This won’t be news to those who I see on Facebook, but…
About two weeks ago my partner and I decided (after a few beers) that we hadn’t done much this year and a trip to Singapore would be nice. It is only a five hour flight from here and it is about ten years since each of us have been there.
I would not have recognised the place. So many new buildings and Orchard Road seems a lot quieter. I also forgot how frigging hot the place is and how the humidity makes you feel your clothes have been glued to you.
From what we saw, it is not a cheap shopping destination. Sentosa is a tourist trap.
However, we did get to the Long Bar at Raffles, had a Singapore Sling and a few pints and wondered whether Somerset Maugham had gotten himself trashed in the chairs we were using (they have retained the decor).
Did you go to the Indian and Chinese neighbourhoods?, very nice places to get yourself lost for a while… if you can tune out the peddlers.
I worked in that part of the world in the early 80s. My first trip, in 1980, I was based in Jakarta, running back and forth to Singapore. My second trip, 83-84, I was living in Singapore. The big difference back then was that all the boats were gone off the river on my second trip.
I loved it there. I wish I could go back again.
I went to Teekah (Little India). Made the same mistake of going to the market with all the foods and accompanying smells.
Didn’t get to Chinatown as we only had two days.
Clotahump, there were quite a few tourist boats on the river. However, I could no longer find anyone doing the night junk rides in the harbour.
Man, it’s been a while since I’ve been back to Singapore. I usually try to make a two day pit stop there on my way to other parts of Asia, just so I can raid the hawker stalls and get my fill of Singaporean food. Oh and visit friends too, I guess. But you are right when you say it’s not much of a place to shop. It isn’t.
Maybe I went to the wrong places, but this time I didn’t see any street food vendors. Not the one.
No, you won’t have. They’ve all been centralised into hawker centres now. This makes it easier for the government to control hygiene and the like. Lau Pa Sat is probably the most famous.
Lau Pa Sat is pretty crap nowadays, though. Only worth it at night for the experience of eating satay and other street food under the sky. They close an adjoining street at 7pm, and all the hawkers basically run in to set up shop. Be warned that the food isn’t exactly great, though, and prepare to get minorly hassled if you’re white. Incidentally, I used to work in the building next to that street, the Singapore Stock Exchange.
If you want street food, instead of making a trip to Lau Pa Sat (which is a bit out of the way) it might be a better idea to go to the Chinatown Food Street, which you can combine with a trip to Chinatown. A bit touristy too, but hey, you want local, get your local friends to take you out, you aren’t finding it by yourself.
I never understood why people say that Singapore is a shopping destination myself. Europe is far cheaper for branded goods.
La Pau Sat basically sucks donkey’s balls…
there are a lot of much better places to eat, just as convenient…
Next time you’re visiting let me know and I’ll compile a list for you of some of the must try places -
Turtle Soup, Crocodile Paw, Shovel Head Shark, Curry Fish-Head will be chief amongst them…
I wrote a food guide to some of the best local food in Singapore…
I know, right? It’s weird that folk bang on about how it’s a shopping mecca. I mean, there are shops everywhere, with a pretty good selection of stuff, but it’s not exactly competitively priced.
Oh yeah, and I stick by my statement that LPS is the most famous hawker centre.
Bengangmo, if only I had known…
I think Singapore used to be good for shopping- around 20 years ago. Even 15 years ago things were not as good as Hong Kong and since then electrical goods have become so cheap I wouldn’t entertain buying outside of my home country (for warranty purposes etc).
This time no one even hassled me to be a copy watch or fake perfume.
The good eating places, if you want good food and affordable value, are mainly at the herartlands (say, Bedok 81 at Bedok). However, Maxwell Food Center (next to the URA building) still has lots of good food at affordable prices and if you know where to look, Bugis (and the stretch of street behind Raffles Hotel).
Other than that, the CDB area of Singapore is nothing but shopping malls and more malls. I guess you can catch a movie here cheaply, and Funan’s a great place to shop for computers and stuff. (About 10 years ago you can still find vendors selling cheap pirated software. There’s no more of that now).
For many years the government has been trying to brand Singapore as a comospolitian stopover rather than a unique gem among Southeast Asia. It has been becoming more and more sterile over the years.
I jokingly call it Singabore…
As for the shopping, I think it’s more of a prestige thing than looking for bargains.
And that is a good thing. I can’t imagine you spending the rest of your life tied to somebody’s wrist or kept in a small bottle like a djinn!