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Exploring More of Singapore Feb 21 - Mar 22, 2015

Exploring More of Singapore

GPS waypoint: 1°17'02.5"N 103°51'34.7"E
Location: Singapore

On a Shoestring
For the most part, my 30-day stay in Singapore was spent catching up on work to stay afloat. But when the mind starts drifting and I couldn't get anything done anymore, it's my mind telling me I should take a break and enjoy Singapore. With very little cash left and with Singapore Tourism turning my request down for logistical assistance for the marketing campaign I was doing for the city, I was left to explore the free stuff. So, the expensive tours (well, all tours in Singapore are expensive given the city's high cost of living), like Singapore Flyer (giant ferries wheel), the Night Safari, paid Sentosa attractions, etc. became off limits. It's all good. Singapore has a lot in store for the budget traveler.

The Stadium (Singapore Sports Hub)
From a distance, it looked like an oversized UFO landing on a field. I thought it was just another sports arena where you see jocks run around the oval and that's it. I was in for a surprise! It was a big complex complete with a mall, a lake, kiddie swimming pool, rubber tire-raft pool, skateboard park, restaurants, cafe, recreational centers, chill zones, etc. You could spend a day just exploring the complex.

skateboard park no selfie sticks...only in Singapore running tracks on the circular perimeter the futuristic-looking stadium looks more like a UFO landing
this is wide enough for a tractor trailer but it's only a footbridge from the stadium crossing the highway below the stadium has a retractable roof these kids were lining up since last night...for a One Direction concert! there is a newly constructed rubber raft area where an artificial current takes you full circle
part of the stadium fronts a lake kiddie pool grand view of Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer oversized trash bins around the cannot miss it!

Arab Street
I haven't been to Marakesh, but from the lingering impression from what I've read and with what I experienced and saw at Arab Street, I somehow felt I made the trip to Marakesh. Arab Street isn't just a street, but more of a Middle Eastern neighborhood where you can experience the Islamic culture through its halal restaurants, mosques, cafes and shophouses lining up its streets. People looking for textiles and Persian carpets come here.

an aromatic shop aromatic shop (2) many trendy restos in Arab Street, but cheap good eats can be had for $3
a pre-nup pictorial? joining-in with awkward landing animated alley on Arab Street

Sentosa is a huge 5km2 fantasy/adventure theme park located on its own island and accessible through a causeway, board walk, cable car or its in-house monorail system. It is so big you'll need a few days to fully explore it. There is a dollar entrance and you can roam around the island. The individual attractions however, are fee-based. It has a 2km beach, golf courses, a dozen hotels, Fort Siloso and its own lagoon. For attractions, you can find the Universal Studios, Tiger Sky Tower, Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom, Sentosa Merlion, MegaZip Adventure Park, etc. I was lucky to be given free tickets to watch the Wings of Time. It's a dazzling water show with lasers, pyrotechnics and visual projections resembling a hologram woven together together as a stage act with 2 actors. It's the first time I saw a water-wall used as a projection screen to animate a story.

Universal Studios in Sentosa Arc de Universal Studios Singapore giant Botero sculptures Wings of Time show
the 2 actors are real, but the props are all light projection the head of the bird is light projected on a wall of water! harbour entry to Sentosa attractions nearby Sentosa
wide open space for a boardwalk leading to Sentosa fascinating woodscape kids frolicking on a dancing water fountain trampoline-bouncing on a harness

Little India
Like Kuala Lumpur, Singapore has a Little India, predominantly occupied by Tamils. You can take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood and help yourself to its offering of Indian cuisine, spices, Indian groceries, music and culture. As a footnote, as late as Dec 2013, a riot broke out here after the death of an Indian construction worker who was ran over by a bus.

food court in the market at Little India freshly baked Naan bread chapati bread booth
Naan bread and Dosha = $2 Indian flower shop value-priced clothing
night market scene vegetables in the market are no different from the typical Asian market Indian cuisine from all parts of India are represented in Little India

It would seem odd to have a Chinatown in a city-state where up to 75% of the population is Chinese. It's kinda like looking for Chinese food when you are in China. Like any Chinatown in the world, it's the best place to have Chinese food (hmmm...again, Singapore is an exception since you get very good Chinese food anywhere in Singapore) and get a sense of the traditional Chinese community. To most outsiders, Chinatown is Chinatown. But to the ethnic Chinese, Chinatown has its own quarters for the Hokkiens (Fukiens), the Teochew merchants and the ubiquitous Cantonese - they know where the demarcation lines are drawn. Chinatown has its own share of guilds, clans, trade unions, secret societies and associations which are collectively associated somehow to the Chinese mafia. The shophouses are an architectural mix of Baroque and Victorian, but you have to look at them from across the street to notice.

night market in Chinatown cheap stuff an Indian (Tamil) pagoda in the middle of Chinatown New Year lanterns parade the streets
always good eats in Chinatown Chinese food staple - roast chicken, roast pork, etc. fried chicken wings spring fritters, prawn cracker, etc.
pagoda? residence? but grand new shophouses? they look quaint and elegant a Lamborghini and a Bentley...just on a dark street expat center in Chinatown (or just near Chinatown?)

