When working at Strainstall, I had the opportunity to travel to Singapore, working at the Keppal ship yard near Jurong Island. I have been a couple of times both staying near Singapore city by the Singapore river. I was working for our customer, who had a shuttle bus from the hotel. Working yard times, it was an early start leaving at about 06:30 to the morning alarm call of the Asian Koel and returning back to the hotel by 17:00 allowed some time to explore.
My first trip to Singapore was my first long haul flight in business class and was flying with Singapore Airlines, revered to be up there with the best and no complaints from me, certainly well looked after but then so can be said for the second time when it was back to traveling with the masses. Personally, I don’t mind either way to travel and being a short arse don’t have much problem with leg room but hey when the opportunity is there how could I refuse especially when it is being paid by the customer.
After work, I would generally walk along the riverside to Clarke Quay or Boat Quay where there are plenty of places to eat with all sorts of different cuisines, it was about a fifteen to twenty-minute amble along the river, too hot for much more than an amble but pleasant to wander about or just hang out and with a book and watch the world go by. A slightly longer walk but still just about thirty minutes took me to China town, here one night I was in a small restaurant in that served Chinese and European cuisine, I had Chinese with chop sticks and a Chinese couple at the table next to me had European with a knife and fork, how bizarre! If I was feeling a bit tired I would jump into a taxi, a great service in and around the city with reasonable prices. Lots of taxi ranks dotted about and drivers all seemed very friendly and didn’t mind short trips. I never ventured onto other public transport, didn’t really have the need but I understand from talking to others that it is also a very good service.
On my first visit, there was a large landmark building being created with three towers and what looked like a ship along the top, lots of cranes round about so it wasn’t that clear to see, on my return visit it was completed and I learnt that it is the Marina Bay Sands hotel, a luxury hotel with infinity pool on the roof that yep looks like a ship. It also has an observation deck costing about £10 to visit. I was asking a taxi driver if it was worth the visit and he said it was and that the best time is sunset, yep it certainly was worth the £10 to view a spectacular sunset across the marina and Singapore.
As it turned out both visits to Singapore coincided with the Chinese or if you prefer Lunar New Year, you would think it was planned. On the first trip, I headed into China Town where the main street was closed off and there was lots of entertainment. There was lots of jostling about in the night market, narrow streets with small shops and market stalls, a very busy place but not sure if this is due to it being new year or if it is always busy. Worth a visit and as a single female wandering about even when busy felt completely safe and was able to enjoy the atmosphere and purchase a wooden spoon for Emma. On my second visit, I ventured down to the festivities at the marina, lots of paper lanterns, flowers and lights of all sorts and a wonderful firework display.
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately just before midnight it started to rain, I say fortunately as it was quite refreshing and possibly the most pleasant walk back to the hotel. Earlier in that same evening before venturing out, it was a bit grey and dull and with the air conditioning on had the feeling of a cold Scottish dreich afternoon, that is until stepping out the hotel and it was like stepping into a sauna.
On my first visit my return flight was a late-night flight, I finished at the yard on New Year’s Eve early in the afternoon and as it was holiday there was a mad rush to get away but then next day my flight wasn’t until 11pm so time to explore a bit further, naturally a visit to Singapore is not complete without a visit to Raffles for a Singapore sling, well maybe not the sling at Raffles but a visit there all the same. It now looks completely out of place, where a once country hotel has been swamped by the surrounding city, still a piece of sanctuary in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. I did have a Singapore Sling elsewhere, at Changi beach, it would have been rude not to after all.
The latest I managed to book out my hotel was 14:00 so I headed to the airport, dropped my luggage of and headed to the beach to relax before my flight. Returning to the airport early in the evening, the business lounge was a welcome retreat with some wonderful food.
On my second visit, I managed to get finished a day early and rather than change flight spent the day at Sentosa Island, touring about the attractions and soaking up the history. Singapore has certainly seen its fair share of troubles throughout the years and been pulled back and forth with ownership battles, gaining independence in 1965.
Singapore is a vibrant multicultural place with very low levels of crime. It is extremely clean and chewing gum is illegal which gets my vote. I have found wandering about the city, at all times, relaxed and easy going, it is a small place but has plenty to see and lots of good places to eat out. A place I would enjoy going back to visit especially without having to work.
Looking forward to more travel for personal reasons and getting into the Arctic circle.
Continuing to live my dreams