After an excitable visit to Kuala Lumpur, I checked out my hostel and headed to the main bus terminal to catch a ride to Singapore. The bus was a mere £10 for a 6-hour journey, but came equipped with a full in-built massaging seat and personalised televisions, with legroom that could have accommodated the tallest man in the world!
Having checked into my first shared dorm room of my journey on Dunlop Street on the outskirts of the city centre, I quickly showered and headed downtown. I only had the afternoon and the following morning in Singapore; but to be honest, it was more than enough, especially seeing as it was one of the most expensive places I’ve ever been to.
Upon wandering into town towards Raffles City and Marina Bay Sands, I noticed immediately how the streets were immaculate, without a single piece of litter in sight, the streets so clean it almost seemed like they’d just completed tarmacking the place. There was no gum stuck to the pavements. No leaves on the ground. It even felt like there wasn’t even a speck of dust in the air.
Expensive cars casually breezed through the long boulevards lined with tall skyscrapers similar to Kuala Lumpur. It was a city that lacked any kind of suburban feeling, one full of wealth and grandeur. A city built heavily on its rich Central Business District of 6 Battery Road and the UOB Plaza – areas full of financial institutions and corporate dividends. Having come from impoverished parts of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, this was a heavily contrasting world. Restaurants and bars would line the glitzy streets full of businessmen and women darting about in meticulous suits. Lunchtime dinners were accompanied by overpriced cocktails and aperitifs. A bar I walked past near the UOB Plaza even had an overly priced Happy Hour – a bottle of beer for $12SGD (roughly £6) or a Whiskey Bottle for $158SGD (roughly £85). Money was no objective here.
Aside from the city’s obvious financial prowess, it still offered an endearing experience – albeit, a complete contrast from other areas of South-East Asia. It had a romantic feeling to it and felt extremely safe. The Cavenagh Bridge backing onto 6 Battery Road is a beautiful piece of engineering. The towering buildings of the UOB Plaza with the human ants darting through their shadows were breath-taking sight to see, especially by night. The meandering river canals splitting the island offer a peaceful romantic setting for a leisurely stroll.
The bright saturated colours of Chinatown and Pagoda Street in the evening brought with it the most exciting of the atmospheres, with traditional housing host to cafes, restaurants and drinking holes together with traditional food hawker stalls lining the streets offering all kinds of delicacies. The streets were narrower and quaint, the atmosphere tranquil and welcoming.
But with prices still astronomically high, much of the joys of Singapore for me were seen street side. A trip to the luxury shopping district in Orchard Street gave me a glimpse at the glamorous brands such as Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana decorating the streets in lush stores.
But the glitz was all too much for me on this kind of trip – it ticked off the box to have seen the famous Singapore skyline, but I looked forward to what was to come next.
Time Out Singapore
Venere Travel Blog – Singapore Street Markets
Travel CNN – Singapore Buildings
More Photography :
“The Photography Collection” by Antematters