Sep 082011

For the first time this trip I just checked myself into a backpacker’s dorm.

Yuck. I’ve gotten spoiled 😛

Despite being exactly twice as expensive as my huge private double with a balcony in Melaka, I suddenly have no privacy at all, no security, and the hassle of hitting my head on the ceiling while getting up from my 2nd-level bunk. Plus, the way the hostel described itself online was unbelievably misleading. They claimed to have 4 rooms of 6 beds each, but the reality is more like one gigantic room with cubicle half-walls dividing it into partitions. A 24-bed dorm should not be misrepresented as a 6-bed. That’s not cool.

So despite my excitement at arriving in a brand new country, I decided that one of the first things I should do was look for another place to stay. And although I may’ve failed to locate a reasonable private room, I did secure a bed at The Inn Crowd, a WAY nicer hostel just one block away. All I have to do is wait it out here until Sunday when the spot becomes available.

Whatever, I’m not in Singapore to work anyway so I guess the 24-person room shouldn’t matter too much – and a big dorm environment would surely provide a quick way to make some friends for my only weekend in town. It’s something I’d been counting on…and luckily, I wasn’t disappointed.

My companion for Friday night out ended up being a cool guy named Oliver, a TV producer from Kuala Lumpur who was here interviewing for work and a former student in Singapore who knew the city well. He suggested we head out for a drink in Clarke Quay, Singapore’s premier nightlife destination.

Perfect 🙂

My initial reactions:

1) Good lord is that area awesome! Overflowing with people, easily as bustling as Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong, and very upper class. The bars and even streets are as posh as can be, everyone clearly dressed to impress. In fact, the area was literally overflowing with affluent model-caliber people out strutting their stuff. It could not have felt more different from Malaysia 😛

2) Good lord is Clarke Quay EXPENSIVE! OK, I know you’ve heard me say this before…but honestly, drinks here are quite literally the most overpriced I’ve seen ANYWHERE in the world. Easily double that in New York, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, even Oslo. Cocktails going for $50USD or more are not at all uncommon, a beer in the convenience store is about on par with a mid-range bar in LA, and a bottle of the even crappiest supermarket vodka is about the same as Red Label in a Bangkok nightclub.

I can see that partying in Singapore would be fantastic…but only for the wealthy (or financially careless :P)

Anyway, the night did offer a pleasant first-look at a totally new side of SouthEast Asia; Oliver wasn’t much of a clubber, but after nearly a month of isolation it was very nice to do a bit of casual socializing. We strolled around, grabbed a bite to eat, and connected with a group of locals at The Clinic – an incredibly wacky bar themed like a hospital, where the chairs are wheelchairs and the cocktails come in syringes and IV drips.

Eventually Oliver headed home while I hung around until 4, staying with the new crew from The Clinic before finally dragging my feet home and passing out.

Night 1 in Singapore: success…kinda 🙂

Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above took place on Friday, February 18th.

  14 Responses to “Clarke Quay”

  1. Wow, some familiar pictures! I really liked the Clarke Quay area. That giant three tower hotel wasn’t finished when we were there though. Wow.

  2. Cool – yeah I heard it was pretty new. It’s amazing how fast that kind of stuff springs up sometimes 🙂

  3. That massive hotel looks cool.

    The clinic theme sounds cool

    Those price SUCK though!

  4. Honestly, for $50 a drink I don’t see how anyone in Singapore can afford to party. Maybe they just don’t do it very often? Or it occupies a much, much higher spot on their living expenses?

  5. That Marina Bay place looks like something from Star Wars by night, and like a misplaced shinkansen by day 🙂

    But those bar prices…seriously!

  6. When I saw the menu I had to do a double take – I actually pulled out my currency converter to make sure I wasn’t mistaking the exchange rate. Like I’d EVER pay $50 for a single mixed drink! It’s so ludicrous it might as well be a joke.

  7. 1. damn I want to see that rooftop!!! I enjoy el pedro’s comment on it
    2. how do I get frozen dispensary cookies in the us? oh wait, that’s just fancy wording for a cold cookie?
    3. so wait, you enjoyed spending your night in a wc getting an iv? that does sound worth the expensiveness.

  8. 1. Get ready for the next post, your wish is about to come true 😉
    2. OK, so I scoured the photos for what this could be referring to…but there’s still a big question mark floating over my head…
    3. Who said I actually bought a drink there? Hahaa 😆

  9. 1. read it, so awesome!
    2. look at the photo about drink prices…so it is a drink….but it still doesn’t make sense?? which was basis for my comment…
    3. nice 🙂

  10. 2. “so it is a drink…but it still doesn’t make sense” Huh?? I’m still so confused… 😛

  11. Ohhhhhhhhh, I got it – how the hell did I miss that? I must be drinking too much myself, haha 😛

  12. lol

  13. When was that hotel completed? I don’t remember seeing that either.

    Those drinks look pretty effin cool though. At least the images are hi-res and tantalizing. Actually, that bar reminds me of the hospital-themed kyabakura I went to while I was a host. They would bring out those urine decanters, but filled with beer instead.

    Man, now I feel like I missed out on Singapore a little bit.

  14. According to wiki, the “preview opening” was in April of 2010 but construction went on until June…so not even 2 years yet.

    Cool drinks, yes. But no drink is worth SGD$90 in my book! 😛

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