Singapore: a city-state which is famous for its thriving economy and strict enforcement of local laws. “You’re going to Singapore, don’t chew gum there, it is banned”I was told. What I found there was a country which is clean, so green, full of architectural masterpieces and surprises and contrasts. On one hand it is full of temples, museums, natural attractions and cultural heritage sites, and on the other hand it has botanic gardens, nature parks, malls which are a shopper’s paradise. Some of things which were interesting to watch here were:
- Changi International Airport is one of the best airports in the world to fly to. It is actually an experience in itself. Some of the things to admire at the airport are the Kinetic Rain Sculpture, Xperience Zone, Rooftop Swimming Pool, Koi Pond, The Slide, Movie Theatres, Aviation Gallery, multiple gardens like cactus, enchanted, structural tree, orchid, lily pad, sunflower and butterfly.All the activities and attractions are in the three interconnected terminals 1,2 & 3. For once I was glad that I had a long layover – it was a fun place to browse. Travelers with layover of more than 5 hours can get free guided tours of the city.
- The Merlion – One of the symbols of Singapore, a mystical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a mermaid with water coming out of its mouth. The statue (8.6m) is at the Marina Bay waterfront.
- Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade – 3.5 km. walkway along the bay that brings people across many attractions like Marina Center, skyscrapers and financial buildings which were interesting to watch.
Inside the Marina Shopping Mall we were surprised to see lakes and gondola rides in between the shops. We used to walk around at different times of the day by the waterfront and there were always some fun activities going along. In the night there was a show of laser lights and water projections, accompanied by orchestra music called Spectra. There were benches in front of the shopping mall from where we watched the show.
- Marina Bay Sands – Three towers resort which stand at the Marina Bay waterfront. They have shopping mall, casino, museums, theaters, an ice-skating rink, and a skydeck with an infinity pool.
- Singapore Flyer – Located at the Marina Promenade, 541 ft. high, it is the tallest Ferris wheel in the world.
- Helix Bridge – This pedestrian bridge links Marina South to Marina Center. The bridge is lit up at night with special lighting effects that highlight its double helix structure.
Art Science Museum – This lotus shaped building is anchored by a round base in the middle and is located at Marina Bay Sands.
- Esplanade – A performing arts center with all kinds of events and happenings. It contains theaters and various art galleries.
- Gardens at the Bay – a modern park where main attractions are its different species of tropical plants, multiple conservatories, and the giant tree-like structures called Supertrees. Seems like a scene from Avatar movie.
There are 18 supertrees that act as vertical gardens and also generate solar power. They work as air venting ducts for nearby conservatories. Visitors can walk on an elevated walkway between the supertrees. We also saw a 15 min light and sound show of the Garden Rhapsody.
- Little India – full of Hindu temples, mosques, and churches This area has a vast community of Tamils. Singapore is a country with a mix of different ethnicities – Chinese, Malay and Indian.
A visit to Little India and Chinatown gives you an insight into these cultures.
- Chinatown – an ethnic neighborhood featuring Chinese culture and history.
- Thian Hock Keng Temple (Temple of Heavenly Happiness) is one of the oldest and most important Hokkien temple in Singapore, located in Chinatown.
- Orchard Street which is a shopper’s paradise and the fashion street of Singapore.
- Singapore Botanic Gardens
The largest National orchid garden in the world is found here.
- Some other attractions are the Ginger garden and the Evolution garden.
Our 3-day stay in Singapore was part of a Far East Trip which me and Pankaj (my spouse) did in 2014. We stayed at the Marina Mandarin Hotel. During our stay for the first day we went to the Garden by the Bay which was lovely, saw the Garden Rhapsody show in the evening and then took the walkway to go to Marina Bay Waterfront for an evening stroll around the bay and see all the buildings and structures lit up. Next day we took a full day city tour (booked this at https://www.isango.com/singapore) which ended at Little India. After the tour we visited the area for some more time on our own. Came back to the Marina Waterfront for the evening views. The day ended with the Spectra show which was the perfect finale. We could not visit Sentosa Island because of lack of time. We were told there are plenty of fun activities to do there – Universal Studios, SEA Aquarium, Wave House (an artificial wave to try out surfing), MegaZip Line. One can easily spend a whole day there.
The next day we left for our next stop Kuching, Malaysia.