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Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

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Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby Everdred » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:56 pm

Singapore - Asia's "Little Red Dot" - Part One

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Slimy. Noisy. Not well-maintained. Neither cheap, nor expensive. Mediocre food. Mediocre women. Traffic jams as far as the eye can see. A concrete jungle. A classist society. Corruption so thick you could cut it with a knife. Calm down - these words aren't describing Singapore, rather they're describing Bangkok, a city I have lived in for the past two and a half years. So why am I talking about Bangkok in a Singapore trip report? Well, because I want to show how deep the contrast can be between two neighboring Southeast Asian countries.

Clean as a whistle. Calm. Everything's well-kept. Moderately expensive. Good and diverse food. Good-looking and diverse, yet "modernized" women. Not a traffic jam in sight. The "garden city." A diverse society that makes an attempt to tear down prejudices and classicism. The least corrupt country in Asia, and one of the least corrupt in the world. Obviously, I'm now talking about Singapore. Most of this sounds good, right? If compared to Bangkok, Singapore wins nine times out of ten. But of course no place on Earth is the land of milk and honey - and I plan to tell you all, the good, the bad, and the ugly - in this trip report.

I'm going to break this trip report down into the following categories: cost of traveling, food, the women and the locals, environment and scenery, and things to do. As always, all of the photos you see in this trip report were taken by yours truly. Enjoy!

Note: As of October 2014, 1 US dollar equals 1.27 Singapore dollars (S$).

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Cost of Traveling

Let me be frank with you: Singapore ain't cheap, but it's no Tokyo either. I would say prices are largely comparable to that of a major American city such as New York City or Chicago. People on a tight budget should definitely think twice before going to Singapore. Of course it could be done, but with lots of inconvenience, discomfort, and little to no niceties. I stayed in Singapore for ten days and eleven nights, and I spent those eleven nights in two different hotels in two very different parts of the city. Both of my hotel rooms were two stars and the size of a shoe box, and neither provided free wi-fi or breakfast. Each one cost me about S$90 per night, and that's after booking months in advance and using a coupon. That's roughly 2 to 2.5 times the price of a two star hotel in Kuala Lumpur, and my Singapore rooms were roughly half the size of my KL rooms. The price you pay and the value you get is very poor. That's one major strike against Singapore.

Singapore has a nice and mostly efficient MRT subway system running all over the city. As of October 2014, it has five different lines and over 100 stations. I was all over Singapore, and it seemed like I was never more than a 10-minute walk from an MRT station. I would say the average cost per ride was around S$1.50. Really not that bad at all, maybe 1.25 to 1.5 times the price one would pay in Bangkok. Even my initial MRT trip from Changi Airport to my hotel only cost me S$2.40. One thing worth noting is that the subway trains in Singapore are about 1.5 times bigger AND longer than those in Bangkok. Though the trains did get full at peak hours, I never once felt like a sardine packed into a tin can like I often do in Bangkok, Beijing, and Shanghai.

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Bus stations are also anywhere and everywhere. They cost about 10-20% less than taking the subway, but often they're a more suitable way around. The bus maps are clear English and easy to understand. The whole bus system has a tiny learning curve. None of this map-less, hard-to-figure-out nonsense like in Bangkok. Bus drivers will actually patiently answer any questions you might have, and they'll also wait for you to be seated or ready before they continue driving. Imagine that happening in Thailand or China - not a chance! I really have no complaints about the bus system, and it's definitely the best bus system I've ever seen in Asia. Also, I didn't take a single taxi on my ten day trip, so I can't comment much on that. I really don't think you need to take taxis at all, unless you're just feeling extra lazy. The public transportation is totally dependable.

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If there's one thing that is cheaper in Singapore than surrounding countries, it's got to be the shopping. If you're coming straight from the United States, one of the best places to shop on Earth, then Singapore's shopping won't seem all that special. However, if you're coming from a neighboring country like Thailand or China, then Singapore will seem cheap in this regard. The only other Asian country I've been to with comparable shopping prices would be Malaysia. I'd say on average, goods are about 20-25% cheaper than Thailand, and 30-35% cheaper than China. The key words there are on average. Shopping malls are anywhere and everywhere in the city-country, and just like the MRT stations, it felt like I was never more than a 10-minute walk from a shopping mall, regardless of where I was. The malls also didn't seem nearly as pretentious as those in Bangkok. They were more about shopping, and less about trying to oooo! and awe you.

