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Singapore


On our return flight from Bali, we arranged to have an extra 2 days to spend in Singapore. We spent our first day walking around the streets of Little India, Arab Street, and Chinatown, and took a short river boat tour of the Singapore River. On the second day we took a long bus trip to Malacca. Here is our Singapore report.



skyline photo.
1. Singapore skyline
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Singapore River photo.
2. Singapore River
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Street scene.
3. Street scene
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Indian temple.
4. Indian temple
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Our initial impression of Singapore came as we traveled into the City from the airport. Everywhere we looked, everything we saw was neat and clean. The freeways were like botanical gardens. The trees were elegantly pruned and shaped, the grass was mowed, and the flowering shrubs were neatly trimmed. We rarely saw any litter. This is partly because of stiff fines for littering, but also because of constant cleaning and maintenance. We saw water trucks watering the shrubs along city streets. We even saw a specialized boat collecting floating debris (mostly leaves) from the Singapore river.

We had only one full day to spend in Singapore, so we decided to wander around and see as much as we could. We started by walking to Little India and Arab Street. We were early, and the shops were just opening. Walking through the streets, the smell of spices being roasted was really lovely. We had a pass for the Hop-on tourist bus that makes a large circle around the City, so we hopped on and off until we made the complete circuit.

Our package deal included a coupon for a free ride on the bum-boats (photo #2 at left) that carry tourists along the Singapore River. The views were wonderful, and the water was amazingly clean. We were constantly surprised by how clean and well ordered everything appeared. This is a great contrast from most of what we have seen previously in SE asia.

The restaurants here are varied and plentiful. The food stalls were clean, attractive, and appealing. There were many European style sidewalk cafés, this one was in Chinatown. We were not here long enough to sample much of the food, but what we had was great. We could certainly enjoy living here, though we probably cannot afford it. Prices here were not bad by US standards, and nothing like what we saw in Hong Kong. They are still much higher than in the Philippines or Bali.

Singapore is made up of a mix of peoples from all over asia, especially Malays, Chinese, and Indians. Each has brought their religions with them. We saw a variety of mosques, temples, and churches throughout the City. The most impressive, and unusual, were the Hindu temples (photo #4). They were amazingly colorful and heavily decorated. We had never seen anything like it. Although Bali is very much Hindu, the temples there were nothing like these.

One day in Singapore was certainly not enough. There are a great variety of things to do here, and we didn't even scratch the surface. We look forward to returning again for a longer visit.

On our second day, we took a day trip to Malacca, Malaysia.

— return to the 2003 Journal Archive



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Jim and Jamie Richter, http://gotouring.com/razzledazzle/
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Created 3/2003. All photos are © 2003 by Jim Richter.