Changi Beach Vibes

I’ve been saying forever that I want to explore Singapore’s Changi area more.  And yet it’s somewhere I’ve still not seemed to reach.  Until now.  A ten to fifteen minute cab ride from Changi Airport, you find a very different side of Singapore.  A welcome distraction from the glitz of Orchard Road or the overpriced drinks of the Quays.  I almost feel reluctant to tell you about it.  It’s Changi Beach.

Tapping my EZLink card on the POS machine to pay for my fare (so handy), I hop out of the cab.  I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect upon arriving here, so I’m not sure where to head first.  The waterfront seems like a good idea.  A wooden boardwalk overlooks a jumble of boats, gently bobbing with the tide.  This is Changi Point Ferry Terminal and these boats will willingly whisk you away to Pulau Ubin (which I STILL haven’t made it to…).  All you have to do is wait til there’s enough people to fill the boat.  It’s a couple of bucks per ride, plus a little more if you are taking a bike with you, and the boats hold twelve people.  It’s all cash operated and there are no set departure times.

Ferry Terminal
Ferry Terminal
Idyllic
Idyllic

Alongside the terminal, is the Changi Point Coastal Walk, an easy 2.2km scenic walk.  Opposite the terminal, a small concrete bridge leads you to Changi Beach Park.  Here you’ll find a massive hand pointing to the sky (no idea what that’s about) and the site of the Changi Beach Massacre.  This place is relaxing and there are people dotted across the shoreline, enjoying each others company, fishing or just strolling.

Changi Beach Sculpture
Which way?
Changi Beach Massacre Plaque
Changi Beach Massacre Plaque

But if you aren’t heading out to Pulau Ubin (PU), or looking to chill along the beach, there’s plenty of places to eat.  It was hard to decide where to head for really.  The beachfront grill with the cool live tunes?  Or one of the no-doubt awesome local eateries which line the village or back up the road to the very retro Coastal Settlement?  But the afternoon heat was rolling in and as I lifted my sunnies to wipe away the sweat, one word caught my eye.  “Brewing”.  This word belonged to the Little Island Brewing Company and once I’d spotted that word, there was no turning back.

At LIBC, you purchase a card and top it up with cash and then you are ready to tap and drink from a range of local brews.

Little Island Brewing Co. Drinks Card
Little Island Brewing Co. Drinks Card

They also have a fair sized menu and lots of space to chill. And the beer is pretty damn good!

LIBC Brew
LIBC Brew

It’s definitely a place I’d love to come back to; perhaps next time I’ll be boarding one of those boats for my illusive PU trip!

Challenging the Norm About Pricey Singapore

Whenever I go to Singapore (haha, like ALL the time), people say to me “but Singapore’s so expensive!”.  I always answer like this:

Well, Number 1 – I come from Perth, so it doesn’t seem that expensive to me, about the same prices but with loads more choice, culture, art and things to do.

And Number 2 – You can actually make it as expensive or inexpensive as you like.  As long as you embrace the Singapore that is hiding away from glitzy Orchard Road.

Writing this article, I guessed it was time to put my money where my mouth is and given my current (un)employment situation, I am doing Singapore on the cheap.  Wanna know more?  Read on!

First things first – arrival.  Usually when I reach Changi Airport, I grab a cab to my hotel, which costs around SGD$25-30 (around the same cost in AUD).  However, given my tight budget this time around, I decided to make use of the new MRT line that runs from the airport into the city.  It’s not the most fuss free journey as you do have to stop at Tanah Merah and change lines, however for a couple of bucks, it suits me fine.

Next, where to stay in Singapore that won’t break the bank?

I scored a great deal and am paying just $12 for my two night stay at the Naumi Liora.  How on earth can I do that?  Well, I actually had a fair few Agoda Points saved up which allowed me to save big!  Ok, well not everyone may have Agoda Points and that’s fine – I like using Agoda for this reason, that because I do a bit of travel, the points do add up and it pays dividends for me.

You can still stay in Singapore without breaking the bank though.  How?

AirBNB is taking off in Singapore and the great thing about this is you can score yourself an apartment for a great price AND get to experience Singapore local style by staying in the suburbs.  Of course, there are plenty of apartments in the CBD as well.

