The Singapore Expedition !
Day 1 : 7 p.m
Months of excitement, weeks of planning and hours of anticipation had all led me to this place here and the moment I set foot on Changi Airport, I was convinced that this was going to be one hell of a journey ! On my train to Little India, I couldn't help but admire this "Lion Country" and its amazing views. A 2-min walk from the station and I was welcomed by the friendly staff at my hotel. Even though I was tired, the desire to explore this city wouldn't let me stay in the room. So I just decided to take a walk around and try some real spicy Indian food for dinner. The moment I set afoot, I was greeted by a view like this.
The street was alive with vibrant colors, sounds and delicious aromas. There were vendors clamoring in every corner offering colourful Indian garments, sweets, flowers and jewellery. It had northern and southern Indian cuisines and similar mouth-watering street delicacies making it very hard to choose amongst the wide variety of palates that it offered. In the end, I choose the North-Indian Chicken Biryani for dinner and promised to try the South-Indian food for breakfast the next day at Sarvana Bhavan. Although the street was clattering continuously, it offered you a certain sense of belongingness making you feel right at home.
Day 2 : 9 a.m
Today was "Let's go exploring the beaches" Day ! On the To-Do-List was Sentosa Islands, the S.E.A Aquarium, the Adventure Cove Waterpark and the Sentosa Merlion. They are all based approximately within a radius of 2 miles and thus making it easy to cover in a day. A 30-min ride on the cable car took us to the "Resorts World Sentosa" and we were good to go.
1) Sentosa Beaches
No matter how old you get, beaches always put a smile on your face. As for me, it was more than just a smile; it was bliss. Sentosa had three beaches : Palawan beach, Siloso beach and Tanjong beach. We started with the Palawan beach and decided to cover them one by one on the tram. If you are traveling with your family and kids, Palawan is the perfect beach for you. I could see the kids making sand castles, playing in the water or visiting the 'Ports of Lost Wonder' - a mini water park for the kids. I could see the people walking on a small suspension bridge that took you to a small piece of land which is said to be the closest point to the equator. The Palawan shore had several bars, restaurants and shacks offering us food and beverage of our choice where we could just relax and enjoy a great view and that's exactly what I did !
If you are traveling with a group of friends or are looking for some adventure activities, Siloso is the beach for you. The beach was full of people either playing volleyball, football or trying out activities like kayaking, canoeing, roller-blading and skim-boarding. I tried Kayaking there. The resorts here had many chairs on which you could spend the entire day lazing around, admiring the view but still not get enough of it.
If you are looking for solitude, peace or some romance with your partner, Tanjong beach is the place to be. The beach makes sure you lose track of time absorbed in its serenity and tranquility. This was my favorite beach ! It was like an escape from all concerns of the world. A martini in one hand and a Jeffery Archer book in the other and I was set for the afternoon.
I decided to try the local dish 'Wanton Mee' for lunch here which was similar to Hong-Kong flavored noodles served with some pork soup and dumpling on the side. A simple coconut ice-cream sufficed for dessert. The meal was delicious ! I couldn't stop thinking what next to have for dinner ! With dinner thoughts in my head, I walked towards the cable car. Next on the list : S.E.A Aquarium !
2) S.E.A Aquarium
'A tunnel inside an aquarium', yes you read it right. How does that sound to you ? S.E.A Aquarium has exactly that. It is this huge aquarium which has a passage for us to walk through and admire the near-about 800 species of marine life from a distance of 2-3 inch. It had an explosion of different colored aquatic animals revolving around me that left me totally mesmerized for the rest of the day. These views managed to thrill everyone, including the kids. They had various types of sea jellies, sea stars, clown fish, sea dragons, lion fish and the common dolphins and sharks. They had provisions to go scuba diving and snorkeling for the visitors as well, but as hard it is for me to admit, I was scared. The view from inside the aquarium was something like this :
3) Adventure Cove Waterpark
If I have to use one word to describe my experience here, that would be 'SENSATIONAL' ! I say this, because, the only thing I experienced here was infinite times of adrenaline rush and thrill ! The park has a number of water rides based on tropical jungle and grotto themes. The unexpected twists and turns of the roller coasters, the radical climbs and drops of the twisters get your heart pumping and leave you asking for more. The most famous ride it offers is the "Southeast Asia's largest hydro-magnetic coaster" whereas the rest include Riptide Rocket, Rainbow Reef, Spiral Washout and other twelve such similar rides. If you are an adrenaline junkie, you can never have enough of this place.
