Top 5 Things to Do in Singapore

Top 5 Things to Do in Singapore

Singapore is an amazing city to visit and in this post I have outlined some of the Things to Do in Singapore.

Ride the Singapore Flyer

One of the icons of Singapore is the Singapore Flyer – you can see it from all the major areas and if you are staying in Singapore, its worth visiting. The Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel and is a stunning 165m high. (30 metres taller than the London Eye in the United Kingdom). As the Singapore Flyer turns, you get visual 360 degree view of the city of Singapore landscape and historical landmarks. The Singapore Flyer gives you breathtaking views of the Singapore River, Raffles Place, Merlion Park, Empress Place and the Padang – it is also worth visiting at sunset. The ride on the Singapore Flyer takes about 30 minutes and if you time it right you can get day and dusk views of the city from the Singapore Flyer. This is certainly one of the best Things to Do in Singapore.

For the more adventurous, you can enjoy a dining experience on board the Singapore Flyer if you wish.
Visit http://www.singaporeflyer.com/ for details of the Singapore Flyer.

Flight Simulator Experience

If you have been on the Singapore Flyer (or you find yourself in the environs of it), you might want to try your hand at flying a plane. You can take command of a Boeing 737-800 NG in this 100% realistic flight simulator. The cockpit is exactly as per the 737-800, with overhead panel, rudder and throttle controls, complete avionics, full auto-pilot etc and almost exact flight model to the 737-800 series jet. You get full instruction from your co-pilot who is fully trained on this aircraft simulator and can help you get the most from the flight simulator experience. This flight simulator is exactly the same as pilots use for flight training and you can choose from over than 20,000 worldwide airports (I chose to fly into Kai Tak at Night – the old Hong Kong airport where you flew over the houses to land … see more below) and use the same operating procedures as the real airlines. No experience necessary as full instruction will be provided.You can get 30 minute to 2 hour flights, and if you do this, you should really get the DVD which is only S$20 extra.

I did the 30 minute flight from Hong Kong international to Kai Tak (now decomissioned as an airport but was one of the most iconic landings in recent flight history). I then had time to do a touch-and-go at Dublin Airport followed by a Full Stop Landing. (However the Traffic Collision system onboard, TCAS, told me that I came with 1km of an inbound flight which wuld have been frowned upon in real life). Thanksfully, all my landings were completed successfully and I was told to perhaps consider taking some lessons as my insructor said flight skills were very good. I hope to upload some of the flight video very soon… This was one of MY favourite Things to Do in Singapore.

Visit http://www.flightexperience.com.sg/ for details of this excellent flight sim attraction.

 

 

Take a City Tour – Tour East

When in Singapore you should certainly do a guided tour of the city, especially if you are on a brief visit. There are so many things to Do in Singapore, a city tour can cross off a lot from your list of attractions to see. The reasons for doing a city tour are two fold, (a) Singapore is a very busy city and it would be hard to cover everything if you were only in the city for a short time and (b) it can get quite hot in Singapore and getting from one sight to the next via an air-conditioned bus is most welcome.
The tour company we used was Tour East and the sights covered the Mer Lion, the Thian Hock Keng Temple and Chinatown, a Local Handicraft Centre. One of the highlights of the Singapore City Tour is visiting the National Orchid Garden located within Singapore Botanic Gardens – you get 45 mins here but if you didn’t stop at the handicraft centre you could easily have over an hour here. The final stop of the tour is at Little India, a bustling Indian hub within Singapore. If you want you can pay a little extra to take in the Singapore Flyer (a giant wheel similar to the London Eye … see below)
Visit http://www.toureast.net/Tour-East-Singapore/Sightseeing-Tours-Explore-Singapore for details of the Tour East Singapore Tours

Eat in a local restaurant and a walk around Clarke Quay

One of the best Things to do in Singapore is to enjoy the excellent local food, great sea food and plenty of choice. There are many restaurants around Clarke Quay, a busy venue worth visiting in the early evening and on into the night ; it becomes a buzzing nightlife area after 6pm. Clark Quay is nice to walk the circuit before you make your decision on food as all tastes are catered for, from Indian, Japanese, Italian and Chinese food, Look for the restaurants with the most locals as this is usually a good indication. We found the “Jumbo Seafood Restaurant”. Excellent food, try the fish in ginger and spring onion dish, the fresh juices and the fruit platters to finish.

Check out http://www.jumboseafood.com.sg for details on the Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, Singapore

Get a fish pedicure while you have a Back Massage

On Level 2 of the Singapore Flyer complex you can get your feet manicured and nibbled at by tiny fish … and you can get a great back massage as this is happening. The fish foot spa is where Doctor Fishes or “Garra Rufa Fish”, give you a pedicure you won’t forget (and they do a great job too). The back massage is excellent and reflexology is also provided in this area … don’t forget to try out the chinese tea if you are there for a while. Of all the many things to do in Singapore , this was one I was most squirmy about, as I found it very ticklish.

