Life is short and the World is wide!!
Here, I sit down to pen my trip journals to help you to plan yours’. I hope it inspires you to take some time off your mundane affairs, unwind and embark…GO EXPLORE……THE WORLD IS WAITING!!
Singapore is an independent city-state that got its independence from the British in 1965 and is now one of the leading economic centres in shipping and banking. In recent years it is fast emerging as one of South Asia’s most sought after travel destination for office conferences, leisure travels, family trips as it caters to all your urban comforts safety and adventurous at one go.
Singapore is also a popular jump-off point to other South-East Asian countries with its innumerable direct flights and easy accessibility. Singapore is relatively expensive by South-East Asian standards.
Here’s a glimpse at the typical expenses to be borne by a traveller:
Accommodation is relatively on the higher side with hostel dorms costing you about 15-30 SGD. Budget hotels will be somewhere around 50SGD and most hotels will charge about 80-110SGD. For a luxury stay, Marina Bay Sands with its wonderful infinity pool and the best view is THE choice.
For availing public transport you’ll spend just 10SGD per day on an average provided you’ve got yourself a Singapore Tourist Pass. This will enable you to get unlimited rides on a number of buses and trains. Whereas if you wish to take the cab, then go for the ones that show 3.2SGD meter down cause that’s the cheapest. You can also avail MRT (mass rapid transit) which cross-sections most parts of the city-state.
Food – There are plenty of street stalls available especially on Smith Street where you can sample local cuisine for less than 6 SGD. Little India and Chinatown also has a number of affordable eateries. Specifically for Indians if you are missing ‘your ghar ka khana’ head straight to Mustafa market for your dose of dosa-idli-sambar-kheemaparantha-cutting chai.
Sightseeing – Itinerary for a week’s stay.
The Singapore Zoo is one of the best in the world with over 3600 species of animals, birds and reptiles that habitat this 70acres of land. Try the splash safari which you will enjoy. Avail the tram rides to take you around in the zoo. The River Safari is a unique wildlife park in between the Zoo and the Night Safari where along with a river you also get to see a zoo and an aquarium.** In the evening come back to the Zoo for the night safari. Do not miss the fire show and the nocturnal animals’ show, it’s worth the money. Entrance to Zoo and the night safari will cost you about 70SGD. The food court within the premise is overtly priced so preferably eat outside.
** I will suggest going for the river cruise in the interim. Public transports are aplenty to ferry you to Clarke Quay from where the boats depart for the cruise. The boat rides start every 20-30 minutes apart and no need to buy tickets in advance. Soak yourself in the exotic sunset from the boat and be back to the Zoo on time for the night safari.
Clarke Quay festival village was completed in 2006 and is the largest reclamation land in the whole of Singapore. It comprises of five blocks and is a colourful, appealing cluster of condos, shops and restaurants. When you sail up-river you reach Boat Quay which at one point in time handled three-fourth of all the shipping businesses in the city-state. Now it’s famous for its nightlife and houses scores of pubs, nightclubs and restaurants.
If you’ve toiled enough through the day then this is the place to be at night to unwind.
Merlion Park is a landmark of Singapore and a major tourist attraction. It is a short distance away from Clarke Quay.
Jurong Bird Park is an aviary and is managed by Wildlife Reserves of Singapore. It encompasses an area of 0.2 square kilometres on the western slope of Jurong Hill. You can avail the tram rides only if you have children or elderly cause the distance covered is walkable. Visit lory loft and the waterfall aviary. There are several shows. Watch High fliers and Kings of the sky….worth your time. Children can feed the little penguins too…..they are so cute!! You can also enjoy a sumptuous lunch spread of Asian cuisine at Songbird terrace with their phenomenal parrots amusing you with their antics and linguistic skill. Entrance will cost you around 29SGD for adults, 19SGD for children and 13SGD for senior citizens.
Gardens by the Bay is a 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore next to Marina Reservoir which has been metamorphosed into a spectacular recreational garden. The flower dome is a conservatory where unique plants bloom. It creates a world of perpetual spring. The temperature inside is pretty chilly so carry some warm clothing.
The entrance to the cloud forest with its fountain mist will create an environment enough to catapult you to another world of flora fast becoming extinct. Here again, the temperature will be pretty low so carry a jacket. Entry fee to the conservatories will cost 28SGD for adults and senior citizens and 15SGD for children.
