Singapore is a small country that has something for everyone. Last week the hubby and I spent a few days there and I fell in love with this tiny little country. It's so small that you could probably cover all the sights in two days, if you really pack things in. But we had a more relaxed holiday, spread over three days, that involved a lot of exploring of the city on foot and of course the MRT. I had, of course, already planned out the entire itinerary, and the hubby had to figure out the most efficient routes :) We ended up being a pretty good team (even if I do say so myself).
We did a few typically touristy things, but there were no zoo visits, no crazy shopping and mall crawling. I really wanted to get a real taste of this city that is also a country. I wanted to walk the narrow lanes, gaze in awe at the modern skyscrapers contrasting so starkly with the colonial architecture of the city, admire its incredible infrastructure, enjoy its food and basically get a feel for this multicultural and vibrant city.
We landed in Singapore and made our way to my cousin's place (they had very graciously put us up during our time in Singapore). After freshening up and a quick breakfast, we headed out with our MRT passes and maps. (The Singapore Visitor Map was picked up at the airport and were really helpful in figuring out the most efficient routes, and MRT passes were my cousin's, but you can get them made at the MRT stations quite easily)
First stop... Little India and we got there on foot since we were based quite close by. Our aim was to just walk around and explore. We came across across so many lovely old buildings that have been looked after quite lovingly. This one on Petain Road was one of my favorites, a real gem.
From Little India we hopped onto the MRT and took the North East line (purple line) to Chinatown. Although Bugis was close by, we were only using the MRT and didn't want to cab it to Bugis (we were on a tight budget). Bugis is on the green line and going there from Little Indian via the MRT made no sense.
You literally step out of the station (Pagoda Street exit) and step into Chinatown. It's bustling with tourists and it's so colorful. We walked down Pagoda Street towards South Bridge Road. At the corner of the two is the Sri Mariamman Temple.
Further on we came across the famous Chinatown Food Street. here the entire street has been covered by a high ceiling glass canopy that offers protection from the elements. Here you can find different kinds of Chinese foods under one roof! From Satays to Dimsum, CFS has it all! We didn't stop to eat at CFS, but we did another day.
Walk down South Bridge Road and a little further you will come across the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. It's a Chinese Buddhist temple and from what I've read, it's built along the Tang Dynasty architectural style.
By now it was almost two and we were hungry. I had read a lot that in Singapore you get some of the best local food at food centres, which is where the locals eat. The quite famous Maxwell Road Food Centre is opposite the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and we made our way there. The food was good and I'll cover that in a later post :)
After a nice lunch and something to drink, we did some more exploring of some areas around Chinatown. I quickly fell in love with the colonial architecture, colorful building with their shuttered windows and the interesting store fronts.
We covered Tanjong Pagar Road, Duxton Hill, Neil Road and then finally made our way to Otram Park MRT from where we took the green line to City Hall. Had a quick coffee at the Starbucks in The City Link Mall and then headed out to the iconic Raffles Hotel which is a colonial style hotel named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder modern Singapore. Some famous names in literature such as Somerset Maugham, Herman Hesse and Rudyard Kipling have stayed here. The famous Singapore Sling cocktail was originally concocted by a bartender at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel.
Another must visit is Chijmes, which is quite close by. Chijmes stands for the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. This beautiful Gothic style structure used to be an orphanage and chapel, but now houses some interesting boutiques, restaurants and bars.
Our next stop was Merlion Park. So from Chijmes, we made our way back to City Hall and took the MRT to Raffles Place. We walked walked along Boat Quay, past Fullerton Hotel and finally Merlion Park where we ended our long day. Adventures of our second & third day here & here.
Some interesting sculptures and art installations we saw along Boat Quay.
And yes, that's me, doing what tourists are supposed to do at Merlion Park :)
[All Images- Shalini Pereira]
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