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-   -   Our Trip Around the World , Part 4 - Singapore (https://www.fodors.com/community/asia/our-trip-around-the-world-part-4-singapore-1678850/)

Candace Mar 21st, 2020 10:32 AM

Our Trip Around the World , Part 4 - Singapore
 
To celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, my husband, Steve, and I decided that we would celebrate in a big way with a trip around the world. Our itinerary is outlined in its entirety under the Travel Tips and Trip Ideas Forum. Sorry, for some reason, I can't seem to cut and paste the link to attach here.

Candace Mar 21st, 2020 12:00 PM

IMAGING SINGAPORE

From the beginning stages of planning our around the world adventure, Singapore intrigued us, although I must admit we knew little about it beside the fact that chewing gum was banned. When I envisioned Singapore before this trip, two different images would come to mind. On one hand, I imagined exotic scenes of life in a tropical country, with plenty of multicultural influences intertwined with a turn of the nineteenth century colonial flavor. This, I admit, was the stuff of old war movies and espionage thrillers. On the other hand, I knew that the city-scape of modern Singapore was full of futuristic buildings, and other creative, mind boggling innovations that celebrated the soaring economy of this thriving country. How did these two elements of old and new exist together in Singapore today, I wondered? And how did that third element of strict laws and controls on behavior, symbolized by the banned chewing gum, effect life in this unique city-state? We couldn't wait to visit Singapore, experience it all for ourselves and see how our preconceived notions of it jived with reality.

Our flight on Qantas Airways from Melbourne, Australia, to Singapore took 7 hours 45 minutes, and was easy and pleasant in business class. Singapore's Changi Airport is often ranked as the best in the world and it was easy to see why, as it was extremely clean, extremely modern, and loaded with lots of attractive innovations. It didn't take long for us to clear immigration, claim our bags, and find the taxi queue. On the taxi ride to our hotel, we were immediately struck by the immaculate roadways featuring flower bedecked overpasses and beautifully landscaped medians. Our taxi driver wasn't very talkative but he soon pulled up to the front portico of the Fullerton Hotel where we were greeted in style by the hotel's very efficient staff. The Fullerton was to be our home for the next two nights.

thursdaysd Mar 21st, 2020 04:56 PM

I call Singapore "Disneyland Asia", will be interest in your take.

lcuy Mar 21st, 2020 05:38 PM

Actually, chewing gum is allowed now. You can bring it in for your own personal consumption, but not sell it. When asking S'poreans, and especially taxi drivers, jaywalking is what riles them up. Apparently, jaywalkers are rarely ticketed anymore, and they feel it should be!
I never saw the original part, as I don't usually visit the tips forum, but here are the various segments:

https://www.fodors.com/community/tra...world-1676895/

https://www.fodors.com/community/uni...world-1677085/
.
https://www.fodors.com/community/asia/our-trip-around-the-world-part-2-japan-1677542/

https://www.fodors.com/community/australia-and-the-pacific/our-trip-around-the-world-part-3-australia-and-new-zealand-1678324/

Candace Mar 22nd, 2020 11:11 AM

thursdayd, I understand where you are coming from, with the "Disneyland Asia" description of Singapore. In Singapore, like in the Magic Kingdom, there is plenty of carefully created artifice, designed to dazzle. From the waterfalls cascading at the airport to the splendid artificial trees in the Gardens by the Bay, the Disney-like attractions abound in Singapore. I have to say, I enjoyed them all. Another similarity between the two: there isn't a gum wrapper, or any other refuse, to be found on the streets or the sidewalks of either place.

Icuy, I'm glad you set us straight on the chewing gum issue. I wonder if more leniency regarding chewing gum and jaywalking signals a loosening up of the attitude toward such things by the government. Also, thank you for setting up the links to my other reports. I had a terrible time trying to do it. Your help is really appreciated.

Candace Mar 22nd, 2020 12:32 PM

THE FULLERTON HOTEL

Because we were only going to be in Singapore for two nights, I decided to splurge a little and booked the Postmaster's Room at the Fullerton Hotel. The splurge was well worth it, as the atmosphere of a grand hotel like the Fullerton really added to the feeling that we were enjoying a bit of a by-gone era. It wasn't Raffles, but it had some of the same feel, I think. Built in 1928, the Fullerton was originally Singapore's Central Post Office, and in the style of the times, it was graced with an impressive lobby covered in marble, with high ceilings and massive pillars. When I booked, a few months before our visit, I reserved the Postmaster's Room, but I now see that this room is no longer listed as an option on their website. Perhaps it is no longer available, or is now called something else. Anyway, the Postmaster's Room was wonderful, with a large balcony set up with two wicker chairs and a table, directly on top of the hotel's front portico. Six large flags, flying from poles attached above the portico, did not obstruct our view from the balcony, although they flapped away right in front of it. We could easily see the riverside quay and the nearby pedestrian bridge, which provided us with some good people watching. At night our good view became spectacular, as everything in sight was lite up in dramatic fashion. The little sightseeing boats that scooted around the river all day were bedecked with twinkling lights at night, and really added to the dazzling scene as they zipped through the water, scattering reflections every which way.

