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A Memorable Solo Month in Singapore, Java, and Bali

A Memorable Solo Month in Singapore, Java, and Bali

Jul 5th, 2016, 03:00 AM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You've definitely increased my interest in Singapore considerably! While I was planning a visit there as part of the Bali/Java trip, I'll definitely have to add a couple of days to include some of those wonderful places you've visited.

kja, I am really awed by how much you not only see and do, but how much you truly absorb the culture and history of the places you visit.
progol is offline  
Jul 5th, 2016, 04:39 AM
  #42  
 
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kja, just reading about the humidity in Singapore makes my skin itch...lol. I don't mind the hot/heat, but I can't tolerate humidity for any length of time. Although it appears the climate in Singapore is more tropical without say the trade winds you find in the Caribbean, I will definitely do some research to determine when is the best time to visit to avoid the humidity.

Still enjoying your journey.

jdc
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Jul 5th, 2016, 07:19 AM
  #43  
 
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jdc, good luck on trying to avoid the humidity in Singapore! Singapore is located on the equator and is hot and humid all year. There are so many air-conditioned spaces in Singapore, that makes the heat more tolerable.
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Jul 5th, 2016, 10:01 AM
  #44  
kja
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@ progol: Thanks for your compliments! I definitely try to take advantage of the opportunity that travel affords to experience a bit of an area’s culture and place it in context – seeing and doing, and absorbing, as much as I can.

@ jdc26: As I’ve written, I’ve never been good with humid heat, either, and had put off traveling to many areas of the world – including Singapore and Indonesia – for years as a result. While I reserve the right to complain about it, I was surprised to find that I handled it as well as I did. Part of that was because one could, as Kathie notes, escape into air-conditioned spaces. But now I have another problem: All sorts of places that I had thought I couldn’t manage are now firmly on my already-overcrowded travel wish list. ;-)

@ Kathie: I’m glad to hear I didn’t miss a more opportune time of year! To quote something jacketwatch said on my planning thread, “My friends in Singapore said there are four seasons, Hot then hazy and then monsoon then followed by hottest.” But air-conditioning can make a huge difference – and whether in a building or a car, it helped me survive in Java and Bali, too.
kja is offline  
Jul 5th, 2016, 10:56 AM
  #45  
 
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Jdc26 - I too hate the heat, however, once you venture into this part of the world, you will find it so incredibly interesting that you will be able to tolerate the heat. I am considering taking a trip to China in August as I will be out in California for a wedding at the end of July. Not happy about the heat at that time of the year, but sometimes you just have to suck it up!
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Jul 5th, 2016, 11:00 AM
  #46  
 
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You're absolutely right, kja. My visit was similarly packed.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2016, 05:27 PM
  #47  
kja
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@ dgunbug: lol … you’re going to be in California in July, so are thinking of China in August – yes, for sure, that’s a clearly logical leap. ;-) BYH! But surely, there are places in China that won’t be too hot at that time of year?

@ tripplanner001: I found your TR very helpful in planning my time, in part, because of your use of time.


Day 7. Singapore -- Tekka Market and departure
• After yet another delightful breakfast at the Adonis, I packed and then
• made a quick visit to the indoor portion of Little India’s Tekka Market, with its butchers and fishmongers and bloody floors and wonderfully aromatic hot food stands and its clear evidence of the vibrancy of Singapore’s culinary traditions. From there, I had
• JUST enough time to return to my hotel, where a pre-arranged shared van awaited to
• take me back along that lovely boulevard with its trees and blossoms to the airport for my AirAsia flight to Yogyakarta, Java.


Before I turn to my time in Java, a few further comments about my experiences of Singapore: I’ve already noted my thoughts about the things I like best and least about my trip as a whole, and many of those things applied to Singapore as well. But there were things about Singapore per se that stand out, too. The following lists overlap, to some extent, with my trip-as-a-whole lists, but focus on my experiences in Singapore.

What I liked most about Singapore:
That Singapore is filled with lovely flowers and trees and gardens that can be enjoyed at any time of day …
… I loved the rows of rain trees, bedecked with bromeliads, that towered over flowers and flowering shrubs in the medial strip of the highway from the airport into town …
… and the use of a stylized “rain tree” in the magnificent central, interconnecting area of the new National Gallery ...
… and the National Gallery itself, and the other museums in Singapore, whether broad in scope or designed to show just a tiny bit of the city’s history in settings that enable visitors to appreciate the use of space …
… and the ethnic neighborhoods that retain at least a bit of their identity in a city that has, in so many ways, become so cosmopolitan that it didn’t even seem Asian to me …
… and the range of foods and markets and restaurants that are part of those ethnic neighborhoods and of the subsequent history and current ethos of this fascinating city …
… not to mention the range of architectural styles, from shophouses through Art Deco to the most modern of modern, with influences from so many different religions and so many different cultures …
... and the opportunities to step aside in one of the most densely populated places in the world to enjoy watching fishing cats prepare to pounce or gharials snapping their powerful jaws while being fed, or to feel the air move to the beat of a macaw’s wings or be nibbled by a Lory …
... the bronze cat sunning at the entrance to the Peranankan Museum and the statue of a cat and her kittens frolicking by the Cavanaugh Bridge …
… the ease of using public transportation to get around this remarkably clean city…
… and the art installations and dance classes in MRT stations …
… and the “third rails” that allowed one to rest a bit while waiting in lines at the zoo or at transportation transfer stations ...
… and did I mention the people? So welcoming and helpful!

