A melting pot from all around the world, Singapore offers visitors a quick and easy light version of SE Asia. Things are impeccably clean, streets are efficient and most people move around in an orderly, regimented way that makes sense and keeps things running smoothly. Singaporean, Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and expats from around the globe come together here, and the one thing that ties everyone together is the food. With so many rich cultural influences, the food is exceptional with flavors suiting almost any palette.
We arrived late in the evening from Istanbul and were able to meet an old friend at the airport, just as she was about to head to China for a few months. I had met Jenny at a hostel in New Zealand back in 2007, and we had stayed in touch ever since, so it was nice to be able to spend a few hours catching up with her before we headed into the city. We dropped off our bags at the hostel and began exploring Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and the business district. Having stayed in Singapore before, I wanted to find a nice central location with good walking access, so this area fit the bill for us.
Quickly, we found the Merlion, the symbol of the city - half lion, half mermaid. We posed for the obligatory pictures and then headed on our way, exhausted from the long flight but excited by the sights of the pretty city. We also made our way to a hawker centre - basically a covered version of a food court with small stalls offering a variety of different food. All stalls are very cheap, and most are also very good quality. We started with a delicious Thai curry and couldn't wait to try more of the food during our time in Singapore.
Our second day out was just a day exploring the city by foot, taking in the mix of sights and sounds, old and new, East and West. Though it feels a little watered-down, the city is attractive and has a safe, easy feel to it, particularly in the business district and tourist areas. We enjoyed our time walking around the city, and we loved the wide range of cheap, delicious food.
|The bright lights of the Singapore night, near Clifford Square, just South of the Merlion.|
|The symbol of the city, the Merlion. 50% lion, 50% mermaid, 10% strange. Always giving 110%. (Get it? Math joke.)|
|A nightly laser show at the impressive Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Ooooohhhh, shiny lights.|
|As always, Singapore was hot and humid, so I paused for a drink. Everything is so sanitary here that you can even drink the tap water.|
|The underside of a nearby temple and the ornate arrangement of flowers.|
|Inside one of the temples nestled into the city. In spite of the numerous skyscrapers in the city, temples, mosques and churches have managed to maintain their unassuming locations and offer a quiet respite from the busy city life.|
|Typical streetscene near the Chinatown area. Most of our time was spent near the Business District, Clarke Quay, Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam.|
|Lights. Trust me. They're lights.|