Singapore – The City

Before arriving in Singapore, we had heard about some of the country’s notorious laws and the hefty fines if you break them. Namely, that chewing gum is prohibited, there is a hefty fine for littering, and drug trafficking carries a mandatory death penalty. These strict laws, while some a bit strange, are part of what sets Singapore apart from many of its Asian neighbors. Singapore is an affluent, highly developed country that feels more like a western society than a far east Asian country.

We stayed in Robertson Quay, one of the neighborhoods that runs along the Singapore River, in area aptly named Riverside. When we checked into our room, we were pleasantly surprised to find that our room had a view of the river.

view from our room

view from our room

Along the river was a nice pedestrian pathway. I set off running on it early in the morning and found that it stretched on for miles and offered some spectacular views of the city. I saw the sunrise behind Marina Bay Sands – one of the newest symbols of the Singapore skyline. It’s a massive hotel/casino resort developed by Las Vegas Sands. We ventured there later in the day to have a look inside. From the property, there are nice views of downtown Singapore.

marina bay sands

marina bay sands

inside one of the three towers

inside one of the three towers at marina bay sands

view of the skyline from marina bay sands

view of the skyline from marina bay sands

Singapore sits just above the equator, giving it warm and humid weather all year long with no distinguishable seasons. It does cool off slightly overnight, making the evening and early morning a bit more comfortable. The country is ethnically diverse. It’s a melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and expatriate cultures. The majority of the population is Chinese, so it is no surprise that this small country has a massive Chinatown. And, correspondingly, the biggest holiday of the year in Singapore is Chinese New Year. We were there just a few days prior, and the place was already a buzz.

chinatown

chinatown

rows of stands set up for the chinese new year

street bizarre for the chinese new year

sri mariamman temple

sri mariamman temple

buddha tooth relic temple

buddha tooth relic temple

outside the temple

outside the buddhist temple – beautiful flowers and more of the street bizarre

The cheapest places to eat in Singapore are Hawker Centers – street food vendors that operate out of large complexes. We had lunch at the Maxwell Food Center. There were so many different vendors and food options, it was hard to decide what to eat. In the end, I decided on a fruit shake and Hainanese chicken and Jay went with a beef with vegetable noodle dish. It was all delicious.

maxwell food center

maxwell food center

yummy!

yummy!

After our time in Chinatown, we headed to the infamous Orchard Road. It’s a street lined with shopping malls. Jay found a little spot to get a haircut. Afterward, they gave us mandarin oranges – a traditional gift for the Chinese New Year as they are considered symbols of abundance and good fortune. 

orchard road

orchard road

emerald hill just off orchard road - once home to wealthy straits chinese

emerald hill just off orchard road – once home to wealthy straits chinese

haircut time

haircut time

individually wrapped

individually wrapped

Next, we headed to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The gardens fill nearly 200 acres with 10,000 types of plants. The main attraction for me was the National Orchid Garden, which has one of the most comprehensive collection of orchids found anywhere in the world.

entrance to the gardens

entrance to the gardens

photo spot

photo spot

surrounded by beauty!

surrounded by beauty!

swan lake

swan lake

special exhibit for the Chinese New Year - the year of the horse

special exhibit for the Chinese New Year – the year of the horse

ginger gardens

ginger gardens

inside the orchid garden

inside the orchid garden

so many different varieties

so many different species and varieties

After a full day of exploring the city, we had a long night ahead of us – a 1:45 AM flight to Sydney. We found a restaurant at Riverside to relax at for a couple of hours before heading to the airport. Although we could have easily spent the time at the airport which boasts both a movie theatre and a pool – seriously, only in Singapore.

riverside

riverside

2 responses to “Singapore – The City

  1. Those botanical gardens are beautiful – of course, I was taken by all the orchids. That one “flower tree” that you are standing in front of made me think of the bouginvilla (s.p.?) that we had growing over our kitchen window In California. Another beautiful place you have visited.
    Love, Grandma

  2. I see you and Jay have sun kissed skin in sleeveless & shirtsleeve weather while it just snowed 7″ here and is blowing and cold. Minus Temps forecast again for tonight and tomorrow. Enjoy that warmth for all of us back in Iowa. Oh how I would have loved to be with you to enjoy the Singapore botanical garden~beauiful! So interesting about mandarin oranges being a symbol of abundance and good fortune! Tight spaces and lots of people~you’ll be ready for New Zealand!

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