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” Not all those who wander are lost” – J R R Tolkien
Revelations, sudden or shocking can be outrageous and drastic or happy and ecstatic all at once. Same goes for travel. Each time you venture, you become rich, not only with treasure but with experience. It is like therapy to some or for addicts even breathing. We do it for the fulfillment of our soul, to get away from unwanted distraction and feel complete. People will call you crazy, but what is more important – opinions or peace of mind?… You travel and you gift your mind worthwhile infections. Infections that are positive to the soul and like fresh water to your heart. To be wonderfully lost is the greatest affection you can give your soul. This blog will reveal truths and surprises about Singapore.
Singapore has been a favourite tourist destination for almost everyone. But has anyone ever wondered about the history and culture of this small but packed country in the South East? Singapore is much more than the sum of its numerous attractions. It’s constantly evolving, reinventing, and reimagining itself, with people who are passionate about creating new possibilities. Singapore, is every traveller’s paradise. What does Singapore not have? Entertainment, nightlife, family fun, shopping, a mix of cultures, food, theme parks, water parks, zoos, bird parks, all check.
It’s where foodies, explorers, collectors, action seekers, culture shapers, and socialisers meet and new experiences are created every day. The list can just go on and on. But before you venture out into this island city you might want to get some information on it.
– Singapore is amongst the 20 smallest countries in the world.
– As far as the geographical size is concerned, Singapore is a pretty small city.
– Singapore has four official languages, English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil, reflecting the mix of cultures that exist here.
– If you ever forget the national anthem, you’ll find it engraved on the back of the 1000$ note. You might need magnifying glasses though.
– There are only three city-states in the world and Singapore is one of them.
– The Merlion (half lion-half fish) is the national personification of Singapore.
– Singapore is often called as the Lion city despite there being no Lions found here.
– People often get confused regarding the exact location of Singapore, some think it’s in Malaysia and some in China.
– The highest point in Singapore is only 164 meters high, so it’s basically a very flat country.
– The world’s first night zoo, the Night Safari can be found here.
– Last but not the least, Singapore has changed its timezone 6 times before finally settling on one.
Now, it’s no secret to most that Singapore known is a “fine” country, as it is liable to get charged for things like littering, importing or selling chewing gum, feeding monkeys, consuming food and drink on public transports and so on. But getting fined a sum of $1,000 for not flushing a public toilet? That’s news, considering how often these people have suffered earlier and have come across exceedingly dirty public washrooms. One of the best (or worst) things about the city is the weather. It is a constant, comfortable in the morning and evening, slightly hot in the afternoon with some rain thrown in. No heavy winter coats required here. The city’s Sanskrit name, Singapura, literally means ‘lion city’. It is said to have been christened thus by a Sumatran prince in the 14th century who believed he saw a lion in the jungles while hunting. There are no records of lions ever living in the region and thus, it is said that he possibly mistook a tiger for one. The Merlion is inspired by this tale.
The city has a twin sister also called Singapore, in Michigan, USA. Unfortunately, it is now a ghost town buried deep under the shifting sands of Lake Michigan. The world’s highest man-made waterfall in an aviary is right here in Singapore at Jurong Bird Park. Standing at 30 meters it is the perfect example of architectural marvel meets natural wonder. Not only that, Singapore also has the world’s tallest indoor waterfall (35 meters) at the Cloud Forest in Gardens by the Bay. 80-90% of Singaporeans reside in public housing. An unprecedented proportion anywhere in the world. Singapore is not just the island that we’re all familiar with. It also constitutes 62 smaller islands scattered around it, including the largest – Sentosa.
Lets have a look at a detailed travel itinerary that will give you a sneak peak and needed motivation to go on your travel journey in Singapore.
We reached Singapore by sunset so we enjoyed and spend the evening cobbling our way in the streets of Little India which is so similar to a bustling city in Tamil Nadu. Brightly lit temples and impulsive vendors crowd the streets with yonder goods from India that are sold at double the price for foreigners that is us Indians – the biggest irony of Singapore. Indians comprise of almost 9% of the population and very interestingly Tamil is the fourth official language here after English, Malay and Chinese. Tamil is even taught in schools. You can enjoy your first day in Singapore with lot of ease. After a scrumptious breakfast go and take a walk in the vibrant city side which includes tours to Merlion Park and China Town. Merlion Park is the attraction of the national symbol and also has the Baby Merlion standing diagonally opposite to the main statue. China Town is a historic market filled with traditional shops as well as equable stores and modern cafes. You will also make way in the Financial District which hosts all the Big Four of the finance world and other conglomerates. In the evening or after mid day Gardens By The Bay is a must visit spot for its beauty, serenity and pure innovation marvel.
Plan your Sentosa Island Trip way in advance not spontaneously because getting here needs lot of planning and bookings too. We visited Sentosa for two continous days because there are so many activities, theme parks and even attractions to see here. One day is literally a sin to have. We enjoyed the Cable Car, the Sea Aquarium, Luge – an outdoor experience for families, panoramic views of the Sentosa Island and even got to see the mighty Indonesian islands in the backdrop from our Cable Car ride. You can enjoy your charismatic evenings by the beach and behold Singapore’s Skyline. We saw a fun light show at night called Wings of Time – a cartoon based theme show that lets you travel back in time. Filled with exclusive water, fire and laser effects it steals the thunder of the evening and makes your ever wonderful day, a relaxed one.
The next day you could head to Jurong Bird Park which hosts 5000 birds and thus offers a visual treat of myriad colours and birds. Another option is heading to the Singapore Zoo to get up and close with the animals. I personally avoided this option because I did not want to hold tigers with feeding milk bottles or make the dolphins jump in the water to my tune, or even hold the python whose venom has been ferociously removed and then post tales about my bravery on social media. I personally loved visiting the Universal Studios at Singapore because it brought back all childhood memories. Minions are my all time favourites and you can find loads of them here. It all includes the Ultimate 3D battle, Shrek 4-D Adventure, Revenge of the Mummy, Madagascar: A Crate Adventure, Battlestar Galactica among others.
The last day we visited Marina Bay and then headed straight away to visit a close friend in Singapore Anusha, who invited us for dinner. After days of having all the local food not only from Singapore but Malaysia as well, since we had a back to back tour of both the countries coming back home and having Indian food was satisfaction guaranteed. We ended on a positive and with a cheerful goodbye came to our hotel to fly back to India the very next day.
– We stayed at Hotel Cherry Loft Apartments in Little India area which is very reasonable and spacious. It is a service apartment so you can even make tea or coffee at your ease. Saravanna Bhavan and many South India restaurants are located in the vicinity, so if you are a vegetarian then you are sorted for breakfast and dinner.
– Always carry a water bottle and some sugar with you if you are anaemic or B12 deficient as it can get very hot. I almost fainted in China Town, in the Chinese temple but Krissy, my hubby saved the day.
– Be sure to throw all the waste in a plastic kept with you. Do not even think of littering, it is taken as a serious crime.
Until next time with another country called Czech Republic.Stay tuned to this space.
Rucha Sudhir Khot.