Talk to me about Singapore & Bali

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  • Talk to me about Singapore & Bali
  • Spent a few weeks in Singapore living with relatives.

    Road cycling:The car is king and you really need your wits about you – despite the fact their road systems (and conditions) are light years ahead of ours, nothing has been designed with the bike in mind and cyclists are generally treated with contempt out on the road. I wouldn’t judge as very safe for the uninitiated unless riding in a group. I’m sure there’s cycle path stuff down near the beach area although everything they do is very heavily policed so expect to get pulled up for any transgressions;-)

    mtb: There’s a formal mtb trail centre @ Bukit Timah (getting there without a car from the town centre isn’t far but you have to negotiate some 6 lane highways in order to do so. I was shown around by a local and there’s a lot of sneaky stuff – some of which is actually very good. Don’t expect a Glentress type facility though.

    http://www.mbasg.org/bukit-timah-mtb-trail.html

    I know there are forums so look them up and I’m sure some ex pats would be happy to show you the sneaky stuff further into the city. These guys also ride the aqueduct / storm systems for night rides 😉

    Also, unless you are acclimatised then forget about doing anything strenuous after midday (in fact first light is ideal)as the heat / humidity can be incredibly draining. I did a couple of solo jaunts and it’s a wee bit spine chilling at first seeing large monkeys snakes and Monitor lizards on and crossing the trails / rustling about in the jungle (it is proper jungle btw) Watch the monkeys btw or rather don’t -eye contact is a no no.

    As for the rest – shop til you drop if that’s your thing. Lots of (expensive)eating down at the Quay. If you prefer to get with the locals (which nobody appears to be) then Chinatown and Little India are far more interesting. Everywhere is pretty safe ime.

    jekkyl
    Member

    I’ve been to Bali, there’s lot of poverty so if you can get away from all the hawkers and beach begging kids you’ll do alright.

    Premier Icon crispo
    Subscriber

    This time in 6 weeks we will be on our honeymoon! We fly and have a night stopover in Singapore, then two weeks in Bali & Lombok, then a couple more nights in Singapore on the way back.

    Looking for some recommendations of things to do but also some advice on spending money whilst we are there.

    We have already booked all accommodation (b&b basis), flights and transfers so just need to figure out how much spending money we’re going to need. So what’s the damage likely to be? Want to do a few things like treks and cycling while there, as well as just generally having a good time!

    Thanks!

    Premier Icon crispo
    Subscriber

    Think it was more a social pootle around Bali with the mrs rather than contending with the streets of Singapore! Thanks for the info though. Is Singapore expensive to eat out and sightsee?

    Anyone with Bali or Lombok experience!?

    withersea
    Member

    visited Singapore a few years back and agree with theblackmount that the best food was away from the tourist trail, we had a great meal in a cafe in the bottom of a shopping centre. technology shopping wasn’t great and the promise of better prices than the UK didn’t prove to be true, but the sales patter promised ‘much cheaper than Dixons’ but it wasn’t. trip to the zoo was good, think it was called sentosa island. getting around was very easy and the street markets were good to visit

    freddyg
    Member

    We spent 4 weeks on Bali and very nearly didn’t come back! We loved it.

    Most of our time was spent travelling around the coast of the island doing loads of scuba diving. It was absolutely brilliant.

    Food is cheap and delicious and the people are great. The only time we had any issues with hawkers was when we spent a couple of days around Kuta. It did (back in 2002) seem like a Torremolinos for Australians. Outside of Kuta was much more relaxed.

    Ubud, was a kind of cultural centre in the centre of the island – we had a couple of days looking a temples and watched a couple of traditional dance shows – pretty good too.

    As above, there is a lot of poverty and the roads are always busy so travelling any distance can be frustrating – just go with the flow, get out and look around and interact with the locals.

    It certainly isn’t the Maldives or Mauritius, but is a wonderful island. We’ve been there too and would rather go back to Bali.

    Singapore is okay, we stayed there for a couple of days on the way out. Did the zoo, had tea at Raffles (very civilised!) and wandered around the electronics shopping centres (a very frustrating experience). Restaurant food was okay and quite expensive. On the advice of a local we found a “food court” (I can’t remember what it was called exactly) which was basically a large covered market with loads of traders selling food around the outside, benches and tables in the middle. The food was delicious.

    I’m at work at the mo so can’t post much. Feel free to ask questions and I’ll try to pop in later 🙂

    Throw yourselves into it. You’ll have a great time. Jealous 😛

    MrTall
    Member

    I had my honeymoon in Bali in 2011 (after backpacking there in 1996) and it’s a great place.

