Singapore by Night

Skyline at night
Cityscape at night from the 71st floor at New Asia

We arrived in Singapore at 7:15pm via Bangkok Airways, and unlike the last 2 times we flew into Singapore, we could actually venture out beyond the airport this time.  We were greeted at the airport by my friend Mike, who kindly appointed himself our host and tour guide for the next 24 hours.  A few observations about Singapore: it is so freaking hot.  Being that it’s situated right on the equator, it’s not only hot year round, but also hot night and day.  And unbelievably humid too.  We had to take A/C breaks indoors just to escape the humidity and heat.  Singapore is also insanely expensive – it makes NYC seem cheap by comparison!  And it really was a clean as everyone made it out to be.

Since it was already 8:30pm by the time we checked into Hotel Mike, it was too late to do anything touristy, so instead we went on our own self-catered night tour of Singapore.  Being the most advanced country (or rather, city-state) in Southeast Asia, Singapore has drawn in its fair share of expats, which are well represented through various neighborhoods.  We started off the night on Arab Street, which was defined by outdoor cafes aplenty with hookah bars strewn in between.  On one end was a beautiful mosque, and the Islamic culture was reflected in the neighborhood with very understated drinking (not to say it didn’t exist).  We grabbed beers at Mike’s friend’s bar, which had a massive beer fridge full of international beers, and ordered a few middle eastern platters from next door consisting of hummus, falafel, grilled lamb, and meat skewers.  Despite the many stringent rules set throughout Singapore – no spitting, no chewing gum, no littering – there was no open container law.  Go figure…but Mike explained to us that it’s all about moderation here.  Surprisingly, prostitution was also legal here, but as long as certain things are done within the rules and areas set by the government, everyone just turns a blind eye (legal notice: I might be paraphrasing this just a little, this was subject to my interpretation).  We actually saw one spot that was notorious for prostitution – it operated under the guide of a karaoke bar, but was notorious for its other operations.

Middle Eastern Platter
Middle Eastern Platter that we shared for dinner
Divine Bar
We took a quick look inside Divine Bar, which housed a multi-story wine cellar that was accessed by an angel-costumed being that “flew” up to retrieve your bottle. We didn’t get to witness this happening as these bottles were way above the average person’s budget.

Next, we went to the famous Raffles Hotel, named after the founder of Singapore and located in the middle of the colonial quarter which marked the heart of the original city.  Its bar, Long Bar, was also home to the original Singapore Sling, a tasty and sweet concoction made of gin, cherry heering, benedictine, and pineapple juice, so we naturally had to commemorate our visit with a round.  After that, we had a change of scenery by stopping at a club called New Asia on the 71th floor of the Fairmont Hotel, where we were treated to an amazing skyline view of the city from perched up high.  This was also, in my eyes, the birthplace of Gangnam Style.  I don’t know if I’ve lived under a rock or if the song was just getting big when we visited Asia, but I was completely puzzled by some girl’s cheesy dancing until Mike later showed me the music video.  And since then, I can’t avoid the song or video…

Singapore Slings
Enjoying our Singapore Slings at the Raffles Hotel
New Asia
Living large at New Asia…thanks for the champagne, Mike!

The last stop we made was at a bar whose name I honestly can’t remember (lofty goals for tour were fading at this point), but definitely a bit of shock to the system.  On its own, it was just another pub-like bar, but upon going inside, there was an Asian band that was performing a bunch of American covers to a tee – from AC/DC to Guns ‘n Roses (no Gangnam Style) – it was pretty uncanny.  This was also one of the places where the girls “went to work” – somehow it was understood that the last row of the bar surrounding the stage was reserved for business.  Glad we went with a pro and that I didn’t just linger in the back without knowing…

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