My List of Top Ten Things to See and Do in Singapore

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I’ve been lucky enough to live in Singapore for the last two years, and I’ve had more people visit me there than I ever did in China! I’m often asked what to see when people are there to catch a cruise, or are on a stopover to Vietnam, Cambodia or Thailand (Changi Airport is wonderful) so I’ve put together this list. Singapore, the little red dot in South-East Asia is a peaceful mix of Chinese, Malaysian and Tamil peoples. It is a wonderful place for a stopover, as a former British colony everyone speaks English and it is clean, safe, has wonderful public transport systems (the MRT the underground train network), has beautiful gardens and lots to see and do. These are the things I take family and friends to experience. Here’s the map of the MRT (just get a $10 visitor pass). Taxis are also easy to get (go to a taxi stand which are everywhere) and fares range from $8-10 and overall cost no more than $25 anywhere in Singapore. Prepare for the heat and humidity (30-34 degrees Celsius most of the year) by wearing sandals, shorts and Tshirts in cotton. Tropical downpours and thunderstorms are also normal so be ready to duck under cover or buy an umbrella, available everywhere. 

 

http://www.projectmapping.co.uk/Europe%20World/Resources/MRT%20%26%20LRT.jpg

 

#1 Take a hop on hop off tour to get the lay of the land. It’s also a very easy way to see everything, just get off somewhere that takes your fancy and back on later. There are several lines, this one costs $23 SGD.

https://www.hop-on-hop-off-bus.com/singapore-bus-tours

 

#2 The first night we always go to the top of the Marina Bay Sands (the Skypark) which has wonderful views over Singapore and the harbour. You can pay $25 to go to the viewing platform or go up to the lounge and have a drink for the same price! There’s also a restaurant at the top, not cheap, reservations recommended. MBS is a hotel, luxury shopping centre and the Singapore Casino is here too.

http://www.marinabaysands.com/#ty4zC3MultYfrtGz.97

 

#3 Fancy some peace and quiet and natural beauty? There’s the Gardens by the Bay -the interesting vertical gardens you can see lit up at night from Marina Bay Sands, but I prefer the wonderful Singapore Botanic Gardens. It’s free, has great restaurants and bars and the $5 entry free to the famous National Orchid Garden with plants named for famous people who visited e.g. Princess Diana is incredible.

https://www.sbg.org.sg/

 

#4. Chinatown is a must! Great, cheap shopping and super food and drink. If not on the sightseeing bus, take the MRT to Chinatown and take the Pagoda Street exit. The heritage centre is very interesting. Make sure to see the Hindu Temple and the Bhuddist Temple.

http://www.yoursingapore.com/see-do-singapore/places-to-see/chinatown.html

 

#5 Little India is not as organized as Chinatown but just as interesting. If not on the bus take the MRT to Farrer Street. Go to the Tekka Centre for wonderful, cheap kurtis (long tunics to the knee) and then the Mustafa Centre an incredible four storey department store that has literally everything from around the world. Enjoy a curry on the roof!

http://www.yoursingapore.com/see-do-singapore/places-to-see/little-india.html

 

#6 Arab Steet is one of my personal favourites. Eating at sunset at one of the pavement cafes’s (Turkish and Middle Eastern food) as the call to prayer echoes from the Sultan Mosque you’d think you were in the Middle East! Cheap beer (2 for 1) at the Kiwi Backpackers Hostel. Cute, quirky shopping in Haji Lane.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/25/travel/destination-singapore-arab-street/

 

#7 Orchard Road is Singapore’s famous 2.2 km long shopping street. Think Prada, Rolex, Gucci-that kind of shopping…makes for an interesting wander though.

http://www.yoursingapore.com/see-do-singapore/places-to-see/orchard.html

 

#8 Gardens by the Bay, if there’s time you can take this in when you’re at Marina Bay Sands. It’s lit up at night and has a canopy walk too.

http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en.html

 