Details : Kenko Reflexology and Fish Spa, Located at: Level 2 of Singapore Flyer Complex, #02-08 : Tel: (65) 6565 0303 :: Open Daily from 10am – 11pm

Recommended Hotel in Singapore City

Singapore is a fantastic city to visit and if you are planning to go there and you are looking for a good hotel, then the Fairmont Singapore is worth looking at…. check out the review of the Singapore Fairmont Hotel on this site for more details !

I hope you enjoyed this list of Things to Do in Singapore and if you liked this post, please share. You can find more ‘Things to Do‘ City Guide posts on my website.

If you have an addition to this ‘Things to Do in Singapore’ list please let me know.

  • Singapore Flyer 90%
  • Flight Simulator Experience 100%
  • City Tour 85%
  • Clarke Quay 93%
  • Fish Pedicure 80%
How to implement WordPress caching and image optimisation your website

How to implement WordPress caching and image optimisation your website

I recently ran a Google test on my site to check how friendly my site was. This test checks how fast your site loads and gives a percentage score so you know how good or bad your website ranks. When I checked www.shanemcdonald.ie I got a score of 32%. I knew I had to do something as Google could use page speed as a ranking factor. I did some research into WordPress caching plugins and found some interesting information.

Not all WordPress Caching plugins are the same. Some work better than others. These Wp-cache plugins varied in functionality and sucess. The one WordPress caching plugin which stood out WP Fastest Cache. I also found that it works best with Autoptimize and the image compression plugin Imagify.

I installed the first two WordPress caching plugins which help minify the .js and .css files on your site. They also .gz compress some other files to help your site load faster.

All of these plugins can be added using the WordPress Dashboard by clicking ‘Add New’ and running a search. If you are using the very latest WordPress version, then your plugin should auto-install. Once installed you can activate it from the plugins section. Note, you may need to adjust settings before any changes become visible. Most plugins have default values or no active values on activation.

The Google score was now 54% which was an improvement already.

Finally, I installed Imagify which compressed the images I already had on the server. Note, this was only done up to a certain limit. I get another limit of about 15Mb in 1 months time. A premium version of Imagify is available which gets rid of this limit.

After the WordPress caching plugins and the image compression plugin was installed and configured the Google score was at 75%. This was an increase of 43% points from 32%. This was 2.3 times better than the previous score. Hopefully, this will help reduce bounce rate and increase visits and visitor time to the site. Since I wrote this, I have added 2 new posts and the images I used are not fully optimised so there has been a drop in score but I now know the areas where I need to optimise on the website.

I am also running this optimisation on my photoblog at www.shanemcdonald.me and I will be posting the results and more details in the coming weeks. I am using the same WordPress caching plugins and the same image compression plugin. It should be interesting to see the effect on google analytics.

I have placed links to the WordPress caching plugins below.

WP Fastest Cache – https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-fastest-cache/

Autoptimize – https://wordpress.org/plugins/autoptimize/

Imagify – https://imagify.io/

 

If you have any comments or questions regarding these plugins for WordPress caching, minifying or optimisation plugins please leave them below…

Update to my photo blog shanemcdonald.me

Update to my photo blog shanemcdonald.me

I have been running a photo blog since 2010 on www.shanemcdonald.me .Over the past 3 years I have not given it as much attention as I did at the start. With this in mind, I have just redesigned the whole layout of the site.

New Photo Blog additions

Firstly the homepage is a full screen photo. This is important to show off my photos. For years I hated the fact that the photos were not as big as they could be. The front page also scrolls to give more information about the photoblog and my photography.

The blog pages are a bit nicer to read now. I stripped out a lot of widgets which added little to the user experience. The next step for the blog pages is to increase the content. I hope to have a weekly post now for this photo blog section.

The Instagram section is back up and running. A previous plugin stopped working and no longer displayed my @shanesphoto Instagram feed. Not it looks a lot better and pulls live images from my Instagram.

Photo Blog Design Challenges

One of the problems I had when I first redesigned the site was size. Google rated it as zero on the mobile friendly grader. There were far too many requests and the images were too large.

By adding some caching software, minifying plugins and an image optimiser the site was suddenly rated a lot better. It is now at an acceptable rating on Google but some extra tweaks in September should see it improve further.

Future Improvements

I hope to add a new gallery and some other features to further enhance the site. I have a lot of photos not uploaded so there’s plenty of content to come.

If you wish to view the new site it is at www.shanemcdonald.me

 

A Day in London – Travel Guide

A Day in London – Travel Guide

I recently had a full day in London with no plans other than to explore areas I had not been to before. The city is a wonderful spot to visit and I have been there about 23/24 times before (not really sure to be honest).

This time I wanted to see parts of the city I had not seen so I started with a walk.

What to Do in London

Kensington Gardens

I had been to Hyde Park before but this time I entered from the Queensway side and on this entry you get to see Kensington Gardens. It is a really nicely laid out house and gardens, with cafe and a tour of the house. At times you would hardly believe you are in London or for that matter a capital city as the pas is very much reduced. The the gardens with fountains are well worth seeing as they would be in full colour during the summer, even in Mid April they were impressive.

