Singapura

Finally it was destination Singapore. We reached Singapore by Malaysia Singapore rail route…a six hour journey from Kuala Lumpur. . I was in awe as I moved into city. It’s a city that has been meticulously planned and every care is being taken to nourish it. Its CLEAN.

We reached late in the afternoon and moved to Little India for spending the evening. It was a Sunday and LI was brimming with all Indians and Bangladeshis jamming in there for the week-end. Well never expected that kinda crown in Singapore, so it came in as a surprise. We had a delicious dinner at Punjabi Restaurant, spent some time at the all so famous Mustafas which didn’t have anything so great or at comparatively low prices except for a few electronic items.

The morning next day, we were off for a city tour passing through the national buildings, telecom centers, parks etc. We reached our first destination, The Merlion. Merlion is Singapore’s icon to the world. It’s a lion head with a fish body resting on a crest of waves. It was first designed as an emblem for the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board in 1964 and since then has been made to be a famous tourist attraction. The Merlion gets its name from ‘Singapura’ meaning city of lions in Sanskrit and represents Singapore’s earliest occupation i.e fishing.

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Next destination was ‘The fountain of Wealth’ where u put in a coin being hopeful of more wealth coming into your pockets. Next we hit the Gemstone factory where we saw how raw rocks were made into gemstones. It was a factory as well as a showroom with expensive and beautiful carves stones and jewel pieces. This place also had a range of expensive gemstone paintings running into crores. Although labeled as a Gem stone Factory, this place is more of an outlet to pull in people to buy the stuff.

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Singapore Botanic Garden is a place to visit even if you are not the garden going types….like me…the Botanic Garden houses an Orchid Garden, Ginger Garden, a lake and a Children’s Garden. The National Orchid Garden is a beautiful place to be. It has a collection of thousand of beautiful orchids and an aesthetically carved out garden. Orchid makes for the National Flower of the country and the garden showcases its splendor. This garden offers the largest display of orchids in the world in all their diversity, colours and beauty along with waterfalls, cool houses and fountains. It was pulchritudinous to walk through the garden and admire the delicate flowers. It somehow reminded me of my trips to the Mughal Gardens from school as kid.

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From there we headed to the Sentosa Island which is a tourist world of its own kind. We reached there through a cable car ride from Mount Faber. On reaching Sentosa, first we went on to experience the Dolphin show which was a disappointment with absolutely not much activity. It was a hot day and waiting for the buses to move from one place to another was irritating. They seriously need to think on improving their inland transportation system with the numbers of crowd hitting the place. Next was the Underwater World which was fascinating. It brings the ocean life so close to us. Looking so closely at huge sized dangerous sea animals was an amazing experience. There’s a small section where one can attempt to touch rays and fishes. Its fun to try that and you are rarely successful as those animals take that as a challenge to escape from just under your fingertip!! My excitement knew no bounds as we moved through the 83 meter glass tunnel and I was nothing less than the kids around jumping with excitement. This impressive tunnel showcases all sorts of sea creatures from big and small, colourful fishes to octopus to rays to sharks….the sea creatures are all there. And seeing them gliding above your head through the glass tunnel is altogether a different experience. It was fun.

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Then there is the Images of Singapore, a museum that beautifully and innovatively projects the history of Singapore and various aspects of culture colourfully presented. There are other attractions like the Sky Tower, Merlion walk and Butterfly park which are not a bad option to look at if you have stored up energy and calories. Not to miss is the Cine blast and 4D Magic shows. These are not covered under your island package tickets so one will have to buy tickets for these separately which can be painfully pinching but you will not regret it after you have seen what was on the platter!!!

As the sky is ready to take over its dusky blanket, all the people around are heading to just one destination- Songs of the Sea. It’s a laser show that takes place with an ampi-theatre like created lobby under the backdrop of the ocean and the night sky.. Its mesmerizing to see the orange sky and its reflection on the ocean, ships sailing far away and breeze sprinkling droplets of water as you wait for the show to start.

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The show is all about a few human characters, brilliant computer animation, water jets, lot of music and breath taking laser work….all in all a flabbergasting show…for me it was the first time I had seen such a magnificent work of laser lights.

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The day ended and we boarded our coaches to drop us back to our hotel. Tired but contended.