Singapore has some great options in the way of hostels – over 83 of them in fact.  Check out a website like www.hostelworld.com and take a look at the options.

There are some great little hotels that are a little off the beaten track.  I hear you, you want to be near all the action, but honestly with Singapore’s amazing transport system, it won’t take you that long to get anywhere if you need to save some cash.  Besides, there’s more to Singapore than just Orchard Road.

Keep an eye out on accommodation websites like Agoda or Booking.com because you can honestly get some great deals.  I have stayed in some quite expensive hotels for around $200 per night because of a great deal.

Of course if you want a swimming pool, in-house dining options and to be right on the steps of an MRT station, then chances are you will be paying more.  A lot more.

My hotel, the Naumi Liora is housed in a gorgeously renovated heritage building, a row of Chinatown’s famous five footway buildings in fact.  I have a Heritage Single room which would normally retail for around SGD$150 per night.  It’s 2 MRT stops from Sentosa, close to Clarke Quay and Chinatown and a host of other places because of the MRT stops nearby.

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The room is not large, but I’m not here to spend all day in a room the size of the Taj Mahal, I come to explore and get out and about, so I don’t care how big the room is, only how comfy the bed is at the end of the day.

There is no pool and there’s no in-house dining.  BUT there’s a cool little snack bar with chips, biscuits, coffee and tea in the reception area and a quaint little garden area to chill.  AND there’s loads of restaurants and cafes around the area, so you really don’t need in-house dining.

Speaking of dining, it’s the price of alcohol that is likely to blow your budget the most in Singapore.  Grabbing a beer from a hotel or bar in Singapore can set you back about SGD$13 for a 330mL can/bottle so you’ll be enraptured at finding a long neck for about half the price here in Chinatown (try the Chinatown Seafood Restaurant on Pagoda Street).

Breakfast in Singapore doesn’t start until late (think 10/11am at most establishments) if you are after a Western Style meal.  But you can eat like a local at a much earlier time and for a much cheaper price if you head to a food centre – think under $5 against $20 for a cafe meal.  There’s also places like Kopitiam and Ya Kun Kaya Toast, where you’ll find just that (coffee, tea and kaya toast) for a decent price.  The best thing about all of these options is that you’ll be eating local.

There’s a bunch of things to do for free or next to nothing in Singapore.  Wander through Gardens by the Bay (you’ll need to pay to enter the domes), head to the Botanic Gardens for a picnic, stroll through one of the amazing ethnic quarters, watch a light show over the marina or head over to Sentosa Island (you’ll only need to pay for island admission).  Sometimes the museums and galleries will have a free entry day or if you are lucky enough to be in Singapore during one of the few open days – you can check out the beautiful grounds of the Istana.  Picking up an icecream from one of the carts along Orchard Road will only set you back about $1.20.  Plus, it doesn’t cost money to window shop.

So I start my second day in Singapore with no particular agenda, simply wandering the streets.  I really love the area that this hotel is in – full of beautiful heritage buildings with funky little shops popping up.  I meander through the streets taking in the day and watching people go about their lives on the little red dot.

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Before long I come across a little cafe called Free the Robot, which reminds me that I haven’t had breakfast.  I order up one of their sandwiches and their own brew iced coffee and grab a seat outside along the five footway.

Nice and full, I step inside the Indian Muslim Heritage Museum just up the road.  The museum has an interesting array of items and notes explaining the lives of the Indian Muslims in Singapore.  It’s a relatively new museum in Singapore, only having opened in 2015.

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Next stop is the National Gallery of Singapore.  This gallery is also new to Singapore having only recently opened and I especially want to see the Wu Ghuangzhou exhibit.  Unfortunately the exhibit is closed and being reconfigured but entry to the gallery today is free so I take the time to wander around and enjoy the works.  I think Singapore does galleries well and this one is no exception.

When visiting the National Gallery, you must go up to the roof area, especially for the views over the Padang and across to Marina Bay.

