Welcome to the cleanest city in the world. Home of the littering law that could land you a fine of $2000, $4000, or even $8000! Chewing gum is a big no-no as well so everyone that has been through Singapore with some in their bag, congratulations on being an international smuggler, the title will look great on your resume. Upon my arrival I only changed $20 USD to SGD for my use as this was the first city where I anticipated to successfully use my credit card for the majority of my transactions. To get to downtown Singapore I didn’t have to take a taxi or shuttle, rather I proceeded to the basement where the statewide metro was waiting. The Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) system is a fantastic system that I relied on during my stay. In addition to all its glory and cleanliness, the system offers a tourist pass for 1, 2, or 3 day intervals for $10, $16, and $20 respectively. I picked up the 3 day card and was on my way without any trouble. After short 50 minute ride to Chinatown I arrived at my stop and dropped off my luggage before heading out for my first tourist stop, the Singapore Flyer.
The second largest in the world by only 2 metres, this ferris wheel offers a fantastic panoramic view of the city and harbour. This was also the moment I discovered the panoramic feature on my camera. The Flyer completes one full rotation every 30 minutes which was plenty of time to enjoy the ride. After the flyer I walked over to the Marina Sands Bay Resort. This complex includes a casino, 3 towers of rooms, over 300 luxury shops, 8 celebrity restaurants, an indoor artificial water canal, and the list goes on. At the cost over 1 billion dollars to complete it was the first casino resort built in Singapore. To give you an idea of how profitable an operation this place is, the 2014 3rd quarter financials posted a $287 million net profit. Cha-Ching folks. I was able to enjoy a nice sunset before heading inside to look for a forex to pick up some currency for my next destinations. I was surprised to find out that every forex in Singapore only took cash and did not take a debit card. The other tidbit that I was unaware of was that most forex branches do not sell every currency they are willing to purchase. In the end I found a spot in the SMRT that had every currency that I required for my future journey. My first night at the Adler Hostel was a pleasant one considering I was in a dorm of 20 beds. This hostel was advertised as a boutique hostel with breakfast and other “high end” amenities, its a hostel after all. Reception was helpful with everything I asked about and my dorm was quiet and cool. For the price I payed the downside was the spotty wifi and lack of any protein for breakfast as only bread, jam, and juice was offered.
Day two started with a duck boat tour of the inner harbour. A short 45 minute tour that I found difficult to understand due to the loud engine but was still an enjoyable outing. After a quick bite to eat I walked over to the Gardens by the Bay behind MBS. These gardens are home to a Cloud Garden and Flower Garden. The Cloud Garden was my favourite of the buildings with both of the structures allowing the entire weight of the exterior walls to be supported without a single internal column. On the inside of the Cloud garden is a 7 story waterfall and an environment that harbours plants and flowers that only grow in the rare moist climates on the tops of mountains. For a place that I thought was going to be a total bust, it turned out to be my favourite spot in Singapore. Gardners and gardens apparently like each other. After smelling the roses (there weren’t any if you are keeping score) I headed over to little India to find some dinner. I stopped at a great local spot and enjoyed some northern Indian delicacies. I feel like a fool because the cost to stuff my face with great food was less than a single beer. No matter I enjoyed my meal and almost returned the next day for a repeat meal.
My third day was spent sorting out my final details for the up coming week. First I visited the airline’s office to ensure my tickets were correct. I learned that I would need to purchase a larger carry on bag to help divert some of the total weight in my checked bag to lower my overweight charge for my final flight into Boracay. I was able to find a bag with wheels for $16 that as it would turn out saved me about $50 in baggage fees. I headed home and packed my bags to minimize my baggage charge before seeing one more touristy spot, Sentosa Island. I arrived just before dusk and was treated to some lovely colours in the sky as I walked across the bridge to the island. As you can imagine the prices on the island were sky high with the exception of one restaurant that I was able to get a full meal for less than $20 SGD. Once done my evening stroll it was back to the hostel to wait for my 3 am shuttle to the airport. That’s right, the highly praised SMRT subway is not a 24 hour beast but the shuttle was reasonably priced at $9 SGD and only took 17 minutes at that time of day.
Looking back at the modern giant of the east, 3 days was good amount of time to see the major highlights of the city, Chinatown was the perfect spot to stay in the city as it is very central to everything touristy, take a couple hours and do the Gardens by the Bay, and most of all don’t litter. The crime is not worth the dime.