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Singapore -2002


Singapore 2002 was a trip that we had intended to make for many years. I had last been to this part of South East Asia in 1966, before we were married and had always promised my wife that one day we would share the experience. This seemed ideal as a birthday trip for her. We flew Singapore Airlines, an excellent trip on a 747, economy class. Great service, entertainment and food, both outbound and return which was most welcome on this lengthy flight. It was the first time either of us had flown Singapore Airlines but was certainly not to be the last.

Raffles Singapore

Raffles - Singapore

A straightforward trip to our hotel and speedy efficient check-in was much appreciated. We had only booked bed and breakfast as we were anticipating taking full advantage of all the culinary delights that Singapore had to offer. Despite the long overnight flight and late afternoon arrival, we decided to go on our first exploratory walk and eat out. We headed off in the Direction of Bugis Street and I was surprised to discover that the whole place had changed enormously, from "Dodge City" in the mid-60s to a modern, thriving metropolis. Bugis Street had disappeared, so we decided to eat in a hawker centre at Bugis junction. An excellent informal meal choosing a mix of Chinese and Singaporean dishes, washed down with a couple of Tiger Beers. Then a major surprise! We started chatting to another couple, only to discover that they lived less than a mile away from our home in the UK. A few more drinks in excellent and interesting company rounded off our first evening admirably.

An Orientation Tour, courtesy of Singapore Airlines, was arranged for the next day, by mini-bus. This took us round all the major areas and sights of the city and allowed us to become familiar with the location of the things that we wanted to see. I cannot recommend this trip highly enough - an excellent introduction.

Singapore River

Boat Quay

We spent the remaining days visiting the places of interest (much changed since my, perhaps, misspent youth), eating in Little India, China Town, and Kampong Glam, interspersed with European food. An evening that will remain indelibly stamped in our memories was one in Little India.

We had noticed a busy restaurant which appeared to have a clientele of local people. Deciding to give it a try, we found that we appeared to be the only tourists, and only non-ethnic Indians in the place - a banana leaf restaurant. We were immediately taken under the wing of two groups - one consisting of two men and the other a professional couple - who showed us how to wash down our banana leaf plates, helped with the ordering, called for the rice and pickle wallahs at the appropriate times and struck up non-intrusive conversation. A most agreeable evening, great food and great company - the like of which we will probably never experience again.

We explored mainly on foot. For the first time in my life, I came to enjoy shopping malls (which exist in abundance). This was not for the shopping, which I thought was rather on the expensive side, but as "Oases of Air Con" which provided a welcome respite from the heat and humidity.

An excellent trip, excellent experiences and a first class introduction to South East Asia.

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