It was time to bid farewell to KL, it had been good to us. We felt almost normal again and ready to hit the road to Singapore. We boarded the 10am bus and travelled in style across the border from Malaysia. The Singaporeans obviously like their comforts and this bus was no exception- a massage, recline chair and half each.
It was a rather uneventful journey we reached immigration and customs in Singapore. It was shift change time- huge queues of Indian families, for a second we questioned where we were. Finally we got through with a new shinning stamp on our passports.
Once a tiny tiny fishing village, the Lion City, was secured as a British Outpost by Sir Thomas Raffles in 1819 and it quickly grew into an impressive fortress city that remained under continuous British rule until 1954 (except for a small period under Imperial Japan in the 1940s).
After independence it quickly grew into one if the strongest economies in the world and a popular tourist destination.
Once off the bus we quickly reached our new home for the next 4 nights- a lovely little apartment we found on AirBnb. Complete with a gym and swimming pool we both felt at home very quickly.
Karen was no stranger to Singapore, this was her fifth visit. However this was John’s first trip. There was no better way to introduce him to life in Singers than dinner at a local hawker stall followed by some Singapore Slings.
There is only one place in the city to sip a Sling, the famous Long Bar in Raffles where the drink was originally concocted back in 1915. John pulled on his new trousers and shirt purchased in KL and Karen one of her (two old faithful) dresses and we headed towards the hotel. We entered from the side entrance to ensure there was no hassle with John wearing converse trainers.
Every drink comes with a massive bag of nuts. Singapore has some of the strictest littering laws in the world but in Raffles the clientele are allowed to throw their monkey-nut shells on the ground. It is probably due to these said laws, that they do so with such gusto here!
After (sipping!) our drinks we took some photos and then headed down to the harbour. First stop was Gluttons Bay, yet another hawker stall right on the water and with a great view of the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel in the background.
We walked along the harbour and stopped at the Merlion statue – the national symbol of Singapore – a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the tail of a fish, located the landing place of Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819.
Next we strolled around to the famous Fullerton hotel– originally this was the central post office building. Named after the first Governor of the Straits Settlement – Robert Fullerton. During World War 2 it was a makeshift hospital, a refuge for the British Governor at that time and where the surrender to the Japanese forces was discussed. The Japanese used it as a headquarters during their occupation as well.
First night done and not a bad introduction to Singapore.