TravelVisiting SINGAPORE : A Beginner’s Travel Guide


Unfortunately, Singapore’s approach to tourists is ambivalent. The cleanup Singapore campaign is excellent in that Singapore is just about the only place between Greece. and Australia where you can drink water from the tap and that the streets are so clean you can be fined for dropping a cigarette end. It also means clean out certain types of foreigners -Singapore wants tourists who arrive by air, clutching Samsonite luggage and handfuls of dollars. Most important they’ve got to have short hair. If your hair can remotely be described as long they’ll probably want to see considerable proof of your financial viability and/or a ticket out of Singapore – preferably for that afternoon! This unfortunate attitude seems to be contagious in South East Asia, so hassle avoidance means a haircut – or a short hair wig which some people find very successful.

Once in, Singapore is a very pleasant place and, as everywhere. the people are great. Don’t miss the Tiger Balm gardens, also called Haw Paw Villa they’re actually a Chinese advert for one of those national cure ails – like Vincents. Just across from the gardens is a daily show called Instant Asia, it features everything from Indian snake charming to Thai boxing, an interesting if banal synapsis of several cultures you’ll be passing through. The Bugis Street show is sort of an open-air nightclub. usually full of drunk servicemen. Overpriced, so look – don’t buy. at midnight you have plenty to look at. Apart from that Singapore’s real charm is the polyglot population with its variety of Chinese, Indian, Malay, and other areas.

TRANSPORTATION: When you want to leave take a has over the causeway into Malaya. Or take a bus or train to Kuala Lumpar or Penang, services are good and reasonably cheap – you can train directly to Bangkok. If you want to fly up to Bangkok get a ticket through to Calcutta or Kathmandu and just stopover saves about $US20. You can also ship out to Ceylon for approximately $US100 or to Madras in India via Penang. These sort of services are irregular so you’ll have to check them out at the source.

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