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Food

This one kinda goes hand in hand with cost of traveling. Singaporean cuisine is basically borrowed cuisine from other Asian countries. The primary cuisines are southern Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian. Nevertheless, one can still find many of their other favorite Asian dishes - whether they be Thai, Japanese, Korean, or whatever - in Singapore. One thing I respect about Singaporeans is that they're actually open-minded about food. This is very much unlike Thais, and almost the polar opposite of mainland Chinese. I've noticed Bangkok Thais will generally only eat food from developed countries that they respect, such as Japan, Hong Kong, or Italy. Yet they turn their noses up to food from other developing countries like India. The mainland Chinese, at least those in northeast China, treated all foreign food, with the exception of some Korean and Japanese food, as alien food. Taking my mainland Chinese friends to eat "foreign" food was like pulling teeth. They were very hesitant try anything new, they would constantly claim that China "already has" certain foreign dishes, and they would constantly boast about how superb Chinese food is, which is very far from the truth. I was paying close attention while in Singapore, and I saw people of all different ethnicities and races eating all different kinds of food. Ethnic Chinese at Indian restaurants and vice versa. Anyone and everyone in Western restaurants. Such a breath of fresh air!

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The food of Singapore was neither cheap nor expensive. I ate 90% of my meals in Singapore's many clean open-air food courts, and my meals averaged to about S$5-10. Not exactly cheap for food court food, but not insanely expensive either. Sure, you may be able to get a plate of Thai food in Bangkok for 30 baht, but I damn near guarantee you that your portion size will be small and your food will be strongly lacking in the meat department. Portion sizes in Singapore were decent. None of the tiny serving size nonsense like in Bangkok, but none of the gigantic dishes I got accustomed to in the United States and northeast China either. Singapore fits somewhere in between.

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The food was mostly delicious. Indian food is some of the world's best, and it puts Thai and Chinese food to shame. I tried a few of the Chinese and Malaysian dishes in Singapore, but not that often. If you put Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian food side by side, then nine times out of ten I'm going to take the Indian food. Absolutely no contest! I've been to countless Asian countries by now, and none of the local cuisine in any of those countries can even come close to the awesomeness of Indian cuisine. Anyways...enough about Indian food. I found the food in Singapore to be satisfying. Indian was the best, Malaysian second best, and Chinese the third best. My favorite non-Indian dish was curry laksa, which is a noodle dish also widely available in Malaysia.

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On a side note, food from any region of China (except awesome Xinjiang cuisine) can be found all over Singapore - Shanghainese, Cantonese, Sichuanese, Hunanese, Northeastern - it's all there. Even some of the most obscure Chinese dishes like glazed sweet potatoes (拔丝红薯) were available at the local restaurants. Lovers of Chinese food will definitely be happy in Singapore. All in all, the food of Singapore is pretty damn good and the value is pretty decent (albeit not cheap). Food from all over Asia can easily be found, Western restaurants are plentiful, and tipping is pretty much non-existent. It would probably take a while for the food to get boring due to the wide variety of cuisines available.


Women

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I'm going to be blunt again: there was a lot of eye candy in Singapore! I had heard from somewhere that there's not many physically attractive women in Singapore and that couldn't be further from the truth. Most of the women are ethnic Chinese (just my type), but plenty of women from other Asian countries, particularly Southeast Asia, are also plentiful. If there's one thing I HATE about women in Bangkok, it's that they overdo everything regarding their appearance. Sure, this may be a generalization, but it often holds true. Thai women wear way too much make-up, they dye their hair more often than not, too many wear ridiculous colored contacts, and they overdress. I'm not saying dressing nicely is bad, but dressing up like you're going to the evening ball when you're just out shopping is a bit too much. Of course plenty of women in Singapore wear lots of make-up, dye their hair, or overdress, but no where near the amount you would see in Bangkok.