After spending a few hours at the Gallery, I reckon it’s about time for lunch and one place I’ve been dying to try for years now is Lau Pa Sat.  Also known as Telok Ayer Market, LPS is a food court nestled under a beautiful iron roof in the CBD.  Here you can wander around and choose whatever food takes your fancy before grabbing a seat under the fans to relax and chow down.  Plus you can get a great meal for an absolute fraction of the price of a western restaurant.  My meal came to around around $8 or so and that was for a beef and rice dish with soup and a pint of beer.

The rest of the afternoon I spent simply wandering, jumping on a train to Orchard Road to do some book shopping and just unwinding and getting ready for the trip home tomorrow.  Wine helps me do that, so I head to Clarke Quay to a little place called SQUE, which I frequent quite frequently for its drink specials.  This is usually a great place to grab 2-for-1 wines, beers or other drinks depending on the day and it has outdoor seating so you can sit opposite the colourful Clarke Quay and watch out over the river.

Yep, I think I’m ready to go home tomorrow…and boy, I can’t wait to work.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Road

Townhouse 50 has a great little breakfast.  There are fresh fruits and little spring rolls and dim sum, plus you get to choose one of a couple different main meals – usually some kind of eggs.  I’ve enjoyed my stay in this cute little place.

Several hours later, I arrive in Singapore and because of my budget constraints, I’m doing everything on the super cheap, which includes catching the train from the airport to my hotel.  By the time I arrive at the Naumi Liora, stepping in chewing gum along the way, I feel like the wreck of the Hesperus and am beginning to wish I’d sprung for a cab.  My room has the tiniest bathroom you’ve ever seen and I wonder if I’ll actually be able to get in the shower at all.  I do, and I emerge freshly cleaned and ready to explore the streets.

Being close to Christmas, the lights are strung up across Orchard Road, glittering away for all to see.  For six weeks each year, Orchard Road becomes a wonderland of twinkling lights, Christmas trees, stars and reindeers.  Each years display is different and more dazzling than the last.  This is my 3rd Christmas visit and it never fails to exite me like a little child.  I wish we had displays like this back home in Perth.

For dinner I jump on the MRT and head to Chinatown Food Street.  For a few years now, there’s been a salted egg yolk craze and each time I’ve tried to track down something to try, I’ve been out of luck.  I’m not leaving this time til I succeed, so it’s a good thing when I see a stall with salted egg yolk fried chicken.  Not the healthiest, but…oh well, you know.

The first thing I notice is that it’s incredibly salty.  And a little dry.  And probably should have some rice or something else with it.  When I think nobody is looking to notice that I’m leaving half a plate of food behind, I duck off to head back to my hotel.  After all the fresh flavours of Vietnam, this dish is just way too heavy and overpowering to make any great impressions on my palate.

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On the way, I spy an icecream stand with some interesting flavours on offer.  Chili crab icecream would be a fantastic thing to try, I think to myself, handing over a couple of dollars.

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Until I swallow the first spoonful and realise that no, no it is not.  I’ve really struck out with my menu choices tonight, which is strange for Singapore.  Maybe it’s just me and a good night’s sleep will fix everything.

Brunch and beauty

The road leading up to and around where Dempsey Hill is today, was named after General Sir Miles Christopher Dempsey. Dempsey had a decorated military career and earned a reputation for being an expert in combined operations. During 1945 he was the Commander in Chief of ALFSEA (the Allied Land Forces of South East Asia) and General Officer Commanding the Malaya Command headquartered in Singapore. Despite this incredible career, Dempsey is relatively unknown.

Amongst the grounds of Dempsey you will find the St George’s Church (still in use), the Tanglin Barracks (where’ll you find House), Ebenezer Chapel (which now houses the White Rabbit –go now!), the old Tanglin Military Hospital (houses Loewen by Dempsey Hill) and the Singapore Civil Service Sports Council’s Dempsey Clubhouse (houses Sam’s Curry).

The Tanglin Barracks originally consisted of thatched attap roofs with square columns, incorporating plenty of windows and doorways to let in as much fresh air as possible. Raised wooden floors and plank walls were used to keep the barracks breezy and went some way to help the English regiment combat the tropical heat, while open verandahs wrapped around each building.