What I liked least about Singapore:
Hordes of selfie-driven, camera obsessed tourists …
… the fact that river boats apparently don’t necessarily stop at all the stops they advertise (growl!) ...
… the Marina Bay Sands, which is, IMO, a seriously ugly building with over-hyped facilities (JMO -- and that won’t stop me from smiling whenever I see a picture of it, as it will make me think of my time in Singapore ;-) ) …
… running out of time at the National Gallery …
… and oh, did I mention the heat and humidity???


Next up: My time in Java
kja is offline  
Jul 5th, 2016, 06:29 PM
  #48  
 
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Thanks for summing up Singapore the way you did. It gave me an opportunity to think about and relive some of our experiences through you. Cannot wait to travel to Java with you.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2016, 07:08 PM
  #49  
 
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Kja - just a terrific report. I'm so enjoying all this!
dgunbug is offline  
Jul 5th, 2016, 07:08 PM
  #50  
 
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As always a great report and inspires me to get back to Singapore soon as it's been awhile. I should go more often with my brother there but he tends to come home often. There are lots of things I don't get around to revisiting when I do go like the Botanical Gardens and the Bird Park both of which I like and have probably got a lot better since I last visited. Just one of those bad things that tend to happen when you don't stop to think out a good plan on a revisit.

Thankfully the lovely shophouses have been saved - there was a time they were all going to go for highrise development. They do a lot towards giving character to the city.

I look forward to your Indonesian adventures.
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Jul 5th, 2016, 07:16 PM
  #51  
 
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kA, great trip report. Thank you!!!
LOL your opinion of Marina Bay Hotel and its cruise-ship-atop-a-roof architecture. Some hotels actually charge extra for room with a view of it! (Pan Paciic, where I stayed,did; i declined the kind offer!) Its inside lobby is even worse--hordes of people and noise.
The selfies are apparently a now-universal phenomenon. I just read JulieS' report of Angkor Wat and she describes the same irritant.
Yes, yes, yes, to the Botanic Gardens' beauty and history.
CaliNurse is offline  
Jul 5th, 2016, 07:24 PM
  #52  
 
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Kja--apologies.So excited by your report, my fingers got tangled on the keyboard and i misspelled you!! Thanks again for your fantastic and informative and organized descriptions. Almost makes me want to return to SIN city!!
Ahhh....if only there were a way to decrease the humidity. Climate change, where are you when we need you!?
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Jul 5th, 2016, 07:48 PM
  #53  
kja
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@ tripplanner001: And I look forward to your vicarious companionship as we move on together!

@ dgunbug: So glad you are enjoying this report!

@ MaryW: It’s incredibly easy to skip revisits to sites when a trip involves family, isn’t it? And understandably so, I think! But if you do have time on one of your trips, I think you’ll find it worthwhile to make some time for some of these places. And yes, yes, YES – thank goodness they saved the delightful shophouses! I was in Beijing when blocks of hutong were being destroyed, and THINK (and HOPE) that at least some were saved.

@ CaliNurse: Oh, I am SO grateful for your remarks about the Marina Bay (not to mention your other compliments)! I almost deleted my comment about it because I know there are many who think it groundbreaking and special. I just could not not speak my mind! (And of course, no worries about the typing – my own computer rewrites my screenname with frustrating frequency! I figured out that you meant me. ;-) ) And BTW, there are people I met while in Singapore who said that it was more humid than usual this year … because of climate change.
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Jul 5th, 2016, 09:19 PM
  #54  
 
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Great trip report!

Love it ! Exactly to the point about Singapore!
Ayaksma is offline  
Jul 5th, 2016, 10:18 PM
  #55  
kja
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@ Ayaksma: Thanks so much – and welcome to Fodor’s! I’ll be interested to learn what you think once I get to delightful Bali, which (I believe) is your neck of the woods.
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Jul 6th, 2016, 03:19 AM
  #56  
 
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Continued accolades for an amazing report!! I'm enjoying this so very much and am now eager to go to Singapore, a place I wasn't so interested in before, but you've made it especially enticing. Except for the H & H of course!

And as CaliNurse notes, the selfie phenomenon is an international curse -- I wanted to throttle everyone of the selfie-stick shooters last year at the Alhambra! Wherever you have lots of tourists, you will see lots of selfie shooters these days. I'm now seeing a lot of (younger) people WALKING while using their selfie sticks, I guess creating their selfie films for youtube. Group rant time, everyone!

Back to the fabulous kja report now....
progol is offline  
Jul 6th, 2016, 03:30 AM
  #57  
 
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kja, wow and just wow. I immensely enjoyed reading about your journey in Singapore. And to echo again what I wrote up thread, it was like I there with you heat/humidity and all. Sitting back and waiting for Java, which I'm sure I be right along side you.

@dgunbug, I think kja has converted me.
jdc26 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2016, 04:38 AM
  #58  
 
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Just back from a week in Stockholm and excited to see this and catch up on your trip! Looking forward to hearing about your time in Indonesia.
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Jul 6th, 2016, 05:54 AM
  #59  
 
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kja: I have just begun to look at your TR and it one of the best I have ever seen here!! Thank you!
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Jul 6th, 2016, 06:45 AM
  #60  
 
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More humid than usual - oh dear! Glad you had such a good time in Singapore - but you plan so well it would be a surprise if you didn't! And entirely agree that it is hard to think of it as Asia.
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