Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

Singapore 2012

Posted by Lisa Hill on August 20, 2012

Well, here we are in Singapore, en route to Russia.  It’s been a long day.

We’re staying at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, and yes, it is the most spectacular hotel in Singapore but it’s not quite our kind of place.  We are on the 24th floor, and the view is gorgeous, but as soon as you step outside the peace and quiet of your room, there are people everywhere.   Like Chadstone at Christmastime on steroids!

We ventured upstairs to the Skypark to check out the restaurants but abandoned it very quickly and went in search of somewhere quieter.  After a whole day on the plane we were much too tired to explore very far, but eventually we found a place called High Society which was a bit more serene.  The food was forgettable, which is not what you expect in Singapore, but by then we didn’t care very much.

Back up in the room with the harbour lights twinkling, it feels more relaxed.  Tomorrow is another day!

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15 Responses to “Singapore 2012”

  1. Enjoy Singapore. It is 20 years since I was there and we stayed at the Furama and was on the 17th floor according to my travel diary.

  2. Louise said

    I spent a wonderful week in Singapore in 2010 before the Marina Bay Sands was finished. I was surprised to see boungainvillea on the balcony. Or indeed that they have balconies. I loved Singapore, except the overwhelming humidity. Interesting to see those green and pink things and the new half durian looking buildings have sprung up since then. Do you know what that is?

    • Lisa Hill said

      It’s all part of the resort, but we haven’t been over there, we were a bit defeated by the hustle and bustle of the hotel, which is really part of a vast shopping complex. There are literally hundreds of luxury shops selling the most extraordiary stuff, and the place is full of, well, people going shopping. There’s a casino too, but that’s not our thing. The noise is incredible, but most people here seem to like it. All the eating places are huge, like vast canteens really, only the decor is pot plants and shiny surfaces. Last time we were in Singapore we went to a wonderful restauarant called Chef Chan’s, but there’s nothing here like that. (Or if there is, we haven’t found it).
      Now that we’re here, I realise that we were attracted by the innovative architecture, but once you’re inside you might as well be in any suburban shoopping mall, only here there’s no Target or Big W, it’s all Bulgari and Gucci. And everywhere you go you are caught up in a swirl of people going the same way, like being stuck on an escalator in Myer’s at Christmastime – there is no escape!
      Today we’re going to see if we can find the art & science musuem, but they’re advertising it as a Harry Potter event so I am a bit dubious about what kind of science it might be.

      • Let the travels begin, eh?

        It doesn’t sound like our thing either Lisa … Each time we go to Japan, we spend a day or so in Tokyo and then get the h*** out of there. I much prefer smaller places to crowded bustling cities, shops, markets etc.

        Love the photos though. Thanks for sharing those.

  3. Back again … I’m guessing Louise now knows that those half-Durian things aren’t the structures called the Durians but are the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest in Gardens by the Bay. Love your photo of the Supertree Grove.

    And yes, we know what you mean about sometimes the quality of the food just isn’t the point!!

    And we know what you mean about the mall there at the Sands. Too many upper end shops … And they’re in mall after mall in Singapore. Not that we went to many but we went yo a couple and read up on others when looking fora couple of items, like swimmers for Len!

  4. Lisa Hill said

    Gosh, I would hate to be doing some actual real shopping for something I needed in Singapore. I am not very good at shopping!
    Now Sue, have you been to the Asian Civilisations museum? There are two, but the one I mean is the one that has the antiquities in it. When we were there last time, they had an exhibit about a ship that had been under water for centuries and it was sensational.

    • Oh yes, I’m a terrible shopper too. The Birkenstocks were easy – I just had to find a shop that had a good range because I knew (with some flexibility in style and colour) what I was looking for. But Len’s swimmers (we don’t swim much and had discovered that the elastic had gone on his just before we left and of course it’s winter here). Fortunately we found one of those “surf” stores like Quicksilver or RipCurl and found something decent for him fairly quickly. I know some people love shopping for clothing overseas but I detest it – unless something catches my eye as I happen to walk by.

      My choices, before we left, were to go to SAM and the Asian Civilisations Museum, plus the Botanic (and Orchid) Gardens, some War sites, the Gardens by the Bay, and the cooking class. They were the “musts”. We did them all EXCEPT the Asian Civilisations museum because, once there, I just wanted to see inside that Lotus/Hand building. We probably could have squeezed the Civilisations one in, in the days we had, but that heat and humidity does enervate you a little, doesn’t it! I’ll remember it if we decide to stop-over in Singapore again, though we are thinking next European Trip we might go via Japan BUT who knows?

      • Lisa Hill said

        How long does it take to get to Japan? Is it do-able as a stopover?

      • Yes, it is … friends of ours have done it two maybe three times. As I recollect it’s about 10 hours and then, maybe 12 hours over the poles. (But check – I think that’s what they said for the second leg). Narita is about an hour from Tokyo by fast train (as I recollect – I should know it we’ve done it several times but, you know, sometimes one remembers positively!) Tokyo has multiple “districts” so you could stay in one and just explore that area. You could also, if you gave yourself 3-4 days, go through Tokyo down to Kyoto – spend 3 nights there and then go straight back to Narita. The trip would take about 4 hours with one train change in Tokyo. hyperdia.com is a route finder site we use. It’s not pretty but it’s pretty good. There may be others. Our friends have done this in one direction, and then just stayed one night at a Narita hotel in the other direction. There’s not much to see at Narita itself I think – we’ve never stayed there.

  5. Lisa Hill said

    It’s worth considering then. Though when it comes to stopovers, all we usually do is stay for a night in order to break the trip.

    • It is, but you’d want to go into Tokyo which is very doable from Narita. Last time we did three days in Dubai and none on the way home. Next time I think I’d do two-three nights (somewhere) on the way over and one night on the way back.

      • Lisa Hill said

        On the way back, we just stay a night in the airport hotel. It’s not all that expensive and it makes a big difference to how we feel when we get home.

      • Yes, I think that’s what we’ll do in future. A few days stopover on the way over and just overnight on the way back. However, on our trip to Toronto this year, we stayed a few days in California in both directions because we have a good friend there whom we love to visit.

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