Singapore is a sovereign city-state and island country in Southeast Asia, and
lies one degree (85 miles) north of the equator. The city-state is home to
5.6 million residents, 39% of whom are foreign nationals. There are four
official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil.
Its cultural diversity is reflected in its extensive ethnic cuisine. The country
is known for its transition from Third World to First World in a single
generation, under the leadership of its founding father, Lee Kuan Yew.
Getting there ...
We planned this Singapore visit as part of our
Christmas trip back to our home in
Taiwan. Since Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no
distinctive seasons, uniform temperature, high humidity, and abundant rainfall,
we had to prepare our summer clothes for this trip. We had an early flight
from Taiwan and arrived in Singapore at about 2PM. The Metro in Singapore
is very convenient and it took us right to our home for the next 4 days:
Marina Bay Sands.
- Gardens by the Bay -- Bay South
After checked in to the hotel, we
walked across the bridge to the famous Gardens by the Bay, comprising three
distinctive waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central.
Bay South, the largest of the three gardens, opened in 2012. With its
award-winning cooled conservatories and iconic Supertrees, Bay South has
become a source of national pride.
It was the last day of a
special Christmas Wonderland event that magical luminarie lights transform
the fairground into a stunning wonderland with many festive activities and
fun. We attended a magic show by Bob Lake (The
America's Got Talent 2018 quarterfinalist). Iris was
luckily picked to
go to the stage to be part of a
magic floating trick (we were all curious about how Iris felt on
After dinner, we only had time to quickly go through the
Flower Dome (one of the largest glass greenhouse in the world) which was decorated with Christmas themes everywhere, and decided to skip Cloud
Forest (we did come back on our final day) as it was already getting
- Spectra Light Show & Singapore at Night
Spectra is a 15-minute show
at the waterfront of the Marina Bay Sands
with dancing water fountains, colorful visual arts, special lighting effects
orchestral soundtrack. Our room (facing Singapore city skyline) on the 24th floor is a perfect place to watch the
show without any crowd (although we could not hear any sound).
After the show I went to our other room (facing the
Gardens by the Bay) on the same floor to take a few photos of the Garden at
Day 2 (12/27) ...
I walked along the waterfront before sunrise. Although it was
cloudy without any sunshine, it was still nice to have a few pre-dawn shots
of the city.
- Little India
Originally settled by Indian laborers in the late 18th century, Little
India has transformed from a district of racehorse tracks and lime pits to a
neighborhood where traditional establishments and century-old temples merge
seamlessly with boutique museums and budding art spaces. We had
a traditional India breakfast at one of the authentic India restaurants,
Komala Vilas. It was quite busy in the morning that we needed to wait
for a while to get seated. Using right hand only to eat Indian food
was an impossible task for us...
One of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temples, the Sri
Veeramakaliamman Temple is dedicated to the goddess and destroyer of evil, Sri
Veeramakaliamman or Kali. Built by Indian pioneers who came to work and live
here the temple was the first in the serangoon area and became a focus of early
Indian Social Cultural activities there. Although I respect the different
cultures and religions, I don't quite feel comfortable looking at some of the
statues (with skulls and fangs) in the temple.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay is a performing arts
center located in Downtown Core near the mouth of the Singapore River.
Completed in February 2001 and opened on 12 October 2002, Esplanade contains
a 1630-seat Concert Hall with a 4740-pipe organ, a 1950-seat Theater
designed in an intimate horseshoe shape, 3 performance studios (theater
studio, recital studio, annexe studio) that provide flexible spaces for
rehearsals and small-scale performances. It also has an outdoor
theater along the waterfront, and numerous galleries and spaces for visual
arts and display.
We booked a guided tour at 11AM and had a good
introduction of the Esplanade and a visit to the renowned Concert Hall.
We also learned some interesting facts of the outside cladding (which gives
the buildings the nickname "big durians"). These aluminum sunshades
are designed to shield the glass domes, allowing light in while keeping the
heat out at the same time.
- Marina Bay Sands
We had a relaxed afternoon at the hotel and went up
to the rooftop to enjoy the guest-only infinite pool.
- Chinatown & Virtual Reality
From its humble beginnings as an enclave
for Singapore’s Chinese immigrant population to its present-day status as
Singapore’s largest historical district, Chinatown (known as Niu che
shui 牛車水 in Mandarin) has always been a location where potential and
possibility merge seamlessly with the past. However, we did not come
to the Chinatown to visit any temples or historical buildings this time;
instead, we headed to a special place to experience a different adventure:
Virtual Room in Singapore.
It is really well designed in both VR effect and the game itself. You
will have to experience by yourself to know how well the VR technology is.
- Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay and the surrounding Riverside area presents
Singapore’s most exciting nightlife scenes, as well as a handful of
excellent restaurants good for dining.
- We took the Metro back to hotel after dinner. I decided to walk to
the waterfront for more pictures at night while others went to the infinite
pool to enjoy the night view up there.
Day 3 (12/28) ...
- Botanic and Orchid Gardens
Established in 1859 by the
Agri-Horticultural Society, the Botanic Gardens is the country’s first
UNESCO Heritage Site (the first and only tropical botanic garden on the
UNESCO’s World Heritage List). The main highlight is the National
Orchid Garden, which boasts the world’s largest orchid display, with over
60,000 plants and orchids. Walking around the garden and you
realized that Singapore is really spring time all around (or summer time if
- Singapore City
After visiting the gardens, we took a bus which
wandered through the busy Orchard Road with many shops and department
stores. Since none of us like shopping (ignore Iris :-)), this bus
riding window shopping was as good as it could be.
- ArtScience Museum
After a short break at the hotel, Woanyu and
I went to the ArtScience Museum (while Iris was meeting her friend, and
Linus and Miriam still took their break). ArtScience Museum, a
striking lotus-inspired building, is a cultural landmark
in Singapore. Its mission is to explore where art, science, culture and
technology come together. We chose two exhibitions to visit:
World: Where Art Meets Science, and
Space, Light, Object. Not only does the museum push
boundaries with its world-class exhibitions, its design
architecture is equally as iconic. The museum’s structure is meant to
symbolize the welcoming hand of Singapore with ten fingers. The tip of each
“finger” filters in natural light to showcase exhibits in the best light.
- Marina Bay Sands at Night
Day 4 (12/29) ...
- Cloud Forest
We went back to the Gardens by the Bay at 9AM to visit
another cooled conservatory, Cloud Forest, a mysterious world veiled in
mist. With the world's tallest indoor waterfall at 35 meters, visitors
can explore the tropical highlands amidst orchids, pitcher plants and ferns
from the cool-moist Tropical Montane region, and descend through the surreal
mist-filled Cloud Walk and Treetop Walk.
Going Home ...
We checked out the hotel at 11AM and headed to Changi Airport to
catch our flight back to Taiwan at 2PM. Although Singapore is a small
city-state country (area 722.5 sq. km) and many people have been saying that it
takes less than a day to go around Singapore, I do feel that four days are still
not enough to see Singapore. Singapore is really a diversified place
(unfortunately I am not a foodie type of people to enjoy different cuisine) and a
good mix and merge of traditional and modern worlds. It was a good place for
us to spend our Christmas holidays for some good family time together.
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