Singapore should have been our intermediary between the Western world and the in-your-faceness of Southeast Asia…but instead we saw it as a reminder of the excesses of this place called the U.S. of A.

Convenient and thoroughly designed subway systems, speedy internet, multicultural food, huge malls, rooftop clubs, drinkable tap water, you name it…Singapore was simply a “just like home” delight for this New Yorker, and a perfect way to demonstrate what most of Southeast Asia lacks: comfortable, sustainable progress towards modernization.



Food stalls by Lau Pa Sat; Singapore

The hawker food stands got it right. Where Penang’s hawker stands perfects Malaysian food, Singapore takes the best of Chinese, Thai, Malaysian and Indian foods and doesn’t attempt to mix; these are some of the best satays and rotis I have ever had.



Restaurants in the basement of Raffles City Mall; Singapore

Ignore everything but DianTaiFong, the soup dumpling chain of Asia. We had a hotpot restaurant next door and I had a fried rice dish at a place called “Streets” and they were decent at best. DianTaiFong, however, is the master of making the best xiao lon biaos, which explains why when we got there there were not more seats available until closing time.




Health Rating of Singapore after 9 days…

  • # of bug bites: 0
  • # of Immodium used: 0
  • # of Pepto used: 0
  • # of Advil used: 0
  • # of antibiotics used: 0
  • # of total medication used: 0
  • Creams used: none

Quality of healthcare: Welcome to Singapore, the go-to place for world class healthcare in pretty much most of Southeast Asia. You really cannot go wrong here as the next best place to get health treatment is being airlifted to the U.S.

Sanitary Conditions: This city is probably one of the cleanest in the world; the no-littering law is enacted harshly (two undercover cops came up to a stranger for throwing away his cigarette butt on the floor) and the no-gum rule isn’t a joke. A city so clean, you can eat off the ground.



With luxury comes money: $185 USD in 2 days, which approximates to $92.5 USD/day. The goal was to spend no more than $40 USD/day.

Breakdown for 9 days: $80 SGD spending + $50 SGD lodging + $125 SGD nightlife = $185 USD

Goal: $40 USD/day

Spent: $92.5 USD/day




Fragrance Backpacker’s Hostel – 63 Dunlop Street; Little India, Singapore

A very clean dorm-style hostel with internet and efficient staff. However, I particularly enjoyed its location and the very good company I encountered in the 2 nights I spent there.

Price: $18 USD/night per person

Internet: $2 SGD ($1.40 USD) an hour for decent connection

Other Amenities: Efficient and clean


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July 2010