Call me biased because I have a Chinese girlfriend, but I just find ethnic Chinese women to be so much prettier than most other Asian women. They have just the right skin tone, generally very attractive facial features, and they often have just the right amount of sophistication. Many Singaporean women look similar to the ethnic Chinese of Malaysia, Taiwan, and southern China. If you like women with that kind of appearance, then I'm sure at least your eyes will be pleased in Singapore. Pretty much no Singaporean women have that rural, uneducated look you often come across in developing Asia. I would say that's mostly a good thing.

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Now let me tell you what I didn't like about Singaporean women. I had little to no interaction with them, so all I can mention are superficial things. For starters, a large number of them smoke cigarettes. Go outside any office building, and I almost guarantee you there'll be more women than men smoking. Women smoking cigarettes were anywhere and everywhere in the city. This is very rare in both Bangkok and northeast China. Also, it seemed like damn near every woman in the 20 - 40 age range had at least one tattoo. Sometimes it would be very small and not very noticeable, while other times it would stick out like Santa Claus in July. I'm not a tattoo fan by any stretch of the imagination, so I found this to be a huge turn off. Some Singaporean women also have that smug, cocky look that women in big cities are so prone to having. It didn't seem as bad as Bangkok in that regard, but it was still there.

During my trip, I turned on an app called Skout on my smartphone. It's an app that shows you who's near you, and you can send them messages. It's pretty popular in many Southeast Asian cities. I turned it on just to see what kind of interest I'd get from the local ladies. I'd say each day I received about 5-10 unsolicited messages from local girls, and I'd say 66% of them were in Singapore but not Singaporean, while the other 34% were born and bred locals. I'd say I found about 50% of the women sending me the messages to be at least moderately attractive. I'd say I get about the same amount of unsolicited messages in Bangkok, but I only find about 20% of the women sending them to be attractive. On a side note, I also got TONS of unsolicited messages from some pretty damn hot women in Indonesia. I occasionally get those in Bangkok too, but I was getting them left, right, and center in Singapore. I also got about 1 30-50% response rate to my initial messages, which is also about the same as I would get in Bangkok. Anyways, I didn't meet any of the women from Skout, as I was traveling with my Chinese girlfriend, but it's always interesting to see how the local ladies will react to you. If Skout and looks on the street are anything to go by, it seems I would have about the same success dating in Singapore as I would in Bangkok, albeit with women more to my own personal tastes in SIngapore.

Note: for what it's worth, I'm a Caucasian American male in my upper twenties that's in decent physical shape and regularly goes to the gym and eats well.


Locals

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Although 90% of my interactions with the locals were business-oriented, I didn't notice any red flags during my ten day stay either. I didn't get any of the obnoxious staring or any of the psychos who tell me to get out of their country like I do in China. I didn't notice the smell of pretentiousness and extreme judgementalism in the air that seems to permeate so much of Bangkok. I also didn't feel any of the racism or classcism that's so obvious in both China and Thailand. It seemed like all the ethnicities mostly get along well. I know I could be speaking way too early, but that was the impression left on me.

People were polite and mostly minded their own business. They were orderly and well-mannered. I didn't see hundreds of people just lollygagging and being nosy on the sidewalks like I so often see in Bangkok. I didn't see the aggressive, frowny-face looking people I so often see in mainland China. When on escalators, all the people line up to the left, so people can pass on the right...this could never happen in Bangkok! Just forget it! And even though Mandarin is one of the most common languages spoken in Singapore, it was spoken in a normal voice with a normal tone, completely unlike the harshness that is often heard in mainland China.

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English was seemingly spoken by anyone and everyone. I can't think of a single situation where I had communication problems. Many Singaporeans have a goofy accent that is kinda hard to understand at first, but it's not too bad. It just takes some getting used to. They sometimes blend their local words with English words, which makes it unintelligible to most outsiders. Nonetheless, you'll probably understand at least 80% of what is being spoken. I occasionally spoke Mandarin to the local ethnic Chinese, and coming from my white ass, that always seemed to surprise them. It wasn't necessary at all, I just did it to be polite.