#9 Fancy a Singapore Sling? Then go to the famous Raffles Hotel. The Singapore Sling was invented in the Long Bar there, itself an interesting visit with the mechanized fans wafting overhead and the peanut shells on the floor! The drink isn’t cheap at $25. I prefer high tea in the Tiffin Room at Raffles, a wonderful nod to Singapore’s colonial past.

http://www.raffles.com/singapore/

 

#10 Sentosa Island…is not my favourite place but most people seem to like it so I’ll add it at the end. The beaches are artificial and look out to the cargo ships! This is where Universal Studios, the Aquarium and many other attractions are to be found. I do enjoy the cable car over to the island:)

http://sentosa.com/

 

Have a good time in Singapore:)

The Somme Battlefields: A New Start

I too love walking the Somme battlefields, following the footsteps of my great-uncle LCpl E.J. Britton of the 12th Middlesex Regiment-fatally wounded in the raid of 29th/30th June, 1916 near Carnoy.

Somme Battlefields

ADANAC Cemetery, Courcelette

“… here above the Ancre lie many of the most gallant of my regiment, men who were my friends, men whose memory I shall revere to the end of time. Some of them were soldiers by profession; others had turned aside from their chosen avocations in obediences to a call which might not be denied… they have passed into silence. We hear their voices no more. Yet it must be that somewhere the music of those voices linger…”, Charles Douie, The Weary Road (1929)

I first visited the Somme battlefields more than thirty years ago. During a hot summer as a teenager I walked the ground with my father; somehow the old Somme battlefields enchanted me and the voices of men like Douie (above) took me on many more journeys over the years; sometimes with veterans of the battle, more often with friends and finally I…

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Walking in the Footsteps of My Ancestor

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I was recently published as a guest author on the website Wandering Canucks. Please check out my article here

http://www.wanderingcanucks.com/walking-in-the-footsteps-of-my-ancestor/

Let me know what you think about the article, I enjoyed tramping through the battlefields of WW1 and I hope you enjoy reading about it:)

Keep Connected! Expats and Nomads Blog Around the World

Great to see other expat and travel blogs.

The WordPress.com Blog

We don’t write blogs purely for ourselves — we write them to be read. For people who live far from family and friends, blogs serve twin readerships: they give the intrepid traveler a simultaneous way to chronicle travels for a broad audience and update those back at home.

We love following the worldly adventures of these four expats and nomads, and we’re sure their friends appreciate the virtual lifeline, too!

Wish I Were Here

Writer J.D. Riso is a self-identified dromomaniac — a person with an uncontrollable desire to wander. Wish I Were Here is her record of a lifetime of global peregrinations, told in in musings and photos.

wish i were here

Her blog isn’t a real-time travelogue, which makes it all the more fascinating. You might find yourself reading about the legacy of Communism in Bratislava, Slovakia; the urban renaissance of Skopje, Macedonia; violence against women in Papua New Guinea; an unexpected epiphany in Narita, Japan; or an unwanted…

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My Journey to School in China

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I was recently asked to be a guest author by the International School Community website and wrote about my journey to school when I worked for Dulwich College in Suzhou, China. Here’s the link to my post on the site.

https://internationalschoolcommunity.com/blog/2015/05/25/the-journey-to-school-dulwich-college-suzhou-suzhou-china/#sthash.zdsueqbc.qyge0z8t

Dragon Boat Racing!

One of the cool things about living overseas is trying really unusual things and it doesn’t come much more unusual that Dragon Boat Racing. I’d watched it in China where it was a national holiday. I saw a lot of boats capsize there as they were racing on an open lake and it was windy, so I figured that was usual.

Racers gathering at Kallang Riverside Park
Racers gathering at Kallang Riverside Park

However, the Kallang River in Singapore is calm as a millpond this morning as Dragon Boat teams from America, Germany, Canada, America and other nations zip past paddling furiously. We quip that that will be us soon as we’re briefed. This is a charity events for ‘Caring for Cambodia’ where we’re raising money for five Primary Schools there. The first heat of four boats will be the corporate event. We watch as they stretch and are kitted out with life-jackets and paddles and get the boats in the water.

