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I stopped over for a couple of nights in Singapore on my way home from a month's trip visiting New Zealand, and friends in Australia.

I wasn't best pleased to be ending my trip I can tell you. To be honest initially I wished I'd endured the 24 hour flight back to London without the stopover, and stayed an extra couple of days in Australia with my friends instead.

Nevertheless, I was here now so decided to try and make the most of it. I arrived completely knackered as it was only a couple of days after New Year's Eve -- I was still recovering from the excesses of seeing in 2005. So, once I'd dumped bags at my hotel I found somewhere really close by to eat and then hit the sack.

I spent a chunk of my first full day in Singapore visiting Bukit Timah Nature reserve, just a few kilometres from the city centre.

The reserve has many well signposted tracks and great information about native plants and animals, both in the visitor's centre and all along the main tracks.

As luck would have it I didn't actually see that much wild life, a few flying squirrels, butterflies and assorted creepy crawlies. Had I picked a better time of day to visit I'd probably have seen plenty of monkeys. Nevertheless I really enjoyed walking in the hot, steamy rain forest and there was plenty of plant life to look at.

Once in the reserve it's easy to forget you're smack bang in the middle of a big city. As well as walking tracks there are various cycle tracks, plenty of stuff to do for everyone. Check out the Wild Singapore website at www.wildsingapore.com/places/btnr.htm for more info (link opens in new browser window).

After the reserve I headed over to the Singapore Yacht club to try and track down a friend of a friend. Here I whiled away a nice couple of hours drinking, chatting and getting to see the inner workings of a yacht.

In the evening I headed over to China Town, and hung out there for a while, soaking up the atmosphere.

My flight home wasn't until late the next evening, so I had a full day to take in the delights of Orchard Road, Singapore's main shopping drag. I thought I'd been overwhelmed with shopping choices in Hong Kong but Orchard Road was something else ... I was on a bit of a mission to find a couple of albums but was sorely disappointed since all the record shops seemed to sell only really commercial western pop / rock stuff.

After not very long I'd had enough of the endless shopping malls and other shoppers and decided to try and find something a bit more calming. By complete accident I eventually found myself on a bridge over the Singapore River, so decided to hop on a bum boat for a quick half hour tour.

The rest of the time before my flight I spent wandering around Little India sampling some of the great food, followed by a quick whiz round Arab St, then time to pack me bags and head for the airport.

Apart from the nature reserve and one or two other highlights, I was kind of underwhelmed by my Singapore experience. It was ok, but I didn't get the same buzz I felt when in Hong Kong. I guess a big part of that may have been down to Singapore being at the end of my month trip rather than the beginning. Singapore didn't quite do it for me and I won't be rushing to visit again but hey, don't let that put you off.


Click on a picture to enlarge it and get a short description of the place

China Town, Singapore
China Town


Bumboats, Singapore River
Singapore River


Little India, Singapore
Little India


Sultan Mosque, Muscat St., Singapore
Arab St

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