One thing that could be considered a negative is that there's lots of pretty good-looking guys in good shape in Singapore. I'm not saying ALL of the guys were like this, but you're definitely going to have a fair amount of decent men to compete with over women if you ever live in Singapore. Just having a white face probably ain't gonna be nearly enough. Singapore is the only Asian country I've been to where I saw plenty of guys who clearly lift weights. This is rare in Bangkok, and almost non-existent in northeast China, so having some muscle and tone to your body gives you a great advantage in those locations. In Singapore it will just level the playing field for you. I also didn't see nearly as many metrosexual looking guys in Singapore as I do in Bangkok. So many young guys in Bangkok just seems like totally sissies who would rather make their hair look nice than do a masculine activity like weightlifting. This is definitely not the case in Singapore. On the other hand, if you do enjoy sports or weight-lifting, I bet you could easily find other like minded guys in Singapore. I've found this very hard to do in both in Thailand and China. Generally speaking, the men in Singapore actually seem like men I might like to get to know, completely unlike Thai men, and only like a fraction of Chinese men.

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Since this post is getting so long, I'll finish the other half in another post on another day. I hope you enjoyed part one!
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby hammanta » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:14 pm

Thanks, very eye opening and informative thread. I wish other's (not gonna mention names) would take note about how to write a solid trip report instead of trying to make it into some kind of literary porn flick.
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby Rock » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:53 pm

Thank you Everdred. You post fantastic trip reports! Looking forward to the second half of this one.
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby newlifeinphilippines » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:55 pm

hammanta wrote:Thanks, very eye opening and informative thread. I wish other's (not gonna mention names) would take note about how to write a solid trip report instead of trying to make it into some kind of literary p**n flick.



LOL

Hammanta I hope you check out vietnam and indonesia and thailand on your next trip. Would love to see your experiences. If i can ever get out of us of gay again id like to check out those.
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby hammanta » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:15 pm

newlifeinphilippines wrote:
hammanta wrote:Thanks, very eye opening and informative thread. I wish other's (not gonna mention names) would take note about how to write a solid trip report instead of trying to make it into some kind of literary p**n flick.



LOL

Hammanta I hope you check out vietnam and indonesia and thailand on your next trip. Would love to see your experiences. If i can ever get out of us of gay again id like to check out those.


I'm thinking Mexico might be my next trip. Cheap air fare and I may have a free place to stay. Indonesia and Vietnam sound great but I'm gonna knock them out when I have an extended time to tour many countries. Thailand doesn't interest me as much outside of the beaches, which Philippines takes the cake in that category anyway. Nepal is a dream but that's gonna have to wait a while.
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby newlifeinphilippines » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:44 pm

hammanta wrote:
newlifeinphilippines wrote:
hammanta wrote:Thanks, very eye opening and informative thread. I wish other's (not gonna mention names) would take note about how to write a solid trip report instead of trying to make it into some kind of literary p**n flick.



LOL

Hammanta I hope you check out vietnam and indonesia and thailand on your next trip. Would love to see your experiences. If i can ever get out of us of gay again id like to check out those.


I'm thinking Mexico might be my next trip. Cheap air fare and I may have a free place to stay. Indonesia and Vietnam sound great but I'm gonna knock them out when I have an extended time to tour many countries. Thailand doesn't interest me as much outside of the beaches, which Philippines takes the cake in that category anyway. Nepal is a dream but that's gonna have to wait a while.


oh gosh not mexico I hate the women and the country. I dont understand the obsession about women south of the border can't stand their attitudes and culture. :lol: if your using up vacation time for that youd be better off saving it for when you can utilize it to something better. Nepal? I saw some guy on youtube checking it out but i think its very backwards I heard maybe not as dangerous as india though im not sure dont know about it. dont know why you wantt o go there if its anything like india. I sort of agree with you about thailand the language issues and all the Farang make it not that appetizing my main curiosity is actually vietnam and indonesia for various reasons but since thailand is so closeby id like to check it if im gonna do a complete circle.
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby hammanta » Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:06 pm

newlifeinphilippines wrote:
hammanta wrote:
newlifeinphilippines wrote:
hammanta wrote:Thanks, very eye opening and informative thread. I wish other's (not gonna mention names) would take note about how to write a solid trip report instead of trying to make it into some kind of literary p**n flick.