After my trip in this adventure park, I was exhausted yet somehow at peace. I grabbed a quick bite at a local cafe and headed towards the cable car. The Merlion was waiting !
4) Sentosa Merlion
With a lion's head and fish's body, the 37-meter tall Sentosa Merlion was one stunning beauty. It's not just an idol but a significance of this gigantic merlion guarding the Singapore wealth. It has many urban legends and myths revolving around it. It was one of the five merlions that were placed all over the country and I stood there watching, admiring it in awe !
Beside it was a souvenir's shop. A souvenir shop is like a traveller's paradise. I grabbed all sorts of keychains, mugs, cushions for my friend's and family back home and headed towards the cable car.
I hadn't realised it before, but I was exhausted. So it meant I was going to hog. I tried the Grilled Chicken Risotto at some local restaurant and ordered two rounds of Feta salad with it, even though it got me an astonished glance from the waiter. Happy and contented, I walked towards the metro station. It was one long day.
Day 3 : 10 a.m
Yes, I got up a little late than usual. But tell me, what are vacations for ? Besides, I had my mind set on just two things : The Universal Studio and the Night Safari. I grabbed breakfast at Sarvana Bhavan and left for Universal Studio. Following the same route that I used to reach Sentosa, I got off the cable car, just this time at Universal Studio.
1) Universal Studio, Singapore
Theme parks ! I visited not one, not two but a total of seven theme parks that day ! They were - Madagascar, Far Far Away(more of a Shrek theme), The Lost World, Ancient Egypt (The Mummy and the pyramids), Sci-Fi City(yes, Transformers were there too) and New York.
I could see various movie characters like Frankenstein, the Sesame Street characters (yes, ELMO was there too), then Marilyn Monroe, Jack Sparrow and how can I forget, the MINIONS ! I could have just grabbed one and shoved them in my handbag ! They were so cute ! I could see all of them walking down the street, making merry with the crowd. There were occasional live shows and street performances by these characters that got the whole crowd cheering and wanting for more.
I spent the whole day trying out various roller coasters, rides exploring every inch and nook of the theme parks and clicking pictures with various characters. By the time it was evening, I was wishing I could be a kid again.
Next on the list was the Night Safari at Mandai Lake Road which was a little far from the hotel, but I wasn't missing that experience for anything in the world. I grabbed an early dinner at the VivoCity Mall and headed for the bus station. I was on my way.
2) Night Safari
A nocturnal zoo without cages speaks about the Night Safari Zoo in Singapore perfectly. Who knew there could be beauty found in the dead of the night, in the middle of a jungle?(a themed jungle, but alright) There were tram rides that took us all around the zoo. I was a little nervous knowing that these animals were roaming around freely and the utmost silly "what will happen if" scenarios in my head, but I think it just added to the thrill of the ride. Asian elephant, Giraffes, Malayan Tapir, Rabbits, Deers and the Flying Squirrels, Zebras were such pleasant sights but when we came across the Malayan Lion, Malayan tiger, Leopards and Pythons I couldn't help but hold my breath.
Day 4 : 9 a.m
Last day in Singapore ! Had a flight in the evening, so had to plan accordingly. Today was shopping day ! That meant Chinatown was on the list and so was the Marina Bay Merlion.
Chinatown was a five-min train ride from my hotel and the moment I got off, I knew I am going to carry a hefty suitcase to the airport. Red was the color of this town ! It looked something like this :
I could see so many beautiful things all over the street ! Souvenirs, 'I heart SG' T-shirts, handbags, wall-hangings, beautiful jewellery, rings, footwears, cute showcases and so many more things. Beside being low-priced, they were very pretty and so I ended up buying a little of almost all of these.
Happy and satisfied with my shopping, I headed for the Marina Bay Merlion; my one last stop before leaving.
2) Marina Bay Merlion
The Marina Bay Merlion Park near the One Fullerton hotel was a place full of admirable views. The first was the bold Merlion statue; favorite spot of tourists, whereas the other significant attractions everyone was missing on were the Esplanade Theatre, Singapore Flyer and the Art Science Museum just across the river. I felt bad I couldn't cover all of these but at least I didn't miss on the views. I thought to myself, maybe next time. The river around the merlion just added to the beauty and peace of these places.
Goodbye Singapore ! I will miss you !
Unfortunately, the time to leave for was near. I left for the airport, trying to gather as much possible of this city as I could. I had fallen for this city in four days and I wasn't ready to let it go as yet. I was thinking of all the fond memories I had made here and couldn't help but smile. I knew I had to part ways. So I said to myself 'Au revoir Singapore, I will see you again' and thought about when my boss will let me have my next vacation.