar for impressive 40 euros. However, we enjoyed the great view on the habour of Singapore.
After the short stay in the MBS we checked in at our hotel and could finally take a nap in our room. Then we wanted to go to the Hard Rock Café for lunch. We passed the famous botanic garden and were already looking forward to a big meal. Unfortunitely, we could only order from a small menue due to renovation work in the kitchen. So we had some nachos and got into the tour bus again. In the heat and without much information from the tour guide, we quickly fell asleep and slept until the terminus of the tour
In the evening we met a friend from Germany who recently started working for Siemens in Singapore. We took the elevator to the bar and restaurant "Level 33". It is also called the world's highest brewery and offers a breathtaking view over the whole city. During our conversation I was also fascinated by the fact that Meike's apartment block has its own 24-hours fitness studio and a pool for everyone's free and unlimited use who lives in that building. Singapore has one of the highest living standards in the world!! The state plays an important role in the Asian economy, but also in the world economy.
Afterwards, we took a look at Chinatown. In February, the Chinese will celebrate the new year of the monkey (that's also my chinese star sign!!) and everything was already beautifully decorated. Unlike the rest of Singapore these streets looked pretty messy with lots of waste on the floor (Normally, in Singapore you have to pay a high fine, if you throw trash on the streets).
On our way to the hotel we got lost and involuntary passed the River Walk, a hot spot for party people. On the next day we had to get up early to catch our flight to Denpasar in Bali.
After all, I must say: Singapore is an amazing and extremely clean city with lots of high buildings and a huge habour! I was fascinated by the outstanding architectural work and the tiny old buildings between enormous sky scrapers. Churches are right next to buddhist temples and mosques. Various religions and cultures succeeded in peaceful co-existance in a small space.