LOL

Hammanta I hope you check out vietnam and indonesia and thailand on your next trip. Would love to see your experiences. If i can ever get out of us of gay again id like to check out those.


I'm thinking Mexico might be my next trip. Cheap air fare and I may have a free place to stay. Indonesia and Vietnam sound great but I'm gonna knock them out when I have an extended time to tour many countries. Thailand doesn't interest me as much outside of the beaches, which Philippines takes the cake in that category anyway. Nepal is a dream but that's gonna have to wait a while.


oh gosh not mexico I hate the women and the country. I dont understand the obsession about women south of the border can't stand their attitudes and culture. :lol: if your using up vacation time for that youd be better off saving it for when you can utilize it to something better. Nepal? I saw some guy on youtube checking it out but i think its very backwards I heard maybe not as dangerous as india though im not sure dont know about it. dont know why you wantt o go there if its anything like india. I sort of agree with you about thailand the language issues and all the Farang make it not that appetizing my main curiosity is actually vietnam and indonesia for various reasons but since thailand is so closeby id like to check it if im gonna do a complete circle.


I'm not trying to hijack this guys useful thread with travel dreams and explanations so I'll be brief.

My reason for travel isn't based off of getting women, though I do try and meet them when I travel. Nepal's culture fascinates me along with mountain trekking and I've always wanted to see the Tibetian architecture. I love Mexican culture, food, and the language, plus I have many hispanic friends. I spent a brief time in Mexico when I was younger but I don't remember much and wanna go back. Plus it beats playing 1200-1400 for a plane ticket to Asia. I'm from the East Coast.
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby Ghost » Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:04 am

Thanks for the report. I clocked about 48 hours total in Singapore, and that was...plenty. The first day I was there, I realized I hated it. It was less than 6 hours before I said f**k it and hopped a bus to Malaysia.

I like China, the language, the women, and some other things, so I plan to just return to China. (I also don't like Indian...everything.) But Singapore was expensive, not very friendly, and the immigration process was akin to the U.S. (I guess they got that nanny-state bullshit from the British...)

I went there once, and once was plenty. I hope to never step foot inside that little island ever again.
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby starchild5 » Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:36 am

Great report Thanks
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby Everdred » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:23 am

Singapore - Asia's "Little Red Dot" - Part Two

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Thanks to everyone who shows appreciation for this trip report. My trip reports rarely get the interaction I'm hoping for, but I write them to give something back to the Happier Abroad community. They do take a lot of effort and persistent to complete. Ghost, I guess if you don't like large internationalized metropolitan places, then you definitely wouldn't like Singapore. And I know it's entirely anecdotal, but Singapore immigration was literally one of the easiest I've ever been through. Oh well, people experience and see things differently.


Environment and Scenery

If there's one thing Singapore does better than most of its neighbors (other than efficiency), it's got to be how clean and nice-looking it is. Singapore has a well-deserved reputation for being a "garden city." Greenery and foliage are all over the city, and it really does subconsciously affect your mood in a positive way. Trees and grass are anywhere and everywhere, and parks are well-kept. Greenery was one of the things I liked most about Kuala Lumpur, but I'd say Singapore does it even better. Penang is also very good in this regard.

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Singapore's medium-sized population (around five million) is probably one of the contributing factors to the high physical comfort level of the city. The population isn't so high that they've had to tear down all things natural, nor is the population so high that it feels crowded. My number one is biggest complain about Bangkok and many parts of China is that they're too hectic and crowded. Singapore was neither hectic or crowded. Sidewalks were also mostly wide open and not littered with parked cars and motorcycles, food vendors, stray dogs, litter, and God knows what else. Walking was mostly pleasant and comfortable.

