Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | January 9, 2010

Singapore Trip

First, a very happy new year to all of you who are reading this blog. 2009 was a very tough year for most of us and I hope 2010 turns out to be one of the best years.

We left Auckland on 17th December early in the morning for Singapore and India flying Singapore Airlines. Our first destination was Singapore where we were supposed to stay over for a night. Our flight to Kolkata, India was on the following evening. We reached Singapore at around 4.30 a.m. – 5.00 a.m. Singapore time (nearly 12 hours after we boarded the aircraft) and was greeted by rain and humidity.

We had pre-booked the excellent Singapore Stopover Holiday , which made everything very easy for us. In fact, anyone transiting in Singapore, interested in seeing the city and traveling by Singapore Airlines should use this service. It is easy and very affordable. The tour operators arrange everything and the eligible hotels (we chose our hotel while we booked the service online) are of 3-star category. The best thing about this tour is the cost of staying at the hotel is a mere US$1.

Given the decreasing prices of air tickets between India and Singapore, to-day Singapore is visited by many Indians. For sometime now, the city has featured in Indian films and there is a familiarity around it. Singapore as a city developed much faster than cities like Delhi (including Gurgaon) and Mumbai in India. In fact, it is perhaps the benchmark for the development of Indian cities. Therefore, with time, the city of Singapore is losing its novelty in the Asian region but is trying desperately to hold its glory.

Singapore is a clean city but lacks natural beauty. It is what is best called a concrete jungle. Due to our paucity of time, we chose to visit the two most famous and interesting places in Singapore. Therefore, on the first day at Singapore, we visited the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari. To me, these are undoubtedly the most interesting places to visit in Singapore.

While the day zoo is unique in having the “Open Concept” where animals are mostly roaming about freely, the Night Safari (which is different from the day zoo) houses over 1,000 nocturnal animals.

I love visits to zoo but I am very scared of animals, so the “open concept” kept me on my toes. However, I must say these two places are unique in their own ways and anyone visiting Singapore should visit these. We were not allowed to use flashbulbs in the Night Safari so I could not take pictures, however I must say watching a lion guarding his family, a giant elephant sleeping, hungry hyenas sniffing around the ground or rats weighing 70 kilograms were experience in itself. Both the places had interactive staff who enthralled the visitors with various shows. Further, in this zoo one would get to see weird animals like Sloth, Tapir, Polar Bear, Sea Lion, Mouse deer in one place.

We spent the second day at Singapore by doing a city tour. During the city tour, we visited Little India and China town. We also visited the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and the statue of the Merlion (head of a lion and the body of a fish). These are very widely photographed places of the Singapore city and to be honest nothing very special.

During our city tour, we also visited a Buddhist temple located in the Chinatown of Singapore, named Temple of Buddha’s Teeth. I am an admirer of Buddhist temples and have visited some very beautiful ones. The Temple of Buddha’s Teeth is one of the most beautiful places in Singapore. Set in the middle of a market place the temple charmed through its exquisite interiors.

We also visited an Orchid garden during our city tour where we found some really beautiful orchids.

Singapore’s lack of natural beauty is compensated by the country’s effort to build beautiful structures, houses, fountains, shopping complexes and gardens. If I am not wrong then the “shopping revolution” was started first by Singapore that houses huge malls all around the city. Singapore is known as the shopper’s paradise but we did not shop for anything in the city.

The quality of food available in Singapore is very good. Little India offers Indian food too though we did not have time to taste the Indian food here.

We enjoyed our brief stay in Singapore. People generally are nice and traveling around is easy. Taxis are very cheap and the public transport system is good. Normally, I don’t enjoy a place that is devoid of anything naturally beautiful but I must commend those men who have created the city of Singapore which still remains as a benchmark for new cities.

Before I end this post, I must mention that Singapore’s Changi Airport is perhaps one of the best airports in the world and it is truly magnificent. For me it was an experience in itself being at Changi. Everything is perfect at this place. The airport is built in such a way, the every time someone travels in that route, one would prefer transiting at Singapore. That speaks volume and a commitment towards development that our next destination from Singapore lacked thoroughly. However, I will write about that in my next post.

For the time being here are some more pictures of the Singapore city:

Here is where Indians in Singapore do their business

Singapore City Centre

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