Bazaar Shows: Singapore
Once a tiny fishing village, Singapore has become
a bustling city and a melting pot of cultures and traditions.
A city-state with over four million people, the city is host
to Western style boutiques and global brand names are available
in shops that stay open until 10pm, seven days a week. Nevertheless,
if you're looking for a more traditional shopping experience,
there are still shops to be found with that distinctly Asian
KT Comer visits Shanghai Tang, a shop combining
traditional Chinese design with a modern twist. This east/west
style extends to home furnishings, accessories and fashion.
World-class public transport and inexpensive taxis make Singapore
an ideal place to explore - especially if you have time to
sit back and enjoy a leisurely ride in one of the city's many
KT heads towards China town, a relic of old colonialism
but still a great place for strange and peculiar things to
buy from snakes and scorpions in bottles to colourful fabrics
and exotic fruits. Also available for sampling are the bars
and restaurants on Smith Street, now commonly known
as Food Street. Here visitors can try all types of
Chinese dishes and, in KT's opinion, it's the crème
de la crème of street food.
The legacy of colonial rule is still obvious in Singapore's
architecture. Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles founded modern Singapore
in 1819 and one of the city's landmark colonial buildings
is named after him. Dating back to 1887, Raffles hotel
became a home from home for many high-class travellers and
British colonials passing through Asia. Nowadays, the hotel
is renowned as much for its beauty, history and luxury as
for the famous stars who once visited, such as Charlie Chaplin,
Eva Gardener and Noel Coward.
From the opulence of Raffles, KT moves onwards and upwards
to the ultra modern New Asia Bar, perched on the seventieth
floor of the Stanford building.
The city also has a large, thriving Indian community. The
first Indian settlers in Singapore arrived with Sir Stamford
Raffles as assistants and soldiers back in 1819. Established
along the Serangoon Road, Little India is the focal
point of Singapore's Indian community. Its spice-scented streets
beckon you to a treasure trove of silverware, brassware, ethnic
jewellery, jasmine garlands and silk saris. KT decides to
some exotic shopping in Musafa's, one of the worlds
few 24-hour shopping malls.
From the frenetic pace of little India, KT decides to take
a cable car ride to the more tranquil Sentoza Island,
just south of downtown. A peaceful retreat, the island was
once a colonial fort. Now, complete with imported sand and
palm trees from Hawaii, it is also home to Singapore's newest
spa resort - Spa Botanonica, where one can indulge
in a mud bath, revitalising waterfall or a massage. North
of the island is the Mandai Orchid Gardens where visitors
can view the 200 different species of Orchid that grow on
Back in the city, KT takes a riverboat to explore the historic
Singapore River. One of the riverfront's newest attractions
is the Esplanade Theatre. Situated along Singapore's
magnificent waterfront at Marina Bay, the theatre's
two domes house the National Arts Centre which took
over six years to build and contain over 10,000 panes of glass
covered in special shading pyramids; each one is positioned
at an angle to keep the building shaded whilst maximising
Cutting edge design can also be found in older parts of the
city. The hotel '1929' for instance, has been recently
renovated to become one of Singapore's 'trendiest' and 'funkiest'
hotels. Built in 1929 and located in what used to be the towns
red light district, 1929's owner has kept the old façade
of the hotel but given the interior a decidedly modern design.
KT takes a boat trip on the Singapore River
Around the corner for 1929, KT visits Tea Chapter where
she finds teas from China Hong, Kong and Taiwan as well as
delicate teapots and cups ranging in price from $5 to $200.
Tea Chapter also specialises in the art of tea making.
KT also visits Claire Chang's shop of handy craft (brass,
silver, textiles etc) and art replicas from other Asian countries
like Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.
Singapore comes alive at night as people flock to the city's
bars and restaurants. One particular hotspot, Boat Quay
attracts everyone from the rich and famous to young Singaporean
kids. KT stumbles into the Sake Bar, where she samples
sake from all over the world including America, Brazil and
Australia. KT tries a good few, the best being the Tsunami,
which she says tastes just like champagne.
The biggest dance party in the whole of SE Asia is in Singapore
- KT checks out 'Zookout.' This annual two-day event
sees international DJ's and performers gather for an unforgettable
experience which carries on until dawn. After all that partying,
KT visits Singapore's Botanic Gardens, spread over
54 hectares in the middle of the city and relaxes at the end
of a frenetic trip.