Singapore

After 10 days of relaxation in Thailand and quick run through Kuala Lumpur we finally arrived to the country I wanted to visit for many years. Singapore.

Travelers’ reviews of Singapore vary from “the whole city is just one huge shopping mall” to “a place where you can meet all the cultures of Southeast Asia better than in the countries of origin themselves”. As always, truth lies somewhere in the middle and depends on your initial attitude as well as a chosen route. I personally enjoyed Singapore a lot.

 

Marina bay, Singapore

I’m not going to tell you a long story of what unique place Singapore is and how highly developed it is compared to the surrounding countries.

Instead, let’s better look at the pictures which I will briefly comment.

We mostly followed a kind of shortened version of great itinerary from Wikitravel called 3 days in Singapore.

Let’s start with official symbol of Singapore. Merlion is the strange animal which is half-lion and half-fish.

Merlion, Singapore

 

It’s located in one of the tourist attractions, Marina Bay. This is how this place looked on the New Year’s eve:

Singapore Marina Bay

 

For some unclear reason Singapore officials decided to keep ages-old sign in front of one of the bridges nearby:

A historic sign

 

In fact, Singapore resembles Western world more than Asia, even English is the official language here.

Singapore street

However, most of the inhabitants are Asian and you can easily feel the authentic culture shining through although at first it might look as a city of shopping malls…

Nice buildings in Singapore

 

I generally like places where people like bicycles 🙂

Singapore bicycles on subway station

 

Laws are very strict not only in terms of littering. When passing a border we were given a small nice guide informing us that we can get executed for importing drugs for example. Durians are famously forbidden everywhere. 🙂

Strict Singaporean fines

Sometimes I feel that we would benefit from the same approach in Russia…

 

And you know… You actually can feel it that Singapore is one of the safest places in the world. Although, it would be fare to note that strictness of the laws compared to those of Iceland, Norway and Austria did play a role here.

Singapore security cameras in subway

 

That’s how you buy a subway ticket. As in Japan, Price depends on distance.

Singapore subway tickets telling machine

What makes Singapore really interesting is its ethnic neighborhoods: Chinatown & Little India.

And these are not just tourist attractions. Actually, I really felt like travelling to another country when visiting them.

Little India is an interesting place. I’m not sure whether it’s called after Little Italy in New York but it certainly has the same charm and make you feel as if you’re actually in India.

Little India district in Singapore

 

Local market in Singapore, Little India

Or Chinatown:

China Town, Singapore

 

Ironically, the most appealing Buddhist temple we visited in our trip to Southeast Asia was in Singaporean Chinatown.
Although, we didn’t really see that many and probably missed something. This one is called Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum.

Buddhist temple entrance in China Town, Singapore

Buddhist temple in Singapore China Town

An island of tranquility in a fast-paced city.

Buddhist temple in Singapore China Town

 

Buddhist temple in Singapore China Town

 

Protected by fierce Asian Hercules…

Buddhist temple entrance in China Town, Singapore

There are 10 000 Buddha statues in the place. Well, all religions are alike in some way…

Buddhist temple in Singapore China Town

Buddhas in Buddhist temple in Singapore China Town

 

It’s a working temple actively used by locals. Actually, I didn’t see all that many tourists there.

Buddhist temple in Singapore China Town

That’s where we stopped our days-long rush through the attractions for an hour to drink a cup of tea, listen to meditative music and read Encyclopedia of Buddhism and similar books.

Buddhist temple in Singapore China Town

And here is the Hindu temple:

Indian temple in Singapore, Little India

Indian temple in Singapore, Little India

Switching from spiritual to mundane…

Of course you cannot visit a place like Singapore without trying out different cuisines. Long walks also contribute to appetite.

This is the Chilli Crab that is so difficult to eat if you’re wearing a white shirt. Although, I guess I even managed to keep it clean.

Famous Singaporean chili crab

 

In Little India we continued our introduction to Indian food that started in Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur.

Although Indian cuisine is kind of an opposite of what I normally eat, we really enjoyed food it.

Indian restaurant in Little India, Singapore

 

Most indians eat rice with their hands, so we tried as well.

Indian restaurant in Little India, Singapore

 

There is a local market on the subway station where our hotel was located.
We were impressed by the amount of seemingly strange and synthetic food over there:

Crazy food in Singapore local market

 

Crazy food in Singapore local market

We couldn’t stand the temptation and tried some green soy pancakes and few similar things. Still alive 🙂

 

Also, there is huge island resort next to Singapore called Sentosa. We’re not big fans of amusement parks but we found something interesting to visit there.

Underwater World is an oceanarium with many ancient and deep water sea creatures and… sometimes people!

Sentosa underwater world, Singapore

I wonder whether we really look like a typical Russians and are easily detectable even through the glass or he is Russian himself…

Sentosa underwater world, Singapore

 

And this is a really deep water creature that is called whether a devil or an angel I guess. Pretty interesting looking I should say.

Sentosa underwater world, Singapore

 

To celebrate New Year 2011 we got to the New Asia bar in Swiss Hotel just a couple of seconds before 00:00. If we were just a little bit less lucky we would still be in a long queue on the first floor. But we got there just at the perfect time to hear the countdown and see the fireworks.

Singapore 2011 new year fireworks, view from Swiss Hotel New Asia bar

 

Singapore view from Swiss Hotel New Asia bar

 

Whereas Chill Crab is a traditional Singaporean meal, then Singapore Sling is a traditional Singaporean cocktail. It’s not bad but I remain conservative preferring red dry wine and bourbon whiskey.

Singapore Swiss Hotel New Asia bar

I realize, the post is quite chaotic and muddled but so was our 3-days visit to Singapore: from temples and museums to shopping malls and bars. Hope, these notes from different part of the world are at least a little bit interesting to read and see. Otherwise, your feedback is highly welcome!

 

 

 

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