As for the weather, it was mostly warm during my stay in October. On the downside, almost every day I was there it rained for hours and hours in the afternoon. That made it hard to go out and take photos, and sometimes I had to cancel my plans for the day due to the weather. The sky was also hazy every day I was there. I could barely see any clouds, and the sky didn't even remotely look blue (just like the picture below this paragraph). Don't get me wrong, it didn't look polluted, it just looked unclear and hazy, most likely due to the weather, not pollution.

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As you've probably heard, Singapore is a pretty clean place. I think people coming from developed Western countries wouldn't notice this all that much, but if you're coming straight from developing cities like Bangkok, Manila, or Phnom Penh, then you'll definitely notice the cleanliness. I don't think I ever saw litter during my entire ten day stay, and I also noticed there were plenty of garbage bins all over the city. Singapore is also an extremely safe place with minimal crime. Not once did I feel even remote danger, and not once did I feel like I need to stay on guard when dealing with money with the locals. I didn't have to count my change like in Bangkok, nor did I have to have to assume the worst like I often do in China. In other words, I could just relax, because nobody was trying to take advantage of me for being a Caucasian/tourist.

I also want to note how many places there were to sit in Singapore. Both China and Thailand are seriously lacking in places to sit. Singapore was extremely generous. It seemed like no matter where I was - in the middle of a shopping mall, on the sidewalk, or at a bus stop - there was always a place to sit. Considering how much I walk, this was a welcome change to what I've gotten used to in many other Asian countries. It seems like whenever I spot a bench in Bangkok, at least half the time it's already occupied by a sleeping drug addict. I also remember back in Dalian that benches were almost non-existent, with parks generally being the only exception.


Things to Do

This one also kinda goes hand in hand with cost of traveling. While there were a reasonable amount of things to do in Singapore, most places were not very cheap. It seemed like every activity I was interested in cost too much money, so I just crossed it off the list. Ride the Singapore Flyer (a Ferris wheel) - too expensive. Go to the top of Marina Bay Sands to snap cityscape photos - too expensive. Go to Sentosa Island - too expensive. Granted if you're living and working in Singapore and making a typical Singapore salary, then most of these things wouldn't be all that expensive. But if you're making a shitty Thai salary like me, then they will be expensive. Going to shopping malls, eating at food courts, walking around parks, and taking street photography were about the only things I consistently did over my ten day stay.

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Singapore is a pretty boring place. There, I said it. I'm not going to sugar coat my words. It's super clean, well-organized, and efficient, but it's also kind of dull, especially for people who're really adventurous. After about five or so days, I was starting to get bored out of my mind and tired of living in a shoe box hotel room. If you've never been to Asia, and you went to Singapore first, I think you'd be kind of bored. Singapore is very much like a large developed Western city, only it's located in Asia and most of the food and people are Asian and Asian languages can be overheard. I mostly recommend Singapore to people who're wanting a break from the madness of developing Asia. I also recommend Singapore to people who don't want to experience too much culture shock or difficulty in traveling. There's nothing difficult about traveling around Singapore, unless you've never been to a large city. You can say that's a good or bad thing, but it totally depends on your own perspective.

Here's a few things that I'd recommend to do in Singapore:

1. Check out Geylang Road, the city-country's only legal red light district area. The whole area is littered with migrant workers who mostly hail from mainland China, India, and Bangladesh. There are tons and tons of streetwalkers in the area, as well as several "KTVs" (where extra "services" are commonly available) and tons of little shops and restaurants. It seems like 80% of the streetwalkers are from mainland China, and I would say most of them are HOT. After doing some research online, it seems the going price with them is anywhere from S$20 to S$75, depending on who you ask and several other factors. All I can say is I would take the working women from Geyland Road over the working women of Bangkok or Pattaya any day. No contest. There was eye candy as far as the eye could see. Prices are also about the same, if not cheaper.

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And besides just the P4P, the area itself is interesting enough. My first hotel was a stone's throw away from the road, and I found it fun to just go out at night, sit at one of the many open-air restaurants, and just people watch. The food in the area was pretty good too. The area has a certain energy and a bit of grittiness that's largely lacking in other parts of the city.

