Postcards from Singapore

Postcards from Singapore

I’ve been back from Singapore for three days and, honestly, it already feels like a distant dream. Was I really chilling in Asia, in 35 degree heat, just three days ago? Given how cold my feet currently are, I’m not entirely sure.

I have long wanted to go to Singapore. I seem to know a surprising amount of people who have been and come back raving about it, which has only fuelled my desire to go over the past few years. Despite this, I have spent a long time assuming it was a place that I wouldn’t go in the near future. As it’s a casual 13-hour flight away, I’d decided it was where I would stop-off for a few days when I finally get round to visiting Australia and New Zealand (and who knows when that will be).

Recently though, after doing more research, I began to think that Singapore was actually somewhere that deserved to be visited in its own right and it was an idea I couldn’t get out of my adventure-loving mind. After mentioning it to my friend Alice, things spiralled surprisingly quick, circumstances aligned themselves, and suddenly we were booking flights and a hotel with just five week’s notice.

Gotta love a January deal.

Postcards from Singapore

Postcards from Singapore

Postcards from Singapore

I very nearly didn’t make my flight thanks to an accident on the M25. There was the full works; flashing blues, air ambulances and a fuck load of stationary traffic. We sat unmoving for an hour and a half.

It was a teensy bit stressful.

Okay, that’s a lie; I very nearly had a meltdown.

I made it to the airport at 6:04 and bag drop closed at 6:05 (BIG shout out to the cheery British Airways guy who still got my bag on the plane for me – his exact words were ‘you’ve made it by the skin of your teeth’).

Anyway, the point is, I did make it, survived the 13-hour flight and jet lag that followed and found myself in Singapore for a full seven days.

Postcards from Singapore

Postcards from Singapore

Postcards from Singapore

When we arrived at our hotel, slightly disorientated because we’d essentially lost a day, there was the most beautiful sunset over the city and as we watched it, it felt like that M25 traffic was a long way away and I was so excited for the week ahead.

In a world of heavily-filtered Instagram posts, I think it’s important to keep things real so I’m just going to flag now (whilst I’m banging on about sunsets) that Singapore was not instant, all-consuming love for me. It was not somewhere, like NYC for example, that immediately had my heart. There were moments like that, areas that I instantly loved, but there were also areas that required more than one visit for me to decide if I liked them; and then there were the places that I thought were somewhat disappointing. I found the hawker centres hard work, Sentosa island overrated and was perplexed as to why the Night Safari was listed as one of the top thing to do in my lonely planet travel guide. Also, I suspect we may have gone on the wrong day, but the bar at the top of Marina Bay Sands (somewhere everyone tells you to go) was like some shit club, with excessively loud music and no where near enough room to enjoy the amazing view.

Postcards from Singapore

Postcards from Singapore

Postcards from Singapore
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy Singapore. I had a bloody brilliant week, and came away very much in love with the place. But I fell in love the more I moved away from what I’d been told was good and towards what worked for me.

Postcards from SingaporeSingapore was honestly one of the most interesting and culturally-varied places I have ever been to. It was a hard place to get a ‘feel’ for because each area differs so vastly from the other. One minute you were in India, the next in a futuristic city and the next in a jungle. It was an assault on the senses (in a good way) and felt like we were jumping between completely different places every day. I think this is why I found there were some disappointments along the way; the areas are so different that, actually, it’s down to taste. I can see why some people may find Sentosa island a lot of fun and recommend it but so much of it didn’t appeal to us. No one told me to go to Little India and yet it was one of my favourite places.

Of course, all areas did have the overpowering humidity in common. Unless you were sheltering somewhere with air con, there was a constant presence of sweat. So dreamy. Whenever I look back on Singapore, it will be hard to forget that heat. Oh and the shopping centres. Seriously, there are SO MANY freakin’ shopping centres. You’d end up in one even if you had no intention of being there and they were so big, you’d wonder if you were ever going to get out again (we got lost in several – it became a bit of a theme).

Not sure why I’m chatting about shopping centres. I guess, as is always the way when taking a trip, it’s the small, slightly random things that stick in mind. And I have so many of those little memories from Singapore. Eating prata bread, Alice’s singing causing me to have a new song in my head every day (Hey Jude cropped up more than once), getting lost in a never-ending supermarket in Little India trying to find cough syrup, eating kaya toast & eggs on my birthday, trying a lassi drink, watching a wild baby monkey play on St Johns Island, buying a kimono in Chinatown, throwing peanuts on the floor in Raffles Hotel (an old tradition), getting henna done on our last afternoon, dozing on the beach at the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia, waiting to cross the road for about half an hour at every single flippin’ crossing point (why did they take so long to turn green, whhhyyyy), the constant sound of drums for Chinese New Year, Alice’s dislike for the rucksack she’d had to buy last minute before leaving, the sheer number of insanely cute kids running about, eating two loads of ice cream in the space of half an hour on Sentosa island, the delicious peanut sauce I ate at Satay by the Bay (a hawker centre), the amount of merlion statues I saw… I could go on.

I’ll also overwhelmingly remember the colour. The colourful streets of Little India, the vibrant shops of Haji Lane, the bustling gardens, the endless amount of vivid light shows; there was colour absolutely everywhere and I loved it.

Singapore was vibrant. It was beautiful. It was completely unique. And you can bet all you got, I’ll be going back one day.

Postcards from Singapore

Postcards from Singapore

Postcards from Singapore

Postcards from Singapore

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