We were delayed leaving Kuala Lumpur but other than that our journey ran smoothly. The border crossing was very efficient but I am still very glad that this was my last land crossing! I arrived in Singapore at 4pm and caught a taxi to Singhi’s house. Singhi is a good friend of my Dad’s from University and he very kindly offered to let me stay with him and his family whilst I was visiting. They don’t live very far out and the centre was easily accessible by the mrt system.
Just after arriving Singhi, his wife Vivian, and their daughter Priya took me to Marina Bay where we walked through the Mall and went up to look at the Casino which was HUGE and held hundreds of people, despite it only being 6pm on a Sunday! Marina Bay itself is incredible to look at. In the evening I enjoyed a lovely home cooked meal and then Priya took me for Ice Cream at Island Creamery at the end of their street. She recommended Apple Pie flavour and it was amazing, I think it even rivals Salcombe ice cream!
On Monday I walked to Botanic gardens. On Vivian’s advice I headed straight to the Orchard Garden which still gave me a 20 minute walk through the grounds in the heat- it covers a vast area. I must have looked quite funny shade hopping but it was just too hot to stand in the sun for any length of time! The gardens were very well maintained and well labelled with detailed explanations of the many plants and flowers. The National Orchid garden is the largest display of orchids in the world and I spent a long time looking at them- they were all beautiful! I love orchids and it made me wish, for one of the few times on my trip, that I had a better quality camera.
At around 1pm I caught a taxi to Orchard Road to meet Vivian for lunch. She had very kindly taken time out of her busy day to come and meet me which I really appreciated. She took me to an international buffet and the grand Holiday Inn- I felt slightly out of place with my grubby flip flops and travellers water bottle! We both had 4 courses (including a taste of the durian fruit... I wasn’t very keen!) which gave us plenty of time to chat and I really enjoyed getting to know Vivian. We both left suitably stuffed and then tried to navigate the confusing underground mall system before Vivian went back to work and I continued to explore the many malls on Orchard Road. I bought a jumper that will definitely come in handy for the south of Australia and New Zealand!
On Tuesday I headed for Singapore Zoo. I caught 2 buses there and was slightly nervous about the changeover beforehand, but it was pretty easy. I spent about 4 hours walking around the zoo and went to the afternoon ‘Save the Rainforest’ show which, despite it being aimed at 5 year olds, I really enjoyed and was impressed with how well trained the animals were. I had not been to a Zoo in a long time so I had a good but tiring day. There is not too much shade at the zoo so by the time that I got back to Singhi’s house I was knackered and slouched on the sofa for a few hours without moving.
Singhi came home from work in the evening and told us that he had booked a table for dinner so that I could experience the famous Chilli Crab. Ed also came along for dinner which was really nice because I haven’t seen him since we last bumped into each other in Tignes! Ed is the son of another of my Dad’s good friends from University and he is studying in Singapore this semester so has seen a lot of Singhi. We went to a Chinese restaurant and shared a lot of tasty dishes, a favourite being the mini squid, before the chilli crab came out. It was obvious that it was my first time and I had to be taught to break open the pincers and dip the bread in the sauce. The whole meal was delicious and is definitely a contender for the best meal of my travels so far!
The following day was a public holiday so all of the family were at home. Vivian and Singhi offered to take me around Little India which was very kind of them on their day off. We drove in and walked along the main street taking in all of the smells and the local shops and restaurants. It’s amazing how different it is to Orchard Road which is only just around the corner! We had an Egg prata (a local indian speciality) for lunch at the top of the Mustafa Centre before driving to the Raffles Hotel.
Singhi had warned me that the lift up to the ground floor was the slowest that he had ever been on and it was pretty unbearable- the heat made it seem even slower. We walked around the beautiful colonial hotel and took lots of pictures. Vivian said thats its lovely to stay there but I don't think that I will be able to afford that any time soon! We then went up to the Long Bar to try a Singapore Sling- on the must do list if you go to Singapore. We threw a few monkey nuts on the bar floor, possibly the only place you are allowed and even encouraged to litter in Singapore, and then continued up to Mount Faber. At 105m about sea level, the point gave a fantastic panoramic view of the Central Business District and Santosa Island. We relaxed up there for a bit, and Singhi had an iced coffee, before retiring home. It was such a lovely day and I really appreciated the time that Singhi and Vivian took to show me around! I will hopefully be able to return the favour because their children are looking to study overseas.
On Thursday I had a bit of a lie in, packed my bag, and was driven to the airport with Vivian who had a business flight to Phuket. My bag felt very heavy but it only weighed 18.5kg, still under my 20kg allowance! Looks like I'll have to buy some more clothes.
Next stop Bali!
Lots of love xxx