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2. Go the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall near Balestier Road. If you're not into museums or history, just skip right over this. But if you do like decent museums, this one only cost me S$4, and it was well-worth checking out. In a nutshell, it tells you all about Chiang Kai-shek's journey across Asia setting up various establishments. It'll probably take an hour or so to walk through the entire museum. Falcon also told me that the Asian Civilizations Museum on Empress Place is worth checking out, though I never went there.

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3. Walk around the Central Business District and Merlion Park. This is the main downtown area of Singapore filled with skyscrapers, office workers, and shopping malls. I suggest just walking around and chilling out while doing some people watching. If you're into photography like me, then this area is pretty good for that too. Merlion Park is the riverside park where the iconic merlion (half lion, half fish) fountain of Singapore is located. It's the place to get your "look, I'm in Singapore" photo.

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4. Walk, walk, and walk some more. Walk around and look at the different buildings, businesses, and people. Singapore truly is a multicultural city-country, and just walking around for half a day should make that abundantly clear. The country seemingly tries to preserve the best of what each Asian country has to offer, while laregly keeping out their undesirable aspects. Try the different restaurants and food courts. Pop by some of the churches, mosques, temples, art galleries, and/or museums. Walk through Little India or Chinatown, or visit some of the other ethnic enclaves around the city. Singapore has a pleasant and mostly peaceful environment, so you should enjoy it while you're there. It's one of the country's highlights.

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5. Shop 'til you drop. Like I said before, shopping is one of the best things to do while in Singapore. I know that sounds kind of lame, but it's the truth. If you're coming from the United States, don't bother. But if you're coming from a surrounding Asian country, then it would probably be a good time to stock up. Consumer goods will be cheaper in Singapore than most other Asian countries. Admittedly, I'm not all that into shopping either, but like it or not, that's what Singapore is good at. I particularly like the Funan DigitaLife Mall on North Bridge Road. Lots of camera equipment (including Pentax!), mobile phones, laptop and desktop computers, computer parts, and any other digital thing you could think of is for sale there.

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Conclusion

Singapore is a clean, efficient, modern, internationalized, and developed Asian city-country. Those features alone set it far apart from most of its neighbors. You won't have touts pestering you everywhere you go like in Bangkok, you won't get your ears constantly hammered by unpleasant and loud noises. You won't have to avoid pile and after pile of garbage or stray dog after stray dog on the sidewalk. You won't have to deal with a language barrier. You won't have to deal with confusing infrastructure and transportation. Nor will you have to deal with clueless, dim-witted locals. These are all good things, right? But just because Singapore lacks the negative aspects of its neighbors, that doesn't necessarily mean its worth traveling to.

Singapore is moderately expensive, especially if you're like me making a modest income living in one of its neighboring countries. The people aren't going to put you on a pedestal simply for having a foreign white face, but neither will they gawk at you or be passive aggressive towards you. No one's even going to bat an eyelid at you, no matter where you're from. Single men also have a pretty tough crowd to compete with over the local lasses. The women are diverse and largely pleasing to the eyes, but they also exhibit many of the negative traits of modernized urban women, such as cigarette smoking, having tattoos, and walking around with a sense of entitlement. The food is extremely diverse and delicious, but snacks and beverages tend to be on the more expensive side. The city is very green and clean, but I don't think there's anything negative about that.

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However, to the very adventurous and well-traveled, Singapore may come off as too sterile and/or not very culturally stimulating. It's very much like a modern Western city, so if you're wanting something drastically different and engaging, then Singapore probably isn't for you. Rather Singapore is a country for those wanting minimal challenge, those wanting maximum efficiency and orderliness, and/or for those who simply want a break from all the shit developing Asia tends to throw at you. Singapore is the first developed country my girlfriend has ever visited, and it seemed like she was way more impressed by it than me.

After it's all said and done, Singapore a nice city-country, but it's pretty boring to someone like me, and the medium-high cost was a turn off. I also got very tired of living in an expensive and cramped hotel room. I was in Kuala Lumpur for a week earlier this year, and Singapore basically represents a more developed version of KL, albeit at a more expensive cost. I think I liked Kuala Lumpur more, and I'd go back to KL any day, but I think I'd only go back to Singapore if it was part of a dual Malaysia-Singapore trip. Not too sure I'd return to just Singapore solely for tourism purposes. All in all, Singapore seems more like a decent place to work and live than as place to travel. Singapore in five words: a more developed Kuala Lumpur.