My last visit was back on New Year’s Day 2014, our party of four nursing quite the collection of headaches from the previous nights’ revelry. Nevertheless, we LOVED the food. We LOVED the peace and quiet of Dempsey even better and it has become another one of those places I can’t wait to return to when I’m looking for a bit of quiet after the buzz of the city.

So when we wanted somewhere to have a nice relaxing brunch, House certainly came straight to mind.

I ordered the Asian sliders, a detox juice and shared and slice of pandan cake and then it was on to Stage 2 of Operation Relaxation – to get our nails ‘did’. And my favourite place to do that in Singapore is OPI at the Forum Shopping Centre. The lovely girls here buff, polish, trim and manicure your hands and feet to perfection and ALWAYS leave me feeling like with have a new pair of mitts. The hard thing is working out what colour to choose…. But luckily, OPI has put out a collection which suits our needs perfectly and made choosing a colour so much easier – you’ll have to keep reading to find out what we mean and what colours we ended up choosing.

Just about every time I am in town, the first thing on my list is a trip to this salon. Situated at the ION Orchard end of Orchard Road, in a small shopping centre mostly frequented by expat housewives and their children, this little salon offers brilliant quality mani / pedi services, all using my favourite OPI nail polish. My Mum and my besties have all been willingly dragged here at some point, and from the point onwards, always want to come back.

Jaclynne has been working here since I started coming and I am always so grateful for the amazing job she and her team do. My nails are perfectly shaped, cuticles massaged, any excess skin around my nails is trimmed, dry skin is buffed off, my arms and legs are exfoliated, my hands and feet soaked in paraffin wax coming out baby bottom smooth and of course, my colour is expertly applied.

Thank you OPI at the Forum for making me feel a million dollars!

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For our last evening in Singapore, we didn’t want to venture far, so it’s a good thing we are down the road from the Chinatown Food Street.

Chinatown Food Street underwent a big renovation a couple of years ago, ‘sanitising’ the area (perhaps a little too much for the liking of some), and a large overhead roof was added to make the area all season proof – protection from the sun and rain. There are cute little carts lined up along the street selling all sorts of amazing Chinese and local cuisine – popiah, char kuay teow, barbecued stingray – just take your pick, grab a table and tuck in.

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At around 10.30pm we jump into a taxi and make our way to the airport for the first leg of our European adventure.

Always sad to leave my Singapore, but you should see what we’ve got lined up next!

Tulipmania

Back when GBTB was built, I made a visit with two of my besties and we checked out one of the conservatories. It was quite expensive at the time if I remember rightly, so we made the decision to go inside only one of them. I’m quite happy then at the request of dear Mum to check out both of them today.

First up is the Flower Dome, which contains plants and flowers from around the world.  The Tulipmania floral display is currently on show in this dome.  These Tulips are set against a Persian style backdrop where you can learn about the flowers origins in the ancient Ottoman empire (now Turkey) where they were first cultivated and its significance in arts and culture. The colours are just stunning – beautiful cremes against vibrant oranges, rich velvety textures to frilly edges beauties.

The rest of the garden on display is equally as impressive, one of my favourite parts being this incredible sculpture (of which there are many hiding throughout the domes)…

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And of course I can never resist a cherry blossom…

IMG_2419The Cloud Forest is filled with plants from tropical highland locations, the centrepiece of which is a massive mountain waterfall, around which spirals a suspended walkway, allowing you to glimpse the garden from above – just as if you were walking in the clouds.

Leaving the gardens behind via the little garden shuttle bus, its time to make our way to shopping paradise – Orchard Road.   Not that we have shopping on our minds.

On my last trip to Singapore, I found myself frantically tracking down the ice cream uncles I had seen lining Orchard Road on umpteen trips before, finally ready to try this mysterious ice cream bread sandwich. And once I had, I wondered (as you usually do) why the heck I had waited so long to do so. So this visit, it’s definitely on the list again and I’m going to see if I can tempt Mum into trying it too – especially after her brave foray into Black Sesame Ice Cream yesterday.  The deal is you can have a normal flavoured ice cream only if you have it in bread.  Otherwise you go the safe option with the wafer – you need to try red bean or sweet corn or the like.  She picks the fruit tingle with the bread and I try the yam flavoured ice cream.  The yam flavour is kind of like a watered down blueberry flavour almost – nice.

