We had one day in Singapore on our way to Munich and we wanted to enjoy a taste of this lovely city without feeling like we needed to rush and see it all.
The majestic white façade of Raffles Hotel beckoned to us and inside was a haven of peace and tranquillity. The arched and colonnaded verandas go right around the first floor and look down into the courtyard, lush with palms and ferns. We found the Hotel museum, where old photographs tell the Raffles story, from its beginnings as a colonial hotel in 1887 to the luxuriously appointed buildings of today. The collection includes postcards, artefacts and memorabilia donated by people from all over the world who have stayed at the hotel, and photographs of the rich and famous who have visited, including Ernest Hemingway and Noel Coward.
Even though the ballroom was being prepared for a wedding, we were allowed to walk in and experience the grandeur – Austrian crystal chandeliers, painted murals depicting traditional Singaporean life and glistening tableware waiting for the guests to arrive.
Jubilee Hall is a Victorian style theatre, which seats 388 in old fashioned velveted comfort. It’s used now for receptions and performances.
We wandered through the Long Bar, where guests were sipping their Singapore Slings under rattan fans. The furniture was reminiscent of 1920s Malaysian plantations.
After leaving Raffles, we enjoyed a leisurely walk to the Singapore Flyer. At 165 metres high and 150 metres in diameter it’s the world’s largest observation wheel. In our capsule was a Singaporean man with international visitors – luckily for us! We listened in as he pointed out all the well-known landmarks and buildings. On a clear day the view extends to Indonesia and Malaysia, and although it was wet and cloudy this day and we couldn’t see that far, the 360° views of the city were spectacular.
The Singapore Food Trail is a 1960s themed food street with hawkers and stall holders all vying for custom. The decision about what to eat was made so difficult by the variety of food, which all looked and smelled amazing, but finally we settled on satay chicken skewers and noodles at The Alhambra Satay Club.
Our last stop of the day was the Singapore Botanical Gardens, and even though it was busy with people enjoying the late afternoon sunshine after a day of rain, the gardens were peaceful and serene. The orchid is Singapore’s national flower and the National Orchid Garden is the world’s largest orchid display – it’s simply beautiful.
In the late evening we were ready to resume our journey, and this German restaurant – on a street in Singapore – reminded us that it was time to go.