As a parent I naturally want Cameron to remember every moment of our travels, but I know that despite all the photos, videos, blogs etc we put together that there will be much he will forget over time. There are some moments though that I consciously find myself saying to him “you won’t ever forget this will you” and he always replies “of course I won’t Mummy”.
The fact is that all the photos, videos etc we capture never truly re-play the full sensory experience, nor how totally happy and care-free he is in those moments – times I want him to hold on to forever, and feelings I want him to be able to link back to when he’s older and faces the challenges and stresses of the harsh adult world.
Last night was one such night, where sights, sounds, smells & atmosphere just surrounded us in abundance and I wanted to capture it all and hold on to it.
‘China Town Experience’ was the name of the excursion and as we had already done many of the headline tourist attractions when we were in Singapore last year (twice) I thought this would be something different to do..and it certainly was.
We were collected from our hotel at around 5.45pm and driven downtown to larger hotel where all the excursion company’s evening tours were leaving from. After booking in and waiting around 10 minutes we were shown to our bus and introduced to our tour guide, who turned out to be both a very friendly and knowledgeable host for the evening.
We were driven to China Town, which in Singapore is truly authentic given that 75% of the population are Chinese (the rest being 17% Malayan, 6% Indian and 2% ‘other’ – thats Brits, Australians and anyone else who doesn’t fit into the first 3 categories!)
The drive into China Town was very spectacular anyway as the Chinese New Year Festivities are still taking place here and decorations are in abundance, although it appears that coronavirus has certainly hit tourism here hard.
Chinatown of course has a wonderful atmosphere and especially at night when it comes to life, the many many restaurants are opening for evening business and the cooking aromas waft out into the streets, making you suddenly feel ravenous the moment you step foot there.
Our tour guide took us to an amazing restaurant called ‘Yum Cha’ which is based upstairs and just has a small doorway between two shops, it would have been very easy to miss it had we not been personally taken there. With some of the more ‘authentic’ dishes we had previous seen on certain chinese restaurant menus out here I was very relived you see that our set menu was more typical to the western style chinese food which we have back home in England and I have to say that the flavours was absolutely out of this world.
I have said before that one of the toughest parts of travelling solo with a young child is the lack of stimulation from talking with other adults so it was lovely to sit down at the table and eat with other travellers that we met from the USA, Costa Rica, Australia and Germany.
After dinner we had the opportunity to wander the streets of China Town by ourselves for around 45minutes. It was dark by this time and the lights really added to the bustling atmosphere.
At 8pm we re-joined our guide and it was a short journey back on the bus round the ‘Little India’ it was here that our group of 20 all got to ride the TriShaw bikes through another very cultural area of the city. We set off in convoy, bike bells clanging and all the cars stopping to give way, which road signs instruct them to do.
Cameron squealed with excitement as our ‘Tri-Shaw Uncle’ pedalled us along and we took in more bright lights, sounds and aromatic smells as we toured Little India on this tropically warm February evening. THIS is what childhood should be like, not stuck at home in front of the TV or glued to an ipad, and it’s precious moments like this that I just want to hold on to and never let go.
Our final stop was at Clarke Quay, a more modern side of the city, lined with brightly lit restaurants and bars (but only along one side, the side of the river which the earlier chinese settlers believed would bring them wealth and prosperity)
At Clarke Quay we boarded a Bum Boat and spent an absolutely wonderful 40 minutes cruising along the river, underneath brightly lit bridges, viewing the full downtown skyline, and then into the Marina where you can see the iconic Merlion and of course the famous (and rather expensive) Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which is even more impressive by night.
Once we disembarked the best boats we were directed back onto various buses and brought back to our hotel around 10.30pm. It was the end of a truly spectacular and fun evening.
I would highly recommend this tour if you are looking for a great evening out in Singapore. For 1 x adult and 1 x child this excursion cost £112 which included the meal.