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With the sightseeing and food tasting out of the way, it’s time to head for those bird cage cabanas at the hotel to relax by the pool.  The water was chilly but there was incentive in making it to the edge of the infinity pool for a snapshot!  And chillin in the cabana with a beer was really nice.

Chijmes is one of my favourite places in Singapore. I just love the beautifully restored colonial buildings with restaurants pouring into the outdoors, alongside perfectly manicured lawns and hedges and twinkling fairy lights. In a busy city like this, spaces with the ability to make you forget the hustle and bustle are worth a million. We’ll check out another one tomorrow, but Chijmes is just absolutely beautiful.

This is Mum’s first time to Chijmes and I can’t wait to show her and she is as bewitched as me.  There are different cuisines and types of restaurant on offer from Japanese to Western and from pub dining to elegant restaurant settings.  Even just coming here for a sneaky drink is a great way to end the day.

We decided on Wharf Oyster Restaurant, which also did a variety of fish, burgers and other dishes, so it’s a great choice even if you are not a fan of seafood like Mum.  The service was prompt and very good and the food was great too – especially the Black Sesame Brulee.  OMG I’ve never tasted anything so luxurious – if you get the chance it’s something not to miss.

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To learn about the history of Chijmes, check out my earlier post here.

 

 

 

De-stressing on the Little Red Dot

I LOVE Singapore, as you know, and so does Mum, so we can’t wait to start our trip off here, getting pampered and relaxed to start our holiday off on the right foot. Stepping out of Changi Airport into the early morning heat (it has been an abnormally humid week for this time of the year), we grab a taxi, load our bags in the boot, and are soon driving along East Coast Parkway towards the city. Arriving at the financial district, the roads are busy with commuters heading to their offices, ready to start their day.  In the near distance, we can see our hotel emerging, and our sense of excitement begins to build.

We have been eyeing off the Parkroyal on Pickering for years now – in fact, ever since we saw it magically arrive on the little red dot known as Singapore. ‘One day’, we thought, ‘one day we’ll stay there’. And just like magic, a good rate appeared on Agoda and that day has now come….

The Parkroyal on Pickering is a ‘green’ hotel – in more ways than one. It was the first eco-friendly hotel in Singapore – check this out:

  • there are 15,000m2 of sky gardens at the Parkroyal on Pickering;
  • it features zero energy sky gardens;
  • light, motion and rain sensors regulate the use of precious resources;
  • 32.5 Olympic sized swimming pools are saved through water conservation every year; and
  • their annual energy savings could power 680 homes!

But that doesn’t mean that it’s all heart and no soul, because this hotel does ‘green’ very well. Apart from the super lush greenery sprouting from numerous floors of the hotel on the outside, there are plants sprouting from the walls on the inside!

But we can’t check in yet, so you’ll just have to follow us around for the day, until we can give you more ‘goss’ on the hotel later.

We arrived in Singapore early this morning – just after 6am to be exact – and jumped into a taxi straight away to partake of one of our favourite things to do on our trips – a visit to SO Spa (previously Spa Botanica). Normally we would leave a stopover in Singapore for a relaxing wind-down at the end of a big trip, but because we had already booked Singapore in when Scenic cancelled on us for the second time, we had to start with it at the beginning. And you know what, when we looked at it – we thought, well at least we’ll have the opportunity to relax beforehand so that we are nice and chilled for our trip BEFORE we start this time – all the better to make the most of the things we love doing best on the little red dot.

SO (haha) here we are, back amongst the peacocks and the mud pools, ready to partake in some amazing massage treatments to kick off our amazing holiday.

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Mum chose the Instant Glow Green Tea Facial, I decided on the Gotu Kola and Walnut Body Scrub and we both went in for a Shoulder and Scalp Massage (check out my greasy hair afterwards down below!).  I am very close to sleep during the appointment, but I promise there was no snoring.

