Singapore – shopping districts , riverside , tourist hotspots
Summary : Huge shopping and tourist site-seeing day out , with most of the shopping thrown in just to avoid the insane hot weather.
Woke up at 4am , i can only assume due to timezone shifts and such because apparently my parents woke up at a similar time and couldnt get back to sleep. Went back to sleep and woke up at a slightly more reasonable 8am.
We walked to ‘Bhugis Junction’ , a 4 story mall nearby to our hotel. We went to basement level as we heard food was to be found there , and we were hungry again (this is a common occurence in this blog i would like to point out now , Singapore/Malaysia/Asia has a shitton of food shops everywhere – for example , this 4 story mall has 3 floors and 1 basement , basement is full of snacks/desserts stalls , 3rd floor is restaurants , 4th floor is food court. Overkill? well.. it was all full today…) Half the shops down in the basement were still opening but we managed to find some nice stalls , I bought some BBQ chicken satay sticks , a ‘pork floss bun’ , a ‘mango snowdrop cake’ and some fresh Soymilk for around $6 – the exchange rate of GBP to Singapore Dollars at the time of writing is around 2.3 – so somewhere between cheap and normal price for food here.
Sorry for lack of food pictures, i’ll try to remember from now on.
From here we went into Bhugis street market , a very large covered market area selling all sorts , our aim at this point was to head to Chinatown.
We eventually discovered a metro station, the metro here is pretty advanced , much like the metro in HongKong. They use a similar card system to the oyster card , however they also use the same cards for single trips – but with a $1 deposit. So if you dont have their metro card and just want a single to another station , press the buttons on the machine and then it’ll write onto a temporary oyster card for you to scan on your journey – you then return the card to a machine and it’ll take it back and give you back your $1 – odd system.
Other noteworthy things other than the general spotlessness of the place is they have doors on their platform which only open when the train is at the station – i guess to prevent people from falling in or trying to commit suicide. The train carriages are also almost double the width of ours and are all connected at the hinges (like the long connected london buses) so you can stand at one end of the train and potentially see and walk all the way down to the other end.
We arrived at Chinatown , essentially a mecca for tourists – and it shows , majority of the stalls here seemed to be trinkets , souvineers , suit tailoring shops (its cheaper here) and stuff like fake jewlery and that. It was very pretty and well decorated though , and at least they had the useful shops around too such as ice drinks and such.
Our exploration took us to a large buddhist temple in the middle of chinatown in the form of a huge pagoda.
The walls of the room was decorated in statues , we suspect each containing the ashes of a person , large deity statues at the middle of the room and even a real monk at the front blessing people. My picture doesent do it any justice, really a beautiful serene room.
Upon leaving , we tried seeking some shelter from the relentless heat , we wondered into a multi storey market sort of place , the bottom floor was a huge market selling fresh food – everything from vegetables to exotic fruits to dried fruits/veg/herbs to meat to live fish to… live frogs, crabs and tortoises! I say that like it was a good thing , dozens of frogs living on top of each other in a small box partially submerged in water and with a plastic net over the top to prevent them from escaping was more the case , the turtles were in giant metal cages at the side of the stall.
Despite having eaten frogs legs before , and would be willing to eat turtle if given the choice – i did feel sorry for the poor things. A crab managed to escape in front of us, i imagined it being like some form of finding nemo scenario – it was quickly foiled when the shopkeeper discovered…. she took her tongs and grabbed it and threw it back in the box with the other crabs. ruthless.
We decided we would head to ‘Clarke Quay’ , a riverside area with lots of shops and such.
Our poor navigation led us to an old style indoor mall full of shops selling… action figures. Yup. Action figures , toys , models all that stuff – transformers and ultraman seemed most common but obviously some ecchi models and stuff around as well.
Left that mall and started heading in a random direction , we found a rather unique looking building and mum tried taking a picture of it – as soon as the camera clicked a security man came running out and said no taking pictures whilst on the grounds of the building – and pointed out that we were walking on their outside tiles and hence ‘in’ the building , crazy guy.
