Singapore travel thoughts
A friend asked us for ideas for spending a few (3) days Here are some tips (beside start early to avoid the heat)
Margo & I would say there are 3 MUST SEE sights among all others:
– The Singapore Zoo (must take a cab)
– The Asian Civilization Museum: a super survey of many Asian Cultures…you can easily spend 2 hours or 6 hours
– Little India – start at the “Wet Market” (if in the morning before 0900) and walk up 3-4 blocks to the hindu temple- http://www.sriveeramakaliamman.com
– prepare to get dirty feet BUT go in and hang around and watch the petitioners and make a contribution yourself. If you are luck you may see some bizarre rituals. I find the best times are between 8-10 am and between 6 – 9 pm.
I think about 2 hotels in 2 distinct areas:
Option A: Hotel: The ShangriLa is fabulous – our favorite – with a great pool to relax in the heat. Outstanding buffet dining; excellent spa/massage..very relaxing place. Here are thoughts on its local:
– It is in a quiet enclave only 2 blocks off of the fun craziness of Orchard Road ( top site) . The magnificent NgeeAnn City/ Takishimaya shopping Center is the top place to observe Singapore’s obsession with Brand Brand Brand..but it has a great bookstore and the food court in the basement is really, really fun – the best malls are between Orchard Link and Tanglin Road
– From the ShangriLa You can walk in 10 minutes (in the other direction towards the Botanical) to the more interesting shopping of Tanglin Shopping Center (not Mall) – this is where the better hunting for buys are – lots of small shops with antiques and local stuff. One of the best bookstores on Asia is here.
– Also a lovely early morning walk of 15 minutes takes you to the magnificent and “top sight” of the Botanical Gardens. There are places to eat in there and the worlds best orchid garden also look for the Ginger garden as well. Probably try to avoid it in the middle of the day. (or take a taxi)
Option B Hotel:
an alternate location is the Fullerton Hotel which is a beautifully remodeled old custom house (4 stars)…great dessert place and also can sit on the river and have a cocktail and nice meal.
– it is near (across a walking bridge) to the Asian Civilization Museum and Empress PLace which is the old colonial center
– which is next to Indochine – the top restaurant and bar recommendation which is also on the river overlooking the grand buildings (reservations needed – ask for outside table.
– there are numerous walks along the water from this hotel..up the Singapore River is a lovely walkway, then you can circumnavigate the little bay though the Esplanade out to the Helix and Science Museum and Sands Casino. A beer on the top of the casino building is great in the evening/night
eating: (besides Indochine)
-Newton Circle Food Center Hawker stands – try anything!
-Chilicrab out at the “East Coast” area..ask the concierge..No Signboard and Jumbo’s used to be excellent
– the center of Chinese cafes is Smith Street. between New Bridge and South Street. The corner restaurant called “Da Dong” has been excellent..ask to eat upstairs near a window
Festivals: always a good time in S’pore. Chinese New Years in Chinatown is fine.
But the very unique Hindu celebration in mid January called ThaiPusam features an ancient custom which can not be seen even in India where there is a parade of body piercing, entranced,devotees whose bodies have been dramatically pierced with sharp hooks from which are suspended an amazing array of aluminum towers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHf90zfhCmw
Singapore is a great hub for travel – you are no more than 3.5 hours from enough exotic travel to last a lifetime.