Monday, March 26, 2012

Singapore Here We Come!

We are starting this cruise in Singapore and ending up in Venice. It will cover a lot of territory we haven’t been to before—India, Egypt and Jim will get to go through the Suez Canal. Tick for the bucket list!

We met up with Barb and Ed, our travelling friends, at the Toronto airport. Our flight didn’t leave until 1:30 a.m. so a little Tim Horton's coffee was necessary.

OMG—I was never so happy to see Hong Kong appear on the flight map. We flew Cathay Pacific and the crew was amazing, but 15 hours is more than enough.

We had a few hours to kill in the Hong Kong airport before continuing on to Singapore. Awww…Toy Story in Hong Kong. It made me think of our grandson, Dominic, and how much he loves Woody and the gang.

Here we are leaving Hong Kong in the early morning…

And just over 3 hours later—Singapore! Oh happy day!

Beautiful puffy clouds…

Singapore is in sight…

There are four official languages in Singapore—English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. I am guessing this is Mandarin. Either way, I think it says we're almost there!

Singapore is a city-state located just 85 miles north of the equator. It was under British rule and united with other British territories to form Malaysia in 1963. It then gained independence two years later and is now the world's fourth leading financial centre.

Looks like a lot of reclaimed land.

Look at the ships!

And a lovely golf course…

In no time we had our luggage, and snagged a cab to our hotel. The Royal Plaza on Scotts received good reviews on TripAdvisor, and it’s supposed to be in a good location.

Lovely lobby…

We found a little place to have lunch and then had a nap. We easily could have slept through to the next morning, but went out and found a little bistro for dinner. Both places were very reasonably priced, so we had no idea until the next day how expensive it is to eat and drink in Singapore.

The next morning we headed out to find a place for breakfast—$28 per person for breakfast in the hotel just wasn’t doing it for us. A lady recommended Wild Honey, so we headed there. Beautiful decoration in the mall where it was located.

Barb and Ed and Jim at Wild Honey…so we wouldn’t be eating there again neither. Holy moly, it’s expensive!

We headed out on the Hop On, Hop Off bus to get our bearings. We had been to Singapore for a day on a cruise several years ago, but didn’t remember too much about it, except that was raining really hard.

This building is the head office for CapitaMall, the leading mall developer in Asia. We quickly noticed the beautiful architecture on a lot of the buildings.

And here is the famous Raffles Hotel, home of the Singapore Sling. You can get one for only $26…I think we’ll be passing on that one! It was a luxurious hotel when it was built in the late 1800s and many famous literary people stayed there, including Ernest Hemingway and Somerset Maugham. During WWII it was used as a transit camp for prisoners of war, and became a national monument in 1987.

Over 50% of Singapore is covered in trees and the percentage is increasing each year. There are heavy fines for littering in Singapore, and many of these fines go towards planting additional trees. Not a bad way to do it!

We decided to go up in the Singapore Flyer when the bus stopped there. The Flyer was built 5 m higher than the London Eye, so that it could claim the title of the world's tallest observation wheel.

We left our bus behind and headed off to the Flyer…

What the heck? It looked like a boat on top of the building.

A model of the Flyer…

Here is one of the pods which holds 28 people. We were lucky to be there at a quiet time, so there were only about 12 of us in the pod.

Pod people!

This complex is Gardens by the Bay, which will open in June 2012. It will have 3 waterfront gardens, the largest of which will be 54 hectares!

Singapore skyscrapers...there are lots of trees…

The starting grid for the Singapore Grand Prix. The race was discontinued in 1973 and only returned in 2008.

Singapore River…

Here we are at the top. It turns out that the building on the left with the boat on it is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which opened in 2010. It is the world’s most expensive standalone casino property at $8 billion. That boat at the top is a SkyPark with a capacity of 3,900 people and a 150 m infinity swimming pool, set on top of the world's largest public cantilevered platform, which overhangs the north tower by 67 m!

Look at the size of the stadium! I cannot imagine sitting out there in the blazing heat! Have I mentioned it was very hot and humid??!

We hopped back on the bus to continue our city tour. Although it was a work day, the traffic was relatively light. Buying a car in Singapore is an expensive proposition as they are taxed at 100%. Most of the cars on the road are owned by the very wealthy, or are taxis.


It’s a great climate for the flowers and trees—hot with a rain shower almost every day.

The Old Hill Street police station is the site of Singapore’s first jail. The building has a total of 911 windows with colourful shutters.

Not a lot of traffic for a city of 5 million people!

Most of these buildings are what they call public housing. This isn’t public housing as we know it, meaning that it is subsidized, but housing that has been built by the government when they tore down derelict buildings.The people own the flats that they live in.

One of many Lamborghinis that we saw. They cost about $750,000 US. There is a lot of money here!

The massive ION Orchard shopping mall was completed in 2009. I did hear people who had been to Singapore in the last five years commenting on the huge changes they have seen.

And that ended our first day in Singapore. It’s beautiful, very clean and hot! Tomorrow we’re doing a walking tour of Chinatown…

1 comment:

Arief Noor Iffandy said...

did you try citywalk with the metro?
nice city it is but very stiff