I have the exact same feeling about doing a post on Singapore as I had for London. Both the places are popular, everyone has seen the famous landmarks a gazillion times already! Still as I have a lot of pictures from my trip, I end up presenting Singapore in pictures on my blog.
Singapore will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first foreign country I visited. I was presenting a paper for my first academic conference at Nanyang Technological Institute way back in 1999. I transited via Changi a few times but never managed to visit Singapore till this year! I am grateful to Accor Hotels and Scoot for taking me back to Singapore after all these years. I was participating in their #escapers17 event.
So much has changed in my life the meanwhile! The country I visited for presenting an academic paper, I was revisiting it after quitting my job!
I had a great time in Singapore. I love the places where I can get around the town with ease and Singapore certainly has it. It is super easy to use the public transport with the Singapore Tourist Card. I used the underground (MRT) most of the time to get around in Singapore.
When I visited Singapore in 1999 the Marina Bay Sands did not exist. And yet I have seen so many pictures of it that I had no difficulty in recognizing it. I know I am adding the gazillion plus one picture of it but as a travel blogger it is almost a compulsion!
I loved the fact that everything around the Gardens by the Bay is not locked away under ticketing. The light show at night is free too. I also loved the fact that I got a double rainbow the day I visited Gardens by the Bay.
All the tourist attractions, including Little India, are within the walking distance from MRT. It was threatening to rain the day I was walking around Little India. I had to cut my visit short as the skies opened up soon!
The Singapore trip was extra special because two friends Sy and Gaurav took out time to take me around Singapore. Sy and I first met on a blogging trip to Thailand and Cambodia. We roamed around the Chinatown and Haji Lane.
Chinatown is a popular tourist attraction in Singapore, almost everyone goes there. But there is a local food place, close to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, it is called Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre. It is a huge square with small hawker shops. There are a few shops that serve out vegetarian fare as well. There is one stall- Singapore’s Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle which got 1 Michelin Star in 2016. That is probably the cheapest Michelin Star meal that you can get! And Sy knew it all!
From Chinatown we went to Haji Lane, where you find cool graffiti and cute cafes. It is also close to the Sultan Mosque which we visited.
Gaurav and I have interacted online for 10 years but we were meeting face to face for the first time, who says online world is not real? We had so much to talk, so many common reference points because of the online world. It was fun to have lunch followed by coffee. I could ask so many questions about Singapore to both Gaurav and Sy!
The Botanic Garden, Singapore is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It was a pity that I could not explore it much, as it threatened to rain! I will say, it is for the next time. And I sincerely hope that the next time won’t be after 18 years!
Photo Credit R.A.R. de Bruijn Holding BV on Shutterstock
There are many places in this world that have such fond memories for me. Ladakh is special because my first blog post (in 2005) was about it. London and Oxford are special because I used to go there repeatedly for work. Thailand is special because it is my most visited country on earth till date! Singapore is truly special because it was my first visit abroad way back in 1999. I still remember how wide eyed I was when I boarded my first flight ever on Sri Lankan Airline. It was a Delhi Colombo Singapore flight!
2016 has been a year of revisits for me, it started on just the right note. In January I went back to Ladakh after nearly 11 years. In May 2016 I went back to United Kingdom after a gap of five years. On June 1, 2016 I am flying Sri Lankan Airline again but to Colombo! So you see, 2016 has been a year of revisits of sorts!
Now all that remains is to revisit Singapore, my first international destination and hence so very dear to me. I actually touched Singapore in 2015. I went to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia on a Singapore Airlines/Silk Air FAM. So I transited via Changi Airport. It was a fabulous trip but then it is not the same as revisiting Singapore. I need a holiday in Singapore.
I hardly talk about FAMs that do not materialize but there have been 3 in the recent past which did not and all were about Singapore. They didn’t happen in the end due to various reasons. But I was so close to a trip and then it vanished! I do want to go.
There is so much new there since 1999. It could be almost like visiting another country. I have faint remembrance of Orchid Road and the malls. The Garden by the Bay was not there, Marina Bay Sands was not there, I definitely need another date with Singapore Tourism!
Here are the 5 things I would like to check out on a trip to Singapore!
The Singapore Botanic Gardens
The immediate draw is that Singapore Botanic Gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and I am a big fan of such sites. I love flowers and it would be nice to spend at last half a day there.
The Garden by the Bay
I have been yearning to visit the Garden by the Bay ever since it has opened. From what I read and see it looks like I will need a lot of time to explore the various parts of it like the Sun Pavilion, Flower Dome, Cloud forest etc!
I know it sounds slightly crazy that I want to spend time at Changi but it is one of coolest airports I have ever been to! I was transiting through it in 2015 and I could only visit the Orchid Garden. I would love to explore the butterfly park and the kinetic rain section too! The airport Wifi speed is such that I got more work done there than some of the hotels I have stayed in! Changi is one airport where I would like to spend more time in transit!
Universal Studios Singapore, Sentosa Island
If I am traveling with my daughter Chhavi, we are surely going to check out Universal Studios! With seven cool zones to explore I am sure we will need a lot of time!
I am truly partial to parks! And hence I would like to check out the iconic Merlion of Singapore! We share same year of birth too!
I truly visit I will go back to Singapore, in my year of revisits!
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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