Just been to Singapore for three days. Officially I went to get a new visa for my sojourn in Thailand, but, of course, I made a good holiday of it too. I thought it might be boring visiting it a second time, but actually the converse turned out to be true.
It's such a vibrant place, and has really begun to shake off its squeaky clean image. In fact, I thought parts of Singapore looked downright shabby, something few would have dared say ten years ago! Also the shopping malls are starting to look dated. And the MRT? Well, it's definitely in need of a face lift. Maybe, though, my view was shaped by coming there straight from Bangkok, which really is at the cutting edge these days.
Nevertheless, the buzz of the place is undeniable, whether one's in the financial district, Orchard Road, Chinatown, Boat Quay or even impoverished Geylang. Just the sheer number of people busily hiving there way around, all so purposefully. And that combined with these beautifully tranquil tropical green oases of parks everywhere in the town.
It's also a very different kind of vibe from the rest of S.E. Asia, being so Chinese. Strangely, there is an actual Chinatown, but in reality the whole place is one big Chinatown! I think what makes the official Chinatown special is the survival of all the old merchant buildings and the ubiquitousness of the food centres. Plus all those tacky souvenir shops!
And food - boy, can you get it here! Chinese, Thai, Malay, Indian, Indonesian - all catered for in abundance. This is certainly a place to extend your knowledge of cuisine, and particularly Chinese. Mind you, I seemed to end up eating Indian and Malay food as much as anything.
Anyway, by the end, I must say I was really quite sad to leave.
Will write up more about it soon