Afterwards, we sit in the small balcony room sipping a cup of ginger tea before changing into our bathers and heading for the gardens outside where you can head to the mud bath or take a dip in the float pool. What’s so good about lathering your skin up with a thick layer of goopy brown mud and letting it bake onto your skin before rinsing it all off? Well people have been aware of the healing powers of mud for thousands of years. Mud has anti-inflammatory properties so soaking in it can relieve muscle aches and pains. The minerals in the mud can also have a soothing effect on your skin. One you can feel straight away – your skin kind of tingles and feels fresh and alive. That’s the best way I can explain it, other than to say, just come here and try it for yourself!

At the float pool, the water splashes onto you from the rock face waterfall above, frangipani trees surrounding you.  Floating around in this pool is certainly not a dull way to spend the day, and any cares or worries we may have had just 12 hours ago are certainly not making an appearance here.

Then, inside for a bit of whirlpool action before washing our hair under the shower, drying our bathers in the spinner and moving on. Because you know, well, you can’t stay here all day.

Relaxed to the max, we jump about the island bus and head for Siloso beach to continue with the chilled out vibe, with a spot of lunch and the imbibing of cocktails.  It is peaceful sitting here, but looking out to sea we can see a raincloud swiftly moving across the waters – I think the Singapore afternoon shower is on its way.  We make our way back to our hotel just as the heavens open.

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Coastes Beach Bar, Sentosa

We finally make it back to our hotel, eager to explore every inch of this incredible place, hoping that it matches all of our long held expectations.  I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

I can’t wait to check out that infinity pool later!

The chilling keeps rolling well into the evening as we make our way to Clarke Quay for some music and dinner. Mum LOVES Clarke Quay. I think it’s touristy and overpriced and would usually prefer to dine elsewhere. That said, I’ve had some great evenings here, and No. 1 – it’s close to our hotel, No. 2 – this trip is about compromise for this solo traveller.

We make the rounds of the restaurants checking out each of their menu displays to see what takes our fancy before settling on Warehouse, where there’s a great little band playing.  One duck pizza and a cocktail later, it’s time to head back to the hotel and get some proper rest (but not before getting Mum to try the black sesame icecream over at Azabu’s!)

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Clarke Quay

The Delights of Ice Cream in Bread

My time in Singapore is almost at an end again.  I have most of today to finish off my list of must do’s.  Of course, there are still things I didn’t get to do and plenty more inspiration for next time.  I still haven’t made it to Pulau Ubin (grrr) and I would love to stay in a totally new location again next time – more residential if possible or even out as far as Changi.  Who knows – I’ll always be back, so there’s no hurry.

I have been to Tiong Bahru before, but only briefly (for a stop at the Nimble/Knead beauty salon in shipping containers – check it out if you get a chance), so I really wanted the chance to return again and stroll around it’s up and coming streets.

The architecture of Tiong Bahru is art deco and quite different from elsewhere on the island.  I really like its clean lines, which I think have held well against modern times considering it’s one of Singapore’s oldest suburbs.

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The two main streets to consider for funky little cafes and shops are Eng Hoon Street (where you’ll find the fabulous Tiong Bahru Bakery and the Orange Thimble) and Yong Siak Street (where you’ll find cafes like 40 Hands, the Open Door Policy bistro and Books Actually).  But wherever you walk, there’s a nice relaxing treat for your eyes and most likely, your stomach.

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Much, much quieter than Orchard Road or any of the areas in the CBD, Tiong Bahru marches to a different beat and it’s easy to see why there has been a resurgence of people moving back into the suburb.

I definitely look forward to spending more time here from now on.

With only a few hours left before I need to get to the airport, there’s one thing I have got to do with my remaining time – track down one of the ice cream men on Orchard Road so I can try the ice cream in bread.  I have no trouble finding one just outside Wisma Atria – he’s just served up an ice cream to a foreign couple and has now unexpectedly been asked to pose for a photo with one of these strangers.  He looks as though he’s not sure what the heck is going on, he’s just serving ice cream and now he’s going to wind up in someone’s photo album?  He grimaces into the camera before turning back to his cart and looking anxiously around for his next customer.  Which is me.  I’m still not sure about this bread thing, so I’m definitely not going to go with an exotic ice cream flavour.  So I scan the list and think surely ‘Ripple’ would ease the blow in case the bread doesn’t cut it.

