Alex & Jane's Australian Odyssey

Days 1 to 3 - London to Singapore

See Virtual Tours of Singapore

After months of anticipation, it was so exciting to finally board the BA jumbo bound for Singapore, the first leg on our Australian Odyssey. Jane and I have never ventured further east than Cyprus, and it was simply awesome to stare out of the window at countries and landscapes we had never seen before. The moonlit deserts of Iran were unexpected and particularly awe inspiring.

After 13 hours in the air, we finally arrived in Singapore. I have never seen a baggage carousel whose centre piece is an arrangement of pink orchids to rival anything at the Chelsea Flower Show! OK, so I know it's not exactly hard core Far East, but we loved our brief two nights there. We splashed out a bit and stayed at the Swissotel Merchant Court. Got a free upgrade to a very plush room indeed, although it was rather annoying waking up both mornings at 4am due to the jet lag!

On our first night, we took a short wander over the Read Street Bridge by the hotel and had a fab meal on the banks of the Singapore River. Can't recall the name of the restaurant, but River Valley Road is a great place to stroll around and there are loads of little shops and places to eat. The warm evening air reminded me of the Caribbean, but we were clearly somewhere very different. 

We spent most of the next day roaming around the city on foot. It's true what they say, Singapore is scarily clean! A bit touristy I know but, we had to take shelter from the sapping wet heat somewhere so where better than the Raffles hotel and a delicious Singapore Sling or two! They weren't that pricey and it was a real wrench to leave the cool of the colonial bar. Top tip for lunch - avoid the tourist places (Raffles excluded!) and go where the locals go. We found a great noodle bar - as large and as busy as a McDonald's - with simply fantastic, dirt cheap food. It was Sng$9 for both of us! We took a short boat trip along the Singapore River which was pretty interesting although, if you are nursing a hangover, the constant vibrations from the old diesel engine probably wouldn't help.

Singapore is a fascinating destination in its own right and makes a perfect stop over, especially if you've never been to the Far East before. We were a little frustrated not being able to see all that we wanted (we were only there for one full day) but more exciting things beckoned. Next stop, Australia ...