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A holiday in SE Asia; Singapore 2011

My wife and I visited Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in November 2011. This was our first visit to Cambodia and Laos, our forth visit to Vietnam. We had most of one day in Singapore – by accident.

The purpose of these pages is partly as a short record of our holiday, partly to show friends and others some of our better photos, partly to record some interesting (at least to me) observations on SE Asian culture, and partly in the hope that it might be of some use to others who are considering a similar trip.

Impressions from a later visit to Singapore, in 2015, are on another page on this site.

Written 2011/12/26, last edited 2021/01/09
Contact: David K Clarke – ©

A small part of Singapore, from The Singapore Flyer
Singapore has one of the highest per-capita rates of income in the region.
The foreground group of buildings is reminiscent of a clump of toadstools.


We had booked planes such that we would have flown in from Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), had a couple of hours in the Singapore airport, and flown out to Perth. Jetstar very annoyingly changed the booking forcing us to have about 20 hours in Singapore. So we got in at about midnight, went to a hotel, had a few hours sleep and then most of the day in Singapore before flying out.

We greatly enjoyed our few hours in Singapore; the similarities and contrasts with the other SE Asian countries we had just visited was fascinating.


We stayed in the Fragrance Hotel Pearl, Lorong 14, Geylang, which our daughter had kindly discovered and booked for us. It cost about S$60. On a previous visit we had paid about S$100 for a very much inferior hotel.



In Singapore use the MRT

The Singapore Mass Rapid Transit railway system is fast, comfortable, cheap and will get you to within a ten minute walk of most accommodation.

In future visits (if any) to Singapore my wife and I will use the MRT rather than taxis.

The only unpleasant feature of our visit to Singapore was that we believe we were allocated an unnecessarily expensive taxi at the airport (we should immediately refused the one we were allocated and asked for an ordinary one – but after many hours flying and in Saigon airport we were less sharp, even, than normal) and then I suspect we were cheated by the taxi driver, who seemed to take us the long way around.

We had, on previous holidays, had less than ideal experiences with taxi drivers in Hanoi (tried to tell us that the hotel we wanted to go to was burned down and take us to a hotel that would give our driver a cut) and Saigon (I'm pretty sure he drove us in a couple of circles before taking us to the airport).

My opinion of taxi drivers is not particularly high; although I'd have to admit that the great majority of them might be honest.


Painted elephants on display in Rafles Place, Denece in the foreground.

Inner harbour

The inner harbour, with Rafles Place in the distance.

The painted elephants would be hidden behind the first row, or several rows, of buildings.

Photographed from the Singapore Flyer.

Road bridge

Without the creapers on the concrete road bridge this would have looked much more mundain. The locals don't call Singapore "The Garden City" for nothing; there are well tended gardens all over the place.

A small part of the shipping in anchorages around Singapore. This is a striking feature for anyone who aproaches Singapore by air. This photo was taken from the Singapore Flyer.


Ship building

This building, or would you call it a group of buildings? with a 'ship' on top of them, would have to be unique to Singapore.

Flower building

On the edge of the inner harbour, near Raffles Place