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Paul & Tracey's Travels
10th Feb 2011 - Penang, Malaysia & Singapore
A visit to Raffles and Sentosa Island - Final day in Singapore

A morning at Raffles
Our last day in Singapore before an early start tomorrow morning for our flight home. At 10.30am after a lazy start, we headed off into the sweltering heat for the 15 minute walk to Beach Road and Raffles hotel. As we walked keeping in the shade of the buildings where we could, we noticed again how the locals often use umbrellas to avoid the direct sun, although the humidity is as much an issue as the sun.
Raffles is at 1 Beach Road, however because of the reclamation of land, the sea is now nearly 1Km away. Raffles covers a huge area and includes shops and a museum, so once we had got to the main guest entrance I left Tracey waiting in the shade whilst I walked on to check where we enter to get into the Long Bar. After finding the right entrance, I went back to collect Tracey to find her in deep conversation with the Raffles doorman who was an Indian gentlemen in a striking colonial uniform . It turns out that he is a bit of a character, having worked at Raffles for 20 years – he very kindly posed for a photo with Tracey.
We got around to the Long Bar just in time to see the bar staff opening up. We went in hoping that our chosen dress would pass muster against the dress code. We did look at the drinks menu, but we could not resist asking for two Singapore Slings – current price £12 each. Each table has a bowl of monkey nuts for your edification, and the tradition is to throw the shells on the floor. Tracey was a bit hesitant, but checked with the waitress, who referred her the sign on the wall "littering is encouraged" by the time we left, a big pile had developed by our table. It was funny watching people coming in and carefully considering what to have, and then without fail ending up with a Singapore Sling. We started laying bets on whether anyone would order anything else, but no one did whilst we were in there. We then went on to have a quick look around the museum, where we were surprised to find that the doorman was actually a bit of a celebrity – he is the most photographed person in Singapore, and you can even buy very quirky bags and t-shirts with a cartoony picture of him on. We then headed back to our own more modest hotel.

Sentosa Island

After the ubiquitous break for a dose of air conditioning, we went back out into the afternoon heat and caught a 65 bus down to the harbour front which is a little further out from our city centre hotel, and is right opposite Sentosa Island just off the coast. After the 30 minute journey out through the west of the city we alighted into the heat and went straight into the air conditioned comfort of the Vivo City Shopping Mall. We were immediately greeted with the now familiar banging of drums and crashing of symbols denoting yet another Chinese New Year dragon dance – this time at M&S. You don’t get this at Cribbs Causeway !
We walked through the mall to get to the sea front promenade, and were very surprised to find that there was a boardwalk (or walkway) that links the mainland to the island. Sentosa Island styles itself “Asia’s favourite playground” and has got everything that you can possibly imagine for a family fun holiday (Universal Studios, Hard Rock, Cafe, Aquariums, Beaches, Cafes, Nature areas, Casinos, Cinemas, Golf Course, Luge etc - Naomi & Ali you would love it) and was previously linked to the mainland by a road bridge and a cable car. There is now this board walk which enables you to walk (or in Tracey’s case travelate !), and we found out later that it had only opened a couple of weeks ago. Like everything else here it is spotlessly clean, and very well designed and thought out. It only costs 50p to go onto the island which you pay right at the end, meaning you can walk the boardwalk for free. The various activities on the island are extra but not expensive. You could easily spend 2 weeks on the island and not be bored. We stopped at a cafe on the boardwalk and had a drink and salad/cake before catching the MRT (Metro) back to our hotel, before going out for our last night in Singapore.

A final return to Marina Bay

At about 7pm we left for our final night in Singapore. We caught the bus from outside the hotel down to Marina Bay again, and caught some of the free entertainment, including a chinese band called Cha Ben Sheng who had two good female lead vocalists. We had a Thai Meal overlooking the bay, and then at about 9pm we headed back to the hotel via the MRT (stopping at our home station to collect a refund on our pre paid EZ link ccards which have served us well during our short stay). We leave the hotel at about 4.30am tomorrow for a flight back to Kuala Lumpur, to get the return flight to Heathrow. I better go now and get an early night...

Next: Arrival in New York....wot no accommodation !
Previous: Return to a childhood home and awesome views of Singapore

Diary Photos

Tracey and the Raffles Hotel doorman, Singapore

Bugis Street Market, Singapore

Tracey on Beach Road, Singapore

Raffles Hotel main entrance, Singapore

War Memorial, corner of Beach Road, Singapore

Paul at Raffles, Singapore

Tracey in the Long Bar, Raffles, Singapore

Long Bar, Raffles, Singapore

Paul at the Long Bar, Raffles, Singapore

Long Bar, Raffles Hotel, Singapore

Your nuts sir, Long Bar, Raffles, Singapore

Tracey at Raffles, Singapore

Paul at Raffles Hotel, Singapore

Looking across to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel from Raffles, Singapore

Long Bar, Raffles Hotel, Singapore

A suspicious looking person outside Raffles, Singapore

Locals try and avoid the nidday sun, Singapore

Singapore M&S gets "dragoned" as part of the New Year celebrations

Cable Car from the mainland to Sentosa Island, Singapore

Sentosa Boardwalk, Singapore

Tracey tucks in to ice cream, cake, and Iced Coffee on Sentosa Boardwalk, Singapore

Paul on Sentosa Boardwalk, Singapore

Paul & Tracey on Sentosa Boardwalk, Singapore

Monorail to Sentosa Island, Singapore

Space ship landing over Singapore

Sun setting over Marina Bay, Singapore

Sun setting over Marina Bay, Singapore

Sun setting over Marina Bay, Singapore

Sun setting over Marina Bay, Singapore

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