Whenever you travel to Singapore, I recommend take the late night flight. You cannot miss the island nation dotted with myriad orange lights which outline the ‘Lion city’. It’s like the rush of caffeine that jerks you from a lazy snooze.
As soon as I stepped out of the airport – a warm whiff of breeze suggested a warm day. Taxis are abundant. I always preferred the “comfortdelgro’s” suave blue cabs over Uber. The drivers, those fine, friendly chaps, love to talk. For a 15 minutes ride, they can teach you 150 things to do and avoid in the little country.
Hotel Grand Copthorne – has a friendly visage, standing in the middle of busy Havelock road, like Burj Khalifa amidst an ocean of traffic. I was allotted the crown storey. The gigantic window flirted unabashedly with the Singapore flyer and Marina Bay Sands. I was floating on clouds (literally) – my view dodging the sharp bends of numerous skyscrapers.
I had a hard time to shirk from the comfort of the hotel and step out. The sun stings you but in a sweet, exotic way. I hired a bike and cycled my way to the Boat Quay MRT (Local transit). After reaching the Fusiopolis station, I walked to the corner cafe, where I was meeting an old friend. After a pint of blissful ‘Tiger’ and hors d’oeuvre (Compliments of the hotel) – I set out on exploring the different parts of the city. I picked one part every day and explored everything that it had to offer.
1) Walk , Bike and Walk
I enjoy walking and entire Singapore is blessed with a wide pavement which is barricaded with greenery and shielded from the traffic. (Did you know? Singapore has world’s fastest walkers. If you see these pavements, you will know why.In case you are in a hurry – just pick up one of the yellow Ofo bikes – after downloading OneService app. It’s chargeable but just cents (24 INR) for a single usage.
2) Google Maps is your guardian angel.
Most of the hotels around the globe offer a mobile companion (Handy) which offers unlimited local and international phone calls, data and more. Just login with your Gmail account and enjoy your solo travel.
3) Eat morsel many times, a pint to wash on last leg.
The dormant, workaholic culture of Singapore springs to life in the evenings. I always preferred to end my jaunt with a short walk across Robertson Quay, which was just behind my hotel. Cuisine is a potpourri of cultures. You cannot exhaust your appetite without trying the variety. My favorite was Korean bbq and jumping in for a hotpot with complete strangers.
4) Talk and Discover.
Cabs are expensive in Singapore. I avoided it if I had a choice but some times when I was too late at night or too early in the morning, I had to hire one. The only way you can make up for the extra pennies is by indulging in a conversation with the drivers. You won’t believe how readily they will enjoy being your tour guide. If you are on MRT just offer your seat to the girl standing aloof or compliment the guy on the choice of his book – You just have to initiate it. These people are a friendly bunch.
Word of caution – Never tell a Singaporean you love or Hate his country. It backfires either ways.
5) Roads not recommended.
Geylang and Bugis – are two red-valleys people avoid. To be honest, sex-service in Singapore is dotted like its street-lamps – it’s everywhere, if you are looking for it. When I asked the bell-boy for some off-beat places while waiting for my bike – he suggested the Mughal cafe by bend of Lorong (street) 61 in Geylang. When I gave him a wary look, he promised that it was not what it was made out to be. I gave it a shot and there is no regret. There were sumptuous delicacies, houses decked like doll-houses ( brothels apparently), the funny-smelling, juicy dragon fruit and pale-ale in local brewery. I recommend the lemon-tarts in Bugis – I guess there is only one cafe.
It was a short and a sweet stay, and an absolutely amazing weekend at Singapore. If you are planning one , buy those tickets soon and do let me know how your experience was.