As it happens we are staying in Singapore during Chinese New Year! Our first night here we would be spending in the infamous Marina Bay Sands. Yes thats the one with the infinity pool on the roof, our sole reason for shelling out the big bucks. Now even just getting off the MRT you can already see that this area is not frequented by many backpackers. The way to the hotel is lined by ‘the Shoppes’ a mall developed by Marina Bay Sands for luxury brands, every single fashion icon you can think of is here – Louis Vuitton even has its very own island, Gucci has a shop that spans about a dozen shopfronts over two levels. Thus given our financial status we would only be here for one night, but the view was well worth it.
I had seen many, many pictures of this place before coming here but see it in person is amazing. We are 57 storeys up and in a pool that has no edge, overlooking the Singapore skyline at sunset.
We were going to make the most of our time here as its not cheap at all so it’s time to hit the Casino to make our money back! The Casino has three levels of gaming although we stick to the main floor as we are not nearly stacked enough to play the games with $100 minimum bets. I’ll spare the story of my winnings go up and down and cut it short – I lost; mostly playing this new game I’ve never seen before called Sic Bo, quite simple to learn really and all the asians love it. Basically three dice are rolled in a bowl thing and you cannot see what they have landed on. Like roulette you place your bets on what you think it may land on, you can bet whether the numbers they add up to are odd or even, big or small, etc.
The next morning we spent walking around Marina Bay, getting a view of the hotel as well as stopping by the Merlion. We then checked into our place for the rest of our week, a hostel in Chinatown.
Now Chinatown was crazy busy as it was pretty much the eve of Chinese New Year, the district was decorated in many red paper lanterns and lit up paper statues of all the animals of the Zodiac, but most prominently this year’s ‘mascot’, the goat. Chinatown is probably the best place to shop for little trinkets to take home as souvenirs as well as feast on cheap asian cuisine (had breakfast many times at the Maxwell Food/Hawker Centre).
For the countdown of the New Year, we headed to Marina Bay where there was a fireworks show as well as markets/food stalls. This was also a special celebration to commemorate 50 years of Singaporean Independence. They set up many light statue/paper crafting things which were a wonderful sight to see in the night time.
The rest of our time in Singapore was a little quiet as Chinese New Year seems to be a very family oriented occasion, it’s a Public Holiday for the New Year’s day as well as the day after as many shops are closed for people to spend time with their families and visit temples. I used this time mostly to sightsee with a mostly empty city, checking out Fort Canning Park, City Hall and Raffles Hotel, Dhoby Ghaut and Bugis. Lots and lots of shopping malls, meh. I can remark though that this whole time I have never seen any litter, Singapore is pretty clean. Overall had a great time here and was a pleasure to enjoy Chinese New Year! Excuse my Chinese but, Gong hey fat choy everybody!