Well, imagine this, You decide to go for a holiday and then realise that you do not have 'thaaaaat' much time to look around and shop because the places are all far far away and you don't know the language etc etc, well, here is just what you could do...
Before that, Here are some useful tips.
1.) Get a Map !!! A lot of 'Indian' Tourists make this mistake. They think they could ask people around. Don't ever commit this mistake. Buy a Map. Atleast these days Internet is cheap. Use google maps. Get the layout of the city/place you are gonna be visiting.
2.) At the airport/railway station/bus-stand , when you get down, look around for huge billboards and signs. They are there for you. They'll clearly indicate the mood around the place and also set the tone for your journey. So If you see a shop is offering 60% off on clothes, the visit might just be worth it.
3.) Always have something to eat, handy. Preferably in your backpack or handbag. God Knows when you might land up on a stretch of endless walking and realise you are damn hungry and find that none of the shops around offer you the kind of food that you'd like to have !!! (It happened to me.. :( )
Also another point I'd like to add here, try to find out atleast one item in the local cuisine that you like or would like to try out. In case you do not have any option or your biscuits run out, you can atleast walk into a hotel and ask for the food that you've already tasted. Saves a lot of headache trying to figure out what the dishes might contain by deciphering the names.
4.) Drink puh-lenty of water. It really really helps.
5.) Try to use the local mode of transport. Obviously if a lot of people are using it, it means its quite economical. So quit all your tantrums and better get travelling in that tuk-tuk.
Anyway, coming to the crux of this post, here is what you can do if you have only 72 hours in Singapore...
See the Merlion and the Singapore Flyer first. Make this the first thing in the day, will save a lot of headache and pain in the arse. The Merlion is the mythical lion which is still the identity of Singapore. So if you went to Singapore and did not take a photo by the Merlion, I'll assume you are one of those people who went to Dubaaaai and did not buy Gold.
Once the Merlion is over, (if) you can walk about a kilometre and a half from the bridge, you'll land up at Singapore Flyer. This is Singapore's answer to the Millenium wheel in London. It's definitely not worth the 30 Odd singapore Dollars that you'll be paying. But, the plusses of this whole half an hour sojourn is that they hand you with a small walkie-talkie, which contains various programs which have been pre-loaded. One of them is the Geomancy Aspect of Singapore.
I must tell you, it's AWESOME !!!!
Totally super the way they use Feng-Shui (Pronounced Fooong Shway)to drive in good energy !!!
Once that is done, the next item to see would be the Sun-Tec Towers and the Fountain of Wealth...
Ah.. Have your attention now .. isn't it.. ? :)
The Sun Tec towers themselves have been built using Feng shui Principles and Four of the 5 Sun Tec Towers are shaped like the fingers of our hand. The fifth finger is the Sun-Tec Tower 5 and is shaped like a thumb. These five buildings form the ring at the centre of which is the Fountain of Wealth !!!
Symbolically something similar to Hindu style of portraying gods that shower wealth.
Anyway, for the record this is the world's largest man-made fountain.
Once this is done, it'll be time for some lunch. Have some and then buckle your belts.
It's time for some Shopping.. !!! :) :D
Use your maps and your brain and get to the nearest MRT station. From there, board the Metro to get to ChinaTown.
Once you get down at ChinaTown, do nothing.. The crowd will pull you towards it. And it will be minutes before you land up here....
Once in, its a shopper's paradise. If you are going here with a Lady, BEWARE !!! You are just gonna become penniless !!! 80% of the items are ladies accessories and T-Shirts and some awkward gadgets for men.
What you are seeing is only one side of the market. There exists another lane full of goodies from china on the other side of the road. You'll have to do a walk on the Foot over Bridge to get to the other side.
Once you get to the other side, the whole road is littered with offers. Predominantly it'll be a '3 for $10' deal. You might also chance upon a '4 for $10' deal as well. Better grab the offer when its there. As you walk down that road, you'll come to a Mariamman Temple and if you take the right and walk straight, comes the last stop of the day, the 'Ancient Relic of Buddha Temple'.
If you ask me (and I am an amateur photographer shooting with a Prosumeric Camera) I can spend an entire day shooting photos at this place. It's totally filled with Icons and other stuff that you can take photos with. Its actually a 4 storied building. Cameras are allowed inside except on the 4th floor where the Relic of Buddha is actually present... The relic is the tooth of Buddha. And trust me when you enter that chamber with the chant of
'Budham Sharanam Gachaami.
