We landed in Singapore with less than 48 hours to see as much as possible. We knew it would be out of our budget and tried as best we could to keep it cheap. We failed. While we did well as far as Singapore goes, we spent three times our maximum daily budget and four times our average daily spend. Our room was on the border of what is considered the red light district and I now know where the expression about rooms that are the size of shoes boxes comes from. With a double bed in one corner we had to juggle between having our bags on the bed and being able to stand on the floor. And there was no window, which is a weird sensation. As unpleasant and cramped as it sounds there were some upsides. The first being hot water. Budget travel in Asia means hot water is a luxury that we usually can’t afford, but hot water we had and after a month without I am surprised we saw any of Singapore itself.
As it turns out the size of the room was irrelevant as we were only in it to sleep. Majority of our time was cramming as much of Singapore in as possible. It went something like this; pick an MRT (subway) Station at random, endure the crowds, rabbit warren escalators and line changes to get there, step off the train into a shopping centre the size of…Brisbane, wander around in a dazed state and repeat. I’m not entirely sure what the weather was like. I probably couldn’t even tell you if the sun came and went as there is not a great need to go outside. Besides, there is no air conditioning outside. While the shopping centers varied in age and design, the size changed very little. Typically there were at least three basement levels, one of which the MRT would be vaguely attached to, before you got to the ground level to discover another five, six or seven more levels.
At one stage we made our way to the famous Orchard Rd area. After exploring four basement levels of regular insanity, we ascended to ground level to find ourselves in a world of Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Dior and every other high end brand you can think of. Needless to say we quickly retreated to the comfort of the basement levels. To give you an idea, Orchard Rd is roughly two kilometers long and is home to 22 separate shopping centres. And it’s not just that part of town either. Pick a street and walk in any direction and you will find a shopping centre. But the excessiveness doesn’t end there. Marina Bay Sands is a three building hotel and casino that hosts what is known as the Skypark stretching across the three top floors. As well as an observation deck and all the tourist attraction bits and pieces, hotels guests (which we were not) have access to a 150m infinity pool. It’s just a little bit insane.
One tourist attraction that we did splurge on was the Singapore Flyer, a 165m (42 story) observation wheel that is the tallest in the world beating the London Eye by 30m. While we didn’t have time to explore thoroughly and missed out on seeing the zoo and night safari, Singapore is definitely somewhere to add to the bucket list, even if only for a day or two. Be aware though that at the end of the day your feet will hate you.