Scarlet's Blog...All Remaining Passengers...
Singapore, Saigon & Bangkok
On my first visit to the city state I was, like most visitors, struck by how tidy it is compared to other asian cities. There is a restriction on bringing chewing gum through customs (personal consumption only), and durian fruit is forbidden on the subway system. While the city has its share of towering office blocks, it has managed to keep a fair number of the older style homes and buildings and is know for an abundance of parks and green spaces. Raffles was on my list and I wasn’t disappointed. This gorgeous colonial era hotel with it’s writer’s suites overlooking the inner garden and famous bar are now a must on every visit. Still on my bucket list is the new terminal at Chiangi Airport. Normally airports are just a necessary step on the way to somewhere interesting, but this new addition is, by all accounts, spectacular. Inside the glass dome are hiking trails, waterfalls, gardens full of plants from around the world and sky-high canopy bridges.
A fairly new city for me – and it teems with life. As with most of the Asian cities I visit, the street life runs late into night with a bewildering array of goods and food for sale. Traffic is an interesting jumble with a solid stream of motorcycles and scooters packing the roads. There seem to be no visible rules or rights of way but they make it work. The french colonial influence is still visible in both the architecture and the deliciously strong coffee and flakey pas tries.Vietnam is really beginning to open up
to commerce with the rest of the world and to encourage their tourism industry. I was lucky enough to be invited to a local water-puppet theatre – a fantastic production where the puppet masters are waist deep in water behind a curtain, and their puppets dance atop the water on long rods.
This city has always held a fascination for me. Even though many travellers find it terrifyingly large and impersonal – a massive, sprawling concrete jungle appears as you come in from the airport – I really enjoy this city. Golden temples appear around almost every corner, night markets spring up as soon as the of fice block close for the day, and … the food is amazing! Since traffic can come to a standstill at peak times I have become familiar with both the metro and LRT – very clean and quick, as well as the joy that is the River. The Chao Phraya and adjoining waterways are a great way to travel through the city. It costs pennies and affords the most spectacular views of palaces and temples as well as a glimpse of daily life by the river.