I grab my sandwich, exploring the texture and colour of the bread, clamp it down and bite into it – the berry flavour of the ripple ice cream is just gorgeous and the bread is, almost sweet I guess.  Or is it just that I think it’s sweet with those pretty pink and green swirls surrounding the sweet ice cream?

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In any case, it’s really great and I would have no hesitation in making this a must do every time I’m in Singapore.

I’ve enjoyed this (nearly) week in Singapore so much.  It’s been amazing getting to know the other sides of her personality and I can’t wait to see more next time.

So long for now, Singapore!

Eating my way around Singapore

This morning I decide to try the curry puff shop for breakfast.  Swinging past, I grab two – one potato and one chicken.  Biting into the nice soft but crispy (if that’s possible) pastry, I get a glimpse of the goodness inside.  These puffs are great – not too spicy, just right.  Really, it doesn’t seem that you can go wrong with any of the local restaurants on Killiney Road!

Things don’t really get going til about 10am in Singapore – this is when the shops open and most cafe’s as well – so unless you eat local or know where to go it can prove a little difficult if you are someone who likes to eat breakfast early and ends up at a hotel without a restaurant.  Luckily over all my visits to Singapore I have worked out both where the locals eat and where to go for an early Western breakfast.  Killiney Road has been a good spot to stay.

I have a task on my list that I need to complete for my niece Lola, for whom I always buy a new pair of silk pyjamas or nightdress.  When I first started buying them I would get pink or mauve, but now she’s grown to the ripe old age of ten and these girly colours just don’t cut it anymore.  She wants blue.  So off to the Chinatown markets I go for this years pair.  I find a nightdress with beautiful little cherry blossoms across it and my job here is done, so I can sit back with a beer and enjoy a spot of lunch.

The Chinatown Seafood restaurant sits in prime position on the corner of Pagoda and Trennganu Streets in the middle of the markets, it’s bright yellow plastic chairs a beacon for the hungry.  As the name implies, their menu consists of seafood (don’t laugh, I did observe a couple of girls ask the wait staff what they could eat because they don’t eat seafood – wrong restaurant girls).  Their Tiger beers are a great price here – you’ll find them at half the price of any bar in Clarke Quay or at most hotels.  Today I order bamboo clams, just cause I’ve never had them and a friend recommended me to try them.  Flavoured with garlic and spring onions and in a kind of soupy gravy, they were definitely worth a try.  It’s amazing the feeling you get when you try something new and really enjoy it.  Such a gem and something else that is amazing about travelling.

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I wander a few more of the shops and end up down the road at the Central Shopping Centre at Clarke Quay.  I always make it here because my most favourite ice cream at the moment is sold here – black sesame seed.  If you haven’t tried it – you should.  It’s almost got a chocolately flavour about it, but less rich and…well, just try it.  It’s sold at the Azabu Sabo Hokkaido Ice Cream shop on the outside of the shopping centre close to where Clarke Quay and Boat Clarke meet.

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The rain has arrived for the day and it seems kind of heavier.  Although I just ate the banana clams (and the ice cream), I’m still a little hungry.  Pulling up a chair at SQUE, I notice they have pork sliders, so I order one, not realising that one is not just one, but three pork sliders.  You gotta laugh when a glass of prosecco is $17, but you get three sliders for $7.50!

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But anyway, the sliders are so good and they aren’t overly filling and I take my time over my prosecco hoping the rain will stop soon.

It slows to a drizzle, so I walk around to the bus stop and intend to sit on the sightseeing bus for the rest of the afternoon.

And then the rain starts again.  More rain.  Heavier rain.  Sudden rain.  Several of us are on the top level of the bus, cowering under the covered part, with rain pelting us from all sides.  We can’t get up and go downstairs because the bus is moving too fast and the rain is sloshing across the floor from side to side.  By the time we arrive at a stop where we actually have time to move, we are absolutely saturated.  Ew.

Thank goodness the shops along Orchard Road are all linked so you can walk from one to the other without getting wet.  The rest of the afternoon is a washout, but nothing a spot of shopping can’t fix.  Plus I have an appointment at the OPI salon tonight, to get a mani/pedi – my feet in particular deserve a treat after all the walking I’ve done over the last two weeks!