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gloriajames Singapore - A travel report by Gloria
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Singapore,  Singapore - flag Singapore
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gloriajames's travel reports

Uniquely Singapore - An Insider’s View (“;)

  23 votes
Page: 1 2
It is almost impossible to find Singapore on the world map, as all you see is a tiny red dot just below the tip of the Malay Peninsula. Let me share My Singapore with you.


Esplanade Bay & the Singappore Skyline.
Esplanade Bay & the Singappore Skyline.
With a population of 4 million on a land area of 682 square km, and land being scarce which means about 80% of the population have to live in apartments / flats, Singapore is a relatively small country and a young nation having attained her independence on 1965 though she was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Thomas Raffles. English is the first language and the other major languages are Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.

Many of my expat friends have told me that they believed Singapore was part of China or a town in China and that it has no natural resources as everything is man-made or that it was too westernized in South East Asia and that they should give it a miss. I beg you to discard these notions.

Why?

Singapore is rich in contrast and colour where one will find a blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture. East and Western influences can be seen all over the country and she is able continue to embrace tradition and modernity till today. Having one of the best airport and airlines in the world and also boasting the busiest shipping port, no wonder she has been recently branded by Singapore Tourism Board as “Uniquely Singapore”. However, our laws are strict and are tough on drug users / traffickers. We still uphold the death penalty which many countries frown on.

Wonder how Singapore got her name?

Legend has it that about 7 centuries ago, a young prince from the Sri Vijaya Empire, Sang Nila Utama, was sailing the seas in search of a site to build a new city. He arrived at the sandy shores of an island and caught sight of a strange animal, which, he was told, was a "Singa" (Sanskrit word for lion). The prince felt that it was a good omen and decided to build his new city here, naming it Singapura - the Lion City.

Now, let me share with you the things you have to do when you are in Singapore.

Favourite spots:
Flaming flamingoes of the Jurong Bird Park.
Flaming flamingoes of the Jurong Bird Park.
1. Singapore Zoo & Night Safari
The Singapore Zoological Gardens boasts an excellent collection of animals and on everyone's to do list is of course the world's 1st Night Safari. Dedicating a whole day for this is recommended. (www.zoo.com.sg. / www.nightsafari.com.sg)

2. Jurong Bird Park
This is the world's large walk-in aviary with the largest collections of birds. This is where you can find the world's tallest man-made waterfall. Truly an experience not to be missed. (www.birdpark.com.sg)

3. Suntec City's Fountain
This is the world's largest fountain and thanks to 'fengshui', you see many people circling 3 times round the fountain for good luck and throwing a coin for their wishes to come true.

4. Do the Quays of the Singapore River
Take a walk starting from Robertson Quay through the quaint shophouses, to the colourful cafes and restaurants at Clarke Quay. There hop onto a 'sampan' - old boat and travel on the river towards Boat Quay heading out to the Marina Bay.

What's really great:
Pink Dolphin at the Dolphin showtime.
Pink Dolphin at the Dolphin showtime.
SENTOSA ISLAND

First it was a former fishing village, then a British military base, and by 1972 Sentosa was transformed into an idyllic island resort for the enjoyment and recreation of everyone. Situated half a km south of Singapore, Sentosa (meaning peace and tranquillity) is accessible within minutes by cable car, ferry or via a 710-metre road link.

Things to do here includes:-

1. Go to the UNDERWATER WORLD OCEANARIUM and get to know the 250 different species such as sharks and dugong as you walk on the travellator through a 83m tunnel;

2. If you long to be kissed by a PINK dolphin then go to the DOLPHIN LAGOON;

3. Get a view of the island from the mouth of the 37m tall MERLION TOWER;

4. Go to the 131m tall CARLSBERG SKY TOWER for a panoramic view of the island;

5. Stroll down the MERLION WALK, a 120-metre-long Gaudi-inspired mosaic walkway;

6. Learn of Singapore's heritage at the IMAGES OF SINGAPORE;

7. Jump onto the SENTOSA LUGE & SKYRIDE for fun;

Sights:
Painting on Images of old Singapore.
Painting on Images of old Singapore.
Can't get enough of Singapore ?? Then do the following:-

