Trip Report - Singapore

Sep 21st, 2003, 03:57 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 35
Trip Report - Singapore

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

TimManchester is offline  
Sep 21st, 2003, 06:05 AM
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thanks for the great report Tim. I am going to Singapore soon and found it very interesting.One question about shopping- what are the "must buys"?
Mary1 is offline  
Sep 21st, 2003, 02:15 PM
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We are going next July so I found your report very interesting. We are also flying with Singapore Airlines( for the first time).Glad to hear you enjoyed your flight!Was Chinatown your favourite part of Singapore?
Also interested on what are the best buys there?
We were in Hong Kong last year and loved it , so I'm hoping Singapore will have the same appeal!
fiona is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2003, 02:59 PM
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Thanks for posting, Tim. My husband and I will be leaving for Bali (via Singapore) in 4 sleeps. We'll also be staying at the Ritz Carlton. Sounds like we made the right choice.

We'll only be in the city for one day and will have to choose between the zoo and the botanic gardens. It sounds like you think the zoo was better, but I the women in your party agree? Sometimes the girls like the flowers better. Please advise.
Ericka is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2003, 03:05 PM
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The Botanical Garden is in the city, near Orchard area, while the zoo and the Night Safari, (2 completely different venues) are both a 15-20 min taxi ride away. This may influence your decision.
If you only have one day, you could do an early morning walk in the Botanical Garden (coolest time of the day also) and still have time for lunch, temples and shopping in Chinatown in the afternoon. If you plan to have dinner, eat at Doc Cheng's in Raffles (outstanding Asian fusion menu) and you will have had a very complete day in Singapore.
Lindsey is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2003, 07:10 PM
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If you like orchids, the botanical garden is a must. They have the largest orchid display garden in the world.

I also recommend Doc Cheng's for dinner.
Kathie is online now  
Sep 24th, 2003, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I used to live in Singapore, and I am not sure that going to the zoo is the best use of your one day. While the zoo is a good zoo, there is so much more to see in Singapore.

The city has lovely open grass area, the Maidan, which is quite near your hotel, and there are several colonial era buildigns around it, including the cathedral, the High Court and the famous Singapore Cricket Club. You can often watch cricket games on the Padang. You could then walk along Boat Quay and have lunch at one of the many restaurants along the river. There is an excellent museum in Empress Place near the boat quaz that also has restaurants.(Empress Place is another former colonial building). You could walk out along the Esplanade and watch the harbour, and go back behind Boat Quay to the main business district. Tea at the top of the Raffles Stamford (the taller of the two hotels across the street from the Raffles Hotel) would be a great way to take in the amazing city and harbour views.

I think the whole colonial part of Singaore around the Maidan is really pretty and unusual, as most places in Asia have little of their colonial past left. (As you probably relized in Hong Kong.)

A trip to the Botanical Gardens would be better than the zoo, IMO, as you would be close to Orchard Road shopping. You could also have lunch at the Shangri La hotel nearby, which has a very nice outdoor restaurant. FYI, if you will be in Singapore on a Sunday, the Botanic Gardens are a favorite hangout of some of the 25,000 or so Philapina maids living and working in Singapore. You can literally see how the other half (or more like 90 percent) of the world lives....
Cicerone is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 02:31 PM
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Sorry for not checkin the Asia floor....had been so busy doing all the reports of the other 3 weeks in Australia.

As for best buys we were spending 3.5 weeks in Australia after Singapore so we didnt buy too much...we did all buy some clothes though...not because we needed them but just because they were so good. Chinatown was excellent but I would have liked to explore some of the other areas as well that our limited time didn't allow. The temples were my favourate though. Yes Liz and Pauline definately loved the zoo and given the choice between the 2 I'd definately go with the zoo but both were excellent and there is a wonderful restuarant for lunch in the Botanic Gardens whereas the food at the zoo was pretty grim. I agree with all Lindsey says, it does make a perfect days itinery. Cicerone makes a good case for the Botanic Gardens though. Thanks for your comments and sorry I took so long to reply
TimManchester is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 07:24 AM
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TimManchester I know the report is old but it was enjoyable. I am thinking of going to Singapore but dread the flight so I am trying to be enticed.
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