Tag Archives: Marina Bay Sands

MARINA BAY, SINGAPORE – glass and chrome in black and white

It was the shapes that appealed to me.

I’ve been wondering what to do with my photos of the extraordinary new buildings around Singapore’s Marina Bay. I was there early in the morning, but there was little colour in the sky. So I had an idea – how about making everything black and white?

It’s my first foray into this sort of photography, so while unconditional praise is welcome, please bear in mind that constructive criticism could be discouraging to a beginner. Continue reading


Filed under Singapore, travel photography

SINGAPORE STOPOVER GUIDE – alternative hotels, restaurants and fun

Singapore can look modern and generic, but if you look from the right angle...

I must have passed through Singapore more than any other city, occasionally stopping over for a day or two. So it was nice to be paid a modest fee for writing a short alternative guide to the place.

When I first began travelling, Singapore was not a favoured destination.

If the rumours of the 1970s were correct, Singaporean officials, obsessed with cleanliness and conformity, would give you a compulsory haircut on arrival, confiscate your chewing gum, cane you for littering and kill you for any drug offence.

Things have changed considerably, though you’d be crazy to think of dealing, carrying or using illicit drugs here. Continue reading


Filed under Singapore

MARINA BAY SANDS, SINGAPORE – pulling punters with the WOW factor

In a city full of fine dining, shopping and hotels, the new Marina Bay Sands complex may just be Singapore/Asia/the world’s best. That’s certainly their aim.

I ought to hate this place. I’m not a great swimmer and I’m afraid of heights. Why would I be impressed by an infinity pool 200 metres above a very hard road? Five star hotels generally remind me of my status as a 2-3 star person. Shopping and gambling are among my least favourite activities because I’ve already got everything (ask anyone who tries to buy me a birthday present) and, as I understand it, punters in casinos are meant to lose.

Yet in spite of myself, I have to admire Marina Bay Sands (‘MBS’ to its friends). Singapore’s newest hotel/casino/shopping mall/science museum/convention centre/gallery/eat street/skating rink/theatre complex and practically everything else is just so much of so much. Here more is more and OTT is never OTT enough.

Kids, don't play too close to the edge!

Love it or loathe it, Singaporeans can’t ignore MBS. It dominates the city skyline between the CBD and the harbour. The SkyPark is a mighty cigar-shaped rocket, perched on a three-towered launchpad which houses the hotel suites. Continue reading


Filed under Art, Singapore

LITTLE INDIA, SINGAPORE – cheap as chapatis

Colourful, spicy, aromatic...and cheap - Singapore's Little India

If I can’t find someone to pay for my five star accommodation, and I seldom can, going down-market has its charms too.

I don't know what these are but look at the price! Give me a set of four, please.

“What hotel are you staying at?” our Indian/Singaporean taxi driver wanted to know.

I told him, slightly reluctantly, because I know where discussions with taxi drivers sometimes lead.

“You like it?”

“It’s okay.” It wasn’t a place to boast about; not up-market enough to sound like we were important or rich, not funky and cheap enough to sound like we were savvy travellers. It was a convenient, central, generic hotel, four stars at a three star price on the internet booking service.

“How is the breakfast? Is it good?”

“It’s fine.” Meaning it was the same as any chain hotel breakfast anywhere in the world. Bacon too crisp and curly, scrambled eggs dry and cool on the bottom of the bain marie. Sweet fruit yoghurt in little tubs, tinned peach slices, packets of cornflakes and cocopops, scoops of sugary toasted muesli, stewed filter coffee…

“Next time you are coming here, you should be staying in Little India. Hotel 81. Very, very clean, and you can get breakfast at restaurant around the corner. Very, very good price.”

I’ve visited Singapore many times since then, and often taken his advice, because surprise, surprise, it was very, very good. Continue reading


Filed under Budget travel, Singapore, Travel