Just arrived back from a week long trip to Singapore and what can i say from the moment i got there i wanted to leave.
The first thing, when we arrived at the airport we were accosted by an all-together un-friendly taxi driver who ripped us off with the price by about $20, he didnt smile, and the only conversation he made was to interrogate me about my finances. We were tired and so didnt argue, got to our hotel ok.
We'd heard one of the best things about singapore was the food, however, we were so sick of the food by the second day that we had to resort to starbucks and subway for the bulk of our diet. We found the city heavily polluted, way to crowded, un-charistmatic, bland, and basically a complete waste of time. We concluded that in Singapore there is nothing worth seeing, the temples were un-memorable and crammed inbetween the busy streets, not worth a visit!
We can usually amuse ourselves in a place when theres nothing to do, but after a day we were ready to leave and i believe this is mainly due to the people in Singapore! Everywhere we went in this country we were stared at, made to feel hugely unwelcome and felt like we were a hinderance in the smooth running of their country. On the trains we were stared at and pushed around, when we had huge suitcases the people wouldnt move their legs to let us past or let us in the lift. Whilst taking a trip to the cinema to try and escape Singapore the security guard allowed others to move infront of us in a queue to buy the last tickets for James Bond!! Also when i was in Singapore i lost/had stolen my purse, on trying to find it people were less than helpful, even the policeman at the station didnt believe it had been stolen and just told me to be more careful! We found the people in Singapore to be miserable, smelly, un-helpful, and rude. The only people we felt cracked a smile whilst we were there were the people who were trying to make money off us and trying to rip us off.
The only place worth visiting in Singapore is the zoo!!! its Great!!
After our traumatic experience of Singapore we felt it necessary to leave this comment and warn others that Singapore is not a nice place to spend a holiday, if your stopping over go to Thailand, Hong kong, LA, not singapore, or if you have to, make the stay as short as possible!! We seriously feel they should relax the drug laws then the people might lighten up a bit. We're currently in Thailand, and loving it, the people are SO SO SO friendly, we felt a relief as soon as we got to Bangkok airport where even the cleaners were helping us with our bags. I hope this helps someone, and deters people from going here because it seems that Singapore doesnt welcome tourists.
Hi Hannah - Sorry to hear you had a bad in Singapore, lm sure it was an unfortunate series of events. As a westerner l was in Singapore in June last year and found the place to be friendly and fine. I loved the food - chilli crab and the most fabulous jumbo prawns l have ever had down in clarke quay! Shopping was fine - now must say that we didnt use taxis as we had no need the MRT took us everywhere we wanted to go!
I loved the zoo too! Also loved Thailand and agree totally with your sentiments on it!
I wouldnt write Singapore off - you had bad experiences which obviously will tarnish your views but l didnt find the place bad at all!
Yer, i understand heather, we were only there a week, but we had SUCH a bad experience, its still haunting us, after the hotel there charged us 350 pounds too much money, so trying to get that back. We're still bitter i suppose!!! But we still prefer Thailand, and would recommend that!! x
Sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience in Singapore, hannah1987.
I'm not sure why you experienced the additional $20 on your taxi ride. I do know that if you board the taxi from the airport, there's a surcharge that's not reflected in the meter readings. Additionally, if it's peak hours, there's another surcharge of a dollar or two. At the same time, if it's peak hours and you head into the city, there are toll charges of a dollar or two if you used certain highways (reflected on a different meter) and finally, if you take the limousine taxi or the MaxiCab/London Cab, there's also a surcharge of a few dollars. All in all, however, it should not add up to $20. I do agree that many taxi drivers are unfriendly and aren't talkative, but there are pleasant ones as well.
The really unpleasant people, those that tend to rip off tourists (as well as locals) without second thoughts, are shopkeepers selling electronics at popular places such as Lucky Plaza or Sim Lim Square. If you look around, you'll find them quoting higher prices to a foreigner as compared to a local. If you're comfortable with haggling, however, you're most likely still able to get a bargain.
Food in Singapore is probably one of the selling points in tourism ads overseas I guess. We got lots here and of many varieties stemming from the various ethnic groups in Singapore. Being local, I really can't tell you if it's good or bad! I grew up with them. Most of them tend towards being spicy, and like Purdy said, chilli crabs are supposedly a speciality (again, I grew up with it so I don't particularly think it's all that fantastic). Chinese food is dominant here and if Asian food is not your type, there's countless others. They tend towards the pricey side though. I'd say that "real" Singapore food lies in the hawker centres (a collection of hawker stalls selling food that's really cheap). It may be hot and stuffy in some of these places, maybe even dirty-looking, but it's at these places I think you can experience real local food in places locals eat.
