29.07.2007 - 01.08.2007
Singapore must be the cleanest land on earth. The city is spotless. Chewing gum, spitting and littering are subject to fines. You see signs read: "If you see rats anywhere, report immediately by calling the following number." (Whereas in Cambodia the signs read: If you have sex with an underaged child in Cambodia you will go to prison here or in your country.)
I booked a hotel through Singapore Stopover Holiday. The pick-ups and hotel arrangements were extremely organised and punctual. Everywhere I went, my vouchers, rides or guides were already there, waiting for me. I stayed at Siloso resort on Sentosa Island but on my short visit to the town I wished I stayed in a hotel around the river and made day trips to Sentosa beach instead. Sentosa Island’s beaches are entirely man-made, the sand is imported and the palm trees are planted. I must admit that it was absolutely breathtaking. Simply beautiful. It’s a romantic place, a perfect honeymoon spot, so going there alone is probably not a good idea! The water was clear, the weather was just right and it felt like a vacation I'd seen on postcards. The free tram within the island is a lovely slow ride and a great way to discover the island. The aquarium was interesting, better than the one in Busan. The dolphin show was amazing. Sentosa Island is paradise.
The night safari, a much-anticipated event, was on the other hand disappointing. The train moved too fast, not giving us enough time to watch the animals. People kept flashing their cameras and the guide kept telling them not to. The animals were separated from each other and confined to a small area by electric fence. It was sad to see an elephant hitting his trunk over and over into the fence because it wanted to go to another elephant on other side of the fence but it couldn’t. The animals didn’t seem happy. They didn’t seem like they’re living in their supposedly natural habitat, the rain forest. And to top it all off, it started raining that evening so I didn’t get off the train for a stroll along the trails.
The raffles hotel was majestic and beautiful. The river cruise will give you a good look at the beautiful architecture and the many bars and restaurants along the river. The shopping malls offer a good selection although the prices weren't as reasonable and the customer service not as friendly as Korea’s. Singapore is not the most affordable place to travel to if you are on a tight budget. The costs of food, accommodation and entertainment are comparable with those in North America. There is a huge foreign population in Singapore, from business people to general labor. It was good to see such diversity after living in a foreigner-challenged small town in Korea for years. Singaporean food is of course one of my favorites. I regret not having scheduled more time for Singapore on my way to Cambodia. There are so many things to do and see. Singapore is a beautiful beautiful country .... a must see!