We did Singapore in such a flash that I almost forgot that we had done it. You have to love airlines such as Jetstar for their capacity to be able to offer such cheap flights. It does come at a cost sometimes, however, which is not necessarily financial. We did not really want to hang around an airport for almost a day (as we were arriving mid morning and would be leaving later in the evening). Would we leave the airport? Would it cost to get out? Was it worth the cost? Could we store our backpacks somewhere? Could we find something to do for a few hours? We had done no research on this at all, as we simply had not made it our priority. I figured that we’d work it out!
Upon disembarking, we walked around the airport like Alice of Alice in Wonderland …eyes wide and mouth gaping! Well, Singapore and its airport were not quite what I had expected, although I must be fair and say that I am not sure what my expectations really were. Singapore’s Changi Airport is a destination unto itself! Apart from the fact that it’s enormous, it felt like one big entertainment centre offering everything from free internet usage to computer gaming areas and free massage (OK, so they were chairs and not people). We certainly made use of a number of these free options.
|A bus with a view|
After a few minutes of wide-eyed stares, looking around an airport that looked more like an entertainment centre than an airport, we came across a tourist information desk, offering free Singapore City tours. Free? What? WHAT is for free these days? I thought “no way, this can’t be”! Well, apparently in Singapore it can! There were actually two tours available, the Cultural Tour and the Coloniol Tour. I wanted to do both! We ended up doing the Cultural Tour. Clearly one can only get a snapshot in two hours, but it was a great ‘taster’ of what the city had to offer.
Due to the tours being free, they clearly filled up quickly. We had a meeting point at the airport, and we were then whisked away for two hours in a luxury coach. What were our observations and what did we see? My over-riding sense of the city was that it was so clean that it looked sterile. Like most people, we’d heard all of the stories about how clean it was, and from what we could see it was true. The tour guide was most informative, and gave us some interesting facts and figures. I kind of got the feeling that he too thought his system was a bit ‘anal’ … I tried not to form my opinion in so little time!
|Thian Hock Keng Temp|
To be honest, it felt like information overload. And in true Ombi style … I was trying to suck in as much informaton as I could … my head was swinging left-right-left-right. Whilst there was a lot to take in, the
thing I remembered most was our quick stop in Chinatown, including the oldest temple in Singaore, 160-year-old Thian Hock Keng Temple. It was indeed a beautiful and impressive temple. We were told that we had 15 minutes to look around it. Alex and I decided that we would leave the temple and see if we could see even a little of the surrounding area. It is on the famous Telok Ayer Street which is one of the earliest thoroughfares in downtown Singapore. Whilst we could not explore in detail, it still gave us a bit of a feel for the Chinese part of the city. Running back to the bus, we were the last ones on! Some things never change!
We were delivered back to the airport as promptly and efficiently as we’d been taken away. The tour had been short but great! We used the internet once again as well as the massage chairs, and before we knew it, we were back on a plane and flying home. We had certainly filled in our time at our day in Singapore. Did I enjoy it? Well, yes. Would I go back? Not sure. Perhaps as a stopover I might, but it did not strike me as an absolute must-see destination!
Another day, another country added to our list!
NOTE: The last few blog entries were a bit jumbled. Sorry! This day in Singaore was actually the last day of our two week trip to Thailand over Christmas and the New Year.
“People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
|Inside Thian Hock Keng Temple|
|The locals doing their thing|
|It has the word coffee in it!|
|Proof of our brief rendevous with Singapore|