Singapore : A brief Sling (in the Lion City)

By James Newall, a Travel Enthusiast

Read more on Sentosa Island.

Overall rating:2.0 out of 5 (based on 3 votes)
Enjoyable
2.333335
2.3
Useful
1.666665
1.7
Inspirational
2
2.0
Recommended for:
Cultural, Short Break, Mid-range, Expensive

If you're off to the Southern hemisphere and are thinking of a short stop to break up a long journey...tropical, clean, lush, cocktails and beaches, think Singapore

My visit to Singapore stemmed from a trip to visit friends in Australia. Flying with Singapore Airlines (a very good pleasant service) the refuel stop was with no surprise in Singapore. I took this opportunity to see a new country and also break up the long haul flight.

The Lion City, as Singapore is also known, is well documented as being exceptionally clean. Due to its geographical location it is very lush with plenty of trees and other flora. The island saw plenty of action during the Second World War and as a result it is host to quite a selection of war memorials dotted around the city with varying structures from water features to varied cenotaph monuments. As well as the commemorative sights there are churches and temples, which bring a sense of mixed culture amongst the skyscrapers. The mix of old and more modern architecture compounds the notion that you are somewhere new and different. New and different from my perspective is a good experience, seeing as this was the furthest I had been from home on my own!

The time of year I travelled was mid-November and on arrival into Changi airport around 6.30am the spotlessly clean city state was, as to be expected, exceptionally humid (there had been a recent rain fall which, had I had longer hair quite possibly would have resulted in a frizzy bad hair day...think Monica in an episode of Friends). I presume all buildings, at least public ones, have air conditioning which was greatly received on my part.

Where to stay

I stayed at the Miramar Hotel Singapore (around $90SGD pn) just west of the city centre, which is approximately a 30 minute taxi drive from the airport. Taxis are reasonably priced if your stay doesn’t include hotel transfers. The Miramar with breakfast was well priced for my two night stay and fairly central to my needs for use as a base camp.

My circumstances were quite favourable as I had the opportunity and pleasure to stay with friends once at my final destination. This meant that I could choose a reasonable hotel in Singapore and still have spending money. I was pleased for the level of service and cleanliness. The reception area and staff were all pleasant and helpful. I was more than satisfied with the hotel for my requirements on this tropical island on the trip of a lifetime.

Sights and shops

When it comes to shopping in Singapore there is an abundance of shopping malls and a varying spectrum of places to cater for many gastronomic styles. The main area for shopping situated along Orchard Road has plenty to offer in known high street brands and fashion labels. In this climate regular refreshment breaks are required to prevent dehydration and to stay focused. You may however wish to save extra spending money when visiting the bars. Alcohol is at a premium and is very expensive as it has a ‘sin tax’. Some bars do offer happy hours which have a slight reduction in price. A bottle of beer can be priced from around £5 GBP.

Carrying on the alcohol theme, Singapore, or more precisely Raffles Hotel, is the home of the Singapore Sling cocktail ($25 SGD). Created sometime in the second decade of the 20th century, a visit to the Long bar for a refreshing taste was on my check-list of things to do. The Long bar also is at poles to the super clean streets of Singapore. As you walk into the Long Bar there is the sound of monkey nut shells crunching under your feet. All the tables are bestowed with boxes of the nuts for customers to munch on and then encouraged to scattered the empty husks onto the bar floor giving a relaxed comfortable parallel feeling from the litter free city.

Raffles has the appearance of an extremely exquisite and impressive hotel. As it states 'patronised by nobility, and loved by all'. Guests are greeted by what is supposed to be the most photographed person in the whole of Singapore – an extravagantly uniformed bearded doorman. Within the grounds of the hotel there are also boutique style shops ranging from china crockery to posters and souvenirs or even Tiffany jewellery. The colonial style building also has a ballroom, several bars and places to dine. You don't have to be a resident in the hotel to browse the shops, stop for a drink or just to take a look around.

Singapore also claims to have the world’s largest fountain, known as the 'fountain of wealth'. After all Singapore is one of the richest principalities in the world. The fountain is situated amongst five skyscrapers at the Suntec City area. The skyscrapers represent the five digits of a hand (and are aptly named One through Five) with the fountain representing the palm. When the fountain is not in full flowing action, you can walk up to the centre and are encouraged to walk around the water spume placing your hand in the water and making a wish. At certain times the fountain is switched on with an accompanying light show which can be watched from the main road as the fountain itself is set below the road level and acts as a roundabout.

Food

One thing in addition to going somewhere new and getting a taste of new sights and cultures is the taste of local cuisine. Singapore has like many places a wide range of restaurants and places to eat. From traditional Asian to Italian restaurants, there is plenty of choice and variety to cater for your taste buds.

Relax

One place I did not get to visit was Sentosa, an island resort just south of Singapore. It can be reached via the main island by either a causeway or cable car. Sentosa roughly translates as ‘peace and tranquillity’ in Malay. Sentosa is more of a holiday destination, with golf courses, 5 star hotels, several beaches and other attractions such as an underwater sea-life centre, a cinematic ride and a state of the art 4D theatre.

