Friday, 6 May 2016

A JEWEL OF THE EAST

Arriving in Singapore, the weather was amazing, the streets were clean and the taxi driver was super friendly, but we got a wonderful surprise when we arrived at our hotel, the Shangri-La, to find we had been upgraded to a mini-suite with a fantastic view, and even better, membership of the Horizon Club, which meant free cocktails and canap├ęs. We were also totally bemused by the fact that they change the carpet in the lift each day – just so you don’t get confused about which day it is!


Shangri-La Hotel 

Singapore is a very safe city – probably because those who commit crime are harshly dealt with - so we walked to the main shopping/eating area for our first evening, dining on a mixture of Asian and European cuisine.  Our first day was spent sightseeing in the city, shopping in the colourful stalls, window shopping in the numerous designer shops, and visiting the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, which gave us some indication of the rich history of Singapore and its immigrant population.

As it had been my 60th birthday, one of my gifts had been an afternoon tour followed by the highlight of Singapore – afternoon tea at Raffles Hotel.  The tour included a museum visit, a boat ride and the main event – tea and cocktails at Raffles – which did not disappoint.  We ate in the Tiffin Room, and the choice of food was amazing! From din sum to hot sponge puddings, scones and cakes – you could help yourself from the buffet, but then plates of delicious sandwiches and cakes were also served at the table.

Raffles Hotel 

Afternoon tea at Raffles Hotel 

We just had to indulge in a Singapore Sling cocktail, since this was where it was first created, though it was ridiculously expensive. 
We love the story that in 1915 women were not allowed to drink in public, so bartender Ngiam Tong Boon created a drink which looked like fruit juice so that the women could enjoy a little tipple in the Long Room bar along with the chaps!

Famous Singapore Sling

We had been advised to visit the bar at the amazing Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which has three towers with a “ship” style bar/restaurants and swimming pool across the towers.  I’m ashamed to say that both of us are phobic about heights, and once we got up to the top deck, decided it wasn’t for us and came straight back down again.  However, the crowds seemed to be enjoying themselves, so don’t let our experience put you off!

Sands Hotel 

Down at ground level, we watched a light and water show – no idea how they managed to project moving pictures onto jets of water, but it was fairly amazing! 

View of Sands Hotel and Marina Bay 

Marina Bay 

We also managed to fit in a spot of shopping (of course) and found so many designer shops - every mall seemed to have the same couture designers, with many of the shopping centres being underground. There were also local markets where we picked up a bargain or two.

River Front 
We also managed the boat trip around a small marina which doubles up as a water arena for sports and special events.  The trip included a visit to a pewter factory and a museum detailing the colonial influences and the history of Singapore as a trading port.  Singapore was British controlled for many years and an outpost for many of the UK British Forces following the war, so everyone speaks English, and there were plenty of taxis to get about since Singapore is quite spread out.



We ran out of time so didn’t manage the night safari, but other guests told us it was well worth a visit. 

Anne H was lucky enough to go back to Singapore late last year, this time staying at the Pan Pacific Hotel which overlooks the Bay.  She has a few additional recommendations to add to - firstly, would be a visit to Gardens by the Bay which is right next door to the Sands Hotel on the waterfront.


She would also recommend eating at Burnt Ends on Teck Lim Road, for an amazing Australian BBQ inspired meal, sat at countertop seating watching all the action in the kitchen.   Really worth a visit.  She also visited Clarke Quay which is on the riverfront and great for outdoor eating in a relaxed atmosphere.  Her daughter, Lizzy, has a vlog on the trip including footage for the gardens and restaurant - link here lizzy hadfield you tube.

Burnt Ends Resaurant

And for a touching mother and daughter moment - they both have photos in the same seating in Raffles Hotel but over a year apart. Anne thinks Lizzy does it with a touch more style and grace.




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6 comments

  1. Fabulous photos. The hotels look like something out of sci-fi. It would be handy to have carpet changes at work. A countdown to Friday

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    1. Thank you so much Anna. It really is a stunning city with lots of gardens and greenery and so so clean and safe. I could do with that carpet at home - but then who would change it each day!
      Have a good weekend.

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  2. What a stunning place. I have never been to the Far East. It looks like a film set
    Have a lovely time

    H

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    1. It really was the trip of a lifetime Heather, and something I had wanted to do for years and achievable thank to my lump sum payout from my pension! I can honestly say it really was very probably a one-off but would absolutely love to go back if the opportunity ever arose! (Anne C).

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  3. This looks amazing! Your photos are so beautiful and it looks like you had a fantastic time.
    I have only ever been to Singapore once and for a very short time - yet I still remember the cocktails at the Raffles hotel!
    Thanks for sharing these fantastic memories :)

    http://www.thevelvetrunway.com

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    Replies
    1. We had an amazing time and got quite a taste for Singapore Slings! Thank you so much for following our story and commenting.

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