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 DAY THREE & FOUR - Singapore

Previous Blogs: Day 1 Tokyo | Day 2 Tokyo | Day 3 & 4 Singapore | Day 5 Singapore | Day 6 Ho Chi Minh City | Day 7 Ho Chi Minh City & Tunnels

Day 8 Can Tho | Day 9 Floating Market | Day 10 Flower Market | Day 11 Hoi An | Day 12 My Son Temple | Day 13 Hanoi | Day 14-16 Halong Bay

Day 17 Luang Prabang | Day 18 Temples-Waterfalls | Day 19 Mekong River | Day 20-21 Bagan | Day 22 Bagan | Day 23 Inle | Day24-25 Inle

Click photos for a larger image...

Day three was spent traveling to Singapore. Up at 7am and then fast train to the airport and an 8 hour flight to Singapore. Plane was a Boeing 777 300ER, which is their newest one which is comfortable and has a state of the art entertainment system even in economy with over 150 movies plus TV shows on a 10 inch monitor, USB and power chargers at every seat, the works. Was a comfortable flight.

We arrived in Singapore at 6 PM to a blistering 93 degrees(33 Celsius for my Metric friends) with 80% humidity making the feels like 107 degrees (41 Celsius). What a shock after Tokyo's 55 degrees (12 Celsius)!

There is only a 1 hour time difference between Tokyo and Singapore as most the travel was south rather than West, which makes it a 13 hour time difference to home in Florida.

From Singapore we no longer have to find our way to our hotel, as our custom package included a personal pickup and drop off at the hotel - which our room is pictured on the left.

All we had time for was a quick stroll to the night market for street food for dinner and the local Seven Eleven for beers.

The night market is right next to our hotel and pretty crazy busy! We soon realized that Singapore lacks the discipline of Japan! NO rules, push and shove, no "Walk left" it's just a free for all.

Breakfast at the hotel was included and I decided that even though the hotel provides both an American breakfast and and Asian, I would forgo the bacon and eggs and spread my horizon by eating like the locals, so after various items including egg noodles, shrimp dumplings and curried potatoes, I was ready for the day!  It was a short walk to where we could pick up the Hop on - Hop off bus, which we have always found to be the best way to see a city. We bought 48 hour tickets as we are here for 2 days and they cost Sing$49 each which is about $34. There is 1.4 Singapore $ to 1 USD. Money well spent as that covers all transport for 2 days in an expensive city.

The hotel gave us a FREE smart phone to carry with us which actually turned out to be very useful as it had GPS on it and it helped us several times to get out bearings when we felt lost, or look something up on Google such as prices to local attractions. 3G internet was also free in the hotel.

The first thing that impresses you about Singapore is the skyline, the buildings are not only impressive but unusually designed and, as I am a lover of architecture, I was mesmerized.


Nope, this is NOT trick photography, this is the way it looks from the street. Due to the triangular design it looks as if this sky scraper is only an inch thick from certain angles!

The island of Singapore is one of the smallest countries in the world, it is only 26 miles long by 14 miles wide with a population of 5.4 million people, mostly Chinese (60%) and the balance being Indian and Malay.

Due to the lack of land, they have been reclaiming from the sea, and 25% of Singapore is reclaimed land. In fact one of the main roads is called Beach Road, but it is now more than 2 miles away from the beach! All soil to reclaim the land was imported which makes real estate on the island outrageously expensive! 80% of the people live in government "subsidized housing" - which means they can buy a 99 year lease on a 3 bed apartment from the government for about US$250,000. Everyone else has to buy their condos outright, which start at about US$2 million and go up from there.

We went to the botanical gardens for lunch, which brings me to my next point. Singapore is both cheap and VERY expensive. Street food and clothing is dirt cheap - you can buy a huge meal for $3 on any corner. But they have "sin" tax - alcohol is ridiculous - $15 for a cheap bottle of wine and $40 for a 750ml bottle of whiskey. Cigarettes are $9 a pack.

Singapore is a "fine" city - they fine you for, smoking, chewing gum, littering and even for not flushing the toilet. While this is true, the laws are on the books, but they are seldom enforced. To be honest we saw littering everywhere, and the city is certainly not dirty, but nowhere near as clean as Tokyo. Smoking was no issue even though you cannot bring cigarettes into the country without paying duty on them. We declared our one pack and were told OK, just smoke it in the hotel.

Restrooms are everywhere and pretty clean - Singapore, like Japan, is NOT a 3rd World Country. The only thing they do take seriously is drugs - any possession of a controlled substance more than deemed personal use carries the DEATH sentence.

Chewing gum is not only illegal but the sale or purchase of chewing gum has huge fines!

Of course we had to go to the world famous Orchard Road - where the world goes to shop. Basically the entire island is just one huge shopping mall. What you see at street level is just a very small portion, the malls extend underground linking each other for miles and even up in the air with air bridges linking them. Electronics and designer clothes are the main things people shop for.

You can take a ride in a glass enclosed Ferris wheel for $30 for 30 mins - Uh... no! I am not paying that much money to be terrified.

Or you can drive a super car for a 20 minute spin around the block - I did not bother asking how much that would cost!!



And we went to Suntec City's "Fountain of Wealth" - yip, they are not in the least embarrassed about the absolute opulence displayed on every corner of the city.

This fountain is built on multi-levels and underground, yes, you guessed it, is yet another multi-level mall with countless stores, bars and restaurants. But, as you can see below, you can go out and play in the fountain!

We arrived back at our hotel at 7 pm and decided to once again brave the street market for dinner.

I had three types of food: sausage (on a stick), chicken meat loaf (on a stick) and chicken wrapped in seaweed (on a stick)!!

Wendy had a chicken and potato pie and we finished it off with fresh fruit, cost us about $7 for everything!

This is probably not the sign I would have used to promote my soup - I cannot think that would increase sales at all!!! Why on God's earth are people lining up for it?


And finally....



If you live on a tiny island with minimal space....



... then you absolutely HAVE to build the SMALLEST McDonald's EVER!!!