1. Old Parliament House and Landing Area of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles;

2. The Old Supreme Court Building standing next to the New Supreme Court Building;

3. The famous Singapore Cricket Club;

4. The Oldest Hotel in Singapore - ie Raffles Hotel;

5. CHIJMES - heritage building now home to cafes, restaurants and bars;

6. Merlion Park - for a photoshot at the famous half lion half mermaid statue which is a symbol of Singapore;

7. Lau Pa Sat Market - looking like a Victorian old style building, is the place to savour all the asian delicacies, and the to-die for 'satay';

8. Asian Civilisations Museum;

9. Fort Canning Park bears memories of Singapore's history in 1859;

10. Visit Chinatown, Little India, and the Malay Village;

11. Why not head to East Coast Park (its Singapore famous stretch of beach) and why not dine at one of the seafood restaurants.

12. Esplanade Theatres on the Bay.

Accommodations:
Raffles Hotel dolled up during Xmas.
Raffles Hotel dolled up during Xmas.
There are about 260 hotels to choose from depending on your budget. What is advisable is to get your travel agent to peg in your flight with a few nightes accommodation. That will indeed be cheaper. Alternatively, accommodation can also be arranged at the Changi Airport when you arrive. Just head to the hotel information section.

Here is my choice according to the rating:-

6* - the impressive Ritz Carlton Hotel which is famous for the bubble baths prepared by your room butler. Sip champagne from your bathroom window as you lay in your luxurious bath. Truly a magical and romantic night.

5* - the majestic Raffles Hotel oozing old grandeur in its garden like setting and courtyard. Here is where you can have the world famous Singapore Sling.

4* - the Merchant Court Hotel is nestled at Clarke Quay and offers picturesque views. The hotel's cafe offers the famous durian cream which is to die for.

Budget travellers - head to Little India backpackers hotels, truly value for $.

Nightlife:
Singapore Sling Cocktail.
Singapore Sling Cocktail.
I decided to describe in this way:-

ZOUK - the coolest place to be and to be seen and holds the title for the best night spot. Attracts both young, yuppies, and expats.

BAR NONE (Marriots Hotel) & BRIX (Hyatt Hotel) is for the tourists and expats and where you can pick up the SPG (ie Sarong Party Gals).

CRAZY HORSE (Clarke Quay) - Moulin Rouge come to town and is home to artistic semi-nude shows.

CITY SPACE (Swissotel Stamford Hotel) is situated on the 69th storey and offers a breathtaking view as you smoke your cigar, drink your wine whilst you listen to tasteful live jazz music.

No. 5 EMERALD HILL COCKTAIL BAR - has an laidback idyllic setting and serves one of the best long island tea cocktail!

LONG BAR / BAR & BILLARD ROOM (both at the Raffles Hotel) is where you can eat your peanuts, throw the shells on the floor and not be fined for littering! Get the famous Singapore Sling Cocktail.

MARTINI BAR @ MEZZA 9 (Hyatt Hotel) for the famous lychee martini!

Hangouts:
Crazy Elephant  @ Clarke Quay where blues and rock live music rules here!
Crazy Elephant @ Clarke Quay where blues and rock live music rules here!
Singapore is known as a shopper's paradise too. So take advantage of the numerous sales esp during the Month long Great Singapore Sale where great bargains can be grabbed.

Places to shop include :-
1. C. K. Tangs Shopping Centre (singapore oldest shopping centre);
2. Paragon Shopping Centre (for famous designer brands);
3. Far East Plaza (for latest young and trendy 'copy' wears);
4. Wisma Atria & Ngee Ann City (for Singapore design labels);
5. Funan Centre (IT Mall) for computer products;
6. Sim Lim Square (for good bargains on IT and electronics products) ie best place to buy your camera and gear; and
7. Mustafa Centre (24hrs shopping centre with everything under one roof! Gives all the other shopping centres for a run for their money. Btw.... they give the best rate for the foreign exchange currencies).