We found ourselves in Clarke Quay central eventually , another mall like place with about 5 floors.
We sampled one of their unique franchises ‘Ka yun kaya toast’ , essentially a shop which specializes in selling toast with kaya (kaya is a coconut based kind of jam , tastes like honey i guess?) , i had some french toast and normal toast (and an iced lemon tea on the side), both came with kaya and both rather tasty.
Downstairs at the basement floor of the mall was … more food stalls – mum ended up buying a dish of mixed fruits.
One of the stalls here sold a rather unusual thing which we also noticed at the market…
Im not sure why the chicken is black tbh , dad thinks its just like that – much like how there are black people and white people , but i dunno… Cant imagine it being very nice to eat , skin would be rather thick etc etc.
We headed outside to the actual Clarke Quay area , a river lay in the middle with restaurants along both sides as far as the eye could see (well.. until the river went round the corner , i dont have xray vision after all.). Walked around for a while , before the temperature began to get to us,
im not sure exactly how hot it was out today – the clouds were overhead and the sun was just shining through it , it felt around 34 degrees in the shade perhaps , i was in shorts and a small shirt and could go from dry to sweaty in about half a minute after stepping outside from a mall.
As such – we headed back to the central mall , retreating to the comfort of the air conditioning.
A short walk took us from the mall to the metro again
We went to see the Merlion , thats Mer-Lion (a Lion which is half mermaid , why? i dont know. ) , Singapore’s landmark – although certainly smaller than big ben/eiffel tower
Its a large sculpted thing which sits out in the river and shoots water out of its mouth , its a pretty big deal here and they stick its icon on everything.
From here we flagged a taxi back to the hotel , everyone needed a rest as it was now around 6pm and we had been out since around 10am.
Brother went out for a swim so it was just me in the room , took the opportunity to shower and then do some cartwheels around the room naked and jump on the bed some (with the curtains wide open, surely nobody can see me on the 7th floor).
We went to the Bhugis junction again , this time to the 4th floor to try the food court – i had a japanese Tempura with Soba thing which was alright although a little plain , mango pudding for dessert.
Had a little look around the shops , there was some sort of asian celebrity thing going on for TVB (a chinese channel) No idea who they were but there was a lot of screaming and cameras so i followed suit.
We then went back to the basement floor for some more dessert , we each got an ice cream mochi (wiki mochi if you dont know what it is , i cant explain it.) A shop specializing in ice cream filled mochi was here and oh did it have selection , shame they were $2 each and pretty smallish (£1 for an ice cream you could eat in 2 bites)
It was deicious but over way too soon , probably not really worth $2 either.
Our final stop of the day was to Bhugis village , a 7 story plaza place (2 stories of food places of course , asians love their food.). There was a large arcade on the 6th floor , it was really advanced, they had some crazy looking pogo game and lots of fighting game cabinets , linked SF4 / GGX / Blazblue / KOFXIII cabs (linked as in you can sit opposite some guy playing SF4 , and fight him.) , there was also some card game called eternal.. something , where you move physical cards onto a lower screen – it somehow reads the card you placed and interprets it onto the game , you can then move the cards RTS style and fight with against the computer or another player and get experience , which is saved somehow – the machines are online as well so i assume you can even play someone in another arcade which is pretty sweet.
The final floor which we didnt go to (but i wish we did now) is supposedly the largest LAN gaming centre in Singapore.
Oh. on the way back to the hotel we saw this –
A whole fried duck head? duck tongues? pig tails? Yum![ Have typed up 17th to 19th in one sitting , took about an hour and a half apparently. My arms hurt a little from typing on this laptop. Just about to hit midnight on the 19th so i guess i’ll go to sleep now as i think we’re doing a big day tomorrow. – Hope i actually get to upload this stuff soon as the internet in the hotel is charged pretty extortionately. I also think i’ll start using my mums camera and then somehow transferring the pictures over as my phone camera has about a 50:50 ratio of good:blur pictures which is upsetting. Goodnight! ]