Singapore “A Fine City”

All of my friends know that I simply ADORE SINGAPORE. I am in love with it from my first visit ten years ago. They have heard my stories about this magnificent city-state over and over again. And now, with all those available flights with Qatar Airways, Etihad and Turkish Airlines, just to name a few, I hope many will have the opportunity to visit it 😉

What I love about it so much?

Everything….well, everything, except the climate. I don’t like humidity. That wet sticky weather that makes you sweat all the time and feel uncomfortable. The feeling when you walk indoor, from a 35°C outside, to an extremely climatised area at merely 20°C. Of course, locals are used to it, but for me it’s just toooo much. So, after my two visits in August I decided to try January. Bingo!!! 🙂 The weather was perfect. It did rain a few times, but that’s just tropics and a short shower is even welcomed. The flowers and trees after such a quick and strong rain always look soooo beautiful. And there are plenty of those in Singapore. Most famous, especially for its Orchid Garden, is Singapore Botanic Garden. Orchids looove Singapore and there are thousands of species. That is the only part of the garden that is not entrance free. Is it worth it?  YES, yes, yes…if you are like me and love world in many colors.

I also love Singapore Changi Airport, it is my favorite. What a surprise! 🙂 Well, it seems that it’s not just my favorite airport since it was voted the best airport in the world a few times over the years. Changi Airport is clean, organized and modern, just like the rest of the city. You can reach the city center easily using the train that is quick and effective. Since Singapore is not a budget destination, the public transportation is not cheap, but it is extremely effective. MRT, or mass rapid transit system is just that, covering almost all the destinations an average tourist would want to visit in Singapore.

So, after we landed at Changi in the morning, after an easy 1 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur with Jetstar, we were on the MRT heading to the city center. More specifically, our first destination was City Hall station, where on top was our hotel, Swissôtel The Stamford. It is categorized as a 5* hotel, but I would say it is more of a 4*, maybe 4*+.

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Still, it is a very nice place that I had chosen for its unbeatable location and a great deal I found on Booking.com. I wanted us to stay in the heart of Singapore because it was Bozo’s first visit to the city and we only had 3 days, so it was important to be close to everything 🙂

At the reception we were offered an early check-in, which was extremely appreciated and got a room on the 53rd floor. Great, I was happy coz I just love the view from the above. True to be told, the view was not much (wrong side I guess), but we got a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and some fruit, so I was pleased. Also, the bed was very comfortable with soft silk sheets. Bozo immediately decided to take a nap heheh and I, of course, headed directly to the pool.  It was around noon and it was about to rain, but I didn’t mind. I would be wet anyway 🙂 The view from the pool was much nicer and in the center of attention was the famous Marina Bay Sands, the hotel we would be visiting the next day. Just the look of it excited me!!

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Swissôtel is directly connected with a shopping mall downstairs – the Raffles City, wouldn’t you just love that?!? I did 🙂 they even have my favorite pastry shop Bread Talk, Bozo loooved it too.  While eating my apricot, pistachio & almond sweets (I somehow managed to treat myself with “just three”) my personalized tour of Singapore started. I really hoped Bozo would like it as much as I did. But, I was wrong……he liked it even more! Hurrah!! The hook was set.

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We walked and walked for hours, passing the St. Andrew Cathedral, just opposite our hotel, Supreme Court and Parliament of Singapore, all the way to Asian Civilizations Museum. We didn’t have time to visit it, but I did visit the museum many years ago and found it quite interesting, worth a visit if you have 3+ days in Singapore. Near the museum there is The Raffles Landing site, where it is believed that Sir Stamford Raffles (modern founder of Singapore) landed for the first time in 1819. It is also a great place to sit and watch the Singapore River and the Boat Quay, a historical place, with still low and small houses that basically serve as bars and restaurants. It is a great place to come in the evening, to eat out, drink cocktails and enjoy the view of the river and the Elgin and Cavenagh bridges. The bridges change colors so the experience is much nicer when dark.

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On the corner is another famous landmark of Singapore – The Fullerton Hotel. I was tempted to stay one night in that classy historic hotel, but the price was brutal and I was fascinated by the Marina Bay Sands hotel and just had to spend one night there (details in my next post). 🙂

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Just across the street from Fullerton is the symbol of Singapore, Merlion. The iconic statue, half lion-half fish shooting water from its mouth, is probably the most famous sight in Singapore. Singapore is also often called The Lion City, since its first name was “Singapura” (lion-city in Malay).

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And now, with The Marina Bay Sands in the back it is my favorite place in Singapore. I guess I am just like all the other tourists…We stopped here, at the Promenade, waiting for the light show, called Wonder Full to begin. It is a lasers, LEDs, projectors and music show happening from the Marina Bay Sands, which makes it spectacular. It is worth spending an evening at the bay, walking and enjoying the show. And it’s totally free. That is quite welcomed when spending days in Singapore…

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While strolling down the Waterfront Promenade, just near the Esplanade – Theatre on the Bay, we ate a delicious coconut ice cream, served in a coconut shell 🙂 yummy!! If you are lucky and get the opportunity to visit the Esplanade please do, since one of the best musical I have ever witnessed was the “The Cabaret”, performed there. I had “the worst and the cheapest ticket” in the last row, high up on the balcony, but the acoustics was amazing and I enjoyed it intensely. It was worth every penny.

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I wanted to show Bozo another famous place in Singapore, a wonderful colonial Raffles Hotel. Yes, many places bear name of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, so they must like him a lot 😉 It is a light beautiful building with many porches and verandas, and while too expensive to stay the night, we enjoyed walking around its arcades in the search of a word famous Long Bar, where the national drink of the country – Singapore Sling was created. Can you guess already?!? Yes, I LOVE Singapore Sling 🙂 It is made of gin so I knew Bozo would like it too.

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To be continued…the best is still to come….

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