Restaurants:
Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay
Mmmm... so many and the best are as follows:-

1. Seafood Restaurants at the East Coast Park for the chilli crabs;
2. Mandarin Hotel for the famous chicken rice;
3. Little India - Muthu's Curry for the famous fish head curry;
4. Madras Woodlands - for vegetarian food and masala tea;
5. Mouth Restaurant (Chinatown) for Dim Sum;
6. Clarke Quay and Lau Pa Sat for satay;
7. Newton Circus for early dawn feasting;
8. St Pierre & Jaan for fine French food;
9. Brewerkz for beer!;
10. Cafe Iguana for mean margarita, tequila and mexican food;
11. Buko Nero - for italian fusion cuisine;
12. Holland Village for many choices on mid range to fine restaurants;
13. Cable Car Dining (in the sky!);
14. Breakfast with orang utans at the Zoo;
15. River Boat House at Fullerton;
19. Champagne Sunday Brunch at Hyatt Hotel and the sinful chocolate fondue;
20. Waterfront Dining at the Esplanade, Fullerton and Quays; and
21. Tropical Garden Dining at the Botantic Gardens.

Other recommendations:
Merlion Statue
Merlion Statue
Feel free to ask me anything you wish to know about Singapore. I will be happy to share my knowledge with you. There are so many things to write about and I can't incorporate all in this report.

Just thought that I would end by sharing something funny with you. I was in the ladies (ie restrooms) and I overheard a few American girls talking. One of them said, "we went to the Zoo but i did not see the merlion!" *chuckle*.

Published on Sunday May 14th, 2006


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Sun, Nov 20 2011 - 02:08 AM rating by el2995

Great!!! You’re really making me miss Singapore with your excellent and detailed report. I have been there 6 times (2 times en route to Burma, 4 times to visit our daughter and family who were assigned there for almost 5 years), but want to head back whenever I see a re-run of Anthony Bourdain’s, Andrew Zimmern’s, or Samantha Brown’s Singapore episode (Bourdain’s new show ‘The Lay-over’ premieres with Singapore on Monday). As our daughter’s family is back State-side and our future trips to Burma will be through Taipei, I don’t know if I’ll ever get back there, but I always enjoyed myself while their…especially in the restaurants and food courts! OK, so I also enjoyed drinking Tigers and chatting (ONLY, LAH?!) with the SE Asian ladies trying to work under the tables on tourist visas while listening to bands from the Philippines at the bars in Orchard Towers.

Mon, Aug 15 2011 - 02:16 AM rating by britman

I have only just read this report. It is excellent and deserved a "report of the month" award. It is so accurate, independant and no one needs any other guide to Singapore - see you in No 5 Gloria ;-)
Brit

Mon, Apr 14 2008 - 05:10 AM rating by adisidh

Nice report Sir, I am planning to visit Singapore. It will help me.

Sat, Jul 08 2006 - 12:44 PM rating by jorgesanchez

First class report, as usual!

Thu, Jun 08 2006 - 10:44 AM rating by magsalex

Loved the flamingoes.

Wed, Jun 07 2006 - 03:08 PM rating by davidx

At last I've read it - and it's as good as I expected. What more can I say?

Fri, Jun 02 2006 - 05:21 PM rating by jesusferro

Amazing good write report. Thanks you share

Thu, Jun 01 2006 - 04:29 PM rating by isaacmolina

Lovely report and city. I would like to visit Singapore with you like my guide.

Mon, May 15 2006 - 10:55 AM rating by st.vincent

Gloria, a well written and interesting report on what looks like a wonderful place to visit. I have a friend who has recently relocated to Singapore for work and I am going to send her your report as I think the information will be very useful.

Regards
Clive

Mon, May 15 2006 - 06:24 AM rating by marianne

Gloria,
This is a beautiful, complete report. I am glad to see that I visited most of the sight you recommend apart from Sentosa instead we went to Pulau Ubin.
Singapore has one of my favourite airports and Norman Foster did a good job. Singapore Airlines is one of the best airlines in the world, excellent service, still we a 26-hour delay at Amsterdam Airport some years ago, which meant that our stay in Singapore was cut short by one day.
Marianne

Sun, May 14 2006 - 06:32 PM rating by rangutan

Wonderful presentation and full of tips. One sees here why they say it is the best city to live in in Asia.

Sun, May 14 2006 - 04:45 AM rating by lafalott

Oh wow, I really want to go to singapore now! Thanks for the info

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