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Published March 8th 2014
A walk into history
Living in Darwin, Singapore is not much further than taking an interstate flight and at one time considerably cheaper and easier. There was a time when Darwin was quite a hub into Asia with a small handful of international airlines providing vital links and reasonable prices and while that unfortunately is no longer, Singapore is still our go-to holiday; the place we go when we need a relaxing fun holiday and cannot make our mind up where to go.
Many of our forays into international travel have been the result of our desire to understand more about our heritage, and where we came from. We knew that my husband's grandfather had died in World War II and believed (from family stories) that he was buried in Singapore. So, off we went on a family holiday to find out more.
Our research into tours found us Singapore Walks, and oh what a find! These amazing people have been conducting walking tours around Singapore now for many years and on our many trips we have done quite a few of their tours. However, on this occasion we were interested in the varied tours they do focussed on Singapore's World War II history.
One of these tours took us to the Kranji War Cemetery and Changi Chapel. We have been very fortunate in our choices of tour companies on our many adventures. In my article on Paris and Lille, you get to read about Back Roads Touring who went out of their way to help me achieve the dream of seeing my great grandfathers memorial at Pozieres. However, on this occasion it was Singapore Walks who came to our rescue and after hearing the story of my husband's grandfather, gave us quiet time in this replica of the chapel which was built by the prisoners of war located at Changi. For a small donation you can pin a note to the wall with a message for a loved one lost.
On this same tour, we visited Kranji War Cemetery, where we tried to see if we could find his name on the memorial war or in the cemetery with some assistance from the guide. We were later to discover that he is not there, and while we do now know where he is it is unfortunately unlikely that we will ever be able to visit.
On another visit to Singapore we undertook both Dhobis, Saris & a Spot of Curry, a walk through Little India and Red Clogs Down the Five-Foot-Way, a walk through Chinatown. In Little India, we visited shops which sold spices, saris and beautiful indian sweets. You will learn to tie a sari and have the opportunity to purchase if you are interested, learn all about spices and you may even get to sample some sweets (but don't forget to make a small purchase or a large one if you prefer, to thank the shop owner).
On our adventures with Singapore Walks we have sampled Singapore Sling at Raffles (as well as enjoying a small lunch in the wonderful cafe they have there), walked through Chinatown and been amazed by the wonderful architecture within temples, but the best thing about Singapore Walks is their knowledge and passion about Singapore. Their talks are informative, amazing and sometimes humorous and the walks are not particularly strenuous. The best thing though is that regardless of the walk undertaken or who the tour guide is the service delivery is consistent and you know that with Singapore Walks you will always have a great time.
Current tour prices (at March 2014) are $35 adults and $15 children for all tours other than the World War II Trail tours which are $55 adults and $30 children. They do offer many discounts, so make sure you check these out on their website.
Singapore is a wonder to behold and it doesn't matter how many times we visit, there is always something new to experience. We have done many of the tours that Singapore Walks offers but not yet all; we look forward to returning to continue our adventures.