We flew Singapore Air from Johannesburg, South Africa to Perth, Australia not only to get a slightly cheaper fare, but also because Singapore Air offered a very nice stay over package. They transport you from the airport to the hotel and back again; they provide transportation around the city; and they offer discounts on many tours and activities.
This is an overview of Singapore from the aerial tram station to Sentosa Island (kind of a local Disneyland) on top of Mt. Farber. This was one of the stops on our "city tour".
Walt took this panorama in Chinatown. I don't really remember these buildings leaning like this, but I noticed they seem to as well in the photos making up the composite!
Here's a closer look down the street; one of the few, non pristine areas of Singapore. Singapore is VERY clean and modern. It was extremely non threatening environment. We were not accosted by beggars at all. In fact, Lois Rixner tells me it's illegal to beg. (The pristineness was also a turnoff for us after a very short time. There doesn't seem to be anything old in Singapore! It seemed to lack a sense of history. And, what little there was was preserved by moving people out, renovating and then reopening for shopping.)
One of the freebies with the package was a half hour river tour on one of the boats you see on the river above. On the left is the merlion, the symbol of Singapore. On the right, some of the skyline from below.
A floating restaurant provides just one of seemingly thousands of eating places along the river.
Back to the city tour. The city tour was a bit different from any we'd been on before in that it mostly took us to places where we could shop and then gave us time to do so. Here we're back in the Chinatown area beside the Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. We couldn't enter the temple but were given time to shop in the many Chinese shops in the area.
We also visited the two temples above that were virtually next door to each other.
And, of course, were given time here, you guessed it to shop.
Now, the really interesting shopping stop to us was the last one at a gem factory, where among other things, artisans create extremely large and elaborately detailed pictures out of semiprecious stones.
On the left is a close up of a tiger from one of the big pictures and on the right a statue of an eagle.
They also had magnificent globes made of semiprecious stones. We were told they take a year to construct.
Lois, who lived in Singapore for a while, told us that the food stalls were not to be missed. We actually had a hard time finding any that exist in the form she knew them as most have moved to the basements of the many shopping malls. But there was one outside the gates to the Botanical gardens. Everything we had to eat was scrumptious! Thanks, Lois!
Speaking of things to eat. We were surprised about how many "American" things we could find in Singapore, including Ben and Jerry's in the supermarket! Food was generally quite inexpensive and available just about anywhere you went.
Here's some photos from our visit to the Botanical Gardens.
Go on to Part Ib - Day Trip to Malaysia
Nan Schaller's and Walt Bankes' Sabbatical Page