Singapore was therefore our first stop on our recent Asia 'tour' - we opted to spend almost a week there to recover from the jet lag and get our bearings properly. Because the Country is quite small, this allowed us plenty of time to get to know the different areas within it well.
All I can say is - Singapore didn't disappoint. We spent the first few days exploring Chinatown, Little India, Downtown, and discovered the wonderful drinking district of Clarke Quay. We also met up with Trig's friend Theresa who lives out there (I swear he knows someone everywhere in the world!) who gave us a great local tour of street food places and took us to the best view in Singapore at the Sky Bar, and we visited the nicest little haunts. Local secrets are always great. I will say that Singapore isn't the cheapest, a few drinks in Clarke Quay can set you back a bit - roughly £9 a pint, but the atmosphere is great and if you can get past that, it's a great place to party. We saved money by drinking 2 for 1's during happy hour, between 8-10pm, although this seemed to vary right up till 2am in some places, which made it a little more bearable on the bank balance!
We learnt a lot about the way Singapore has been built and has become prosperous whilst we were there. You could really see the difference between the financial district, where Theresa informed us that the average wage was around 13k (£6000) per month, and in some of the poorer areas, where there was no minimum wage. We met a new friend in our favourite Chinatown bar (which had nothing to do with it being called 'Knobs and Knockers') who informed us that in many places in Singapore didn't have employment rights for the worker, which he knew from experience working on a market stall in Chinatown. Poverty seemed to be relatively hidden, but it seemed that there was a disparate and vast disconnection between the working class and the prosperous. It was interesting to glimpse at the two very different ends of the scale.
We stayed in an Airbnb off the beaten track, which saved us lots of money, but wasn't easy to navigate around. We arrived late in the evening on our first night and google maps took us miles away from where we lived. Luckily a kind taxi driver rescued us 2 hours into our expedition, when we were on the brink of melting in the humid heat - (we British don't get any of that) and took us to the right place. Our airbnb host, Gwen, was absolutely lovely and had a beautiful home with a huge swimming pool, so we soon adapted! We then found some local eateries hidden off the beaten track, which although we were initially skeptical of, I think were much better than the main places we found in the city centre. It is certainly true that everything is very clean in SP, the fines were stern and people seemed to obey the rules. People also seemed ridiculously polite everywhere we went, too, which was really lovely.
We also visited Singapore Zoo. I never know how I really feel about zoos, though it seems to be the thing to do when you're in a new place. I felt that they did seem to really care about their animals, and had large open spaces for them to roam. We had breakfast with the Orangutang's, and they seemed utterly unfazed around people. They also had a river safari which looked fantastic, but we had no time left to go!
On one of our last nights we took a visit up to Universal Studios in Singapore to see Halloween Horror Nights. This was absolutely amazing - with monsters and scary creatures roaming around a ghost town. People were hanging off buildings and zombies were roaming the streets. Halloween Horror Nights was split into 'zones' - from a scary clown house zone, to alien UFO abductors and scenes based on Horror movies, such as Bogeyman (complete with that all important never ending hanging clothes scene). There was a New York zone which was overrun by demons, a Forest of Disenchantment with the re-telling through screens of fairy tales with a twist, the characters are now trapped in their bad endings. We queued up for two hours to visit 'Jings Revenge' - an Asian horror themed haunted house, which takes place in a Chinese secondary school. I was jumping all over the place, Trig, however, was less easy to scare.
We opted to fly out a day later because there was a Queen tribute band at the Expo. It would have been Trig's dads birthday, it was also nearly the anniversary of his death, and his dad was probably the biggest Queen fan, so we thought it was fitting to stay. This was a really touching way to end our stay in Singapore. Though there may have been a tear shed or two we also found some fake moustaches, so all in all a great Saturday night!
Singapore, we will be back!
Have you been to this part of the world before? I would love to hear your stories!