Singapore - Day 1

Arrived in Singapore at 2.30pm after a long flight with Singapore Airlines. Great food and plenty to drink. Being just 85 miles north of the equator the temperature only ranges from 26 to 31 degrees (the lowest temperature ever recorded being only 19.4 degrees) – not the place to look for a job if you’re a weather reporter!

Singapore is approximately 40km by 20 km with 5 million people living here. They are a mixure of Chinese, Indian, Malays and a few others making it a truly multi cultural society that all seem to get on very well. It’s squeaky clean, has a low crime rate, has the largest oil refinery in the world and houses all the main finance houses.

Our hotel in the heart of the city centre is ideally located and within 30 minutes of our arrival we were off exploring. First stop was Clarke Quay. This is a modern waterfront with bars and restaurants. After a beer we headed for Chinatown. This is the area where the Chinese settlers originally lived and worked. A great area full of market stalls with a whole street dedicated to food sellers so needless to say we tried a few of the local delicacies. It would be rude not to. We ended the evening at the Raffles Hotel for a Singapore Sling – $54 for the two! Some things just have to be done.

When visiting major cities we always find the easiest way to get your bearings is to go on a city tour so booked one for 9am the following morning. This took us to Little India, the commercial district where all themajor banks are competing for the tallest building, Chinatown where we had time to visit a Buddist temple, Singapore Orchid Gardens and a drive down Orchard Road where every major designer has a shop.

After a quick stop back at the hotel we were straight back out again to check out Orchard Road properly for a bit of retail therapy.

The mixture of cultures has made dining out a great experience. We really like the hawker centres where most of the locals eat. They are outdoor centres with a large number of stalls selling mostly Chinese, Thai and Malasian dishes. We had a great meal of spicy noodles with pork for $3.40 (£1.70) for the two of us. They seem to be open for nearly 24 hours a day. Got one right next to our hotel so going there for breakfast this morning.

In the evening we wnet back to Little India. They are celebrating their new year at the moment (Deepvalli) so the whole area was packed with excited people and all the streets were lit up making a very noisy, colourful atmosphere. Eventually we found a small restaurant (Lagnaa at No. 6 Upper Dickson Road). The staff were so friendly and helpful. They helped us to choose some delicious food. They had a hotness rating from 1 – 10. We had number 2 which plenty hot enough for us. Goodness knows what a 10 is like!! We finished off the meal with a traditional Indian drink called Kodi. It was made from coconut shoots with a very high alcohol content. The chef said it solves all your problems. Two would have done.

It was a long walk back through very crowded streets and straight to bed after a very tiring few days.

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