    We hired a guy in a people carrier to ferry us around for the day to do a few touristy things and it cost about £20 (and a tenner tip) so it’s pretty cheap.

    When i was there in 1996 i seem to recall i hired a bike from Ubud (go and see the monkey forest) and cycled around the rice fields and it was a lovely day out. Even came across a proper Cockfight (no sniggering at the back!) going on in one of the villages which was a real eye-opener although i’m guessing they may not do that now?

    Kuta is very built up but interesting for a day but you will get hassled on the beach etc. There was a great bar further along the beach that had a swimming pool which was ace at night to have a few drinks then slip off your lounger into the pool to cool off. Can’t remember the name though.

    People are really friendly but also very poor so a generous tip is very gratefully received and makes a real difference to them.

    Singapore on the other hand, may just be me but i spent 24hrs there and could not get out quick enough although i’m sure i’d enjoy it more now that i’m a little older and wiser.

    aphex_2k
    Member

    Oh Gawd don’t go to Kuta in Bali.

    Bali for Ozzies is Costa Del Sol for the Brits. It’s cheap for us to go there, spend money on Bintang beer, get cheap tattoos and fake designer clothing and come back with Bali-Belly.

    Having said that, if you explore there are some lovely areas. We went up into the hills and saw the volcanos batur and agung. We also went to the most amazing spa I’ve ever seen (Ayana resort). Me and a mate also had some good nights in the Hard Rock cafe and saw some decent Indonesian rock bands doing some quite good covers. We were also in there when the military raided the police, which was a bit of a twitchy bum time – lights on, guns the lot.

    Also get used to people asking you to buy stuff. Haggle lots. It’s actually fun.

    Singapore I found to be strange. Clinically clean in places, filthy in others. The China town in Singa’s is full on. If you’re into gadgets and electronics there’s a couple of 5/6 floor malls that just do gadge. I spent a day there. Got so carried away I left our camera in one of the shops – snowballs chance in hell of finding it again!

    As with all countries, if you put the effort in with the language the locals appreciate it.

    Termimah kasih!

    jekkyl
    Member

    I’d also say have your wits about you when buying stuff or anything involving money, we haggled (this guy won’t haggle!) for some nice wooden candlesticks and they packed up them up for us and put them in a bag. When we got back to the hotel there was only one and they had fluffed up the package to look like 2. Also little dirty kids putting homemade bracelets on your wrist and then demanding money from you for it, take the bangle off to give back to them and they spat on my wife. Also we heard from another couple that while they were putting a bangle on one tourist (distracted at the front) some other little beggar was robbing them from the back. Also change your money over there much much much better rates on sterling straight off the plane in the airport.

    turbo1397
    Member

    When in singapore visit the zoo! great day out.. and some amazing animals.. clark quays nice but fairly expensive for food and drink. China town is great and the foodstalls do amazing food thats really cheap.. its pretty full on though.

    we had a great meal in a cafe in the bottom of a shopping centre.

    Din Tai Fung, perhaps?

    Singapore is Asia-Lite. Lovely, but really a beginner’s introduction to the glories of Asia.

    That said, Hometown, on Smith St is a super spot for dinner.
    Brotzeit, at Raffles Plaza, is great for people watching.
    Maxwell Hawker market for street food is ace, as are the cafes around Tanjong Pagar.

    Try the Durian. It’s lovely….

    aphex_2k
    Member

    Most hotels won’t allow you to eat durians inside!

    TrekEX8
    Member

    Durians are apparently an aphrodisiac……you must try them, they smell lovely.
    I am addicted to Din Tai Fung, several branches in Singapore, can’t get enough of them

    crankboy
    Member

    I have spent a few weeks in Singapore and loved it but was visiting inlaws so a different experience . The night zoo is a must do . Eating out was good but the hawker markets are the most exciting places to eat and the seafoood restaurants out on the highway (the road to the airport) .

    We did a number of long weekend breaks from Singapore to other places . Lumbok was a highlight , we trecked up Rinjani a massive volcano . It took a day to walk up the crater is about 6km across and contains a mini volcano in a lake . We camped on the rim climbing down to the lake and back for day two and coming down the third day..

    Lumbock was very underdeveloped very rural with poor roads and a massive and interesting contrast to Singapore .

    andra
    Member

    Been to Singers a load of times with work, eating out at the food courts is the most cost effective way,$10 for a meal and $5 a beer, but a visit to Clarke Quay is worth a trip at night, can be expensive to eat and drink there, but worth it for a night…. Also recommend a visit to Marina Bay Sands Hotel, take the elevator to the viewing Deck for some spectacular views of Singapore…

    Should have added that the guy I rode with employed a maid – practically every affluent Westerner, it seems, has a fleet of servants to carry out the menial stuff – often a different person for each role. The “pool cleaning guy” for example.