Stretching before the race
Stretching before the race

We’re in the care of the American Dragons and they’re great as they  train us to paddle: “Make the A-Frame with your paddle and your hands!” “Press your hip into the side of the boat.” “Dig your paddle in vertically.” “Timing, watch the front paddler diagonal to you.” We learn to stop and race set-three strong strokes to lift the boat and to paddle in sets of ten. Up and down the river we go as we train for about an hour. Neat to see Singapore from this viewpoint- the Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Flyer even came into view. A race is short, no more than three sets of thirty strokes from start to finish. Thankfully the boat is steered from the stern and they give the commands too.

Into the water...the boats are heavy when we lift them out onto the wheeled cradle
Into the water…the boats are heavy when we lift them out onto the wheeled cradle

After the first four teams race (looking very professional I might add) it’s time for the International Schools to race. We’re in the Chatsworth International School boat of teachers, students and parents racing against Tanglin Trust, Singapore American School and Dulwich College Singapore. After some good-natured trash talking we’re off!  “Paddles up, Ready, Go!” A very close race ensued and I have no idea who won. It really didn’t matter as a good time was had by all. After beer and popcorn (pop or water for the kids) and some socializing I squelched home to enjoy the rest of my long-weekend in Singapore.

Colonialism in Singapore

One of the lovely things about living and working overseas is exploring the new country you’re in, and in my case it’s Singapore. It’s May 1st today, a public holiday and the Istana, the Presidential Palace opens to the public. Some friends and I lined up with thousands of others to get in but it was well worth it.

After paying $2 to the Presidential Charities and passing through security we went in through the tall wrought-iron gates past the guards in white dress-uniforms and a green vista opened up in front of us.

Waiting to get into the Istana
Waiting to get into the Istana
We're in!
We’re in!

This is what Singapore was once like, green space, trees, there’s a reason the main shopping street (think Rodeo Drive) is called Orchard Road, it was lined with Apple orchards and beautiful Peranakan homes set back from the road. We slowly wandered up through the grounds…

The gardens of the Istana
The gardens of the Istana

Swan Lake, Japanese Garden, beautiful lawns, trees and flowers and at the top the Presidential Palace.

The Istana
The Istana

Now this is where the Colonialism comes in, the Presidential Palace was built in 1869 on a nutmeg plantation by the British Colonial Government to house its Governors. Queen Victoria’s son visited here. The house is 18th century neo-Palladian style with British India influences like statuesque columns, deep verandahs, louvred windows and a lovely airy and cool interior on a hot, humid day. No pictures allowed inside but fabulous crystal chandeliers, and all the art and treasures on display. Also some seriously good-looking young men in full-dress uniform!

When Singapore gained self-government in 1959 the building was handed over to Singapore and is one of the lovely examples of colonial architecture, like Raffles Hotel.

International Substitute Teaching

China 233

I got my current job as an English B teacher at Chatsworth International School in Singapore through an agency called True Teaching. This was a very different experience than the ‘meat market’ feeling of the large recruiting fair  I went to in London for my job in China. Instead I registered with True Teaching for their Flying Squad for International Substitute/Supply teaching. After a personal interview with Skype online I was offered several overseas placements and accepted my job in Singapore.

http://www.trueteaching.com

Singapore!

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I have been in Singapore now since the end of December 2014, teaching at an International School here.  When I was blogging from China it was anonymously as if you annoy the authorities there you can be deported. So I blogged as Britchick and most of my friends didn’t know who I was. You can read all my blogs from China on my blog.

Even though some say Singapore is not an open society it feels like it to me so I’m going public with ‘Travelling Teacher’ now and I hope my friends and family enjoy my blog posts:) Hello from South-East Asia!

Working in an International School Overseas

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