On a recent trip to Singapore I took a day trip to Malacca in Malaysia by coach. Malacca is a small historic town with plenty to see and it all fits into a day, albeit a long one, with a delicious buffet lunch at a central hotel, it is well worth the visit at a reasonable price. Don't forget to take your Passport!
From most Singapore Hotels or day trip Coach Companies
An icon for Singapore is the ultra-hygienic eating stalls. Nowhere else in the world do they have such hawker food stalls with freshly cooked foods of all kinds - for example, chilli crabs, shark's fin soup, mee goreng, fish head curry and many more. You can even get a fantastically cooked steak to your liking, or oysters with eggs all cooked in front of you within minutes. All ingredients are fresh and very hygienic - carefully and strictly monitored by the Singapore government.
The best place for lunch or dinner with an exotic feel is Newton Place Hawker Centre, where it's easy to park and even easier to get a cab. It is only a stone's throw from Orchard Road (Singapore's famous shopping street). If you are feeling a bit peckish at 1am Newton is the place to go for some Taiwan porridge which is served from 9pm till 3am at their Coffee Lounge. The Goodwood Park hotel is one of the oldest on the islandand is considered a national monument to the British colonisation of Singapore dating back to 1900. It is splendid for business and families alike. If you would like something to do, go to East Coast beach where you will see a number of seafood restaurants on the beach - about eight of them side by side to choose from.
If you are feeling more adventurous go on a boat ride to the Indonesian Island of Batan for the day from the Pier - right in the financial district. You can obtain the timetable of departure times from the tourist board - it is pretty reasonable. Serangoon (Singapore's little India), where you can find lots of Indian cafes and restaurants, has excellent Indian food where you can also find the famous 'teh tarik' (literal meaning is 'tea pulled'). It is sweet milky tea that is cooled down by pouring tea from one glass to another from about two or three feet apart depending on the skills of each waiter.
Whilst at Serangoon go to MUSTAFA's shopping centre. It is the Indian version of Debenhams but you will find almost everything exotic there and pretty reasonably priced. Whilst there also visit Tekka Market. It is the first wet market in Singapore where you will find more hawkers' stalls, shopping and local restaurants. It really is fascinating.
It is very very safe as crime is low and the people are very sophisticated and highly educated. You can find almost anything in Singapore. It is a multicultural country and more and more westerners are opting to live and work there, and they are well catered for.
If you fancy a bit of waterskiing go to Ponggol (along the coast) and hire out a boat - they will offer an instructor/driver with the hire of the boat with the gear (at a fee of course). You certainly do not have to worry about the weather. Fancy some original Malay satay - then the Esplanade is the place to go to. Depending on the time of the year you may even be lucky enough to get some Malay entertainment along the way. Want to hit the nightclubs but don't know which ones? There are about 20 nightclubs from samba to R&B, disco, blues, jazz, Chinese etc. all side by side at the World Trade Centre (or rather right next to it). They are open seven nights a week and some close at 5am. If you fancy a blues night out then try The Crazy Elephant at Clarke Quay, where you can sample a lychee martini. How exotic is that! I could go on - just do a bit of research or ask around at your hotel concierge and they will tell you. I am sure you will be spoilt...
Please be aware that no chewing of gum is allowed in Singapore and travellers are not allowed to bring in more than a cigarette packet of 20s into Singapore or there is a hefty fine.
Malacca is a historic Malaysian town with a less sanitised atmosphere than Singapore. You can see it in a day on a fully escorted coach trip run by RMG Tours. Considering the distance, you get a reasonable flavour of the place as well as an excellent hotel lunch, for a very good price.
The same company do a tour to Kukup but this is comparatively disappointing, with three stops en route and inadequate time at the destination. They offer other tours within Singapore itself, which are less worthwhile as the public transport system is so good and taxis plentiful and cheap.
RMG's address is 109C Amoy Street, Singapore 069929. It has booking desks in the Orchard Road Visitors' Centre and various hotels, or see the website at www.rmgtours.com
A wonderful garden filled with marvellous statues and scenarios telling old historical & legendary tales from the Singaporean past.
MRT to Buona Vista and then the bus to the Villa. After the villa head to Holland Village for refreshments and shopping.
Singaporeans cross the causeway to Johor Bahru for cheap shopping, but you don't need to as goods in Singapore are already cheap and better quality.
Instead visit the beautiful former palace of the sultans of Johor. Whatever your opinions on hunting trophies, treasure rooms and crystal furniture, it gives an unforgettable picture of the lifestyle of the royal family who now live in another palace in Johor Bahru.
Take a bus across the causeway from Singapore and make sure to fill in the various immigration forms accurately. Then catch a licensed taxi to the museum - the fare should be no more than 5 ringgits (beware of unlicensed drivers who will hassle you as you leave the entry point).
A large and very helpful visitors' centre with courteous staff and a wide selection of free maps and brochures.
While in the neigbourhood, turn off Orchard Road to an eating area on Emerald Hill Road to admire some lovely 'Chinese Baroque' houses on the left-hand side, built in the late 19th century by the Peranakan community.
On Orchard Road at the junction with Cairnhill Road.
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