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Trip Report - Singapore

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This site was so helpful in planning our trip that I feel honour bound to do as good a trip report as possible. Firstly, five of us went:- Pauline, 50's, Marc, Liz and me, 30's and Joshua, 12 but going on 15. Our trip was for the whole of August. Here goes.

Booking flights on the internet rather than using a travel agent saved us so much money. The best deal at the time was Singapore Airlines and so we decided to have 2 nights in Singapore. This was one of our best moves. I can't rate Singapore Airlines highly enough, the service is excellent and the in-flight entertainment, that allows you to choose what you wanted to watch, is superb. Singapore is a great stopover. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton as a treat and it was superb and not that expensive (about £50 per person per night)We were there Saturday and the shopping hours seemed to be 11am to 9pm. Our first stop was Ah Teng's bakery at Raffles - it's ok but not worth a special trip there - the walk round Raffles was better though, a real sense of the history of the place. Then a bumboat ride from Clarke Quay which was excellent. On to Chinatown via the MRT which is a joyful experience in itself for those of us used to London's tube! The Sri Manamman Hindu temple was superb, such a special place and a 'must do'. Another 'must do' is lunch at Maxwell Road Hawker Centre - it's just a big shed but an amazing variety of food and despite it being very busy we were the only tourists/Europeans there. It is completely authentic and delicious, dirt cheap food as well - one of my highlights. Had dinner at Doc Chengs at Raffles. Superb meal...I had a Pupu Plate to start, for it's comedy value as much as anything, but it was the unanimous best choice. Desserts not as good as the rest but overall an excellent meal. Taxi's are so cheap and very easy to get.

SUNDAY. Jetlag hit! Liz and Pauline had had massages in the afternoon and slept perfectly. Top tip then is to have a massage to avoid jetlag. Decided on the zoo today. Bit of an overlong journey via MRT and bus to get there but everyone agreed that it was a highlight of the trip. The zoo is excellent and all the animals except for the scabby ostriches looked very fit and healthy - must be one of the best zoos in the world and better than San Diego which we went to 3 years ago. Did the night safari that evening (got taxi there), after the zoo during the day it did lose a bit of its novelty but still it is an experience that you won't get anywhere else and was well worth it.

MONDAY Our flight was in the evening so it allowed some Orchard Road shopping. Went to Botanic Gardens and the national Orchid Collection. The Gardens were excellent and allowed a quick walk through some rainforest. We were all pleased to find that the Margaret Thatcher orchid was small and brown and rather ugly. Humidity is a bit of a killer here though and way too much for me

Best things about Singapore were:-
* The hotel - huge rooms and bathrroms with great views, excellent and polite staff - a great way to start a holiday
* The cleanliness of the whole city
* The politeness of everyone
* The Zoo
* The shops

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