Where we left off in the previous post, I had just had a truly delicious sleep at the M Hotel, the first hotel I ever willingly spent some proper money on in Singapore, and also correspondingly, the first hotel I ever woke up in in Singapore with sufficient room to get out of bed without physical contortions being a requirement.
Having waited patiently for our breakfast, I initially wasn’t disappointed – you can see from the picture that overall, it was worth waiting a few minutes for. Points, as in my Tripadvisor Review, do come off though for the fact that the bacon, ham, etc. (listed on the menu card in the description) didn’t actually materialise somehow. Anyway, overall it was a nice (if expensive, by my usual standards) breakfast and with it out of the way, I headed downstairs to check out the pool area – unsurprisingly, completely empty and seemingly devoid of any use in the last few hours. But, very clean and fit for purpose with a help-yourself towel rack; I joked with Anna I might wander in there on my next visit to Singapore and just use the pool. Though there is a limit even to the lengths I’ll go to.
Moving along, and finally out into the full heat of the day, we started wandering around Singapore aiming roughly for an MRT station and Gardens by the Bay. Singapore surprises us positively every time to be honest. Our first visit, way back in 2011 was very poor altogether and we left feeling a bit disappointed – but every time we’ve gone back, someone else has told us about somewhere else to explore for a bit of ‘real culture’, we’ve explored the place, and liked Singapore just that bit more for it.
As we walked around, eventually getting lost and separated from the conformity of the skyscrapers and footpaths wide enough to land a 747 on, we somehow found our way into an area of town near Chinatown, called Club St. Rejoice – perfectly maintained, beautifully painted old-style colonial shophouses, narrow footpaths that forced us out onto the street and a winding back-and-forth layout – another point for Singapore, and again, completely unintended and only as a result of getting lost. This place, by day, was a real gem for anyone looking to see something of Singapore’s actual heritage and background, as opposed to the modern-day Goliath skyscrapers to be found all over.
Sadly by night the place seemed to become decidedly shadier and came across more like any other ‘drinking street’ in the world – not unlike its local Malaysian neighbour, Changkat Bukit Bintang. Best left to its own devices, and we didn’t stay long beyond enjoying the view from the roof of one of the bars.
Gardens by the Bay, which we eventually reached is once again, something of a triumph for Singapore and our liking of it. Apparently some areas of it cost money, but with no real horticultural background that would’ve given us the requisite appreciation to justify paying, we instead wandered around the outdoor gardens, which to be honest, is more than sufficient anyway. The whole park is a beautiful place to enjoy for a few hours – if you can stand the heat outdoors of course – and the landscaping and attention to detail is wonderful, but more than that and unlike so many parks in Asia, you can sit and relax, worry-free, with no possibility of someone bothering you for change or to sell something, for as long as you like.
Â Purely for the divilment, we wandered into the shopping mall underneath the Marina Bay Hotel – only because the queue in the MRT station was scandalous for tickets and Anna’s ticket was somehow broken, note to MRT management; why are the ticket machines so slow and generally such a let-down compared to an otherwise great system(?!) – and all I can say is, bring a credit card. One without a limit. This was the most intensely expensive and opulent place I’ve ever willingly stepped foot into. We joked amongst ourselves whether we should try to gain entry to the casino, so I could understandably gamble my empire – my empire of approximately $85, that is.
With our sightseeing done, we went on with friends to a place called the Crab Shack for dinner, before calling it a night and calling Singapore, for this time anyway, time up. Honestly, the place grows more and more on me on every visit – though the petty vandal in me always wants to chew some gum on the streets just for the boldness – but it just seems to be one of those places you just have to know where to go and what to see.