Singaporeans tend to rush around places with a "couldn't-be-bothered look" on their faces. I think it might actually be a common problem around the world? I find city dwellers generally looking less friendly than people who live away from the city. It's probably a culture shock you experienced. I know I find New Zealanders overly helpful while I was in New Zealand, to the point I was getting a little suspicious sometimes, but I soon learn that helpful people do exist in the world. Perhaps just less so, in Singapore.
I'm quite surprised to read that you find Singapore "heavily polluted", especially when you didn't think so with regards to Bangkok! If you were in Singapore sometime in September or October, yes we (and the whole of the South-east Asian region) got a haze problem then due to the burning forests in Indonesia. Air quality dropped to an unhealthy level on some days, but it has all cleared up by November when the monsoon rains started to fall.
You do have some valid points in your posts, however. I find Singapore pretty crowded as well. After all, four million people live on a tiny island that takes only an hour or so to drive across its longest width.
Sorry to hear you had a bad time in Singapore, Hannah. I went twice, the first time I went I didn't like it, I had come from Thailand and Malaysia and I think it seemed a bit too sterile and boring. Although I too loved the zoo, and found the people very nice and helpful.
The second time, I went back about 7 months later, and loved it. I like the mixture of cultures, and the different areas like the Arab quarter, Chinatown and Little India. Great food. I also like the way everything runs so efficiently.
It's a shame you had such a bad experience as there is loads to see and do in singapore. As clarabell says, the different areas and the mix of cultures are also very interesting. I've been to Singapore twice and loved it both times, and all the people I encountered were friendly and helpful.
I have been in and out of Singapore at least 10 times since '90. It is not my favorite city either, but I would not dismiss it outright. There is plenty of variety in food, culture & entertainment. The zoo is OK, but I much prefer Jurong Bird Park. After being to the San Diego Wild Animal Park, I don't care to see animals in cages or small enclosures.
I agree that Singers is not a place to spend a holiday. A few days is enough. But, there are bad cab drivers in every city, even in Vegas! The worker bees of Singers are focused, in a hurry and come off as rude. They are trying to make a living and are not as friendly as the Thai in general. I rode the MRT many times and the only stares I got was when I was dressed too casually. Shorts t-shirts did draw some looks. When I put on long pants and a collared shirt, the disapproval vanished. I think many of us get so used to beach casual when coming from Thailand or Indonesia that we forget that Singers is not a beach town.
Hannah, I was sorry to read your time in Singers went so poorly. Perhaps it will help others to use the bus to/from the airport or pay real attention to their cab driver and find out the proper fare for the ride contemplated.
Looks like Singapore is not your kinda place.
Happens sometimes. I had that experience with Cuba. Hated it, from start to finish, with their regimented tourism and greedness and dishonesty.... Well, u get the message, i hated it.
Bad time Hannah? As an exiled Jock living between Singapore & thailand I find Singapore one of the best cities I've ever lived in. Yeah the taxi drivers can be a pain in the butt, half the time they don't have a clue where you want to go but hey taxi drivers try & rip off tourists all over the world. As for everyone being unfriendly, sure some are just so focused on getting from A to B they don't let anything stand in their way.
Food, where were you going to eat? Singapore is famous for it's food, there's very few westeners that I know here who bother to eat western food. Pepper crab, chilli stingray, I'm away for some now !!!!
Temples, did you visit the Thai temple on Jalan Bukit Merah? Certainly not crammed in-between busy streets, yes some of the temples seem to be jammed between busy streets but quite often you'll find that they open out into open ground where you can forget the hustle of the busy streets.
Drugs in Singapore, dont even think of going down that road and remember you don't want to get caught with any in Thai either, unless you have the capital to buy your way out of the s**t.
Singapore is certainly one of the safest cities I've ever lived in or visited, one of the few places where there's such a multi cultural/race society where you don't feel any threat in a crowded night club.
The only ones with smiley faces were the ones trying to rip you off, ha ha, just remember all the smiley faces in Thailand willing to help you will just as soon rip you off, I have a Thai wife, love the Thai people & the way of life but it doesn't change the fact that you'll get ripped off at every oppertunity, the same as anywhere else.
Real sorry to here that you had such a bad time but to be honest you don't see many posts knocking the place.
I agree with draggons' points - it's unusual to hear so many negative comments about Singapore.