The outdoor gardens consist of –
– Bay east garden
– Super tree grove
– Sun Pavilion
– Heritage garden
– World of plants
Dragonfly and Kingfisher lakes
The entry fee to all the gardens is free of cost. It’s worth your time. Saved the best for the last, every evening there’s a spectacular light and sound show held at Supertree grove -“The garden Rhapsody”, it is mesmerizing and will transform the gardens to some fairyland. The show timings are 19:45 and 20:45 local time. Again non-chargeable but highly recommended so do go well in advance and plonk yourself at a strategic spot to enjoy the enchantment.
There is nothing quite like a stroll along the OCBC skywalk in Supertree grove. The panoramic view of the garden and the Marina Bay skyline offered from a height of 22meters is an experience not to be missed. This aerial walkway opens from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. Admission fee is 8SGD for adults and 5SGD for children.
All outdoor shows are free in Singapore. Some are worth your time. Like the water show at Marina Bay Sands which starts at 8 p.m. every day.
The iconic lotus inspired ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands is the world’s first art – science museum and a place of creativity. It features 21 gallery spaces spanning an area of 50000 sq. feet. It allows you the flexibility and value for money by providing same-day-re-entry into the museum which means you can take a break and go for a quick snack or shopping.
The Singapore flier is a giant Ferris wheel. Cocooned safely in a capsule of the observation wheel, 165m above ground level you will be treated to a 360° visual delight of the island city. A bird’s eye view of Singapore in its truest sense. Admission will cost you 33SGD for adults and 21SGD for children.
Singapore’s legendary Chinatown is an ethnic enclave of Chinese heritage with the right mix of old and new. The hustle-bustle of the place is quite captivating. Chinatown also offers many worthwhile places to visit. Even better some are completely free of cost.
Sri Mariamman Temple is a dravidian style, beautifully sculpted an ornate national monument located in downtown Chinatown district. It is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore and attracts a lot of tourists.
Thian Hack Keng Temple is a beautiful and ornate landmark in Singapore which was built in 1839 with the support of prominent members of the Hokkien community, such as philanthropist Tan Tock Seng. It is the oldest Chinese temple in the island city and is dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of the sea.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and museum is located in China town district and houses a sacred Buddha tooth relic in a giant stupa made from 320kg of gold. This Tang dynasty style ornately sculpted stunning Buddhist temple is watch worthy.
Bukit Timah is a hill which stands at an altitude of 164m and is the highest point in the city-state. It is located near the centre of Singapore main Island.
Singapore is very aptly called the “garden city” or “a city in a garden” as the city-state is dotted with green aplenty. The Singapore Botanic garden is worth a visit. In 1859, the Agri Horticultural Society transformed this 60 acres of land from disused plantation into this splendid recreational garden that it is today. It is the city-state’s first UNESCO world heritage site. The entry to the garden is free and when you visit, do make a point to visit the picturesque Orchid garden too.
Orchard Road is just-a-stone’s-throw-away ….if you are too worn out with the extensive travel then orchard road is just the place for you, to soak yourself in some good old retail therapy. For some more indulgence head straight to Bugis street.
Little India is a historic region that portrays the best of Singapore’s Indian community from a vibrant culture to incredible shopping. Pongal (sometime in September) and Diwali (sometime in October/November) are the fun times. For a spot of shopping no other place like Mustafa market with scores of eateries on the opposite foot.
Sentosa Island is just 15 minutes away from the southern coast of the main island of Singapore and is hands-down the most favourite leisure destination of the city-state. You can either board the monorail for the short ride from VIVO city or I would suggest you avail the cable cars from Harbourfront. The cable rides will offer a breath-taking bird’s eye view of the island city which will be enough to set the tempo for the rest of the day. Will also recommend buying an unlimited day pass for the cable rides as it’ll be economical and also a lot of fun!!
A day is just not enough for this exciting and fun place. Keep another day reserved only for Universal Studios-one of the significant attractions of Sentosa. The thrilling experiences here will only catapult you to being back to an awestruck and adventurous ten-years-old. The island also offers an array of attractions from an exciting theme and water parks to scenic magical marine world at the S.E.A. aquarium. Madame Tussaud, tiger tower, tricky eye museum, alive museum, skyline luge, fort Siloso Skywalk (phew) and a lot more amazing and enticing experiences awaits you there. Each one is spectacular in its own right. If you choose to just laze around….the sun-kissed beaches are beckoning.
One more suggestion, do go for the stunning light and sound show “wings of time”, with a gush of wind on your face and splashes of sea droplets, the spectacle is worth every dime.
Tried encapsulating my experiences of this exotic holiday which I guess, is not enough and I need to be back soon to this city in a garden to create fresh memories to be cherished for life.
Till then Sayonara!!!