Singapore has a lot of things for a visitor to check out including some of the old colonial buildings both still in use and re conditioned like the ones Wee-Cheng was talking about. The food in Singapore is a delight and there are so many food courts and great places to pick up an inexpensive snack.
I’d camped in Singapore in 1984 believe it or not on an island called Sentosa, just off shore to the south. Back then it had a hotel and a golfcourse and was accessable by boat and cable car. The island was partially undeveloped and had showers and a campsite. I used to sneak down to the showers everyday and then hike through the dew drenched bush back to my tent.
I was curious to see what changes had been made and my first surprise was that a bridge had been built and busses were the main means of access, the cable car still in service.
Sentosa has been developed as a resort for locals and other visitors particularly from Asia. The island used to have a lagoon, but now has a beach and islands. They basically cut chunks out of the lagoon perimeter and added a wider beach by dumping tons on sand along the shore. Its funny as you notice the surrounding undersoil is a medium brown color with this light color sand on top. Definitely works if you need an instant beach though.
The day I picked to check it out there were groups of local school kids all doing beach activities and jogging in packs.
There was and still is a monorail system that circles part of the island. The only difference here is that back in ’84 most of the attractions were free, or a minimal cost, now they have things sectioned off including the beach.
I saw tourists strolling around and on the monorail but altogether it was a pretty slow day.
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Sentosa sits at the end of one of the busiest sea lanes in the world, the Straits of Malacca and large ships are a constant presence off shore.
I was thinking of playing tourist and going to one of the beachside bars for a Singapore Sling. The price SNG$12 gave me second thoughts and I ended up getting a beer from a Chinese convienience place with table in front. The guy told me Carlsbergs were $5, Heinekens $6 and German beer $4. I asked why the German beer was the cheapest and he told me nobody liked it. The beer was a special ‘smokey’ type. I had 2 and felt like a beer patriot.
A large peacock strolled up to the store and the owner rushed out with a bowl of bird seed, “He very naughty, he make mess and I have to clean up” he said, trying to entice the bird away from his premises.
Sentosa has a monorail system that covers a large part of the island and is free.
Heading bach to the bus station I was approached by this school kid who said “Uncle can you lend me $2?” I could see he wasn’t poor and played this routine a lot. I told him I wasn’t playing ball.
On the bus he sat across from me and I could see he had a box of donuts he was getting into. I asked for one and he said “$2”. I said no and he replied, “No money,cannot give.”
I got a magical mystery tour of the island on the bus before before reaching the mainland again and catching the MRT to Changgi. I rrived at the wrong terminal and after searching for Qantas, getting the skytrain to the other terminal and checking in I boarded the plane last call 9.00pm
The flight to Bali was 2 hours 20 minutes and I was glad to be heading home.
I breezed through immigration with my new business visa and got a taxi back to Seminyak. I was in bed by 12.30am.