Boat Quay, Chinatown, Sentosa, Singapore

Singapore FlyerYou would have thought I would have run out words to bang on about the many ways which I love this place. But fifth time here, and I still can’t get enough. I still need to visit the zoo/night safari, The East Coast, Chengi Village and the island with the bikes for rent, and so much more. Next time.

So this time around there was some of the old: The Prince of Wales Hotel – my home from home, The standard bank balance damage at Bugis Market.  Many an hour sat near my beautiful Botero Bird on Boat Quay. Raffles, Clarke Quay, Mr Bean, The amazing design your own salad shop. You have no idea how happy this last one made me.

And a load more first timers too:

Marina Bay Sands. Yep despite the million photos I’ve taken of the luxury hotel and casino with the distinctive boat shaped roof, this time I sprung the $20 Singapore dollars to visit the Sky Park observation desk. I got my money’s worth; I was up there 5 hours! In that time I managed to spend 3 hours not reading a single page of my book, or eating my designer salad, just stood in love taking in every second of the skyline and plotting it on a map like a 5 year old.  I spent 1 hour chatting to a Uruguay investment banker, mostly about the fact that he was excited that someone had been to and knew where Uruguay was. I managed to not throw into convo my thoughts on Montevideo. Then the last hour I spent voyeuristically watching the bold and the beautiful people in what has to be the world’s most glamorous infinity pool. Oh and sneaky free glass of wine at Ku De Te; a pretentious club. It not my scene, says she purely because I have fashion envy, and no heals just flip-flops on. All this can be yours. Hotel guests get to play in the sky park for free, for the room rate of $400 sing (£200). 30th birthday present…anyone? Why you shouldn’t have :)

Running Club. Over 100 runners of all ages meet at dusk on Tuesdays and Thursdays by the UOB building Raffles Place and take over the Quays and park. This is it. Months of extensive jogging training. Well, pretending to Mark I’ve been training. Mostly it just involves a couple of mins and then loads of my posing/stretching on various beaches. I ran my little socks off in the baby 3k loop. All in the astounding (read; probably average) time of 15 mins flat, since you asked. It was like a beautiful, fulfilling, exotic sports day. And yes 3k is only about 2 miles, but in my head it was a marathon.

Chinatown Walking Tour. So this one is a little looser-ville isn’t it, but for some geeky reason I really got the urge to do a walking tour. Like off of people your parents age. What’s not to like about learning some funny tales and the history about somewhere you love. Apart from the fact that it costs $25 (£13.50) and you could of course wiki it all nowadays. But still. As it happens there was quite a mixed crowd, at least 3 or 4 other girls in their 20’s there, so I’m not as sad as I sound. Perhaps it was popular for its subject matter; Secrets of the red lantern – Singapore’s history of prostitution. As well as visiting old shop house opium dens in Pagoda Street, where brothels stand side by side by Hindu temples, we heard some intriguing stories of poverty, lust, murder. I now know how to spot more discreet brothels, always a talent right? (It’s to do with the size of the street numbers.) That and the neon.  Prostitution is legal here by the way in three specified districts. Despite claiming a seedier side, Singapore’s Red Light District today is probably one of the poshest in the world, full of yuppie bars and Lamborghini parked outside! As it turns out, China town is not the siren she once was at the turn of the century. The vice has gone elsewhere.

Camera-hunt. I spurned the Orchard road malls in favor of Sim Lim Square. Home of one of my least fave activities in traveldom; shopping for electronics. Whether it’s a new laptop charger or ‘flex’ for my phone, I seem to have dedicated many an hour to this. They think they see me coming. But discover that when faced with the scenario:

Q) “How much is a Canon Ixus 115 with colour accent function, x4 zoom and 12.1mp please?” (Yeah I googled this and learnt some new words.)

A ) Oh umm…$300ish…

Q) Right, well it’s £93 on Amazon so that should be $186. Do I look like I can’t/haven’t/would be shopping for a camera without googling it first?!

So this is how and why I am still with my Fujifilm 6 mega pixel. Bad times.

Sentosa Island. As though Singapore would not be on any higher pedestal in my eyes, they only go and spring this one on me. A 10 min ride on the Purple MRT plus a cute monorail and you can be in Beach heaven! Yes they are man-made and slightly Disney-esq with a Universal Studios next door and lots of family restaurants, but I really am liking your thinking Thomas Raffles, great little peninsular you have here.

Where I stayed: Prince of Wales Boat Quay of course!

Oh and as a footnote: That’s the end of South East Asia. Five and a half months (if you include Japan and China which I know aren’t SEA but I can’t win – if I’d have said ‘the end of Asia’ someone (ahem Kris) would point out India is still Asia. Anyway, it feels like the end of an epic few months.  And of course the start of another…. Assume the brace position; coming up next; India! Eek!

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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