Destination: Singapore

Early Images of Singapore Saved From Bonfire

Good catch to whoever rescued “Views of the China Seas & Macao Taken During Capt. D. Ross’ Surveys by M. Houghton” from the flames. The book contained some of the earliest known drawings of Singapore, dating back to 1819. It was just sold at auction by the unnamed seller to an unnamed buyer for £43,000. (Via @roncharles)


Video You Must See: From Denver to Singapore in Five Minutes

(Via Kottke)


What’s Become of the World’s Red-Light Districts?

red-light district Photo by FaceMePLS, via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by FaceMePLS, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

A Wallpaper slideshow looks at how red-light districts in Amsterdam, Singapore, Sydney and seven other major world cities have been cleaned up. Or, as the story’s intro describes the transformation of Times Square in New York City, how they’ve reacted after after being given an “urban colonic.”


Dragon Boats Go Global

Dragon Boats Go Global Photo by Andrew Deacon via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Andrew Deacon via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Though the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival has long enjoyed popularity in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, mainland China only made it a public holiday last year—one of many signs that traditions abandoned during the country’s Cultural Revolution are finally being restored. 

The funny thing is, the festival—which commemorates the death of a famous poet who drowned himself in a river—has become so globalized that China itself looks like it’s late to the party.

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My Worst Hotel Rooms

My Worst Hotel Rooms Photo by Pear Biter via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Pear Biter via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Lists are in the air lately, so I decided to get in on the action. Herewith, my four worst hotel rooms, lifetime. I won’t name names, because I’m a gentleman. And also, because the parties in question might hunt me down and throw tiny bottles of shampoo at me.

Singapore: I was at the edge of Singapore’s Chinatown, which, as it turns out, is also the edge of Singapore’s red light district. Not that I caught on—I thought all the scantily-clad women peering out from cracked front doors were zealous about saving the environment and keeping that AC indoors. My hotel room here was easily the darkest I’ve ever stayed in: a deep red and purple color scheme lit by one dirty window overlooking an airshaft. The only outlet was in the middle of the wall above the bed. 

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Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune

singapore Photo via yeowatzup via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo via yeowatzup via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Over at the Hotel Hotsheet, Kitty Bean Yancey is up in arms about the cost of a Singapore Sling at the Raffles in, er, Singapore. Kitty is making a larger point about “hotel sticker shock,” but for our purposes, a pricey Singapore Sling is a fine example of something that’s a struggle for any frequent traveler: the paradox of drinking at the bar of a landmark hotel. 

 

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Morning Links: Museum of Broken Relationships, GlobalPost and More

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Health Experts: Go Easy on the Incense

Photo by alexik via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

The use of incense dates back thousands of years, yet when it comes to incense in American cities these days, I associate it with Indian restaurants, yoga studios and head shops hawking bongs and tie-dye T-shirts. I also think of the glory days of the hippie trail, when young Western kids set off through Asia and, as Rory MacLean writes, “lit sticks of incense, strummed their guitars and read another chapter of Siddhartha, then stepped off the bus to help push the decrepit vehicle over the Hindu Kush.”

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Hong Kong International Named World’s Best Airport

Pico Iyer once wrote that “Setting foot in Hong Kong’s new airport was the first time I felt I was stepping into the 21st century.” Others clearly agree: Hong Kong International has just been named the world’s best airport—for the seventh time—based on a passenger survey conducted by a U.K. consulting firm that collected a whopping 8 million responses. Coming in second and third: Singapore’s Changi Airport and Seoul’s Incheon Airport.

Related on World Hum:
* Travel Writers Pick Their Favorite Airports

Photo of Hong Kong International Airport by ztij0 via Flickr, (Creative Commons).


Singapore Airlines to A380 First-Class Suite Passengers: No Sex For You

Teases! Singapore Airlines has outfitted its new A380 with 12 first-class suites offering privacy and double beds, and during last week’s inaugural flight from Singapore to Sydney, Champagne flowed. The airline, it would seem, brought some sexy back to travel. Alas, it didn’t bring the Mile-High Club back from the dead. The carrier has asked suite passengers to refrain from sex, dashing “the hopes of sexual thrill-seekers planning to engage in amorous activity aboard the world’s biggest jumbo jet,” according to a Reuters report.

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Singapore, Brand That Nation!


Photo by Alex.ch via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

The latest focus of Brand That Nation!—our tip sheet for countries that may or may not be considering new branding campaigns and that just might want to improve their image in the U.S. travel market, where simple, easy-to-remember slogans are key: Singapore.

Location: Southern tip of the Malay peninsula in Southeast Asia

Capital: Singapore City

Noteworthy factoids: Durian fruit is not allowed on public transportation. Also, Singaporeans hold the world record for the most people exercising simultaneously while wearing green.

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Seats on First A380 Flight Up For Bid on eBay

The eBay auction for tickets on the Airbus A380’s first commercial flight—from Singapore to Sydney, on Singapore Air—is only a day old, and already prices are skyrocketing. That’s bad news for airline geeks, who will have to spend a lot to gain a coveted spot on the Oct. 25 flight. It’s good news, though, for the four charities that will get the proceeds.

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A ‘Random Guide to International Behavior’*

In his Sunday column, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Thomas Swick has some sage advice for international travelers, ranging from ways to stay out of trouble to simple pronunciation tips. Among them: “In Vietnam, don’t say pho with a long ‘o’ when ordering the popular noodle soup. (It’s pronounced more like ‘fuh’). In Ireland, don’t ask, ‘Are there any good books by local authors?’ In Singapore, don’t do a lot of things.”

 

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The Fastest Cities in the World on Two Feet

Photo by badjonni via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

Researchers who secretly studied pedestrians in 32 cities around the globe found that people in Singapore walk the most swiftly, covering 60 feet in 10.55 seconds. Copenhagen came next at 10.82 seconds, followed by Madrid, Guangzhou and Dublin. New Yorkers ranked 8th at 12 seconds flat. (Come on, New York, we know you can do better than that. Let’s get a move on.) Not surprisingly, technology is blamed at least in part for the increasingly frenetic pace of life. The radio show Marketplace notes a correlation between cities where people are walking faster than they did a decade ago and economic growth. The two cities where walking speeds have increased the most in the last decade: Singapore and Guangzhou, China.


Odorless Durian? That Stinks.

The first time a Singaporean friend insisted I try durian, that notoriously stinky Southeast Asian fruit, I feared the worst. I’d heard fellow travelers’ horror stories and read all about how the fruit had been banned in hotels and on Singaporean trains. My friend shrugged all that off and carefully selected one of the spiky fruits at a giant outdoor stall near his home, eliminating the need to smuggle it onto a train. Yes, it smelled like sweaty feet. But when we sliced it open and dug in, I enjoyed my first bites, savoring its sweet flavor and buttercream consistency. Then, after a few more bites, I started to feel a little ill, overwhelmed by the rich, nutty flavor and odor. So I’m not a big fan of durian. 

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