• 5 ( 25 Ratings)

Singapore

The Alluring Lion City

10 Aug 2021 By Rahuldev Rajguru

Holidays were round the corner and as usual I was contemplating on where to travel. Noticing my research on options for a family holiday, my daughter came up with the suggestion of going to Singapore. It is definitely an exciting destination for a teenager, so then it was decided...Singapore it was! Being one of the popular Asian destinations, Singapore ticks all the boxes for a fun and enjoyable holiday. There’s plenty to do as a family and the sights and sounds of this modern city are captivating. I had been to Singapore earlier on a couple of occasions so I could plan a fabulous itinerary and we knew that this was going to be one hell of a trip. So here we were in the Lion City ready to absorb and indulge in everything the city had to offer.

Our first stop was at the Marina Bay, home to the city's most distinctive architectural landmarks. A stroll along the waterfront bombards your senses with spectacular visuals. It is a real beauty of nature, embellished with the most glitzy skyscrapers and unique architectural buildings. The history of Marina Bay is as astounding as its current avatar. In 1971, Singapore embarked on an ambitious land reclamation project in anticipation of exponential growth of the city. The Marina Bay area covers around 360 hectares of reclaimed land that houses some of the iconic landmarks of Singapore. The 3.35-kilometer scenic waterfront promenade has so much to offer travelers, whether day or night. Marina Bay is a 24/7 live-work-play waterfront precinct.

While strolling around Marina Bay is one way to explore the area, we decided on a more fun way for moving around. We hired electric scooters! These comfortable scooters can be ridden anywhere and are easy to maneuver. At approximately 15-20 dollars an hour, this was a convenient and worthwhile way to explore the area.


A fun way to explore Marina Bay area is by riding electric scooters


Suddenly, my daughter excitedly exclaimed, "A giant ferris wheel!". Am sure you know what she was referring to. Yes, it was the enigmatic Singapore Flyer, Asia's largest giant observation wheel. A scenic spin on this gigantic wheel takes you 165 meters above ground (as high as 42 storeys) offering a 360-degree bird's eye view of the city. A 30-minute journey in the comfort of one of the 28 fully air-conditioned glass capsules is an experience of a lifetime.


A ride on the Singapore Flyer


From this unique vantage point, we could see the iconic and historical sights all the way from Marina Bay to the Singapore River. It was a clear day so our panorama view extended to seeing parts of Malaysia and Indonesia as well. The prettiest time for a ride on the Singapore Flyer is when dusk falls. From skyscrapers covered in a golden glow to the darkness illuminated by the buildings' lights, the view is known to be spectacular.


A spectacular view of the skyline from the Singapore Flyer


While at the Singapore Flyer, we also combined the Time Capsule in our ticket. Trust me, it's one of the best history lessons you will ever take. This multisensory attraction takes you through seven centuries of Singapore's fascinating history accompanied by a time-travelling robot companion. Be dazzled by the colors and motifs of the city while experiencing the nation's transformation from past to present. Entry to the Time Capsule is not included in the Flyer ride. A combination ticket that includes both the Singapore Flyer ride and a visit to the Time Capsule gets you a great deal and is worth every penny, A MUST do.

Stepping out of the Singapore Flyer, we spotted the intricately designed Helix Bridge. A bridge inspired by the structure of human DNA, it is one of Singapore's most visually striking landmarks. Spanning the Singapore River, this 280-meter-long twisting bridge links the Marina Centre with Marina South in the Bay area. The bridge is thoughtfully designed to provide visitors with shade from the sun and shelter from the rain. There are four viewing platforms that cantilever out from the bridge giving the best views of the city skyline and Marina Bay. Also, these platforms make for perfect selfie spots! Ribbons of LED lights illuminate the bridge at night highlighting the two twisting helix tubes making for a striking sight.


The beauty of the stunning Helix bridge enhanced by lighting


We moved from one fascinating structure to another spellbinding one, the luxurious Marina Bay Sands. This integrated resort is one of the city's largest venues inspired by card decks. The 3 towers with 55-storeys each are connected by a continuous lobby at the base. It has 2,600 luxurious rooms and suites and is the perfect place for those seeking ultimate luxury. This iconic landmark of Singapore spread across, totaling 2,860,000 square feet, has the world's longest elevated swimming pool, with a 146 m vanishing edge, 191m above ground. Incredible, right?


