In 1963, Singapore declared independence from the British Empire and, together with Malay and some other areas, founded Malaysia, which it however left again two years later to become an independent city-state. That’s today’s history lesson for those of you who knew as little about Singapore’s history as I did.
Standing in the middle of the city, it seems unbelievable that it was founded less than 200 years ago. As I didn’t have much time, I did the usual things: Bustour, Financial District, Chinatown, Little India, Colonial District.
The Financial District is as you would imagine, big and in your face and all artifical and commercial, especially compared to Kuala Lumpur. It’s when you stroll along the little alleyways in Chinatown and Little India or the area where I lived, Kallang, that the old town can be felt, for example entering a beautiful Indian temple, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India.
– Because it’s so difficult to meet up with German friends in Germany, it makes sense to do so on the other side of the world. Therefore, I was happy to meet up with an old friend who coincidentally was in Singapore at the same time as I.
– The pleasure to show a taxi driver the way: As a bus is (supposed to be) faster than a train, I took the bus from KL to Singapore, not expecting that guests would unceremoniously be dumped somewhere in the city, not anywhere near a train station or other major transport modes. After having finally located an ATM, I tried to get a taxi driver to drive me to my temporary home. The first one didn’t even stop, the second one didn’t want to take me to my desired location; so I never gave the third one a chance, but jumped into his taxi and persuaded him with the help of his „Singpore A-Z“ to drive me to the right address. He thought it was very funny.
– Air conditioning is very important in Singparore!
But overall, if I had to choose between KL and Singapore, I’d chose Singapore – and I don’t wish to offend anybody from KL. It’s an amazing city, with lots of things to do, and I think there is loads to discover outside the very artificial centre; it would definitely be worthwhile to spend some time in the area. For those of you who like shopping (I was amongst you, but I have to prioritize, and traveling wins out), Singapore is not a bad place to do so. Unfortunately, I only had 1 full and two half days, and a lot of rain (again). But should I be in the area again with time on my hands, I would stay for a few days to explore more.