Next day, the last in the city was for shopping. If you need to buy something good for yourself, do your homework before hand. For buying chocolates and nick-nacs for relatives back home, Little India or Mustafa’s is an option to save time and energy. I somehow did not find any big and huge discounts there as people had told me. Its like just any other mall. Nothing so great. Yeah there is a difference in electronic items price range but the non availability of insurance, warranty made me think a lot before purchasing stuff.

After a hard day’s work, we headed for The Night Safari. The Night Safari was an experience in itself since I had never been to a sanctuary or wildlife park before. This night zoo houses over 900 animals of 135 exotic species in eight zones created to simulate geographic zones like the Southeast Asian rainforest, African savanna, Nepalese river valley, South American pampas and Burmese jungle. It was pitch dark and I could not make out the difference from one zone to another except as and when announced by the guide. Although we did not get to see as many animals as they mentioned but nevertheless, it was worth it. Going through 40 hectares of forest in that dead blackness with those dangerous animals at times at an arms distance was amazing thrill. Besides the tram ride, one can go in for walking trails with guides. It was fun to go through such dense forests with an excitement and scare that an animal might just turn up from behind the trees.

It also had a tribal performance which was good fun and the dinner at Ulu Ulu Restaurant was quite nice especially the ice creams. And yeah full marks for the ambience too.

The day and the fantabulous trip ended as we boarded the flight next morning to be back home. A thumbs up to the city for what it is….tourism, cleanliness, local transportation system, food, hospitality, aesthetics…..everything!

And forgot to mention, Changi Airport is huuuuge. You name a brand and its there. It can give any damn luxury mall a run for its money. We took one and a half hours from our check in gate to reach our boarding hall….just window shopping!!!

11 Comments

  • nandanjha says:

    Brilliant pics Tanya.

    If you are flying through Singapore and if the stop-over is more than 4 hours, then you get a free city ride. Tried that couple of times, once to Sentosa and 2nd time to Merlion, where they took us on a boat.

    I have heard rave reviews about night-safari. never been too excited about Singapore but going through train from KL sounds like more fun. Tell me more about that part.

    And you are so right about Changi, one can spend a lifetime there.

  • Last year I’ve visited Singapore and I was amazed to its beautiful buildings and other locations.

  • Swami says:

    Good article Tanya.. Brilliant pictures.. Thanks for Sharing.

    Swaminathan Mani

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Hi Tanya,

    I had been to Singapore around 2 yrs back, thanks for refreshing my memories.

    No doubt that the Singapores night safari is a life time experience. Walking in dense forests with dim light was really adventures. Tribal performance at the entry gate was awesome.

    Under water park in Sentosa Island was also a wonderful experience.

    They were making another merlion in sentosa , bigger then the old one, two year back when I was there that time it was under construction.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Beautifully described, well-supported by wonderful images. Singapore comes alive in your words, Tanya.

    Hong Kong, next?

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    Interesting write-up Tanya. Your write-up has increased the desire to enjoy the night safari, I think the tourist were in safe zone. Weren’t they ? How long it take for the safari ?

    I never realized that Singhapore is coined from the word Singh – pur (interesting). Is Singapore is referred as Sinh – Dweep in old Indian literature ?

    Picture of Orchids are beautiful :-)

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Manish,

    Sorry to reply , as this question was for Tanya. Yes Night safari its totally safe & it takes about 2 to 3 hrs.

    • Manish Khamesra says:

      Thanks Mahesh for your reply. I was slightly confused as Tanya has mentioned about the wild animals at an arm’s length. Is there a glass boundry between. At what time safari starts ?

      These questions are just out of curiousity.
      Thanks again Mahesh.

      • Mahesh Semwal says:

        No problem Manish,

        I saw Glass boundary only where the Lions were there. In other places we saw big Nalas so that animals can not cross it. You can Enjoy Tram as well as walk in the forest.

        Singapores night safari is a life time experience.

  • tanya says:

    @ mahesh

    Yes, that Merlion has been completed but it isn’t as attractive and eye catching as the original one.

    @ Patrick… thanks :) n as of Hong kong….i dnt think so…

    @ manish
    the safari is absolutely safe and exciting… there is no glass boundary. there is a path carved out for trams and at times animals move out of their habitat into that path….but they just stood still as our tram passed by.
    the animal habitat is at a safe distance from the tram path and majority of the animals stayed within that.

    n no clue about the Indian Literature connection.

  • vibha says:

    Nice story, Tanya. what amazes me is the size of the orchids. They look so huge. I have seen big orhids in the US, but none as big as these.

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