Orchard Street
While I was walking along the main drag in Orchard Street with Mat Schiller, an American traveler I met in Cambodia, he said, "Let's go back. I was hoping we just keep walking until the malls end and then we turn back. But I'm already tired and there's no end in sight." You would think that is unique about Orchard Street, but actually, I have the same observation about the mall system of Singapore. The malls are interconnected that it's hard to know at what mall you're already in. And yes, they extend from here to eternity. Alone, I would just keep walking and walking until I tire myself out - without covering the total extent of the mall complex. For starters, try Orchard Street. In New York, you'd be hard pressed to find a Louis Vuitton store. Here at Orchard, it won't be surprising to find two distinct stores from where you are standing.

meeting up with Matt and his girlfriend freshly baked Naan bread namebrands adorn the malls
panoramic shot of the malls dissolving installation mall lobby
Twinings Tea Shop unusual raw lumber decor on a high-end clothing shoppe...but it works Dragon Blade starring John Cusack and Jackie Chan

Ending Thoughts
Yes, even though it's expensive in Singapore, you can still find interesting and animated places that won't cost you anything. All it takes is a lot of leg power to cover a lot of ground. With its efficient and modern transport system, it's a breeze to get to anyone of them. It doesn't have to be limited to tourist attractions. Like I said, you can take any direction and at some point, you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you find - just don't look for natural wonders. They're all man-made marvels.

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: Surviving Singapore with very little cash

Google Map Singapore

tourist attractions in Singapore tourist attractions
  • Little India Little India - Little India is the main tourism hub in Singapore. Friday and Saturday nights become animated with the night market
  • Chinatown Chinatown -colorful and animated with Chinese ware shopping, sumptuous street food and hawker-style eats, try Ah Balling Peanut Soup
  • Orchard Road Orchard Road - upscale shopping and glitzy night life
  • Arab Street Arab Street - backpacker dorms, shisha smoking with Middle Eastern atmosphere
  • Singapore Zoo Singapore Zoo - experience the night zoo, S$38
  • Fountain of Wealth Fountain of Wealth - at Suntec City, largest fountain in the world (Guinness Book of Records in 1998), shop-til-you-drop
  • The Southern Ridges The Southern Ridges - best trekking trails in Singapore extending 10kms through lush forest canopy. Bring water, sunscreen and a hat
  • Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery - biggest Buddhist temple in Singapore
  • Marina Bay Sands Marina Bay Sands - Singapore's most iconic building and most expensive at US$5.5B. Imagine a surf board on top of three skyscrapers
hotels in Singapore hotel
  • Arcadia Hotel Arcadia Hotel - stylish, modern, urbane, cool and confident. Jalan Besar district
    32 Hamilton Road, Singapore 209201
    +65 6718 0700 | | 1°18'42.0"N 103°51'41.1"E
  • 7 Wonders Hostel 7 Wonders Hostel - backpacker community, sleeping capsules, free wifi, complimentary breakfast, live English Premier League, dining, motion sensor lighting, alfresco outdoor sitting area
    257 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208930
    tel: (+65) 6291 3774 | 1°18'36.2"N 103°51'29.8"E
  • Meadows Hostel Meadows Hostel - newly opened, all new and clean, backpacker capsule beds, central Lavender District location, 24/7 compli tea and coffee, wifi, compli breakfast
    7A Hamilton Road, Kallang, Singapore, Singapore 209178
    tel: 6298.1323 | 1°18'40.2"N 103°51'38.0"E

More Information about Singapore

Singapore Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Mini-Life in Singapore August 8-22, 2016
  2. Peoplescape of Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
  3. Discovering the Neighborhood Cafes of Singapore Aug 8-22, 2016
  4. Biological Cell Regulation (BCR) Therapy at Chang Wellness Aug 16, 2016
  5. Getting my Xiaomi Redmi Note3 Smart Phone Aug. 9, 2016
  6. A Roof Over my Head in Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
  7. 2-Hour Detention at Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority August 8, 2016
  8. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew Mar 23, 2015
  9. Life Hacking in Singapore Mar 22, 2015
  10. Exploring More of Singapore Feb 21 - Mar 22, 2015
  11. Power Yoga Class at Yoga Inc., Singapore Mar 21, 2015
  12. Touring Marina Bay Sands Mar 17, 2015
  13. The Singapore Magic Mar 16, 2015
  14. Singapore Yoga at Yoga Inc. Mar 8, 2015
  15. Singapore on a Shoe String Feb 20, 2015
  16. Things to do in Singapore Oct 20, 2013
  17. Singapore Girl July 21, 2013
  18. Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos Jan 26, 2003

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Feb 21 - Mar 22, 2015

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Singapore Hotels

Arcadia Hotel, Singapore
Arcadia Hotel
stylish modern hotel

7 Wonders Hostel, Singapore

7 Wonders Hostel
sleeping capsules

Meadows Hostel, Lavender, Singapore

Meadows Hostel
backpacker capsule beds