I solved the Taman Negara vs Singapore dilemma by visiting both. It is my second day in Singapore and so far I am enjoying it very much. Some random first impressions
- Arrival card has “DEATH TO DRUG SMUGGLERS” in big red bold letters and one of questions is whether you have been to Africa and South America in the last week. The border control guy scrupulously inspected my passport for dodgy stamps and made a comment that the passport was new. These people are dead serious.
- Singapore is very clean and tidy, but far from sterile as some guidebook make you believe. Garbage bins are everywhere unlike in many Asian cities, where you may spend hours searching for a garbage bin.
- It has been very rainy here. Not such a big deal though, as hot temperature makes a light rain even pleasant.
- It is expensive. Though food can be very cheap, which leads to absurd situations where you pay about the same for a chocolate bar from 7-11 or a MRT ride as for a tasty rice+veggies+fish+curry meal from a self-service Chinese/Indian restaraunt.
- Botanical Garden and National Orchid Garden are awesome. I am not an orchid enthusiast, but geez these orchids are a pure eye-candy. If you get one day in Singapore and wonder what to visit, go to Botanical Garden.
- Singapore is full of fine architecture and fancy buildings. Even residential areas are very pleasant to look at. Me likey.
- Globalization is a curious thing. It is weird to see Ikea Trofe mugs, red on yellow stop buttons and buses and Veolia trucks so far away from home.