Since “the book” only included three must-do places/activities for Singapore, I consulted another excellent source for ideas – Frommer’s.
Their site offered 1-, 2- and 3-day suggested itineraries. I printed off the 3-day one, and then wore myself out trying to push two days worth into a single day.
For day 1 Frommer’s suggested starting at Arab Street. It is a relatively short block of shopping. I found the typical souvenir places that sold magnets and key chains, but it also included shops that sold beautiful Persian rugs and lovely scarfs. The shop workers were attentive without being overly pushy. I did purchase a beautiful new table runner for my dining room table.
The second stop was the Sultan Mosque. Unfortunately it was closed to visits so I was not able to see the inside.
Another shot of the Mosque with the contrast of a modern high-rise building in the distance.
One block over from the Mosque is the Malay Heritage Centre. It is located in the former Sultan’s palace. I loved the building and the grounds. The outside included a lovely fountain and was a very peaceful and relaxing place.
One item of interest inside the Malay Heritage Centre is a letter from Queen Elizabeth written in 1959.
My next step was Chinatown. On the Frommer’s list was a visit to the Chinatown Heritage Centre, but I decided to skip that so I could wander the streets of Chinatown. It was very busy as the Chinese New Year is just a few days away. Next year will be the year of the Horse. (I am a horse.)
I was disappointed that I didn’t find a traditional Chinese bakery, and I quickly found that most of the shops sold very similar products; but the street decorations were fun.
I had lunch in Chinatown at a dim sum restaurant. It was delicious. I think the last time I had dim sum was in a U.S. city that also has a large Chinatown – San Francisco.
The last stop for day one was supposed to be the Thian Hock Keng Temple. Here is a statue guarding the entrance to the temple. It is one of the earliest built Chinese temples in Singapore and is a tribute to the Taoist gods and goddesses. Even though I had a religious minor at college, I know/remember very little about many of the other religious.
Day two was to start at Serangoon Road in the “Little India” part of Singapore, but I decided to keep going and really push on. More shopping! There are lots and lots of stores that sell gold jewelry, in addition to the souvenir shops. The prices for the souvenir-type items were cheaper here than I found in Chinatown and Arab Street.
The best shopping though was at Mustafa Centre. This place is mind blowing! It had a Wal-Mart feel to in for several reasons – prices were ridiculously cheap and you could buy everything here. I bought a one-litre bottle of water for 80 cents – the cheapest I found anywhere. I could have bought beautiful silk for a sari for around $100. They had chocolates from around the world, luggage, electronics, clothing and probably more. It was Saturday afternoon and very crowded, so I made my purchase and left.
I have always wanted an Indian sari. I love the colors and think they are beautiful, but I am overwhelmed by them. I have no idea how to wrap all of that beautiful fabric around my body. I did purchase a salwar suit though – it includes a scarf, a long tunic-type top and pants. Can’t wait to wear it!
A shot of less than prosperous looking businesses along Serangoon Road:
I also stopped at the Sri Veerama Kaliamman temple. The flowers and decorations are beautiful. Many people were inside practicing their religious so I didn’t stay long because I didn’t want to be intrusive and I didn’t understand any of the traditions.
My day ended at the Night Safari. This is one of the “must do” attractions in Singapore. It is a chance to visit nocturnal creatures at the Singapore zoo in the evening when the temperature is more tolerable. I took lots of pictures, but flash is prohibited so none of them turned out.
The last animal I saw from the tram ride was the tiger. He is beautiful and easy to see as he was pacing his enclosure. The giraffes were laying down so they were difficult to see. The hippos were playing in the water and very easy to see. The cutest and most social were the otters; and we were there when they were being fed.
I will need to find pictures online and drop a few in here, but in the mean time I need to get ready for Singapore Day Three! I only have three places on my list today.