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Ideas for a 7-8 Hour Day Tiouring Singapore

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We will be staying at the Crowne PLaza at the airport due to a midnight arrival. If we wanted to get going at 9 AM until 7:30PM (back at airport) should we get a guide/driver or is that too expensive. We have had our fill of temples and shrines and museums but enjoy local large markets to browse, not necessarily to buy, take a very relaxing ferry ride, see some amazing architure that we could not see in NYC or BK, HK, or KL what might we do?
The big limitation is that do to a bad knee a lot of walking is not possible. An early dinner at %;30 before returning to the airport would be great in the $39-$40/person range.
All help appreciated.
Thanks.

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    Singapore is a little bit short on ferry rides, it isn’t Hong Kong or Bangkok. But you could take a short “bum boat” ride on the Singapore river, which is quite pleasant and would give you the a chance to see the modern and colonial architecture which line the river. You could possibly do this toward the end of the day and have dinner along the quay, there are numerous restaurants here many with outdoor seating along the water. See http://www.rivercruise.com.sg/rivercruise.htm
    for info on the bumboats.

    There is also a “ducks tour” which I have not taken but could be fun, see a look at http://www.ducktours.com.sg/index.htm. I believe this same group does a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Singapore that you may also want to do given your mobility issues.

    I would not bother with a car and driver, as it would limit your ability to see the markets, which are in smaller streets; you really need to get out to see things. You can use the excellent subway systems supplemented by buses as necessary. Walking is on the flat which is one good thing.

    You might also consider going up on the Singapore Flyover, their version of the London Eye. This would give you a view of the city without any walking. See http://www.singaporeflyer.com.sg/. A booking is usually a good idea for this. This could be the start to the day, and you could take in the colonial Padang area as part of this.

    You could also consider taking a longer ferry ride to Indonesia, but this may take up more time than you want.

    Other than the ferry rides, I would say for your interests to concentrate on Little India and the Arab Street areas. These areas have some of the older colonial architecture, and there are food/veg and other markets with things like bangle and sari shops in Little India and perfume shops in the Arab Street area (plus a mosque which you may not have seen many of on your travels if they included Bangkok, HK, etc), there is a Thieves Market on Pitt Street in Little India. There are also very good and inexpensive restaurants in both, like the excellent Apollo Banana Leaf Curry (78 Race Course Road, Tel: 6293-8682, now with two locations and a website at http://www.thebananaleafapolo.com/). You can take the subway to Little India, to get to Arab Street you could take the subway to Bugis and walk a bit, you could also take a bus from the Padang area. You could actually walk from the Padang area but it may be further than you want and you want to save your walking for the area. I don’t have advice on routes, but any bus going east down South Bridge Road in the Padang area (with the harbour at your back, east is to the right) would seem to me to work, and either your hotel or someone at a stop could help you. You could also take a taxi, which would not be expensive for this short distance. You could take a taxi between Little India and Arab Street, as again the distance is not great, but probably further than you want to walk.

    Another good area for a stroll is Goodwood Hill Road, just behind the Goodwood Park hotel on Scotts Road and just a block up from the intersection with Orchard Road. This is a circular street of "black and white" bungalows (so called for their black and white shades or awnings) built in the early 19th century, and it is fun to walk around and see how the Raj once lived and how some very lucky (mostly expats) live today in colonial splendor. Note that this is sort of a long walk, around a circular street with no outlet once you start in, so I am not sure with your mobility issues if this would be a possibility. More black and whites can be found on Nassim Road as well as around the area of the Shangri-La hotel; note that Nassim is also quite a long street with a bit of an incline. You could even have a meal in one, try something like Flutes at the Fort, see http://www.flutesatthefort.com.sg/. I am not sure it meets the budget reccos, but they may have a set menu which does.

    There are a string of restored “shop houses” in the Orchard Road area at Emerald Hill Road and Peranakan Place, quite near the Somerset subway stop. The street is basically behind Centrepoint Shopping Centre. From the Somerset stop, walk to Orchard Road and facing Centrepoint, look to for Peranakan Place, which leads to it (Peranakan Place is pedestrian-only.) There is a good bit of construction going on in Emerald Hill Road, as high-rises flats are taking over one end. There are restaurants and shops along this street as well. This is somewhat similar to what you can see along the Singapore River at boat quay.

