I took a short taxi ride from the Casino to Raffle Hotel (SG$4). Raffle Hotel is a colonial-style hotel build back in 1887 and is one of the world’s most famous hotels. Tourists flock to the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel to sample the original Singapore Sling, a sickly sweet pink mix of pineapple juice, gin and more, but locals (almost) never touch the stuff. Being a tourist, I ventured in for a taste, and it was good but nothing more than a nice fruit punch with alcohol. Raffle Hotel is very lovely. The structure and decoration brings you back 100 years to the colonial era. After Raffle, I jumped into a short MRT ride from Raffle Place to Orchard Road.
Orchard road is a 2.2 km long street that is the retail and entertainment hub of Singapore. One can find all the major brands here. The street was very clean, modern looking, and filled with high-end stores like LV, Hermes, etc. Honestly, Orchard road was not of any interests to me. It is just a shopping area with multi-stories mall, similar to what you can find in Bangkok, Tokyo, or any other major Asian city. I also didn’t have any interest in making my bags/luggage heavier. It was about noon and I felt hungry and tired, so I made my way back to Maxwell for the lunch mentioned earlier.
After the wonderful lunch at Maxwell, I took the MRT from Chinatown to Little India. Once I got here, I felt like I was in the difference country. Chinese were rarely found here. This area is crowded with Indian people, stores and restaurants. It was not as clean as other part of the city. I visited the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Tekka Market/Mall (wet market and souvenirs shop that will give you the aroma of Little India) and just walked around the area for about 45mins. Rain was pouring toward the end of my walk and I had to hide myself under store’s awning. If my stomach was not full with yummy foods from China town, I would have loved to try one of the Indian restaurants here. There were also many gold shops here and they seem to be all packed with customers. Little India in Singapore is just like certain part of New Delhi, but just cleaner and more organized.
Masjid Sultan and Arab Street
Once the rain stopped, I walked from Little India to Arab Street to see the one of most beautiful and important Mosques in Singapore. It is about 1.3 km walk from Indian town. The nearest MRT is Bugis. From MRT it is about 5 minutes walk along Victoria Street or North Bridge Rd. It is very beautiful in its architecture. They will not allow tourists to go inside during praying. Appropriate attires are needed and often times, tourists fail to do so. So, I didn’t bother to try to get inside. The Mosque is surrounded by many restaurants and stores where you can buy postcard and souvenirs.
It was about 4pm by then and I was pretty much done for the day. I was exhausted, so I made my way to Bugis Village shopping center where I had a cup of coffee to wait out another down pour. Around 5pm, I made my way back to the airport from Bugis MRT station. I had to get my luggage and catch the train to Kuala Lumpur.
There are so many other places in Singapore which I did not visited on this 1 day trip (National Museum, Night Safari, Asian Civilization Museum, Galang Area, Sensata Island, Zoo, or the boat ride along the Singapore River). I simply did not have enough time and frankly I had no interests in some of those things I missed. Yes, you can see all of Singapore’s key attractions in 1 day (in 8-12 tiring hours), so if you have an 8-12 hours layover, get out of the airport and do it. For shorter layover, the tourism center at the airport also offers 2-3 hours or half day tour. However, to really experience all that Singapore has to offers (night life, evening walk, chilling at a popular bar in town, and getting some sense of the local daily life/culture), one would really need 2 full days here.