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Singapore Swing – first impressions

February 5, 2009

Deciding on what to write about first Brunei or Singapore, was one of the biggest decisions for me today. As I’m sitting in a cafe in Brunei it seems only natural that I tell you a little about this charming country. But first things first. Singapore was my entry point into this corner of SE Asia, and also the first time I actually stepped out of Singapore airport and into the swing of the city.

I could write about the wonders of the shopping, the gastronomic delights and entertainment, things which you will regularly find in guidebooks, but I want to share with you a glimpse into the heart and soul of the city. The impressions I found while walking around the centre, moving between subway stops and popular markets – these first impressions will be lasting.

Singapore is a place of constant change. Without compromising its history, it has preserved its charm. Without dividing and ruling, life co-exists harmoniously.All these are of course to the foreign eye. Locals may differ in their views.

Old meets new

by Cate

by Cate

Just off Orchard Road, where shoppers wander the shiny plazas and high-end hotels live, there lies a quiet area full of some of the best kept gems in Singapore – Emerald Hill. Historical shop-houses all beautifully conserved, dwell in tranquility. What seems a million miles away from busy Orchard Road, is in fact, right next door.

East meets West

by Cate

by Cate

Chinatown is brimming with markets, noise and western style shopping centres. In the heat of the afternoon you can find solace in one of these cool centres, or endure the temperature and humidity, and browse through the numerous markets scattered around the area. Being the end of the Lunar New Year, the district is richly decorated and coloured in all things red, orange or yellow. Chinatown is all about colour.

Hustle attracts bustle

by Cate

by Cate

Sometimes life in cities like Singapore creates a type of business where the flowers often go unnoticed. And there is an abundance of colourful flora around Singapore. If you are like me and live in a grey monochrome city, you really notice the beauty when you come upon it. Even if it is in a market.

Observing is a way of life

by Cate

by Cate

Singaporean elderly know when to stop and watch, and when to participate. Some of the friendliest elderly around (to me). I was taken by their humour and interest in others. Given that Singapore is a popular tourist destination, the people have not forgotten who they are and show a genuine interest in their visitors. Hats off to Singaporeans on this one.

Just from walking around for several long hours was I able to capture these moments and impressions. I do plan on bringing to you more indepth stuff when I return to Singapore in a couple of weeks.

My next post will be impressions part two – done with a twist.

Caffeinated Traveller

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10 Comments
  1. February 5, 2009 5:39 pm

    I’ve often thought about Singapore, but wondered if it might be a bit too urban for a guy like me. I’ll look forward to hearing more!

  2. February 6, 2009 12:59 am

    This is untouched territory for me. I’m quite interested in all your impressions (and photos!). Have fun!

  3. Bear permalink
    February 6, 2009 2:50 am

    Singapore — it has such an exotic cache. I’m glad to see that you’ve found non touristed places with elegant charms of their own.

  4. February 6, 2009 3:44 am

    Nice and iinformative travel blog you have here. If you like rustic & idyllic places you must visit Malaysia, especially the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo

  5. February 6, 2009 12:12 pm

    W Justin – Hi! It depends on what type of place makes you comfortable. If crowds are not your thing than this place may not be for you. But there are some beaches and outer islands you can visit. If you have a stopover in Singapore, even for a few hours, you can take a bus trip around the city without having to deal with the crowds.

    Heather hello! Singapore is also new for me. I know its airport so well but this is the first time through it. It is a good city to experience Asia without going in too deep. Places like Seoul and Tokyo even Beijing can be daunting. Singapore isn’t because of its English history and language. Great food 🙂

    Bear – Hello! Yes if there is a person who can find non touristed places, that would be me. I usually go on the opposite direction. But there are good things to see in tourist spots as well.

    Dance A – Welcome and thanks for your comment and tip. Malaysia is on the trip, in fact I will be heading to KL tomorrow Saturday. Wish I could stay in Borneo longer but I have plans to travel to Cameron Highlands and east. Now I’m on Borneo in Brunei, I can imagine how wonderful the rest of the island must be.

  6. February 6, 2009 9:15 pm

    That McD’s picture makes me wonder what type of foreign menu items they have. I’ve hunted down all number of them around the world. Maybe not the best use of travel – but…

  7. February 6, 2009 11:30 pm

    Thank you for sharing your photos and experiences. I look forward to reading your posts. Wishing you well.

  8. February 7, 2009 12:28 pm

    Previously bitten: hi yes it sounds as though your travels had a purpose. That would have made a great book. If I head back to Chinatown I’ll check out the menu for you.

    Marlene – hi again nice to see you back.

  9. February 7, 2009 11:26 pm

    Funny, Singapore has long been one of my less favorite cities in Asia (though it does have great food). I guess I like my urban experiences to be more tinged with chaos. But your description of it is appealing. Kind of makes me want to go back.

    • February 8, 2009 12:18 am

      I can see Bangkok or Saigon being ones you like. After visiting many big cities in SE Asia, Singapore is definitely the most organised one I have been in. And it makes for a refreshing change. Yes the food is very very good.

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