Photography by Dennis Phan





After two weeks of cursing, our ship docked at the final destination, Singapore. I was pretty excited since it was my first time in Singapore, a city state I have heard a lot but never had a chance to visit until this trip.

The cruise ship provided breakfast before we disembarked. I chose to have breakfast at the back of the ship to enjoy Singapore harbor. It's surely a busy harbor with lots of commercial ships waiting to be docked. I told myself to make the most of Singapore during my short stay here.

Upon exiting the cruise ship, we took a cab to go to our hotel. On the way there, the driver referred us to Tiong Bahru Market near our hotel for local food. Since we couldn't check in our hotel room until late afternoon, we decided to go there to explore. It was only a short walk from our hotel. The first floor is a traditional market selling seafood, poultry, meat, fruits and vegetables. We bought a fish there and brought it to a nearby restaurant for cooking. We chose Hong Kong style steam fish with ginger and onion. Some restaurants in Singapore have "cookingonly" service. We also ordered some typical Singapore breakfast dishes from the menu to experience local taste. We could have tried the food center on the second floor but my wife insisted to try quality seafood first. She said we will be in Singapore for several days and will seeher local friends, so we don't have to rush for local food. When we got to food center on the second floor, we saw lots of foods and desserts with reasonable prices. We tried a typical Singapore dessert similar to Vietnamese tricolor dessert but on a lighter side. I love it!

We joined a night tour to see Singapore night lights. We were picked up from our hotel to join the group. We were on a 2-level bus for the tour. The upper level provides a better view but has no air conditioning. The lower level has air conditioning for those who can't stand the tropical heat. We first saw the free light show at Garden By The Bay Hotel. This show is somewhat similar to free light shows performed in Las Vegas. The bus then brought us to overview Singapore scenery. The tour guide did a good job explaining the city history and points of interest. She also walked us to experience Singapore night market on the street. At the end of the tour, we joined the river cruise to enjoy Singapore beautiful night lights. It was a relaxing ride along the river. After river cruise, we were short of Singapore cash, so we asked a night market restaurant greeter for help. She gladly showed us the best place for money exchange in Singaporebut the kiosks were close for the day so we would do it the next morning. She literally walked us to the street to show us the way to the kiosks. Singaporeans are pretty friendly to tourists.

On our second day, we took city bus for Henderson Waves Bridge, a popular tourist point of interest. This is a long bridge designed for pedestrians. A portion of it looks like waves; hence, the name Henderson Waves Bridge. We walked along the bridge and discovered the other greener and quieter side of Singapore. The bridge led to various trails and picnic sites. I like Singapore city layout. There is no shortage of green parks in Singapore for its citizens to enjoy fresh air and exercise. After Henderson Bridge, we hopped on another bus for Garden By The Bay Hotel, another popular tourist place. We saw the place at night time the night before and we wanted to see it in day light. We attempted to get in the casino but we left our passports in the hotel so we couldn't get in. Singapore has strict rule for casino entrance. To get in, foreigners with valid passports is free and locals pay $100 fee. If the government receives complaints about gambling issue from the spouse, that individual will be banned from entering the casino. I personally think this is a good rule to control excessive gambling habits within Singaporeans. We also visited the Lion, a famous Singapore landmark, but it was under major maintenance so we missed a chance to see it in action.

On our third day in Singapore, we stayed at our friend house. It is nice to stay at local residence to experience real local life! Between Singapore and Hong Kong Islands, I think Singapore has better housing plan. The average housing in Singapore is bigger and newer. I was told about 80%of Singapore housing is public and the government has strict rule about maintenance. It's required to paint the exterior every 5 years to keep it new. There is no shortage of green park near most housing projects. Our local friends showed us the local food centers near her house and I was impressed! The main activities in Singapore are eat, eat and eat. I noticed there was no Vietnamese food in Singapore food centers that I had visited. That was quite an interesting fact! Our local friends brought us to dine at food centers and formal restaurants. We noticed the food quality is not that different, only the price is! That is the beauty of dining experience in Singapore. We don't have to pay lots of money to enjoy quality food! I tried Singapore signature dish Hainan chicken rice and I was not impressed. It can be better, in my opinion. I cook Hainan chicken rice at home quite often so I am a bit picky about its taste.

We had a very pleasant stay in Singapore. We will be back!





Dennis Phan   潘家墉

Khai Minh, UCLA and Investools Alumni

Los Angeles, 24 Jul 2019


















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