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Friday
Jun112010

singapore: 24-hour stopover

J’adore Singapore. Fantastic city.  Similar to Hong Kong in many respects but completely different all the same. Twenty-four hours to blow?  Here’s what I’d do.

I’d arrive late in the afternoon, at Singapore’s fantastic Changi Airport.  Opt for a taxi over the train (though the latter is extremely cheap and reliable), and if I’m taking a cab I may as well  pay a little extra ($.30 SGD) and be riding in a high-end car (Benz or Beamer). The initial fee is higher, but the rate is the exact same.  If I’m there for 24 hours, I may as well splurge.

Now, where to stay…  I’ve stayed at the Four Seasons (just awesome), the Pan Pacific (fantastic) and Royal Plaza on Scotts (great, with a fantastic breakfast and possibly the nicest smelling lobby in the world).  But there are three places I really want to try:  The Naumi, Raffles and The Fullerton.  With only 24 hours, it’s the Fullerton.  An old renovated post office, it’s pricey, but it’s only for one night.

After hitting the hotel, settling in and cleaning up, I’d wander out around 7:30-8pm, but not far.  Boat and Clark Quay are close by.  Rows of pubs and restaurants carved out of old shop houses, it’s a fantastic area for food and people-watching.  I’d grab a bite at any one of the local restaurants.  Seafood is the choice (though traditional Peranakan is a close second) and likely it’s going to be Singapore’s Chili Crab (though locals tell you the chili stingray is actually much better).

After eating I could just sit and watch the boats float up the river, but I feel like lounging, so will wander over to Far East Square and find Kasbar.  Great vibe for a lounge, grab a few more drinks and then check out world-famous Zouk.  This huge club is legendary, and I can see why.  Singaporeans work tremendously hard and need to cut loose at the end of the day.  Zouk heats up later in the evening (as everyone is still working earlier on), so head there after 11ish.

At 8am, I’m waking up in a plush bed with a foggy head, so need to grab some coffee.  Early morning Singapore is serene and this location is perfect to watch the tour boats float in on the Quay.  I’d grab a coffee and go watch the Merlion regurgitate water out of its maw.

I could head over to the massive Marina Bay Sands Casino just off shore and spend the day (and my entire pay cheque) on roulette, but I think I’ll wander Orchard Road for awhile and hang out at the malls.  Singapore is famous for shopping and for good reason.  The number of megamalls in this one area borders on ridiculous.  And if you’re there during the Great Singapore Sale… whoa mama.  Lots of stuff to max your credit on.

Shopping bores me quickly, so I could try to find a park (maybe take a walk on the Henderson Waves) or head to the Singapore Zoo, but instead I’ll head back to the Fullerton, throw on my shoes and go for a run.  Singapore is a gorgeous city – very clean with great running trails down by the water.  A good hour/hour-and-a-half and I’ll be sweating like a fat guy in a sauna… because I actually am a fat guy and Singapore’s humidity is indeed like a sauna.

Clean up, pack my things and head back to fantastic Changi to check out the Duty Free.

Twenty-four hours well spent in Singapore.

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