We landed in Singapore at 3.30am and were lucky enough to kill about 4 hours sleeping on a bench at the airport, probably the most uncomfortable sleep I’ve had, but it had to be done. We took advantage of Singapore Airlines 48 hours early check in and checked in our bikes and backpacks. We took only a few essentials in our hand luggage bags and headed into town to our hotel.
We hopped on the underground and 20 min later we were at our hotel. A renovated art deco hotel from the late 20’s, in Little India/Lavender area. It turned out to be quite a cool and interesting area, with a 24hr food market across the street and a few more around the corner. Mat found a great cafe bar by chance, hiding behind a big iron gate in a court yard, a cafe where they roast their own coffee, have coffee workshops, sell coffee accessories and also a little shop in the upstairs bit of the building, where they sold things sourced from local independent designers. The cafe is called CSHH Coffee Bar and we had some great coffee there, probably one of the few places in Singapore where you will get a decent coffee. (there are far too many of those “coffee shops who shall not be named” in central Singapore). And the shop is called Tyrwhitt General Store. Around the corner from this place is also a super cute little pie shop called Windowsill Pies, that opened the weekend we were there, their pies looked truly delicious, but having just had the amazing french toast for breakfast at the hotel, there was no room for pie in my belly.
Haji Lane and the streets around there is a great little area with small independent shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. It’s well worth a visit!
The Botanical Gardens are really beautiful and it’s free to go there too (always important in a back packers budget!). The National Orchid Garden is however $5, but it is really worth every cent of it, there are hundreds of different orchids in there and it’s a stunning place to visit. But beware of mosquitos when you visit the ‘mist room’. I got 22! bites on my legs alone whilst I was in there!
The Marina and Harbour front in Singapore is worth a visit too, if only to see what I think might possibly be one of the ugliest and most creative buildings in the world. Three big high risers with a massive ship on top of it! Funny and hideous at the same time I think.
After you’ve seen that you can go to the Orchard Shopping centre if you want – but it really wasn’t our cup of tea. I guess the food hall in the basement floor is worth going to though, we had a great and cheap, Black pepper beef stir fry there.
If you have some time left over and you have a few bucks left to spare, I guess you can always go to Raffles hotel for a Singapore Sling, it’s the one thing we didn’t do – it didn’t quite fit in with our back packers budget! Instead we went to the 24 hr food market across from our hotel, had our dinner and shared a beer. We got chatting to some locals, an older couple who where very nice and friendly. The man was 76 and his wife 81 – both were still working! Yep, there is no such thing as retirement in Singapore. No support what so ever, the government gives an elderly a contribution of $1000 per month if they work, if you don’t work you get nothing. Mat and I already had our thoughts about this as we had seen so many old people still working, some who were in great pain and could barely stand up straight. It got me thinking of all the charities to save children – but what about the old people who are saving them? Sorry for a bit of a dark ending to my post, but it made me rather sad to be in Singapore. I know these happens in a lot of other countries too, but this is the first time I have come face to face with it. And it’s hard to see in a place where you know there is so much money and new development going on.
So anyway, Singapore is cool for a stop over, but I don’t think you need to spend more than 48 hours there.