Well its about time I got around to completing my blog on our five-week trip to asia. We left Yogyakarta early for our flight to Singapore with Air Asia, which went with no dramas. On arrival I used the really good Taxi App, which was recommended to me when we were in China called “Grab Taxi” the app lets you choose between taxi or shared taxi (mini bus), we chose the shared option and saved a good few dollars, which really helps when you’re in Singapore as it can be rather expensive.
Our hotel was located in the Joo Chiat area of Singapore, which was a little out of the centre, but has good transport links to the cities main attractions.
On doing our research on our trip we came across a hotel chain called Zen Rooms, which I would throughly recommend. It appears the Zen Rooms have their rooms in larger hotel chains, our room was in the Aqueen Heritage Hotel which was very nice indeed. On arrival and throughout our stay the staff were very helpful, and I would highly recommend staying here. When we chose our hotel it was all about price, as the hotels in and around the heart of Singapore are much more expensive.
Joo Chiat, is roughly six miles from the Marina bay area of Singapore. Which wasn’t a problem as the Singapore transport system is very good. We had done some reasearch into the area but we weren’t really sure what to expect, but we needn’t have worried as it was a great location, plenty of places to eat, good coffee shops and bars, which are mostly housed in some very colourful and ornate old shop houses. If staying in the area I would throughly recommend the Har Yassin restaurant in the Changi Road. The food here was amazing and also very cheap. Next it was off to explore the city. As we had arrived early we decided to take the metro to Clarke Quay. Now using the metro in Singapore is a breeze. Quite obviously you need a ticket which can be purchased from the many ticket machines at the metro station, or from the ticket office. You cannot buy a return ticket they are just one way and these vary in costs. For example the ticket price from Payer Lebar, “which was our nearest station to our hotel” to Clarke Quay is at time of writing $1.23 so $2.46 return. You can buy a Singapore Tourist pass, which costs for 1 day $10 2 day $16 and 3 day $20, but as we walked to most attractions once we got to into the centre of town we decided it wasn’t worth our while, it’s just a matter of personnel choice.
after a nice stroll along river it was time for a nice cold beer, but be warned the prices in the bay area are rather expensive so shop around and look for a bar with happy hour deals.
Our next day it was full on exploring, we took a taxi to Marina Bay, to where the Singapore Flyer is located (big wheel) “it seems in every big city in the world its a must have”. We had a walk around a small section of the formula 1 track and the pit area, it seemed strange as it almost looks abandoned, so much different from than on race weekend.
Then it was off for a walk around the bay. First stop was to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel which is in every tourist advert of Singapore. A very impressive building from the outside but I was not overly impressed with interior, too much bling for my taste, and too vast and bewildering. Next stop was to see the famous Merlion the iconic water statue of Singapore, on the far side of the bay. We then took a leisurely walk to Boat Quay, “and in my opinion a quieter and nicer version of Clarke Quay”.
The next day it was off to visit the famous Raffles Hotel a truly magnificent building, the interior is everything that you would expect from a grand colonial hotel. unfortunately the famous Long bar where everyone visits to have a famous Singapore sling was being renovated, which was a shame so we went into the Billiard Bar for our cocktail which in itself is a rather grand experience. After our very expensive cocktail it was time to hit the streets again and to visit the Arab quarter and Indian quarter of the city both recommended in our Lonely Planet guide-book. The Arab quarter of town. is where the Sultan Hussein Mohammed Shah designated the land around it as a Muslim settlement. Soon the zone was attracting Malays, Sumatrans and Javanese, as well as traders from what is now eastern Yemen, and the area is now commonly referred to as Arab Street. its a great area to explore and a chance to see
some of the old Singapore. Little India is just a short walk from Arab street and is equally worthy of a visit. Lots of stalls, street food and restaurants, we found a great restaurant in Kerbau Road called Andrha Spice, the food wax excellent and cheap.
Gardens by the Bay
If there is one thing you have to do and see when in Singapore is to visit the Gardens by the Bay, a magnificent free entry park and gardens near the Marina Sands Hotel, there is so much to see and do here you need to allocate a good few hours to walk around. I would throughly recommend paying the $28 entrance and visit the cloud dome it is truly amazing. I suggest you visit by day and also visit by night as the whole area is illuminated. My writing about it could never do the gardens justice, my advice is just go.I advise you to click the link and visit the website for more information.