A new year and a new role and before the echoes Auld Lang Sine had finished, I was leaving a cold and damp UK behind and flying east.
I have never been to Asia before and due to the short notice of the trip I had little chance to do my research.
So the first thing I noticed when I set foot out of the airport was the heat. Not only is it hot (around 30 degrees all year round) but it is also humid. Very humid! By the time I reached my hotel (the Pan Pacific), I realised that all the jackets I had packed were not going to be needed.
I should point out that I was in Singapore on business so for much of the time I was in the office busy doing whatever it is that I do however I did get a couple of weekends to call my own and explore. As you know by now, when visiting anywhere new I like to explore on foot and this trip was no exception and on the first weekend I managed to cover the best part of 50km on foot discovering what Singapore had to offer.
One thing that did stand out was how efficient, clean and safe the city is. For such a big built up city, the one thing that you really noticed was the total lack of sirens. In London or New York or and other major city, the sound of police cars and other emergency vehicles can be deafening. In Singapore they were totally absent.
As my visit went on I also started to understand the food scene. On my first few nights, I had stayed close to the hotel and as a result the cost of meals was high. By my last weekend, I had reached a point where I could get a 2 course meal from one of the Hawker centres for less than £2! Beer however remained very expensive regardless of where I went.
I did visit all the usual tourist things including the Gardens By The Bay which really must be visited in the evening as the sun is setting, the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel for an out of this world view, China Town and Little India and the quays along the river offering a huge array of bars and restaurants.
Getting around was easy with a modern efficient metro system, very cheap cabs and a vast underground labyrinth of shopping malls meaning you can walk for miles in air conditioned comfort without ever seeing the light of day.
So by the time it was time to come home, I can truly say I had really got under the skin of Singapore and had a good understanding of what made it tick. It’s certainly a place I look forward to returning to another time. In the mean time, here are a selection of pictures from my trip however feel free to visit my photo album here for many more.