Our room was expensive for us, but because I booked directly with the hotel on their website, lots of extras were included. The amazing buffet breakfast, served in the Town Restaurant in the hotel, was normally $45 per person, but was complimentary with our room. We also were given free tickets for a sightseeing boat ride along the river and around the bay, which we took advantage of on our first morning at the hotel. Coupons for a complimentary signature cocktail in the hotel lounge were also included in the package. All this, along with a level of service that was really super, made the whole experience special for us and we were so glad we stayed at the Fullerton Hotel.

Candace Mar 23rd, 2020 12:04 PM

ENJOYING SINGAPORE - THE FOOD

Our complimentary breakfast at the Fullerton Hotel was amazing. The buffet breakfast, served in the Town Restaurant, was an extravaganza, spread out over two levels in the dining room. The abundance of choices included both Asian and English breakfast items, dramatically displayed on several counters and service islands. Every sort of fruit imaginable, it seemed to me, was artfully arranged in colorful profusion, along with pastries, muffins, and breads, accompanied by enough variety of jams and buttery spreads to please everyone. The contents of steaming caldrons included dumplings, soups, and savory rices or vegetable options, while chafing dishes were filled with eggs, sausages, bacon and ham, fried potatoes and fried tomatoes. Chefs, donned in spotless white, stood ready to prepare omelets. With so much to choose from, it was hard to be selective and not overindulge.

ileen Mar 24th, 2020 08:24 AM

Have been enjoying armchair travel with you since you began the journey. Each country you have visited will leave everlasting impression. What a special gift for your anniversary.
Really enjoyed the segment on Australia, New Zealand and now Singapore.
Please continue writing as many details as you can remember. Reading travel stories is a great way to spend some time as we are sheltered at home for many more days to come.
Have a great day and be healthy.

jacketwatch Mar 24th, 2020 09:37 AM

OK! Following too. We loved Singapore as well. We had a 5 day stay there preceding our 2016 cruise.

Our buffet breakfast at the Pan Pacific marina was also amazing. The choices do overwhelm.

Thank you!

Candace Mar 24th, 2020 12:57 PM

Thanks, ileen and jacketwatch, for following along. I have to say that writing this report about a trip that took place a year ago is a stress reliever right now. You all stay healthy, too.

The Food in Singapore - Continued:

Because the breakfast at our hotel was so bountiful, it became the main meal of the day for us. We thought, however, that we couldn't visit Singapore without having lunch at a hawker center. The Lau Pa Sat center, featured in the movie "Crazy Rich Asians", was within walking distance of our hotel, so off we went at lunchtime. This food center, one of the oldest in Singapore, featured a clock tower, some pretty cast iron fretwork detailing, and was quite large. For a while we just wandered around, taking it all in. Again, with so many intriguing items to choose from for lunch, making a choice from the listed menus at all the various stalls was difficult. Not being all that hungry after our big breakfast, we finally decided to share a noodle bowl with chicken, which one busy stall advertised as their most popular offering. Actually, the whole center was busy, and it took us some time, after ordering, to find a place to sit. At first, it appeared that there were plenty of free chairs pushed up to tables, but we soon realized that the local protocol allowed someone to reserve a seat by leaving a personal belonging on the table, thereby marking their spot. Whether it was simply a business card, or something more substantial, like a small bag or a scarf, the item indicated that the seat was taken. Finally, we found an empty corner at a long table, squeezed together, and dug into our noodle bowl, which was still steaming and spicy hot. After a bit, we realized that the small cup of cloudy water we had been served along with the noodle bowl was probably the liquid the noodles had been cooked in, and that it was most likely meant to be used to dilute down the heat of the fiery main dish. After adding the extra water, I found the spiciness of the chicken a little more to my taste, but I still didn't eat much of it. Just too hot. Steve enjoyed it, though.

