Other snippets from Singapore

I spent a month in total in Singapore and I tried to see most parts, some have been worthy of their own posts, but here are some of the other things to do.

Sentosa

Sentosa is a big theme park island just off the coast and it is there for one thing – to take tourists money. To get there you either walk across the boardwalk (complete with travellators), ride the little tram or the cable car. We chose the cable car as you get impressive views of the habour as the little car leaves the 57th floor of a building and soars across to Sentosa.

On the island itself is a version of Universal Studios, but from what others said it’s not that great. There are some nasty little beaches around, an opportunity to pretend to sky dive (for a lot of money!!!!), have your picture with some birds, see another Merlion… We choose to go on the luge – this is tremendous fun and involves sitting down on a little three wheeled tray and flying down a twisty track. Once you get the hang of it, it’s fast and awesome!

Clarke Quay

There isn’t much to say about Clarke Quay other than it’s a little covered street area with lots of resturants and bars. You’ll find that the majority of patrons are ex-pats or tourists so prices are higher than other places and it’s a bit impersonal. On a Friday / Saturday night though the pedestrian bridge is filled with locals drinking from shop bought beers – that is a fun place to be!

Walking the Marina

I’ll admit to been slightly biased here, but I loved walking around the Marina at night. The cleanliness and the sparkly lights just worked and it was great just wandering around looking up at the sky-scrapers and the reflections in the water.

Of course, it’s not just at night that the Marina is a place to go – they often have events on in the marina itself such as F1 Powerboats or a Sailing Regatta. In the future they are opening up a full path which will loop the entire marina (something like a 9km walk), but as of yet it’s not finished.

Around the Marina you have a few sites as well such as the the Merlion and the old post office which is now a mighty impressive hotel (The Fullerton)

Marina Bay Sands

This is worth an mention on it’s own. Marina Bay Sands is a hotel, casino and shopping mall sitting on the South side of the Marina. It features three towers and a huge curving ship acting as a bridge, it’s an amazing structure not only at night. The hotel lobby is bigger than most of the hotels I’ve stayed at and various sections on the outside shimmer as the wind flutters little pieces of metal.

Pop into the attached shopping mall and you’ll find every shop imaginable (and prices to match) along with a canal and a swirling whirlpool which plunges water from outside. There is even a fake ice-rink!

Clubbing

Nightlife is a big park of Singapore but for me it was just too expensive – at $25 entry and drinks at $20 a time (thats Singapore Dollars) it wasn’t justifiable to go that often. In the end we went to Ku De Ta a couple of times as we had free entry via our Hostel.

Ku De Ta is at the top of Marina Bay Sands and the views from up there are simply spectacular!

Cinema

Cinema going is huge here in Singapore and the latest blockbusters are out at the same as as Europe. I caught TinTin in 3D (a fantastic movie), Mission Impossible 4 in iMax (advertisement for Oakley, Dell, Apple and BMW) and Tower Heist (surprisingly good).

It’s a little different expeirence to other places as talking is an accepted norm and people are chattering  away during the film. The best bit though is the laughter timing – since I’m listening to the soundtrack and others are reading the subtitles, they get to the punchline first so there is a ripple of laughter as people understand what we should be laughing at.

Botanical Gardens

This is a nice place to wander around but only on a nice day. I wandered there when it slightly over-cast and rainy and found it all a little dull and indifferent. There are various “gardens” such as the rain forest trek but unless you go with someone or the park has people to watch it’s a little un-interesting.

There is one thing thats worth looking at though – the Orchard gardens. It’s a relatively small place but each orchid is increasingly pretty and it’s nicely presented. It’d be my tip for a nice stroll!

Night Safari

Where to start the description of this one – ultimately it’s pointless, frustrating, small and an expensive novelty. I think that sums it up quite nicely. The tram ride is annoying as depending on where you sit, you often don’t get to see the animal in question (if it’s even awake at the time). Get off the tram and walk the same route and you’ll find it slightly more interesting though, well, we did since the four of us kept hiding in the bushes and jumping out as the next tram came along.

They do have a couple of shows, my favourite been the Creatures Of The Night. Here they take animals out and get them to perform simple tricks (jump high for the meat on the stick, run around the walkway, climb onto the podium and eat a chunk of meat) but also make a little bit of entertainment. I’ll not spoil it for people who are going, but suffice to say I was crying at laughter at the reaction of one woman as the bushes shook beside her!

Museums

There are a couple of big museums in Singapore and I popped into two – the National Museum and the Asian Museum.

The National Museum has a guided audio tour which is triggered by the various exhibits as you go around and it tells you about the history of Singapore and how it came to be. It’s really interesting as it takes you through the history from the very early years, the transfer of power from Melaka to Singapore, the 2nd World War and then life afterwards. It’s really worth a visit although the way it’s presented.

The other place is the Asian museum, but this isn’t as good. It tells the story of all of Asia and is a bit of overkill in terms of what you can see – there is literally artwork from every nation! Without any knowledge of the tribes they talk about, the art and statues are a little lost on me!

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