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Singapore Trip Report March 2005

March 2005
Flight
We flew Singapore Airlines and the NZ – Singapore leg of just over 9hours was fabulous. I was terrified and the ladies in there kabaya were just all so helpful and beautiful. Hint I got for those long flights in air conditioning. Apparently if you start getting dry ask for a warm towel (that they give at the beginning and end), put it over your face and breathe through it and it should help hydrate the airways. I was quite sick with the flu so was struggling. The food was good much better than the next leg to London. We were however, in the last two seats of the plane which had its up sides. Downside was that the entire plane seemed to think that the tail was their own personal viewing deck so had to stand right by my seat and chat. No sleeping for me.

Changi airport was pretty amazing. I read a sign that said all cargo is unloaded and processed in 13 minutes or less!! Free internet. I think I could happily live there.

Accommodation
We had the Singapore Stopover deal which was worth it. Stayed at the Plaza Parkroyal. It was good but perhaps a little less central than we would have liked. But the stopover bus wasn’t far away. We got 50% off food at the hotel restaurant which was average but handy. And a newspaper each morning - only hotel we got that at our entire travels.

Our first night was the night of the second big earthquake in Indonesia. Slept through it. The rest of Singapore was up all night and evacuated some building and all sorts. Maybe just jet lag perhaps just NZ earthquake resilience!

Sights
The stopover package gave us a free boat tour up the river. It wasn’t the most of informative tours – and American sounding taped commentary but a good opportunity to see the sights and take some photos. There is a great sculpture of little boys jumping into the river in bronze. And you see the Merlion of course.

We watched a cricket match at the Singapore Cricket Club. Jeepers you’d have to be keen in that humidity.

The zoo – getting there on public transport is actually easy but you just don’t know that until you finally get there. Take the MRT to Ang Mo Kio and then a bus 138 until you get to the zoo. It is really obvious when you do get there it stops right outside. The Elephant show was the best part. Great zoo but I had to keep avoiding the men draped in snakes (don’t like snakes and I’m not interested in conquering any fear thank you). The reservoir is worth a look for the view. Everyone told us to do the Night Safari as it is great – but we didn’t cos we’d had enough of critters by then. The stopover package also gave free entry into these sights.

Orchard Road – wow. But a waste of our time as this was the beginning of a long trip and we are budget travellers. But worth it if you have some money to burn.

Little India and Arab st – we got up a bit too early most things don’t open until at least 10am so sleep in – go on. However a wander through these districts was interested. Not enough air conditioned shops for us poor equator virgins.

Chinatown – one of the highlights for us. Even though it was raining. Just so much colour and interesting places to explore. Wished I’d had more time.

Asian Civilisations Museum – good to pass the time while it was raining but to be honest didn’t enjoy it that much (might just be me – by the time we got to Florence I had realised I just don’t like museums that much!). Again free entry due to the stopover package.

Overall
We loved Singapore however found our first taste of the humidity very draining. 4 nights was about right. We learning that if you don’t take an umbrella you will get very wet and if you do take one it will not rain at all. We liked how clean and easy everything was especially as we were travelling newbies at this point. The underground was the best we saw in all our travels. We were unable to find a rude local. In fact, not only did a bus wait for us when we couldn’t find the right change another lady paid the fare for us!! The Internet cafes here were really cheap. We could easily go back and spend some more time there.

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