Thursday, 26 January 2012

Slung into Singapore

It's been a couple of days into our trip and we're starting to feel a bit more human again now that we're getting some regular sleep and acclimatising to the humidity.

On reflection, my first impressions of Singapore weren't great when we visited five years ago, but I'm definitely having a better time second time round! I put it down to the area where we are staying. On the whole Chinatown feels more welcoming compared to where we stayed on our first trip (which was around Mt. Emily near Little India). On that occasion it felt a little out of the way and there wasn't much of interest within walking distance so we didn't venture much out at night. The better atmosphere might also be down to the fact that we're currently in the middle of the Chinese New Year celebrations and the city has a very different feel.

Having revisited a few of old haunts from the original trip it's astonishing to see how much of the Singapore has changed especially at Marina Bay and on Sentosa Island.

View over Sentosa Island from from Imbiah Lookout from our original trip

The same view but now with a Universal Studios and Hard Rock Hotel resort

Although, Singapore gets a lot of criticism for its lack of cultural heritage, when it does modern developments, it does them well. However, I still think that the place that offers the best views in Singapore is an eyesore where ever you are in the city! The place in question is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which dominates the skyline in the shape of an enormous ship balanced on top of three towers! Yes - it is as bizarre looking as it sounds!

View from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Skydeck from 57 storeys

Straying out of my food comfort zone, I've been sampling some of the local delicacies including a dish worth mentioning called Pork Chabu. Although, I can't claim to the biggest eater of spicy foods, the dried chillies in this dish actually brought me to tears and set my mouth on fire! Luckily I had a Tiger beer on hand to wash away the pain, however, the rest of the meal was delicious. In contrast, I had a much more enjoyable (but pricey) experience at the Raffles Hotel sampling the most famous cocktail in Singapore. The Singapore Sling was invented by the bartender Ngiam Tong Boon sometime around 1915, who worked at the legendary Raffles Hotel Long Bar. Although there are lots of variations to the recipe, the cocktail is a concoction of dry gin, Dom Benedictine, Cointreu and cherry brandy, shaken up with lime and pineapple juices with a dash of Angostura Bitters and Grenadine.

Although each drink cost $26 Singapore dollars (not including the government taxes and a service charge) it was well worth it as we couldn't even afford one Singapore Sling first time round...


  1. Nice James - just read your Chinese New Year post too. Glad you're having a better time than when you last went to Singapore, and you must be pretty excited with the Australia trip not far off!

    Can understand your pain with the chillies - I had a similar experience recently!

    Great photos - the ship on top of the 3 buildings is pretty unusual!


  2. Hey Aaron, thanks for looking out for the updates. I've been a bit rubbish recently as I haven't had time to keep this up-to-date but I've done a Melbourne post as we're now in Australia as you probably guessed! We're on the Great Ocean Road before we fly out on Tuesday to Auckland.