Travel Destination I: Singapore

Work assignment took me to Singapore. Luckily, it also gave me a week to explore the developed country of Singapore.

Singapore is a special country because it matches developed countries in many ways although it is a small South Asian economy. Infrastructure, government policies and general sense of security is extremely well as compared to its neighboring nations.

But, it is a small country, almost equal to Delhi for the purpose of travelling.

I have been able to “check it off” my travel list in 5 days (check it off requires visiting iconic places that form identity of the country, must-visit places as per public consensus and specialties of the country).

After a 5.5 hour early morning flight from India, we were a bit tired, so we started with most relaxing activity on first day:

Day 1:  Garden by the bay and Marina Bay Sands

What can be more refreshing than being in sync with nature?  Garden by the bay provides refreshing walk among varied plants and flowers. Entry to the vicinity is free and one can have walk towards their super tree groves, which is an excellent sight in itself. There are two paid domes: Flower Dome and Cloud Forest Dome to visit as well.

Flower Dome, as the name suggests, has flowers of various varieties. Cloud forest Dome looks straight out of Steven Spielberg’s movies with a giant plantation in the middle surrounded by dense clouds. Both of them were worth the price paid.

Then, there are supertree groves which are giant structures with plants wrapped around them and there is a skywalk connecting all supertree groves which provide a top view of the gardens and of course somewhat of Singapore.  Supertree Groves look beautiful when alighted at night and there are usually must-catch evening light shows organized.

In total, it is a 4-5 hour activity.

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Supertree Grove with skywalk

Little later in the evening, one can easily go to Marina Bay Sands to have view of iconic building and the luxurious mall. There are certain good joints on the front deck of the building.

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Special mention of unique Chocolate Pizza I could discover in one of malls (Pastamania). It was awesome with nutella spread, chocolate sauce, sprinkled with nuts and marshmallows; and served with ice cream.

We tried tasty lebanese food in a mediterranean restaurant called Pita Pan. Besides, there is a music or light show on the decks of the building which is spectacular.

Another must-do in the vicinity is Singapore Flyer which is built like a big Ferris wheel with 28 capsules (each with a seating capacity of 6 people) and gives a 360 degree view of Singapore.

Day 2 : Singapore Zoo and Night Safari

After a somewhat relaxed first day, we opted for visiting Singapore Zoo on the following day.  It was located far from our hotel at Albert court road in the south, so we started right after our breakfast. It took us about 2 hours to reach the place (after a couple of changes in metro and a bus ride).

Singapore zoo gives a perfect introduction to a typical weather of the country: hot and humid (not raining, if you are lucky).  It is a well-built zoo even if the variety of animals is not that unique. There are a number of trails dividing the zoo into different zone with different species of animals.  The main highlight of zoo is their shows, whose timings are mentioned on the leaflet that should be taken at entrance.

We loved looking at the white tiger, royally stretching without any cage enclosures. Fragile Forest was very engaging with cute birds and naughty lemurs.

There is also facility of tram ride in case you are tired of walking or revisit some trail, at a small additional cost.

It takes 3-4 hours to cover whole of zoo. There are very average food joints in middle of the zoo, so some people prefer carrying their own food.

Fortunately, Night safari and River safari are located next to Singapore zoo. We gave River safari a miss because it was basically looking at somewhat similar animals in a steamer.  But, if you are fond of water animals, you should give it a try.

Next stop for us was Night Safari. It opens a little late in the evening, so we planned in a way that as soon as we are free from Singapore Zoo, we could enter Night Safari. Night Safari is quite a different experience from regular zoos as it has species of animals that are active in night. Bats, owls, raccoons were wonderful sights. It is built-in a similar fashion as Singapore Zoo i.e. a number of zones exhibiting different species. Some animals are repeated from Singapore Zoo in night lighting. Biggest let down of Night Safari is coping up with really long queue if you want to opt for a tram ride (warning for people with kids or elderly family members).

It was an extremely tiring day at both the zoos. So, we opted for a taxi back to our hotel, taking us just an hour. Taxis are average-priced and easily available in Singapore, you just have to spot a board for a taxi queue.

Day 3: Universal Studio

Third day, we went for a very popular tourist attraction called Universal Studios. Located within Sentosa, it requires a day for itself.  It is great to reach the place early as there is wait time for every ride which increases as the crowd increases.  Universal Studio has different adventure rides based on theme of animated characters.

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Minions at Universal Studio

We started with Madagascar located just at the beginning of the attraction. It was a fun boat ride with characters of the movie narrating the story. There is an enchanted airway opposite to Madagascar zone. It is an average rollercoaster built like a plane on the outside. Then, we moved to Shrek castle which has a 4-D movie about a short story of Shrek doing what he does best, saving his love life.

Moving forward, we saw Jurassic Part themed rides. Similarly, there are rides based on Mummy and Transformers, which we found be quite scary.

Here also, there is a couple of must-visit shows.  In the end, there is Seasame Street , apt for kids and adults with similar tendencies.

It is an appealing place for someone who likes roller-coaster, with a flavor of our favorite animated characters.

Day 4: Sentosa

Next day, we decided to explore rest of Sentosa.  There are many diverse activities, so we picked up some of most appealing to us. Our first stop was Tiger Sky Tower, which takes to a certain height and revolves to give view of entire Singapore.  Our next stop was Madame Tussauds, followed by a 4D movie and 4D games.  Then, there is segway ride, luge ride, skyride and riding a wave.

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Dory at S.E.A Aquarium

We moved to S.E.A. Aquarium, which is quite a grand aquarium with good variety of fishes ( I could find all of Nemo’s characters).

Last but definitely not the least; the attraction has a show called Wings of Time.

Day 5: Jurong Bird Park and Mustafa Center

Last day was reserved for my favorite: birds, so we moved for Jurong Bird Park. It was also in the north-west of the country, far from our hotel.   It is definitely a must visit with all kinds of birds.

We loved looking at more varieties of parrots than we can imagine. Lory loft is fantastic with lories literally hoping on your head.

It also took us 3-4 hours to cover entire park.  Left with a couple of hours before we depart to airport for our flight, we explored Bugis street and Mustafa Center to collect souvenirs, chocolates and some household items  for our family and friends.

Moving back to Changi airport, I smiled at the thought that I do not mind working at times.

“Check it Off” shortcuts:

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