A Whole New World–A few days in Singapore

From my hotel balcony, I watched laser beams illuminate Singapore’s avant-garde architecture and wondered if I had wandered onto the set of a sci-fi movie. With Marina Bay Sands as the focal point, fanciful structures such as the Esplanade, resembling a durian, and the lotus shaped Art Science museum make the skyline look quite futuristic.

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In just half a century, a glittering skyline has sprung from the ground as Singapore attained its place as a global financial and commercial center bringing with it prosperity and international influence. When Singapore achieved its independence, it was an impoverished country with massive rates of unemployment and illiteracy. Now, everything looks sparkling clean and brand new, almost like a Disney theme park.

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Alex and I traveled to Singapore just before they celebrated their Golden Jubilee, also known as SG50. In order to assure that everything went smoothly on the big day, they held rehearsals all around the bay including fireworks, a laser light show, a military parade and multimedia displays. It was a spectacular display, even though it was only a warmup.

We stayed at the iconic Fullerton Hotel, recently named a national monument. The hotel has breathtaking views of Marina Bay and the city’s skyline so we had a perfect view of all the preliminary festivities.

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Asian Civilisations Museum
I was on my own for a couple of days so I set out to see the more interesting parts of the city. I started with a morning in the Asian Civilisations Museum, a treasure trove of Asian cultural artifacts.
Merlion
Next came a walk around Marina Bay and a visit to the Merlion. With the head of a lion with the body of a fish, it is the symbol of Singapore, the Lion City.
Supertrees
I browsed through the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and explored the Gardens by the Bay, arriving at dusk just as the lights were illuminating the spectacular supertrees.
Golden Mosque
I set out for the Arab Quarter with its Golden Mosque and shopped for souvenirs in the colorful Little India section.

 

Bumboat
What vacation would be complete without doing something totally touristy? Alex and I took a ride on a bumboat. The trip was quite a pleasant way to see the river area and featured recorded narration about the sights we were seeing.

That evening, we strolled past the scores of restaurants and cafes lining the waterfront. We picked a lovely little place and ordered dinner and wine while enjoying the beautiful view. That is, until a group of drunken American twenty-somethings inhabited the table behind us.

Speaking loudly of such things as are not usually discussed in polite company and taking the requisite selfies, their ranks continued to grow as they got louder, drunker and more profane. By now, the restaurant’s flustered staff had gone into hiding so for some reason I thought it was my duty to inform them that the entire restaurant could hear their raunchy conversation.  They appeared momentarily mortified and I thought the table next to mine might actually break out in applause. Sadly, the rowdy group’s chagrin was extinguished by the next round of drinks. It’s times like that when I claim to be Canadian.

Outdoor cafe
Outdoor cafes line the waterfront.

One of our very favorite things is to listen to music by the water so we checked out the live music in the Clarke Quay area. We settled in a little outdoor bar and enjoyed the small but mighty band they had wedged into the corner. It was a super ending to our stay in Singapore.

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14 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane Duff says:

    Looks absolutely wonderful!

  2. sparklefreeze says:

    Your photos are absolutely stunning. Loved the top up shot of the super tree!

  3. Great pics! Sorry to hear about the drunken tourists. I had a good chuckle at “it’s times like these that I pretend to be Canadian”. Ha ha! Everyone in my family has travelled to Singapore except me and they all told me that it’s a lovely destination. I’ve heard the butterfly park and national orchid garden are also amazing. I really hope I can make my way there soon.

    1. smasonnc says:

      Every experience like that is a great travel story. I didn’t get to the butterfly park or the orchid garden but I hope you get there. It’s lovely.

  4. True! It’s the little surprises and disasters that make for the best travel stories. Thanks! I hope so too 🙂

  5. Thessauron says:

    Glad you enjoyed my country. Lovely pictures too.

    1. smasonnc says:

      Thanks. How lucky you are to live in such a beautiful place.

  6. Wow – these photos are stunning! Definitely makes me want to pack a bag.

    1. smasonnc says:

      Thanks! I really enjoyed it.

  7. Sharon, I love seeing your photos and reading your stories/post. The pictures are always gorgeous and the posts are always interesting and informative. Love the Canadian comment..

  8. evaecasey says:

    Great post! I’ve always been slightly confused by Singapore whenever I read about it or look at pictures, but I think it’s starting to become clearer after reading your post! Do you think you’ll go back to visit Singapore, or was one visit enough for you?

    1. Sharon says:

      If we were going to be living in Asia longer, I’d probably go again because it’s only a two hour flight. I won’t go from the States unless I’m in the region already. It is very shiny and new compared to most of Asia. So much to see in Asia before we move home so I probably won’t get back to Singapore.

  9. therie says:

    Gardens by the Bay looks magical. I want to book a flight to Singapore right now to see that.

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