Sunday, December 5, 2010

Singapore Trip - Part 1

We just returned from our big vacation of 2010, and it was AMAZING! We started the trip off in Singapore - one of Asia's major cosmopolitan cities as well as one of the largest trading ports in the entire world. We chose to visit Singapore for a few reasons - I heard it was beautiful, clean, had great shopping and unique food, and it was also one of the cities on my "to visit" list. A little history lesson on Singapore: Because it has been a vibrant trading port for years, it is a very culturally diverse city - it's the second most densely populated city in the world, and it's made up of Chinese, Malays, Indians and many types of Asians. Matt and I quickly learned that the type of people you encountered in Singapore depended greatly on the area you were in. One great thing about Singapore: it really IS very clean - but maybe they take this a little too far. For instance, I think the law that most shocked us is the chewing gum law - chewing gum is illegal there, because of their Chewing Gum Ban created in 1992 due to people (and I quote from my best friend Wikipedia) "disposing of gum incorrectly by sticking them under places like chairs or tables." Yes, you heard that right - there is no chewing gum imported into Singapore, no chewing gum sold in Singapore, and you are not allowed to bring even one pack into the country with you for personal use - a little extreme, but, come to think of it, I don't think I saw much chewing gum on the street or anywhere for that matter;)

Just like any other densely populated city in the world, many of Singapore's hotels have tiny rooms, and ours (Hotel 1929) was no exception. I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the smallest hotel room I've ever stepped foot into - it was about the size of my childhood bedroom at my parent's house back in Chicago, except that included the bed, sink and bathroom area all in one. There was no closet, the bed took up all of the floor-space, and the toilet was in the shower, so you had to get the toilet wet when you showered... it was interesting.

Matt shocked at how tiny the room was

Our toilet/shower

Because of the very diverse population in Singapore, as expected, the religions vary quite a bit as well. The first day, we ventured out of our hotel in the morning and took a walk through Chinatown while looking for some Dim Sum breakfast, a Chinese meal that we took a liking to while in Hong Kong back in April. The first temple we came across was Buddhist.

Outside the temple

Me with the burning incense

Inside the temple - there were a ton of people worshiping, but they didn't seem to mind us taking photos as long as we were quiet

I wasn't allowed inside with just my dress on, so to enter, I had to wear a borrowed shawl and long skirt

Singapore is an incredibly expensive city with a whole lot of fancy cars - here is one of the Mercedes taxis

Colorful chopsticks in Chinatown

Painted, wooden bracelets for sale

I think one of the most impressive things about Singapore (for me, at least) was their architecture. There were some incredible buildings, unlike any I've ever seen before. This one that looks like a ship on top of three tall buildings is actually a monster casino called the Marina Bay Sands, and we kept seeing it everywhere we went.

Esplanade Theatres on the Bay - an enormous theatre, concert hall and mall that is said to be an architectural marvel for its spiky double domes - with the Singapore Flyer in the background

Matt at Esplanade

A lizard we found

Singapore riverfront skyline on the bridge

The Merlion is the mascot of Singapore - the fish body represents Singapore back when it was a fishing village, and the lion head represents Singapore's original name "Singapura", meaning "Lion City"

Me drinking the water - everyone was doing it - it wasn't just me! :)

Matt looks like he's throwing up

Merlion Kiss

Singapore City Hall

Have you ever heard of a "Singapore Sling"? Okay, well I hadn't before planning this trip, but that may just be due to the fact I'm not much of a drinker. Anyway... there's this alcoholic beverage called the "Singapore Sling" that was invented by a bartender working at the Long Bar inside the Raffles Hotel in Singapore back in 1915. Today, you can visit the iconic Long Bar inside the hotel and actually have a Sling there. Yes, they may cost you the ridiculous price of 24 Singapore Dollars (about $18 USD) per drink, but that's the price of good tourism I guess:)

It was really tasty (not $18 tasty, but we only got one!) and the bar is pretty cool - the kind you get free peanuts and throw the shells on the ground

The Singapore Flyer is another icon of Singapore. While it is technically called an "observation wheel", it is very similar to a ferris wheel. In fact, it is currently the tallest ferris wheel in the world, reaching 42 stories high! There are 28 capsules that each hold 28 people - we must have gone during a slow time, because it was just us with one other couple in our capsule! An interesting fact about the Singapore Flyer: it was originally rotating in a counter-clockwise direction when viewed from across the marina, however, it was changed to rotate in the opposite direction after Feng Shui masters advised to do so.

Nearing the top of the Flyer

City from the top

We got to take a river boat cruise at night down the Singapore River, which gave us some gorgeous views of the city all lit up. It dropped us off at the nightlife area in Singapore - Clarke Quay & Riverside Point

Eating dinner along the river at Jumbo Seafood...

...where the waiters tie your bibs on for you;)

We got a few things that were delicious - one being the Chili Crab - one of Singapore's most popular meals. It was spicy, but really good!

Stay tuned for more fun from Singpore!



  1. Wow! How exciting! So glad to now have visitted Singapore! Good Job sharing!
    Question - press for green man? And....?
    Who took the "Merlion" kissing picture?
    Great jump Cortnie! Along with great Photography! Quite the world travelers! God is Great! xo from Don too! (who read alongside with me)