Singapore's skyline and merlion

Singapore’s skyline and merlion

Welcome to a new series on UrbanDuniya where I recount my first international trip, way back in 2004! In fact it was exactly ten years ago tonight that I crossed the line into no-mans-land at Sydney Airport and with it began my love affair with travel in the Middle East and Asia. Over the next ten weeks I’ll be posting my email diary entries from that first trip, edited only ever-so-slightly for public viewing!! I began my trip in Singapore…

Singapore's Botanic Gardens

Singapore’s Botanic Gardens

I slept on the Gulf Air flight nearly the whole way to Singapore, until we made a bumpy landing at Changi Airport in the early hours of Wednesday. Arriving at the airport I took the first taxi I could, and ended up paying about S$35 for what turned out to be a luxury taxi. Ripped off, perhaps, but it was nice to be offered champagne on the way to the city! Wiser for that experience, I dumped my belonging at the Madras Hotel in Little India (lovingly booked by my parents) at 5am and went out for the day. I walked through the Singapore Botanic Gardens to wake up, then had breakfast at a small cafe on the shoppers’ haven, Orchard Road. Singapore was amazing – high tech and glitzy, clean, organised and fun. The rest of the day was spent walking around the city, catching some great shots of the city skyline. In the afternoon I headed to Raffles Hotel, then followed it up with a totally street-scene curry and rice at a small eatery in Little India. I ate with thousands of others who were out celebrating the Hindu festival of Deepavali.

Esplanade: Theatres on the Bay Singapore

Esplanade: Theatres on the Bay Singapore

Happy Deepavali from Little India, Singapore! Also, I'm glad my photography skills have improved somewhat :/

Happy Deepavali from Little India, Singapore! Also, I’m glad my photography skills have improved somewhat :/

On my second day in Singapore I Β headed to Sentosa Island, an island resort connected by bridge to Singapore. There I swam in the South China Sea and had my photo taken at what claimed to be the southernmost point of the Asian continent (although, in hindsight, probably wasn’t; consider that Sentosa Island is an island off another island, Singapore; if we’re counting islands as part of the continent, then Indonesia would be further south). Tired, that night I had an easy food court dinner at the world’s largest fountain at Suntec City, just out of the main centre.

Raffles Hotel, Singapore

Raffles Hotel, Singapore

After a two long, full days, it was back to the airport for my next destination, Iran. Tune in next week when I catch up with my first week in the Middle East, in the city that calls itself “half the world”.

A beach on Sentosa Island

A beach on Sentosa Island

Where was your first overseas trip? And have you been to Singapore? What did you think of it?

Comments (18)

  • Andrew Reply

    its the perfect city to start international travel. Public transport is brilliant, language is no barrier and it’s pretty navigable. my first landing on solo travel was bangkok.
    Tim – on the left side bar – what is a flare?

    October 26, 2014 at 8:38 pm
    • Tim Blight Reply

      Hey Andrew, thanks for dropping by again πŸ™‚ Singapore is a great first stop – and I’m sure Bangkok would be pretty cool too – I’ve read your writing about that πŸ™‚
      I’m not the most tech savvy person, but the flare bar is a social media sharing plugin. I guess a ‘flare’ is like a social media interaction? Anyone out there care to elaborate? πŸ˜‰

      October 28, 2014 at 3:47 pm
  • Anna @ shenANNAgans Reply

    Awesome… I can’t wait to hear about your adventures via diary entries made a decade ago, that’s very cool. πŸ™‚ My first overseas trip was to America when I was 21, so 11 years ago, phewww… the time is flying. I hopped a plane to work in the kitchens of a Summer camp in Keene, New Hampshire. It was one of the most magical 5 months of my life.
    I haven’t been to Singapore, but will be there for a few days late December, haven’t booked accommodation or anything yet, better get on it. Can’t wait! πŸ™‚ I hear great things about the city.

    October 27, 2014 at 10:15 am
    • Tim Blight Reply

      Thanks for reading Anna πŸ™‚ Summer camp must have been a riot!! Have you written about that?
      You’ll love Singapore!!! It’s not like any other Asian city – it tends to be a bit divisive because of how ‘perfect’ it tries to be, but I love it there!!

      October 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm
  • Catherine Reply

    Sounds like a good start to your first overseas trip πŸ™‚ My first time overseas was to Portugal, but I was only three years old so don’t remember a thing! Will be going back to the same place in Portugal later this year though, so will be good to see what it’s like there!

    October 28, 2014 at 1:28 am
    • Tim Blight Reply

      It’s never too young to start exploring!! Portugal sounds lovely – will look forward to hearing about your travels!! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

      October 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm
  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave) Reply

    Although this might be an account of your trip from years ago, it’ll really help me out in a few weeks time when I go to Singapore for the first time – few tips here that I’ll have to keep in mind πŸ™‚

    October 30, 2014 at 8:31 am
    • Tim Blight Reply

      Glad I could be of help! Hope you have a great trip – I’ll be looking forward to hearing about it πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

      November 2, 2014 at 10:59 am
  • Emily Reply

    My first overseas trip was over my 19th birthday to Germany and Austria, but I would say my fire for travel started on a 3 month trip 10 years ago through Western Europe and Egypt. I’ve loved exploring other parts of the world, but I think from those first trips, my heart has a soft spot for Europe!

    October 30, 2014 at 9:52 pm
    • Tim Blight Reply

      That’s so true – and I think Singapore will always be a soft spot for me, because of it being my first trip. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

      November 2, 2014 at 11:00 am
  • Laura Reply

    Singapore was the first stop on my backpacking trip back when I was 18 (also almost ten years ago… how time flies!).

    I did pretty much the same itinerary as you, too – Orchard Road, the Botanical Gardens, Sentosa, Raffles!

    Sometime Traveller

    October 31, 2014 at 7:28 am
    • Tim Blight Reply

      The classic itinerary! And Singapore is such a great place to start!

      Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

      November 2, 2014 at 10:57 am
  • Katie Reply

    I would love to visit Singapore, mostly for the food which I’ve heard is amazing! If I still had any of my photos from my first trips (2001), I’m sure they would be much worse than yours. Not only have I improved as a photographer, but my equipment has as well! πŸ™‚

    November 3, 2014 at 3:53 am
    • Tim Blight Reply

      LOL good to know I’m not the only one!! First trips are always a bit experimental – your photography is amazing, so the process must have paid off!! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

      November 5, 2014 at 9:17 am
  • Annie Tong Reply

    Hi Tim,

    Love your photo skills, the pictures look amazing πŸ™‚ I was there in October for the first time and I have fallen in love with Singapore πŸ™‚

    I found your blog thru hippie in heels website, I have subscribe to your email will be following you blog:)

    Happy Journey
    Annie Ox

    November 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm
    • Tim Blight Reply

      Awwww thanks Annie!! I like to think that my photography has improved in 10 years however!! Thank you!

      November 28, 2014 at 11:26 am
      • Annie Tong Reply

        Holly Molly ten years nice!

        Annie ox

        November 28, 2014 at 7:57 pm
        • Tim Blight Reply

          I know! Time has flown!! πŸ˜€

          December 1, 2014 at 2:13 pm

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