    I know you said you will have had your fill of museums, but two of Singapore's bests are in lovely examples of colonial architecture: the Asian Civilizations Museum at Empress Place and the Peranakan Museum in Armenian Place. See the website at http://www.acm.org.sg/home/home.asp. If nothing else, you may want to see the buildings. There are excellent guided tours of the Empress Place Museum, this is, IMO, the best museum in SE Asia. The Singapore Art Museum is in a former Catholic girls’ school and is also interesting from that standpoint, see http://www.singart.com/.

    I assume you are not interested in zoos, as Singapore has an excellent one and you can use transport for most of it which would lessen the need to walk. See http://www.zoo.com.sg/.

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    cicerone: Your information assisted us on our earliest trips to Thailand,now have completed 3 and 2 to Malaysia as well, but you gave me a lot of information. Maybe to much so I am confused. Also, I just found out we have to be back at the airport by 5:30 so we will leave the Crowne Plaza at 9:30 or so and based on the time to get back we likely have to leave to get back by $4:30, right? Also, how best and EASY to get in and out from airport and approx. cost? As for markets the Patang Night (spelling may be off) in BK was an experience but it was too crowded, dirty and the hawking was o.k. but a bit too much. We are really not going to purchase trinkets, fabrics,hats or alike.But, to see 1 large quality market of that sort and 1 food market if quite clean (We realize it's fish and other items that do not pretty and we are not faint of heart) that may not be more than a 10 minute taxi ride from each other would be one idea. Can you give me a ball park idea of cost of a 10-15 minute taaxi ride. please just so we are not taken?Is there an art district of emerging artists of quality not selling paintingof $5 &$10 but $50-$500 that is not all the way on the other side of the city from the markets? Since we have to be back early I am discounting the river cruises completly and the fly-overs we are not particularly interested in. As for the zoo: Is it in town and how far by taxi (time and cost) from the markets or art district if there is one? Then from the zoo what would a taxi back to the airport cost. So if we could do 2really intersting clean interesting markets, an art district if it's in one very limited area (my knee) and then lunch at a nice restaurantright near markets or near zoo and then to the zoo and on to the airport that might be a nice but not to hectic day and not very costly. Is this possible or is there no "real" art district in one place. We do not want to travel just to go into 2-3 art galleries but artists in stalls or similar. A lunch ($<!5USD/person for 45 min.) recommendation where we can read the menu serving asian fusion or similar would be fine. HELP!!

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    Singapore is the city where you are perhaps least likely to be "taken." All taxis will use their meters without you asking.

    You will find that everything in Singapore is cleaner than elsewhere - even the US and Europe. I agree with Cicerone that one of the most interesting areas is Little India. There is a nice market there.

    I don't know of an "art district." There is a cluster of arts and antique stores at Dempsey Road that I enjoy visiting.

    One of my favorite lunch places serving fusion food is Doc Cheng's located in Raffles hotel. It will be more than US$15 per perosn, but I think it's well worth it for the expereince as well as the food. Here is the website, but ti does not show the menu
    www.raffles.com/EN_RA/Property/RHS/Restaurants_Bars/Doc_Chengs.htm

    Singapore is quite compact, so I wouldn't worry about distances. It's a city-state, so everything is "in town."

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    Katie; Also to the rescue. You are correct the Singapore I knew when traveling on business and staying at Raffles was like Toronto was 20 years ago. I am happy to hear it is still that nice. As I asked about Central Java which is just our second stop, the first is the 14 day cruise to 13 Indonesian Islands then Central Java we have the day before we have the day before we fly from Singapore to Monado so you and Cicerone agree on the India Market. Would the zoo be really worthwhile to round out the 7 hours in town? I just am curious of the fare from yhe airport to say the India Market+/- in USD.

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    My thoughts would be as follows:

    1. If you want to go to the zoo, IMO, you should budget 3 hours AT the zoo, not counting time getting there and back (which is probably an hour in total). That will leave you a limited time for other things, but if you only want to go to a “wet” market (fruit/veg/meat/poulty) and see some other local market areas, this should be sufficient. I mentioned the zoo because I thought it might be good for your mobility issues, but would only work if you are actually interested in the animals. If not, it would be a waste of your time and money, as the zoo is located quite a bit outside the central town areas. Otherwise, you might do something like the hop-on-hop-off bus to get an overview of the main central areas, see the Padang and river areas with their lovely colonial architecture, and then go to Little India and/or Arab Street.

