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Hot days in Singapore; where to stay, what to do & an unmissable food market in the city

pink incense sticks in gold pot
Pink incense sticks fill the city with their intoxicating scent

Stepping off the plane in Singapore, the first thing I noticed was the humidity. After spending two months in the heat of Australia I thought Singapore would be no different, but boy was I wrong. My clothes, after leaving any air-conditioned room would be instantly damp and clinging to my body, while a constant stream of sweat made its way down my back - gross it may be - but when humidity is at a 96 per cent daily average, it's hard to keep cool.

I visited the city-state during the month of June and split my time between the beautiful Scarlett Boutique Hotel (a much needed three-night break from eight months of dorms) and two nights back to basics, at the World Travellers Inn. Staying in a hotel was such an incredible treat after sleeping in shared dorms for months previously; I’ve never appreciated clean sheets more. The Scarlet is Singapore’s first luxury boutique hotel, housed in an art deco building close to Chinatown and at just over £100 a night it’s not all that pricey.

Even better, it’s just moments away from one of Singapore’s most famous hawker centres; Maxwell Road Food Centre. The large population of Chinese, Malay and Indians that make up the country mean you can find incredible dishes from all over the world, there’s over 100 stalls selling everything from steaming chicken-rice and pork satay to wanton noodles and Ice Kacang; a delicious dessert made up of shaved ice, red beans and agar jelly covered with rose syrup and condensed milk. I tried many dishes each day for lunch and dinner and really enjoyed the simplicity of the vegetable dishes, Chinese broccoli in soy with crispy onions was a highlight but I forgot to note down the name of the stall. 

chinese broccoli and soy on brown plate singapore
Simple but delicious; one of the dishes from Maxwell Road Food Centre

While staying at the Scarlet I took advantage of its location and visited Little India with its impressive Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and later the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum back in Chinatown, everywhere you turn there seems to be another amazing temple. 

hindu temple litttle india singapore
One of the many temples in Little India

Throughout the city bright red and gold Chinese lanterns line streets, while pink and orange incense sticks burn their sweet fragrance in any nook all day long. But Singapore has none of the chaos, noise and litter of India or China, it seems to be a little nook of calm and order hidden in Asia.

red and gold chinese lanterns hanging from ceiling
Bright Chinese lanterns are everywhere

Two museums I loved visiting are The National Museum of Singapore, good for its history and sections on the culture and psyche of the country and SAM (the Singapore Art Museum), which usually has a fun modern art display outside too. Old Hill Police Station, nearby, is also worth a visit, the huge building features 927 windows, each with shutters painted in a different colour of the rainbow. From here it’s easy to do a loop downtown and pass over the cities famous Helix Bridge, as well as being the longest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, it’s also quite unusual in design and is impressive at night when the structure lights up.

inside glass and metal helix bridge singapore
Walking the Helix Bridge

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