Dhammam Sharanam Gachaami.
Sangam Sharanam Gachaami.'
echoing silently inside, its a totally different feeling. Immediately you feel at peace and at home. Their terrace is an equally good place. But I loved their Door keepers and the Budha Statue on the Ground Floor. WoW !!! Now that is what I call an awesome imagery.
O.K. - That was Day One. Now Day Two.
Take the MRT to Little India. Walk towards SimLim. SimLim is like Chennai's Ritchie Street. Except that, you get good branded stuff for really dirt cheap prices. You also get clones, but the shopkeepers are honest enough to tell you that it is a clone and comes with only 'this-much' guarantee. The variety is amazing. Every conceivable product in the market is available at this place. If you came to Singapore to throw away money on Gadgets, You gotta throw it away at SimLim. And it will take you more than 3 hours to actually look at all the shops.
Point of advise :- Don't bargain too much. The prices are almost the same in any shop in that complex. If anybody is throwing something at dirt-cheap price then there is definitely a catch. Maybe he is not giving that free laptop bag or that cordless keyboard. Better check.
Finish your lunch in any of the eat-outs near the Little India MRT. And after that, its going to be a long long walk for you. The whole place near the Little India MRT is littered with offers. And guess what ? Its all Indian. So you can get plenty of stuff here. Of course, One Thuglak (Magazine) costs me 9 Rupees in India. It was 2.5 SGD there. So .. :) Choose well.
By the time this is over, you are ready for the last lap. For this evening, You can choose between Orchard Road or Clarke Quay. I suggest Orchard Road. It's an amazing place. Filled with shopping malls.
There are shopping malls on either side of the road, and in the evening, it gets all social. I was there during the start of December and looks like Christmas Celebrations start quite early there. The whole place was bubbling with energy at 7 in the evening. The streets were all lighted up. Offers in every mall. WoW.. Basically A Lot of money to spend :) :D
If you are not soooo tired by the shopping and walking past malls, I suggest you try the night safari. There are many operators who run this service. Get one of their brochures and book them. It's usually from 6:30 in the evening till 10:00 PM in the night. Just perfect for you to have your dinner and fall on your bed.
O.K. Now comes the Third Day. This is your last day in Singapore right ? So what else but shopping !!!
March right away to Mustafa. Now I am not going to hype this part. But yes, it is open 24 hours a day. And if you want to know how big this shop (err.. mall) really is... Seen the likes of Inorbit mall in Hyderabad ?? or say maybe Saravana Stores Brahmaandamaai ??? Its just about twice the size of that. And it contains everything...
Umbrellas, Nail Polish, Hard disks, mp3 players, Perfumes, anything and everything under the sun, at a cost much much lesser than the outside market.
One thing I noticed they were not good at was 'Branded Clothes'. Their clothes line is totally pathetic. And is outdated. Period. Also, I can some varieties of T-Shirts at about half the price at which I am buying from Mustafa. So you can do some calculations. BTW, remember the old lady next door, suffering from rheumatic pain, get some Tiger Balms for her, 4 for 10SGD. :) :D
By the time you finish this Mustafa, (assuming you are not stopping at every section in every floor), it will around 2:30. (Assuming you start at 8 in the morning. Actually even this is not enough. :P).
Post this, have your lunch in the hotels nearby and head to Bugis street. The largest Street shopping area in Singapore. Ever heard of a term called 'throw-away' prices ? Well, This street is an example. I got handbags (good quality ones, mind you) for 9 SGD (well, don't strain yourself, its about 280 INR. The same would have easily cost me 700-800 Bucks in any shop back home). Offers are all on everywhere. This is one place, I'd term as the 'Ranganathan Street of Singapore'
With that your trip too comes to a close. Have a great dinner and board the flight back home.
Some of you might be wondering why I never mentioned the Jurong Bird Park (or) The Singapore Zoo (or) Sentosa Island etc... Basically these things take atleast one full day. And some may or maynot be interested. If you are really keen, do check out the above mentioned places. They are world class. Apart from this, there are the museums and Kopitiams (They call Coffee as Kopi - Basically Coffee Houses where everything under the sun is served.) I can sit an entire day in a Kopitiam doing nothing and then come back again the next day to sit. :) Its so wonderful to see the crowd and the people thronging the Kopitiams...
Enjoy yourself in Singapore la !!!! :) :D
P.S:- Am planning to post my best Singapore Pics in a separate post... Till then...
Bye la .. !! :) :D