    2. The cheapest way to get from the airport to downtown Singapore areas is by the subway. You can take the airport line to Bugis station, which is a few blocks from Arab Street if you want to start there. You can also take it into the down areas by the river, that would be Raffles Place or City Hall. The fare is about US$1 for one person each way. The journey will be between 25-30 minutes. You could also take the subway to Little India, this would require changing lines twice, but is not hard to do. It might be easier to go to Arab Street first and then just take a taxi over to Little India. For info on the MRT and all public transport, see http://www.smrt.com.sg/trains/trains.asp

    3. A taxi from the airport to the Little India areas would be about US$30. I have never taken a taxi from the airport to the zoo, so could not estimate the fare, but according to World Taxi Meter at http://www.worldtaximeter.com/singapore/changi+Airport/singapore+zoo it should be about S$38 or US$27. (That seems about right to me for the distance, this will also show you the location of the zoo which may be helpful to you. It is quite a bit out of the main downtown area, and also from the airport, it will take about 30 minutes by taxi to reach there, longer by public transport.) I believe that a taxi from downtown to the zoo will be about the same price. From either, you can also take the subway, if coming from the airport this will require a few changes, and in any case a bus at the end. In addition, the zoo has a shuttle service to and from the zoo and several hotels and shopping centers, so perhaps you will only need to pay for a taxi one way. For info on the free shuttle service and other transport options to get to the zoo, see http://www.zoo.com.sg/visitor/gettinghere.htm

    4. I wish I could say that there was an interesting market area near the zoo, which would save you some time and transport, but I am not aware of one in particular. There are numerous housing estates in the area, and all of which have wet markets, any one of which is likely to be interesting, IMO, but I could not point you to one in particular. If you are using the Ang Mo Kio subway stop for the zoo, then you might poke around the station area into the nearby housing estates where you will undoubtedly find a wet market and most likely also hawker centre which might be interesting for lunch. (Cheap and cheerful, not sure if it is the Asian “fusion” you want, it would certainly include Straits Chinese stalls and dishes, which is a fusion of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian.)

    5. Singapore does not have a market area like Patpong night market in Bangkok. I think you may find the small shops in the areas of Little India to be interesting, but I don’t think you will find quite the collection of stuff that you do in Patpong. (I don’t know if that is what you are looking for in any event). YOu will find some good “wet” markets in Liltte India, try for sure the Tekka Market which is on Race Course Road quite close to the MTR stop, take exit at Door C. You might also try Chinatown, which has similar shophouse architecture, but is somewhat more commercial and touristy if that is what you want, stop on the subway would be Chinatown.

    6. I am sort of at a loss to give advice on “artist street” as I don’t know the type of art you are interested in, or if you mean antiques. I would say that generally, the Tanglin Shopping Centre on Orchard Road has an interesting collection of antique shops, some art galleries and things like Antiques of the Orient (http://www.aoto.com.sg/) which has antique maps and prints as well as the Select Books stores which has a fantastic collection of SE Asian books (see http://www.selectbooks.com.sg/). See a list of all the shops at http://www.tanglinsc.com/ But Singapore does not really have a cluster of art galleries located in one area like Hong Kong does in the Hollywood Road area. There is a publication which lists some art galleries, see http://www.sagg.com.sg/page/ and see if any of the galleries there interest you. The Mohamed Sultan Road area to the north and east of the main business district may be interesting to you, there are art galleries there; and it is possible that the Holland Village area may as well, and both areas would have the fusion type restaurants you seem to be looking for as well. (Although personally I would go with someone very local like banana leaf curry or Peranaken food.)

    7. It is virtually impossible to be “taken” by Singapore taxi driers. Taxis are metered, and drivers do not have a reputation for “taking the long way” to get to destinations, nor has that been my experience when living in or visiting Singapore. If there is any issue with a taxi driver, take his license plate or his taxi id number and call the police, emergency number is 999 (112 on a mobile works too). No kidding you will be instantly helped. They take these types of issues extremely seriously.

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    Thanks!!! We may have 6-7 hours if we recover from jet lag on the way to our cruise and visit to Central Java and then 8-9 hours which is what I was asking about after Central Java before returning to the US. We felt that three 9-10 hour days of touring with a guide/driver in C.Java was enough and wanted to get back to Singapore a day earlier in case Garuda was unreliable so that we not miss the return home. Yes, a bit cautious but after the cruise and Java,20days, at our age we think we will have had enough.

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