A psychedelic laser display at Marina Bay Sands lighting up the night sky


When the sun sets, Singapore's skyline transforms into a lighting extravaganza and Marina Bay is one of the most vibrant and bustling spots at night. The spectacle that blew us away was the Spectra, an outdoor light and water show at Marina Bay Sands. It is a choreographer's masterpiece. It is a 15-minute nightly show with orchestrated music that wows its spectators. The futuristic laser shows also fill the night sky delighting tourists and locals alike.


The striking skyline of Singapore at dusk, truly spectacular!


A river cruise on the Singapore River is a classic experience. It is the perfect way to experience the heritage and modernity of this scintillating city. The best time to embark on the cruise is at dusk. The shimmering waters against the sunset and the striking hues splashed across the buildings in the surroundings is a sight to behold. Indulge in the city's rich history, enjoy the futuristic architecture, and discover the amazing story of the river that gave life to Singapore. Hop on a tongkang, commonly known as a bumboat for a 40-minute ride and enjoy the riverside spectacle.


A picturesque Singapore River cruise


After a splendid river cruise, we took a hop-on-hop-off bus to Orchard Road. It was our stopover for some retail therapy and a delicious meal before heading to our hotel in Little India. The Orchard road was an unnamed road of fruit plantations back in the 1830s. C. K. Tang's House of Tangs was the first store to be set up in 1958, which was the first step towards what it is today. This bustling 2.2 km boulevard leaves you spoilt for choice with luxury hotels, world-class malls and retail gems galore. A stroll down this road will leave you starry-eyed and dazzled with its pomp and show.


The extravagance of Orchard Road


Coming to the highlight of our trip, the night safari. I cannot say enough about this truly incredible experience. It is a journey into the wilderness. The Singapore night safari is the world's first nocturnal park that is home to almost 1,000 creatures of the night. As dusk falls the shutters open at the night safari welcoming you into an intriguing world of nocturnal animals and their nightly rituals. A 30-minute tram ride with live commentary treats you to the most overwhelming experience. Watch these beautiful creatures in their natural habitats and know more about their lives. We hopped off the tram to go on a trail through the zoo for an up close and personal encounter with these nocturnal animals, some of which are endangered. Humbled by the magnificence of nature and these nightly creatures we left the zoo, mesmerized.


The cute Common Palm Civet in its natural habitat; a nocturnal creature


When in Singapore with family, you cannot miss out on Universal Studios. This 20-hectare theme park located within Resorts World Sentosa is the first ever Hollywood movie-themed park in Southeast Asia. Opened in 2010, there are seven themed zones and numerous rides and shows all related to the film studios' significant hit movies. The zones are uniquely designed and promise thrill, loads of laughter and incredible memories. The Meet & Greet zone is a huge hit with kids and adults alike. My daughter was super excited as she got to pose with her favorite, the Minions! There are many other well known characters floating around giving visitors fun opportunities to pose with their favorite characters creating lasting memories.

How cute is this? My daughter with her favorite, the Minions!


The Sci-Fi Zone is another place where we spent a lot of time for obvious reasons, another favorite of my daughter. Truth be told, this zone had me and my wife amazed as well. Recreation of the ambience of the movie Transformers was unbelievable. The hyper-realistic 3D thrill ride was truly exhilarating and as real as it gets. Another spectacular show was the recreation of the movie "Waterworld". The 16-minute show with mind blowing stunts and soundtrack makes for a true to life experience. All in all, Universal Studios is worth every penny and all the time spent.


My daughter posing with Incredible life-size recreation of Transformers figurine


Every trip that we take caters to some aspect of our wanderlust. Singapore though was an allrounder. Rich culture, architectural masterpieces and unique experiences, all boxes ticked, we boarded our flight back home, content and revitalised. Smiling at the fading skyline of this enchanting city, we reclined in our seats and drifted into memories of the Lion City.

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