All in all, Singapore is quite a pleasing place to stay and works well for splitting up extremely long flights. If cost is an issue and only one stop off is affordable, in hindsight I would have done this on the return journey, as long flights back home during the night are usually more restless than the departure for the adrenalin fuelled excitement of an antipodean trip away.

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More information on Singapore : A brief Sling (in the Lion City):

Author:
James Newall
Traveller type:
Travel Enthusiast
Guide rating:
2
Average: 2 (3 votes)
Total views:
463
First uploaded:
22 March 2010
Last updated:
4 years 22 weeks 1 day 1 hour 32 min 56 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Budget level:
Mid-range, Expensive

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Community comments (7)

Rating:
2
0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

I've been lucky enough to spend more than just a couple of days in Singapore - and I think it's a shame that so many people see it as little more than a stop-over on their way to Oz. There's so much to see and do, and the city cannot be fully appreciated in anything less than a couple of weeks. What adds to the place is it's location - a short flight will take you to Kuala Lumpur, or if you fancy something a little more tranquil, I can recommend a few days on Tioman Island, which can only be described as paradise on earth. Think Phuket without the crowds.

Back to Singapore; as James says, there are bars and restaurants in abundance. Raffles is of course a favourite, but don't miss IndoChine Waterfront Restaurant (www.indochine.com.sg) - excellent food and a great atmosphere.

If you do go to Sentosa, be ready for an almost theme-park environment; great for kids, and plenty for adults too, but it won't appeal to everyone. Although drinking champagne on a four-poster bed in Cafe-del-Mar on the beach is quite pleasant, I suppose!

Visiting Singapore as a family, you can rest assured that the crime rate is very low, and most places are very family (child) friendly. A visit to the Night Safari at Singapore Zoo is worth looking in to, although there was a downpour when I went with my wife, and the animals were difficult to see - they had more sense than to stand around in the rain.

I could go on and on about Singapore; perhaps I should write my own guide! Suffice it to say, if I were to return to any place I've visited, Singapore would be top of my list.

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Rating:
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1 of 1 people found the following comment helpful.

Gosh why did he bother to go... S'pore has a lot to offer..?? if you like it so squeeky clean and just 'shopping'...But then in the Good Old Days it was a fantastic place, perhaps I should tell you a tale or two.. about Bugis Street.... but you are too young and far too nice to tell...Raffles I looked up and the Old Barman pointed out where my father had shot the chit-chats on the wooden ceiling for bets...and the real 'story' of the tiger being shot in the bar.. despite what the v.boring now owners say about it..
But then I now live on a tropical island in Malaysia perhaps I will tell you about that some day..

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Rating:
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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

James, it's a shame your first guide for Simonseeks wasn't on a destination that you know well. You have a friendly and informative writing style, but your lack of knowledge about Singapore really shows in this guide - the information is quite vague. We want to hear about people's experiences on their travels, but other users should also be able to follow your tips, advice and recommendations.

Perhaps for your next guide, and we do hope you'll write more, you could write about a place that you know and love.

What do you think? Can you add to James' recommendations? Can you tell readers the best place to get chilli crab? Or which sights are must-sees? Rate and comment on all guides on Simonseeks to make your voice heard.

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" ...wasn't on a destination that you know well...your lack of knowledge about Singapore really shows in this guide...the information is quite vague...other users should also be able to follow your tips, advice and recommendations... you could write about a place that you know and love..."

So, umm, why publish this? It's a bit humiliating for the poor bloke to have his first contribution slated and awarded a derisory 2 Paper Darts. Are you setting him up as an example `pour encourager les autres`?

I wonder: a/ how many more guides this writer will send; b/ how many potential contributors will not now bother.

Tut, tut. Poor journalism Jon: taking my comments out of context and picking out the negatives (plus I gave the guide a rating of three, not two). As already stated, James has a really friendly writing style and, if he’d written about a place he knows well, he’d probably have earned a four or five. My comments were in no way to punish him and encourage others.

I sincerely hope James does write more guides as his writing skills are clearly up to standard. But even the very best writers would struggle to write an inspirational and informative travel guide on a destination the size of Singapore, when they’d only visited on a stop-over.

Sorry Jeanette, I'm not clear if you're saying that my journalism is poor (mine was a comment, not a piece of journalism...), if you're apologising for your own, or if you are saying that James is guilty of poor journalism. Perhaps you could clarify?

And could you address my main point, please? I asked why you published an article you clearly find below standard. You reiterate your opinion that this is not really good enough when you say: "even the very best writers would struggle to write an inspirational and informative travel guide on a destination the size of Singapore, when they’d only visited on a stop-over".

Beyond saying that James has `a friendly and informative writing style,` all of your comments are negative. Hardly helpful to a first time contributor!

I apologise for mistakenly saying you awarded two, not three, out of five.

Jon, if you read my comment again perhaps you’ll see that I was jokingly referring to you and the poor journalistic habit of quoting out of context – we’re both journalists so let’s not dwell on that too much.

To address your main point, some readers will find this guide useful. The editors always rate and comment on published guides, but ultimately it’s up to the community to say if they like it or not. I notice you haven’t rated James’ guide. Perhaps it would be more useful if you contributed to that debate.

Apologies for the delay in replying; we’re busy putting new guides on the site and improving things for you and other writers behind the scenes. I look forward to seeing your next guide.