Wednesday 1 February 2012

WT - Singapore

We made our flight with a half our to spare after the Cape Town ticket fiasco (my own fault though.) The flight to Singapore from Johannesburg was only 10 hours but in 'Economy' with howling kids it feels more like 10 days - Neither of us got any sleep at all!

Apart from some serious jet-lag we arrived in a sweltering Singapore tired but well and caught a cab to our hotel, the Pan Pacific. I had tried to book the Marine Sands Hotel (The new one with the sky walk shaped like a boat above the three towers) but the prices were just ridiculous. The Pan Pacific is a great hotel and although quite pricey it is really good value for money (and we managed to get a really good deal online - well worth the effort.)

The views of the bay, city, flyer etc. from the 28th floor were spectacular. I loved the fact that the hotel is connected to four mall's and three other world class hotels just off the bay. This meant we could go shopping in air conditioned comfort without exiting a building. Most of our shopping was window shopping only due to the Cape Town incident. I had planned to buy an SLR Camera, E-book, Tablet and Laptop and had been saving for this special treat - whats that they say about the best laid plans of mice and men? Ahh well, everything happens for a reason!

The thing that really stood out for me in Singapore was the absolute cleanliness which was made even more noticeable due to the complete lack of graffiti. During our world tour the cities that really looked seedy because of graffiti were Rome, Paris, Brisbane and Toowoomba in that order, worst first. In my opinion the most livable city we visited was Vancouver in Canada but more about this at a later date.

Back to our Singapore visit and the place to shop is of course the famous 'Orchid Road' with a complete who's who of international retailer's along a few kilometer stretch of road. Singapore is really quite a small country at less than 800 square kilometers so it stands to reason that Singapore city is all high rise with some of the tallest buildings in the southern hemisphere. Housing too is pretty dense with high rise apartments as far as the eye can see. Only the wealthy can afford their own home (mansion) and the land that goes with these home's. The same goes for car ownership, a luxury for the wealthy. I think most Aussie's would have a problem with the thought of having to purchase via, auction the right to own a vehicle for five years maximum. This right of ownership is renewable at astronomical rates particularly if the vehicle is not brand new and can cost SGD10K per annum so you would want to ensure that the ride was at least worth the cost.

Once we started to recover a little from the jet-lag we booked a couple of days worth of tour's with 'City Sightseeing' which included a few optional extra's - this is still the most economical way to find one's way about and learn a little about the sights at the same time. We spent quite a lot of time on the water and even more at the botanical gardens. I have to say Singapore has the perfect climate for over 6000 beautiful orchids on display in the 'National Orchid Garden'.

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