Our first dinner in Singapore, after checking into our hotel, was pretty simple. We enjoyed a sandwich and some wine, purchased from a shop nearby, on the balcony of our lovely room. Our second night, we decided we would really simplify, and bought McDonald's takeout so we could eat in our room once again. I know this probably sounds horrifying to some, but we actually enjoyed it. Chilli crab, I had read, was a delicacy of Singapore and we had checked it out at the hawker center, only to discover it was a really pricy option. Then we noticed that McDonald's was advertising a chilli fish sandwich as a seasonal special. Why not try it? We would save a lot of money, and who knows, it might even be good. Also, we were planning on visiting the Gardens By the Bay after dinner to enjoy the light show, so we just wanted something quick and easy before heading out for the evening. Not much is quicker and easier than McDonalds, and the chilli fish sandwich was actually pretty tasty.

jacketwatch Mar 24th, 2020 04:48 PM

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.fod...b56052c5e.jpeg
Eating chili crab in KL. It can be a bit messy.
https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.fod...45ff1377e.jpeg

jacketwatch Mar 24th, 2020 04:50 PM

And a bit spicy :p

Glad you had a good time there. Singapore is a foodies delight.

Candace Mar 25th, 2020 06:33 AM

Wow, jacketwatch, your pictures made our day! Thanks so much for sending them. My husband and I felt almost like we were sitting at the table, enjoying those crabs with you in Singapore.

jacketwatch Mar 25th, 2020 07:04 AM

Well it was actually in KL but I wanted to show what an "experience" it was to eat them. In any case so happy you liked the pics. That makes my day too! Washed it down with a nice Malaysian beer too. :tu:

Following!

Candace Mar 25th, 2020 12:50 PM

SEEING THE SIGHTS IN SINGAPORE

The Fullerton Hotel had given us each a coupon for a free sightseeing cruise, and that seemed like the perfect way to start our day of sightseeing in Singapore. The boat dock was on the river, just down from the hotel, so it was easy to find, and we didn't have long to wait for the next sightseeing boat to depart. The boat wasn't very large, holding maybe three dozen people total, and it was only half full when it pulled away from the dock, so we had plenty of good seats with unobstructed views to choose from before we started out. The tour guide was personable, and his commentary was entertaining and full of interesting information. From the water, the views of some of Singapore's most amazing landmarks were probably better than you could see from land. The incredible Marina Bay Sands Hotel set the tone, looming over everything like a futuristic citadel, illustrating some sci-fi fiction story. How could such a structure even be possible, I kept wondering? Add to that, the sight of the Esplanade theaters with their scaly coating, the Helix Bridge, structured using the twisting shapes of DNA, and the Art Science Museum, which was shaped like a giant lotus flower with its petals opened. To us, seeing all of these structures in one city scape was an immersion in innovative modern design. Nothing we've ever seen anywhere else was like it. The boat ride also took us by some of the riverside docks and quays that, a century or two ago, had been the center of trade in Singapore. The hustle and bustle of seaside commerce in that by-gone era, at places like Clarke Quay, had been replaced now with the hustle and bustle of commerce today, made up mostly of shops and restaurants designed for tourists.

For me, however, the epitome of all we saw in Singapore was the Gardens by the Bay.

jacketwatch Mar 25th, 2020 01:50 PM

Very cool.

There are architectural tours on the Chicago river which if you haven't done and ever get here I think you would find very interesting. The narration delves into some little know facts about Chicago history.

Following!




jacketwatch Mar 25th, 2020 01:54 PM

https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.fod...9ab3452dc.jpeg
Views from the terrace of the restaurant on top of MBS.
https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.fod...6409f89d5.jpeg
For your perusal.

Candace Mar 26th, 2020 05:27 AM

We connect through Chicago O'Hare all the time, on our way to somewhere else. We have slept in the airport during a snowstorm, and once we had to pay $400 for a $100 suburban hotel room during another weather-related cancellation. But we have never visited the city itself, which I've always wanted to do. Now you've given us the inspiration we needed to definitely plan a trip sometime, just to see Chicago.

By the way, what does MBS stand for? As you saw with KL, I'm not up to speed on initials.

jacketwatch Mar 26th, 2020 05:33 AM


Originally Posted by Candace (Post 17084763)
We connect through Chicago O'Hare all the time, on our way to somewhere else. We have slept in the airport during a snowstorm, and once we had to pay $400 for a $100 suburban hotel room during another weather-related cancellation. But we have never visited the city itself, which I've always wanted to do. Now you've given us the inspiration we needed to definitely plan a trip sometime, just to see Chicago.

By the way, what does MBS stand for? As you saw with KL, I'm not up to speed on initials.

KL is Kuala Lumpur where we had the chili crab but the nighttime views are from Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. on the terrace of the restaurant on the 57 th floor. Sorry about any confusion. We

thursdaysd Mar 26th, 2020 06:14 AM

Definitely plan to visit Chicago - I was pleasantly surprised by my one quick look and know I should go back. Note that there are architectural tours of the city on land as well as the river that I can recommend. My take:

https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...lwind-chicago/



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