After 96 days of backpacking on a tight budget we decided to let the purse strings go a little for our final 24 hours in Singapore. The freedom of backpacking was nearing its end before leaving for our more settled existence in Korea. We booked ourselves into a plush hotel in downtown Singapore called the Furama City Centre. It was in a prime location at the heart of Singapore, right in between Clarke Quay & Chinatown, just a few minutes walk to any area you would wish to explore. When we rolled up to the Furama the concierge that greeted us was pretty surprised to see a young couple with backpacks, cargo shorts & cheap t-shirts on pulling into his entrance! He said politely, “This is the Furama Sir”, in a questioning manner, to which I replied, “I know, I have a booking”, form in hand. He consequently reiterated, “at the Furama City Centre sir?!?” We gave him our ridiculous backpack & swaggered up to reception to check in. We were whisked up to the 14th floor where we opened the door to our swanky stay for the night. It was AMAZING!!!! Considering that most of the places we had stayed were lacking hot water & solid walls this was a palace!! Everything was immaculate, the bathroom was stunning, the bed was HUGE, the plasma tv… well, was a plasma tv!… & the view was quality! We opened the curtains to unveil downtown Singapore’s awesome architectural style, in awe of the luxuries we’d done away with for so long.
Clarke Quay is the social hotspot of Singapore so it was the perfect place to feed our self-indulgence. Positioned around a meander in the river the Quay is an upbeat, state of the art facility with loads of restaurants & bars. The uniquely designed roof has futuristic curves & supports everywhere creating a cool open air enviroment. Our surrender to satisfaction & disregard for the previously strict budget allowed us to sample some of these fine establishments. Yello Jello provided a rather fitting scene for us to watch Liverpool’s opening game of the season. Beatles pictures plastered on the walls, a constant blaring of rock anthems… the perfect bar to watch a Liverpool win!… or an uninspiring draw as was the case!! We went for a quick drink in the infamous ‘Clinic’ after full-time. The Clinic is a hospital themed bar where you order drinks that come in a drip bag & the seating areas offer a choice of dentist chairs or hospital beds. It was a pretty cool bar,… which would explain the extortionate prices, but worth a dabble for sure.
Our indulgence continued the following night at Quayside Seafood, a posh restaurant obtruding above the river with a refined selection of delicious dishes. Our final extravagant expenses came at Forbidden City, a VERY stylish bar with comfy sofas, an ice bar, grand armored guards… & inexplicable prices! After my $12 beer & Nicky’s $15 Chocolate Martini we were all spent out!
A mile in the other direction from our hotel was Chinatown. Another bustling area of the cosmopolitan but a far cry from the classy Clarke Quay. We meandered our way through the cheap gold & general tat on offer at the countless vendors. Red lanterns lined the streets, calmly swaying above the manic market stalls below. At the centre was an impressive temple, a tranquil retreat amongst the brawling businesses surrounding it. The temple’s placidity inspired our return to relaxation. We retreated to our ritzy room & enjoyed our final moments of freedom gazing out over Singapore’s skyline, thoughts of Korea beckoning in the background.