The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.Shirley MacLaine
Being part of the Asian sub-continent, it was now time for us to indulge into the different flavours, cultures, religions of the south eastern countries apart from India. This time we chose Singapore, more of a sibling time as we had family over there with my sister and BIL based out there and it has been ages since we caught up.
Singapore officially the Republic of Singapore, also referred to as the Lion City or the Garden City does look like little red dot on the world map, however, since its independence, it has become one of the world’s most prosperous countries and boasts the world’s busiest port.
After a long flight from London, the first thing you notice as you come out of the airport is the high-rise buildings, multicultural population, clean streets and of-course the humidity. The best part of this trip is we had family here who showed us around and we didn’t have to plan anything – what a relief to travel somewhere and not have to plan anything. My sister Sherin was spot on time on our arrival at Changi Airport and was so much of a pleasure meeting my sister after years. The first thing you notice on arrival in Singapore is the cleanliness of this city – seems to be so well organised, so clean without a speck of dust or litter anywhere. The transport in Singapore is brilliant with the underground trains, air-conditioned buses, it’s a very well planned and maintained city, I must say, and ofcourse, you have Wi-Fi on trains.
A short drive from the airport and we were at our apartment. Being a very modern and young country, the apartments and surroundings were so amazing and even the pathways next to the roads seemed landscaped. A good meal cooked by my sister – which in itself is a rarity (lolz) and a quick nap to shrug off the jetlag and we were ready to get going.
Our first stop was the China Town. This area was originally designated for Chinese settlement by Raffles, now it is a Chinese heritage area popular with tourists. Did you know that Singapore’s largest (arguably only) gay enclave is here too. You can see the Chinese, Buddhist and Hindu temples standing tall next to each other in harmony.
If you are a foodie and don’t mind wandering through the dingy alleyways, then this is the place for you. Read more about our culinary exploration of Singapore here (Click here). You can see tea houses, rows of hawker stalls, shops selling souvenirs, clothes, fabrics etc. and of course traditional Chinese medicine – everything seems so colourful. The best part of this place is there is free Wi-Fi throughout the Chinatown area so you can continue to be plugged in while you sightsee, shop and eat. This place has so much to offer and see that by the end of the day we were so tired and exhausted that we were eagerly looking forward to a good night’s sleep.
Next day up and fresh, we were looking forward to see the modern side of Singapore. The first thing that we visited was the Merlion, an iconic structure of Singapore. It is a well-known icon depicted as a mythical creature with a lion’s head and the body of a fish. Its name combines “mer”, meaning the sea, and “lion”. The fish body represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means “sea town” in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore’s original name – Singapura – meaning “lion city”. The Merlion is 8.7 metres tall and has a fountain of water spurting out into the picturesque Marina Bay.
The statue is located at the Merlion Park near the waterfront at Marina Bay. From here, you can view the massive three towers of Marina Bay Sands. It is a short walk from Raffles Place MRT Station and entry is free. As this is the most popular attraction on the island, you can see crowds of tourists flocking here to get the best shot of the Merlion.
The Merlion Park has loads of restaurants, seating areas and pubs to hang out and escape from the heat and humidity of the city. The pub we went was right at the waterfront overlooking the Merlion and the massive amazing three towers of Marina Bay, the views are just breath-taking. Singapore sun, Cold cider,views of Marina Bay Sands and an awesome company – Priceless!
It was evening by then and we decided to take a stroll to visit Clarke Quay and the river side of Singapore. Clarke Quay is famous for its stunning waterside restaurants and exciting collection of bars and clubs and thriving nightlife. The Singapore River lies at the heart of Clarke Quay and it is a perfect spot for food, drinks, and other activities such as reverse bungee. There are boat trips offered here which takes you through the entire length of the river, but we preferred to walk along the riverside at our own pace and leisure. Sitting on the bank of the river seeing the hustle bustle of this busy city, flowing neon lights and slowly taking everything in is a must do.
Just around the corner from Clarke Quay is Boat Quay. This little stretch is lined with bars, live music venues, and nightclubs and you can actually see the city beaming with lights everywhere. Don’t forget to view the Merlion and Marina Bay during the night; it’s an amazing site to watch.
Some more flavours of Singapore –
Read more of our Singapore Journey here (Read more)
If you have any questions/feedback, please leave a comment with your email id and I’ll get back to you at the earliest.