    Anyway, cleaning this guys mtb after every ride had been written into her employment contract. Kinda summed the place up for me – I’d really hate to live there.

    Why not try the 7 floors of whores? That will spice your trip up a little 😉

    In Bali, try to get hold of the Hash House Harriers club. They do runs of various lengths, and there’s a beer lorry/curry van at the end.
    You run through gorgeous countryside (we did, anyway. Monkey forest and the rice fields around Ubud) and then stay until the beer’s gone.
    Costs about £20 to hire a driver for the day.

    Singapore? Spend £20 on a bus tour, go to the zoo, then get the hell out. Over-priced, over-rated, over-populated hell-hole.

    Premier Icon stewartc
    Subscriber

    Can’t help you on Bali but travel to Singapore a bit and always try to get one night in the No Sign Board Seafood Restaurant in Geylang when possible, old Skool plastic chairs and tables but the food is amazing, you have to try the spicy crab.
    Clarke Quay is Ok as well if you want a saafe westernised experience.
    Don’t vist Orchard Towers with your OH!

    Got back from Bali about 2 weeks ago from our belated honeymoon. Stayed in Sanur for a couple of nights, then headed over to Tulamben for the diving.

    Whilst in Sanur, we went for one of the guided bike tours based out of Ubud, the company we used was Bali On Bike. Great way to see the rural way of life and get a taste for things, with a great guide. Lovely food provided at the end, and Bintang practically forced upon you included in the cost.

    Diving in Tulamben was amazing, but if that’s not an option for you, at least do some snorkelling. Some great life to see right from the shore. Would have done much more had I not perforated my ear drum diving with an ear infection. Still, saw a barracuda and a large group of bumphead parrotfish on the dive when it happened. So worth the pain.

    It’s a bit weird getting used to the amount of litter around the place, and the sellers/taxi drivers/etc don’t seem to understand “no”, but other than that, a lovely island with lovely people. We certainly want to go back.

    Premier Icon budgierider67
    Subscriber

    As suggested in Singapore, deffo get a ticket to the top of the Marine Bay Sands hotel. It is basically built like a cruise liner on three towers. It’s mental. You get to walk around the ship’s deck 57 floors up with amazing views over the city and the busy port. It also has a huge infinity pool up there but I think it’s for paying guests only.
    Chinatown & Little India are well worth a visit.
    The killer there is the humidity. You really have to dress appropriately or you will be a soaking chaffing bag of sweat in minutes. Temporary respite can be found in the shopping malls which are like walk in refrigerators.

    Premier Icon stewartc
    Subscriber

    The swimming pool at the Marina Bay sands is for guest only (spent my honeymoon there) but worth a visit, there is also a big park across the road now which is pleasant to stroll around if its not too hot.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @crispo – Bali is a beach / chill out focused so just do that. Not sure where you are staying but you might like to try a little diving / snorkeling as per advice above. If you can tour around a little or get away from the coast you can see a little of the more authentic Bali.

    As for Singapore a few days is perfect to get a feel for the place. It really is pretty small so a combination of taxis and walking (assuming you get aclimatised to hummidty whilst in Bali)

    Have a wander around the various “sub areas” China Town, Little India and Arab Street. Boat Quay is worth seeing if only to imagine how it must have been before all the tourist bars appeared. The Asian Civilisation Museum opposite is worth a look. Clarke Quay is too touristy for me.

    I used to live on Club Street (close to China Town) so it’s a personal favourite for bars and restaurants. If you like live music pop into Indochine for some good Asian food, cool atmosphere and ask “Pinto” to play you some guitar. Rooftop bar of Screening Room or Beaujolais on the corner are good.

    Singapore classic dish is chilli crab (although I prefer black or white pepper) – you can get a great view of the nighttime skyline at No Sign Board Seafood at Esplanade and great seafood, other bars and restaurants there too. It’s the “upmarket” version of the original in Geylang recommend by @stewartrc above.

    If you like Indian food you might try some Roti Prata or the Fishhead Curry in Little India.

    There is an area of restaurants/bars popular with expats calle Dempsey which is quite near the Botanical Gardens (which are worth a visit when it’s not too hot).

    Food is quite reasonable in Singapore by western standards, booze is expensive. If you want to try authentic grab a bite in one of the hawker centres / food courts (where the locals eat) will cost you just a few quid. General tip is to join the longest queue and have whatever they are having – the Maxwell food court near china town/club street never killed me.

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