Raffles is a classic hotel with rooms that allegedly start at $520 SG (about $370 US); we didn’t confirm that. The reason tourists go there is that anyone who is anyone stays there when in Singapore. Or more relevant to most, a former bartender there allegedly created the Singapore Sling, which they are happy to sell to tourists in the Bar and Billiards Room for $25 SG. We didn’t verify that either. We went to the gift shop and bought a refrigerator magnet. The hotel has a separate entrance for tourists.
It was a flashback to the days of the Empire that the sun didn’t set on.
Singapore Harbor is utterly amazing. The docks, cranes, and warehouses go on for miles; sailing away, it took two hours to get past, admittedly we weren’t going very fast, maybe 8 or 10 knots. There were hundreds of ships with a variety of flags and configurations, moderate, large, and huge in size, moored in the vicinity, presumably waiting to unload, load, clear customs, or satisfy some quirk in the tax code. There were a couple other cruise ships in and out while we were there but cruise ships didn’t seem to be a major part of the harbor’s business.
I doubt if we were looking for the same things in a port of call that young sailors would be, but we liked Singapore very much. From the perspective of old tourists who spent most of three days here, it is a very attractive, modestly priced city. It is easy to envision spending much more time or even living here. In addition to refrigerator magnets, the cruisers bought a lot of electronics and the restaurants were very reasonable (at least compared to the small, isolated tropical islands.) Beyond that, we did little investigation of the actual cost of living.
An intriguing city. We could come back.