Lockdown Armchair Travel – Singapore, 1985 and 2013

Continuing our lockdown armchair travel memories, we’ve now come to S which is for – amongst other places – Singapore. I went there for a week as a stopover en route to Australia in 1985, and then Mrs Chrisparkle and I went with Lady Prosecco in 2013 as a stopover on the way back from Australia! Poor Singapore, never the main item on the itinerary. That’s a shame because it’s a wonderful place. Asia lite, if you want to be a little pejorative, but sometimes lite is just what you need. So what do you think of, when you think of Singapore? Maybe you think of this chap.

The Merlion, the city symbol of Singapore, which was moved from its original position to the new Merlion Park on Marina Bay in 2002. Marina Bay sums up everything that’s glamorous about Singapore.

The Gardens by the Bay are home to some beautiful greenery – plus a few unusual constructions!

It’s also home to the extravagant Hotel Marina Bay Sands with its extraordinary infinity swimming pool

and a luxury shopping centre in the round

Another of Singapore’s hotels constitutes another of its iconic sights – Raffles Hotel, with its sumptuous gardens and colonial atmosphere.

I had a look around it back in 1985 too. It hasn’t changed!

Well, perhaps the sun loungers are posher! I remember my first day walking around Singapore on my own back in 1985. It was a blisteringly hot and humid day. I was fascinated by the sights, never having been anywhere like it before. But after a few hours, it all felt a little overwhelming, and I started to feel slightly vulnerable being a) so exhausted and b) so far from home. Fortunately my next sight to see was St Andrew’s Cathedral – I went inside and just sat down for an hour in the calm and the cool. It was the perfect rest cure! This is the only photo I took of the cathedral that day:

So when I went back in 2013 I was delighted to spend some time there and get a few more (better quality) pictures!

We also visited the very impressive little Armenian Church

It had some odd people outside though

It was fascinating to compare the city from how I remembered it 28 years earlier. The waterfront had places like this:

and I visited a traditional house on stilts.

Not much of that survives nowadays. Even the old architecture that has been preserved has been very well preserved.

Of course, some history remains. I saw the cenotaph in 1985

And the cricket ground stood out as being a little haven of green being encroached on by skyscrapers!

I always thought this photo below was of the cricket club, but now I realise it’s the Old Supreme Court!

When I visited in 1985, I took some tours thus seeing a little more of the surroundings. I didn’t get further than the outside here – not that you’d want to go inside!

I took the monorail over to Sentosa Island, which was proudly being developed as a tourist resort

To be fair, it wasn’t an extraordinarily interesting place, although I did snap this view of guys jumping into and out of trees. No idea why they did it.

I also enjoyed the Jurong Bird Park, which was good fun

And not only featured birds, but also those beautiful Singaporean orchids.

I visited some wonderful temples as well. I’ve no idea of their names or locations but they were very exotic.

Our 2013 trip stayed firmly within the confines of the city. And also included a few temple sights.

This is the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes

And this is the Glorious Masjid Sultan mosque.

Eating out is fun – expect to dine off banana leaves (literally)

Or some fruit at a temple

And you can join the tourists at the Long Bar at Raffles, the originall home of the Singapore Sling

But don’t be tempted to have too much

I think one’s overriding memory of Singapore is of the amazing modern architecture combined with a few glimpses of yesteryear.

Hopefully one day we’ll be able to go back!