Singapore, je t’adore
It’s extreme cleanliness (chewing gum bans, limited smoking areas, cigarette butt fines, no eating or drinking on public transport) and 100% commitment to air conditioning (do not go indoors without a jumper and scarf/ a fur coat would be comfortable) can freak visitors out, but accept Singapore as an island of unlimited shopping and a Disneyland of sights, and revel in its delights.
I could write about ‘the perfect day in Singapore’, filled with the generic tourism of Orchard Road’s impressive malls, awesome views on the Singapore Flyer which also shows you the insane design of the newly finished casino, non-stop eating in Chinatown, then a visit to the Merlion which would be followed by the neon lights of Clarkes Quay for cocktails in IV bags in hospital themed bars, delicious seafood and live jazz … well there you go: Singapore in a nutshell!
Word of warning: don’t even think about doing all that in one day as the heat will send you delusional and recovery time by a pool will be a necessity.
I would like to indulge detail of my personal highlight of Singapore: Bugis Street Market and Bugis Village. My boyfriend and I rocked up to Singapore at 10am to freak tropical thunderstorms after leaving Bali at ridiculous o’clock. With minimal sleep we were devastated to learn that our over-priced boxy hotel room would not be ready until 2pm, but that emotion was quickly dashed when I learnt our hotel was around the corner from Bugis. Memories of past shopping stints got the adrenaline pumping, the umbrellas out and the feet splashing straight down there.
Coincidentally, we had arrived during the massive sales put on to boost tourism during the months of May to July. As we waited for the market to fully set up, we hit the Asian fashion filled mall of ‘Bugis Village’ (there’s a Topshop on the ground level though.).
Wow, I’m so grateful my boyfriend can shop till he drops as we powered through sleep deprivation to explore every small store. Cute kitsch fashion, western styles, cool t-shirts, vintage hand-made dresses, beautiful jewellery and scarves… you name it, and so many special deals and ultra low prices. And woah, the food courts were massive with my personal favourite being ‘the steamboat’- pick your own ingredients from which there is enough tofu, veg, seaweed, fish to feed the entire country three times over, and then they boil it up quickly into an uber healthy broth. No matter what you pick, they’ll make it taste divine.
Once we’d recuperated, it was time for the market: three levels of teeny stalls, all pumping loud random music, clothes hung out above your heads, neon lights blinking around you, the odd Durian (stinkiest fruit known to man. Take a bite if you like fruit that tastes of meat) stalls kicking around, fruit shakes and pineapple on a stick reminding you of the exotic nature of your surroundings, genuine leather satchels… now the sales weren’t really reigning high here, but that was due to the dirt cheap nature of the prices. However, my favourite stall (who knows if I would be able to find it again in that maze) was where I found three chiffon flowered tea dresses and managed to haggle a discount. So much was bought, a trip to the post office guaranteed a parcel of fresh new clothes would be waiting for me when I got back to England.
‘Shop till you drop’ literally describes Singapore, so when you go make sure you have serious dollar to play with.
After all that, leave Bugis and go around the back of the Village to Bali Lane for some thick mango smoothies or frozen Margaritas. J’adore Singapore.