Singapore - Shopping in Haiji Lane

Haiji Lane, cool shopping street in Singapore

In a city with one of the largest concentration of shopping malls and luxury brand stores on Earth, a tiny little street with local designers, the fresher pieces and lesser-known labels found in Haiji Lane feel like a breeze of fresh air.

Haiji Lane is a pastel hued alley in Kampong Glam, lined with boutiques that would get approval from that über cool friend that we all have. There are also some nice cafés and restaurants, to recover energy and keep on searching for the pefect fashion souvenir. I got a cute top at VAINGLORIUSYOU (VGY) while Enrique found the perfect portfolio at Thickskin.

Haiji Lane is the proves that you can still get away with some shopping in Singapore without being a millionaire at Marina Bay Sands. Haiji Lane is perfect for a shopping stroll and lunch after visiting the temples in Little India and the Sultan Mosque.

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Jamal Kazura Aromatics

Singapore is nowadays dominated by citizens of Chinese ascent, but in its early days it was very different. A majority of population was Muslim as Singapore was under the rule of the Johor Sultanate for hundreds and hundreds of years, before Sir Raffles arrived in 1819. Those days are long gone, but along with the Sultan mosque and muslim markets like Mustafa center, there are pearls like Jamal Kazura Aromatics where you feel just like in a souk in the middle of the arabian peninsula. 
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Singapore - Little India

Sri Veeramakaliamman temple in Singapore
Belly fella hanging with holy cow, an angel and some bollywood star.

Despite having visited India already in 2010 - though shortly and for work - I saw my first hindu temple in Singapore: Sri Veeramakaliamman temple is a colorful spot, buzzling with life, tiny bananas and chalk at the each of the four daily puja. Opening times are strange (5:15-12:15, 16-21:15) but if you come right before noon you will catch the puja as we did. It's a bit sad that no leaflets or explanations regarding what is going on are provided but well, I guess it is about the same amount of explanations available to someone who drops by a Catholic church to see people kneeling down in front of a golden grail.

Lonely Planet says "come at the time of puja" and so we tried...

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Singapore bites - 5 budget spots for the busy tourist

Kotobuki, Raffles one place, Singapore

Being one of the countries with lowest alcohol consumption on Earth, Singapore is not a cheap place when it comes to wining and dining. That does not make it impossible to find nice stuff at a reasonable price, but really... We are coming from Spain so I guess that maybe that is one of the reasons why gourmet is not really a priority during the vacation time. We favor seeing more rather than spending a reasonable amount of time and money on food.

As busy tourists exploring the city, here come our top 5...
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One day walk guide for Singapore

Singapore one day walk guide
During our first day in Singapore we walked a lot. 28km according to my iPhone - not sure how accurate it is but man, judging by my sore feet, it felt quite on point. The route comes from Lonely Planet but it was adjusted to suit our hotel location and a sudden summer storm that left us locked at the Theatres on the Bay for quite some time. Still, this walk is highly recommended if you only got one day to get the pulse of Singapore.

La verdad es que nos pegamos una pateada brutal en nuestro primer día en Singapur. No sé si fiarme del podómetro del iPhone, pero a juzgar por el dolor que sentía al llegar al hotel, los 28km parecen bastante adecuados. Seguimos la ruta de Lonely Planet, pese a la lluvia tropical, que me parece muy recomendable si solo tienes un día para explorar Singapore.

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One week in Singapore

singapore skyline from one altitude rooftop bar

Singapore is typically not your first choice when exploring Asia. You'll here people saying "I always wanted to see Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Bangkok..." but few crave to see the little island which is in fact, the main business hub in South East Asia. Yes, Singapore may appear to be somewhat small and extremely strict - did you know that chewing gum is prohibited? that drug traffic is punished with canning or even death? - but is also a very modern, cool and safe city to explore, when you are short on time and would like to blend city with paradise, like us.

Singapore is also home of Tigerair, a low cost flight company that features interesting destinations such as Boracay, the kitesurfing mecca we visited this year (to be covered in another feature) on a budget. This means that it can be quite cost effective to fly long haul from Europe, spend some days in Singapore and then take the next leg of the trip onto the Pacific. At least, this is what we did.

Singapore is a blend of modern and new, where you can go from skyscrapers to Chinese, Indian, Muslim temples, from hawkers to Michelin rated cuisine, all in one tiny island, with virtually no crime and pleasant weather year round. Sounds like a plan? Keep on reading to get a feeling of the things that you can cover in about a week.
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Build your own brand

girl in black tom ford glasses

Recientemente, la gente me para y me dice lo mucho que le gustan mis nuevas gafas (a la dcha).

Desde llamar la atención de blogueras que te cruzas en el supermercado, recibir piropos del dependiente o camarero de turno, hasta llevar a suecas desconocidas pedirte el modelo, porque llevan años tras algo así. El caso es que me han hecho reflexionar en el poder que tiene un accesorio contundente, que se sale un poco fuera de lo común pero a la vez, encaja con tu morfología, tu actitud y tu personalidad.
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