Kensington Gardens
Coffee and Cake in Harrods

Harrods

A friend told me about the cafe at Harrods, saying that they served Arabic Coffee (something I have only had once but wanted to try again). I entered Harrods and was bombarded by an air of opulence and I could feel the money in my wallet shake with nervous tension. I made my way to the first cafe I could find, on the 5th floor, couldn’t see Arabic Coffee so ordered cake and a cappuccino. It was only afterwards I found out that there are 5 cafes in Harrods and the one I was looking for was called the Mezzah Lounge … so maybe next time!

What and Where to Eat in London

London has many find eateries, with thousands of restaurants to choose from. Below are 3 of my favourites which I tried on this trip.

Joy King Lau

Located just off Leicester Square this authentic restaurant is normal full of local Chinese families enjoying lunch. The selection of Dim Sum and authentic Chinese dishes is excellent. Note that Dim Sum is only served until 5pm and after that there are 2 dim sum platters only available. The service can come across as abrupt but in reality it is just the level of efficient service required with the level of business they get. If you are going, try the grilled Cheung Fun or the Steamed Pork Buns – delicious.

Eat Tokyo

I discovered this place by accident on the way to a West End show. The menu is very authentic and covers everything from ramen to sushi and sashimi – if you are enjoying a meal here, ask for the recommended plum wine which is all the way from a small town in Japan.

Pho

I last tasted good Vietnamese cuisine in Melbourne and finding Pho was a really enjoyable experience. The dishes are very enjoyable whether in a broth or as a stir fry. Before you leave you have to try a Ca-Phe (or Vietnamese coffee) it is a real eye opener and now my absolute favourite coffee.

Cocochan

This restaurant is located in a really trendy part of town, James Street just off Bond Street. Cocochan serves asian fusion and has a wide range of Dim Sum and main courses. if you are eating here, try one of the amazing cocktails or cocktails as they really compliment the food. I love the duck spring rolls here.

HomeSlice

Located near seven dials in London, this pizza spot is amazing. Prior booking is probably needed on weekends. Without a booking you may need to wait anything from 60-90 minutes at peak times. It is worth the wait. The pizza is very good and you should try the half and half.

Cocochan

The Emirates Greenwich Cable Car Experience

The Emirates Greenwich Cable Car is an exciting new attraction in London. The cable car flies between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks. The relaxing cable car trip takes just over 10 minutes, however, during peak times it’s a bit faster. The gondolas accommodate ten people but at less busy times you can usually get one for your group. A new gondola arrives about every 30 seconds. You can use your Oyster card (best way to do it) a contactless payment card to pay for the trip. It cost me £7 for the return trip. Note, you must get off and re-queue on the other side when paying by Oyster or contactless Card.

After 7pm, enjoy extended ‘Night Flights’ are a bit slower and more relaxed. There is a music backtrack as you watch the sunset over London, during the day there is a commentary.

Emirates Air Line Cable car is accessible to wheelchair users and cyclists and is open seven days per week. Don’t forget to arrive early and try the Emirates exhibit at the Greenwich side which does much about the airline industry.

Where to Stay in London

Finally, if you are looking for a nice spot to stay for a few days, I recommend the following London hotels;

  • Mercure Bloomsbury, London  – Excellent Service & Staff
  • Hilton Doubletree London Victoria – Nice Hotel, Excellent Service & excellent Location 3 minutes from Victoria Station
  • Park Plaza Hotel, Victoria – Similar location to the Doubletree
  • Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria – Really plush high class hotel with good value rates in low season

I find Victoria a great location as I usually arrive via Gatwick and the Gatwick Express terminates at Victoria, so I like the convenience.

 

Map

I have outlined all the places in London which are mentioned above on this interactive map.

Joy King Lau

Joy King Lau

Address: 3 Leicester St, London WC2H 7BL, United Kingdom
Phone:+44 20 7437 1132

Pho, Covent Garden

Pho, 65A Long Acre, London WC2E 9JD, United Kingdom

Eat Tokyo

Eat Tokyo

Address

27 Catherine St, Covent Garden, London

Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, London

Harrods

Harrods

Address
87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL, UK

Cocochan

Cocochan

38-40 James St, London W1U 1EU, United Kingdom

Homeslice Pizza

Emirates Cable Car Terminal

The Master of All Polls

The Master of All Polls

I’ve decided to run some online polls, indeed a series of questions below, with interesting questions. The results will be posted later in the year. The poll will be open for a few months so please feel free to share your views. It covers everything from topics in the news at the moment, to topics which people may ask from time to time.

How the Poll works

The system is one vote per person and Its and cookies are used to ensure a fair result. If you want to add anything to the debate or comment on result please feel free to comment.

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Do you think Donald Trump is a doing a good job as President?

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Thanks for stopping by and for voting. I’m hoping to get an insight into what people are thinking about these topics, many of which are currently in the news or being discussed online. I am interested in seeing the final result, as I am sure you are also. The results will be published later in the year, once I have enough data to have a fair commentary on the questions posed.

Don’t forget to share this blog post on your social media channels so that others can take part also.