-the world as I see it
I still can’t get over how fast my calendar page has flipped to the month of August. After having completed tons of pending jobs, I decided to recount my trip to Singapore, something that I should have done ages ago, but as the saying goes – better late, than never.
Being a civil engineer, Singapore has always been on my ‘places to visit before I die’ list. Like many of my other dreams, my fairy godmother (read my sister) made this one too come true. For my birthday this year, she asked me if she could book my flight tickets to and from Singapore and I was only too happy to oblige. The journey was 20 hours long but I couldn’t care less as I was getting to see my family after so many months. Stepping out of the plane and into one of the several hallways of the Changi airport, you immediately get a feel of what Singapore is going to be like – organized, efficient, expensive, tech-savvy, clean and green. Be it in terms of amenities, entertainment or shopping, the Changi airport outclasses all of its counterparts in other developed countries. The comfort level out here borders on luxury. The free wi-fi and architecture were reasons enough for me to declare it the best airport in the world.
On the way to my sister’s place, I was amazed by the discipline in traffic and the strict adherence to road rules, especially for a city of that magnitude. Back in India, where organized traffic is just a hypothetical concept, the most stressful part of your day is spent commuting to and from work. Being stuck in traffic jams, watching a motorcyclist squeeze between two buses that are trying to overtake each other, inhaling clouds of black smoke from vehicles which clearly don’t keep to emission norms- Oh! The horror. The sophisticated traffic control and monitoring system blew my mind. In addition to Google Maps, apps like mapSYNQ and TrafficLIVE help you take the shortest, least busy and most economical route to your destination.
On the first night, I went for the “Wonder full” show – an ingenious interplay of light, sound and water. Be warned that if you sit in one of the first few rows, you might just get drenched. The show timings and venue can be found on the official website of the Marina Bay Sands. After the show was over, we headed over to Clarke Quay via a bumboat. The bumboat is a tour-boat with wooden interiors that operates along the Singapore river. Clarke Quay turned out to be my favourite spot in Singapore. The place is always abuzz with people and has some of the city’s best restaurants and bars. Don’t forget to have the chilly crab – Singapore’s signature dish and rightly so. It’s worth every cent that you pay and this coming from a tightfisted person like me should count for something 😉
I am not going to elaborate much on what I did in Singapore as most of the tour books do quite a good job of that. This post just contains some of the pictures that I took on my trip.
An engineering icon, courtesy Arup – the Marina Bay Sands Resort is a 55-storey mixed use building which is most famous for its infinity pool located atop the cantilever deck. Structural engineers find the design of the building quite intriguing.
Like in most other countries, there’s no dearth of megalomaniacs here too. The Singapore flyer surpasses the height of the observation wheels in China and London.
A trip to Singapore is incomplete without a visit to the Jurong Bird Park and the Night Safari. Even though, this might take up an entire day, both the places are entirely worth it. Make sure you take note of the show timings on the schedule that they provide you with, so you can attend them. I enjoyed every show that I went for and it was hard to tell who did a better job finally- the animals or their trainers.
Not having visited a theme park in ages (Europe really sucks in this regard), a trip to Universal Studios Singapore (USS) was definitely in order. The 4D Transformers ride and the Shrek 4D Adventure movie were the highlights of the place.
With its environment-friendly and sustainability promotion policies, Singapore is really doing its bit when it comes to tackling global climate change. Unlike Bangalore which has transitioned into a concrete jungle from a garden city, Singapore has managed to not only retain its green spaces, but also develop them further. One of its best efforts in this direction is the creation of the Gardens by the Bay – an ambitious project that aims to create a city within a garden!
Chinatown – one of the most affordable places in Singapore. I bought all my souvenirs and a cute little travel pillow from one of the many colourful stores. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple might not be as old as the temples in China or Japan, but it’s in no way less ornate.
With hardly any resources of its own, it’s amazing how Singapore has come up from scratch and managed to attain ‘first world’ status in a relatively short span of time. India so needs a leader like Lee Kuan Yew *sigh*.
P.S: This post is dedicated to my sister 🙂 Thanks again for the very generous birthday gift 🙂