If you enjoyed this trip report, please also consider checking out my other trip reports:

Laos - Vang Vieng and Vientiane
Malaysia - Penang Island
China - Shanghai, Dalian, Harbin, Mudanjiang, and Beijing

Also check out my thread about learning Mandarin Chinese.

I also have a Flickr photo page that I don't mind sharing with respectable and trustworthy Happier Abroad forum members. PM me if you would like the URL.

On a completely different topic, I'll be in Chicago, Little Rock (my hometown), and Memphis during May-June 2015. I might also visit Chendgu and Chongqing in April 2015. If anyone from this site is located in or very close to any of those cities, contact me and maybe we can meet up. I'll make in-depth trip reports for those trips as well. Thanks for reading!

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Everdred
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby hammanta » Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:58 am

That 3 tower hotel with the platform and trees on top is ridiculous. I watched the documentary they had about building it. Ever since then I've wanted to go to Singapore. Nothing like having a nice cold beer on and have one of the nicest views of the city.
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby xiongmao » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:27 pm

Nice report. My boss went there last month and his photos were terrible!

We do a lot of work for the team in Singapore, and they're seemingly always in the office! They seem to get more vacation time than Thai (and maybe Chinese) people though.

My boss thought it was OK but beer was expensive. He even managed to use a bus there, so it must have been easy.

I might get the chance to go there at some point, my current employer wants to open an office out there. I think I'd prefer to work in nearby Kuala Lumpur though - it's a really great city.
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby newlifeinphilippines » Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:12 pm

Singapore looks way too sterile and boring. Id rather be in america. I think the only people that would like it are desperate filipinas where any place looks better than their home.

mehhh chinese hookers are overrated if they are like koreans and japanese. They may be hot but they have no personality and will treat you like a lube job stacked up in an auto repair shop. Plus with a minimum hotel being what 50 to 100 a night as a budget that place would be insanely expensive long term.


People go to thailand and fili for the girlfriend experience in P4P. Maybe there are some chinese women you can turn into that but even so I bet it wont be teh same as the best GFE from a thai or fili girl. Chinese and korean women are too cold for that. :mrgreen:
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby Ghost » Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:38 pm

And I know it's entirely anecdotal, but Singapore immigration was literally one of the easiest I've ever been through.


Well, I entered twice. First by plane, second by bus. The airport immigration wasn't bad really. It was more typical of what I expect. Coming in by bus was bad, though. They took me to a back room and finger-printed me. Once that happened, I decided I would never go back. Not that I would anyway. I still don't care for it. But treating me like a quasi-criminal at your immigration check-point? That's too nanny-state for my tastes. They'll get nothing more from me.
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Re: Everdred's "10 Days in Singapore" Trip Report

Postby publicduende » Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:26 am

Guys, if you were to take off the p***y goggles for a minute, you would realise there are lots of other reasons to be in Singapore, whether for a month or 5 years.

I lived there (for almost 4 months, on secondment from a contract in London) and I can assure you that, with the right kind of work and wages setup, Singapore is virtually the best place in the world to be in. Absolutely unbeatable: a first world hub with the efficiency of Switzerland, the infrastructure and professional environment of London or NYC, great warm weather all year around. And, last but not least, a ridiculously comfortable airport that makes more than 20 Asian countries never more than three hours flight away, with more and more low-cost options available.

Unfortunately things have changed somehow, now that the Zeitgeist isn't as conducive to highly-paid expat jobs as it used to be and cheaper propositions from India, Bangladesh and Burma, China and Vietnam are putting downward pressure on salaries. Still, if you're lucky enough to be on anything between 70 and 140K SGD and working for a European company that affords you the full 25 day paid holidays entitlement plus (PLUS!) the statutory national holidays (Chinese new year, Diwali etc.)...nothing beats that. Absolute paradise. Hands down.
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