Hong Kong vs Singapore

I’ve been here two weeks and this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write! The days have been filled with working, sight-seeing and sunbathing and I’m ehxausted from all  three ☺️

Before coming to Singapore I was told that it was the same as Hong Kong, just cleaner. In some ways I would agree; the transport system is extremely efficient and cheap, there are shopping malls everywhere, the food is very similar and so is the climate. But I also think there are many ways in which they’re very different. Singapore is extremely clean – I don’t think I’ve seen a single bit of litter; the law is so strict here that littering just doesn’t happen. Hong Kong has a buzz and vibe about it 24/7, whereas Singapore feels less hectic and a lot more classy (or, as someone here put it, Hong Kong is more ‘real’). Whilst they are both very hot, Singapore hasn’t felt as humid (my hair is a lot happier here!), although today is the exception due to the thunderstorm that was lurking around all morning, hence very swollen hands and feet!

The first week went by in a blur as I struggled with jet lag and the first few working days, but last weekend I was finally starting to adjust and managed to do some exploring. Saturday evening we enjoyed a Chinese meal at Boast Quay, sat right by the river, and then went for drinks at the Fullerton Bay Hotel where we watched the sound and light show that happens every evening around Marina Bay Sands. The following day I enjoyed a trip to the Botanic Gardens where they have the most amazing display of orchids – if you’re into flowers it’s definitely a place to visit!


Another week of work followed, but I was working in Paragon, one of the main shopping centres on Orchard Road – a place for the rich and famous with rows and rows of designer shops. Thankfully my lunch break wasn’t long enough for me to be tempted by all the amazing bags and shoes on display!

This weekend came with a bit of upheaval as we were told we had to move rooms due to scheduled maintenance, so I’ve moved from floor 10 to floor 22 and now have the most amazing view! Plus a coffee machine, which would be great if I liked coffee! Despite the move I still managed a visit to Little India, where I wandered around Mustafa, a 24 hour shopping centre that sells everything you could think of, from watches to baby food! It was very hectic, and at times very tacky, so I moved onto Arab Street which had a very turkish feel with shops selling pashminas and rugs. The evening was spent having another cocktail (or mocktail in my case) looking out over Marina Bay, and then a visit to the Singapore Night Festival. There were various light shows, live music and craft stalls, and at 10.30 we were still melting in the heat and eating ice lollies!


Today’s plans were thwarted by bad weather, but we did manage a quick trip to Gardens by the Bay this afternoon. It’s a very modern take on a garden/park area but really beautiful and so peaceful considering it’s so close to the city. I will definitely be going back to explore a bit further when the humidity isn’t so bad and I can breathe more easily!

Someone asked me yesterday which I prefer, Hong Kong or Singapore, but I don’t think I have a favourite. They are different, but I love them both. ❤️

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Life in a Hotel

Tomorrow I fly to Singapore for my second long trip of the year. After spending 7 weeks in Hong Kong I have a fairly good idea of what I need to take with me to survive life in a hotel, and thought I’d share my top hotel living tips!

When you’re suffering from jet lag, or are exhausted after a long working day, some home comforts are essential! Even though temperatures in the Far East are often above 30C, air conditioning means hotel rooms can be chilly, so I never go without a comfortable pair of joggers to curl up in during the evening. At home I very rarely spend a night without a hot water bottle so I have a small one I take everywhere with me, and it makes such a difference when I’m tired, stressed or anxious (I’ve even been known to take it in my hand luggage with the idea of asking for it to be filled on a long haul flight…yet to be done but I’m sure it’ll happen at some point!).

Hotel toiletries are fine for a short stay, but when away for a long time I think it’s worth taking products you’re used to using. To avoid excess luggage weight I transfer most things to smaller bottles, which also means more room in the case for all the shopping when I come home! (The picture below is partly to demonstrate, and partly to show off my new Cath Kidston toilet bag which I am totally in love with!)

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Whilst there are cheap laundrettes available to avoid expensive hotel laundry bills (in HK I had a load of laundry done for £3!) there are some clothes I prefer to hand wash, so washing detergent is a must, and this time I am also taking some fabric conditioner, because nobody likes crunchy underwear…

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Dealing with the humidity is a huge issue for me and my hair. Remember that Friends episode with Monica in Barbados? That’s me when I step out of the hotel! So for the sake of everyone around me I am going fully armed with hair products this time – I will not be defeated by humidity!

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Tea. I love a good cup of tea, I can’t function properly in the morning without a large brew. But for some reason in hotels they think we want to drink out of cups designed for the Borrowers. So this time I’m taking my travel mug, a large bag of my favourite blend, and some dried milk (yes I know it’s not quite the same, but it’s not too bad and I can’t drink black tea for 5 weeks straight!).

And finally, entertainment. It’s all very well having a huge TV at the foot of your bed, but when all you can watch is BBC News it begins to lose its appeal! Hopefully with some careful packing I will be able to take my MacBook, disk drive and a box set to keep me entertained when I’m too tired to go out, or when a tornado keeps me trapped in the hotel (really hoping the latter doesn’t happen…!). Plus my kindle is fully loaded for those first few sleepless, jet lagged nights.

So those are my top hotel essentials, plus a small bottle of bubble bath if I have room, because using shower gel to create bubbles just isn’t the same! Hotel living has it’s perks (no cooking, washing up, cleaning…) but a touch of home makes all the difference. 😊

 

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