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Singapore

Our trip to Singapore was long overdue. We planned many times but every time, something happened and the trip would be postponed. We planned this time meticulously and luckily for us, we did fly to Singapore - the land of unending excitement.

Singapore is easily accessible. Since there are direct flights from Bangalore, it only made it that much easier. The flying time was hardly four and a half hours - making it less tiring.

A giant tree stumpThe moment we set our foot outside the airport in Singapore, a waft of warm air greeted us. We took a taxi to our place of stay - Yishun - in north Singapore. It was the morning of our 1st day in the city. Our initial reading had provided us wit the basic information. Singapore, I had read, acquired its name, from a Malay legend. A Sumatran Prince once encountered a lion (which is considered a good omen) and this prompted him to find Singapura - or the Lion City. Although nobody is sure if the prince could have really seen a lion, the legend continues. This is why Lion is the symbol of Singapore. After World War II, Singapore's increasing nationalism led to the formation of many political parties and this in turn led to a self governed Singapore!!

We had decided to spend three days in this city, so we had planned everything. It was about noon when we decided to just go around and get a good feel of the city! We first took the Metro, which is called MRT - Mass Rapid Transit - and went to the center of the city. The city has many little areas like Arab Street, Little India, Orchard Road and China Town. If you want to get a feel of the good old Singapore, it is best to first go to China Town. It is Singapore's cultural heart and it still has semblance to old Singapore. With numerous temples and colourful shops, it is a place for some good bargains!

Little India is an extension of India. You can eat in an absolutely South Indian Komala Vilas where you can dig into Sambhar and rasam for a mere S$5 or have dosas and steaming idlis in Ananda Bhavan. For one, this place does not look like Singapore. It is a desi hangout area where men and women speak in Tamil and feel at home!

Orchard Road is the area of Singapore's elite and also the tourist's heaven. An ideal day after sight seeing should end in orchard Road. The road is the symbol of modern Singapore with excellent buildings housing the best of hotels, bars and restaurants and also the unending shopping malls.

Jurong Bird ParkOn our second day, we decided to go to Jurong Bird Park. Getting to Jurong was so easy. We went by MRT till Boon Lay station and from there took a bus to the park. I had heard about Jurong Bird Park but didn't realize it would be this fun. It is the largest open-concept bird park in Asia Pacific and has more than 8000 birds. In this park you can watch birds sing and cycle, watch humming birds flying back and forth, or even take a picture with birds sitting on your shoulder!

There is every bird you can think of - be it hornbills, Flamingos or even Penguins! The most popular 'All Star Bird show' is one breath taking show where you can see all the birds in action! They will cycle, fly past you, walk on the ramp with music or even sing you happy birthday! Check the timings for various other Bird shows.

There is also the Aviary where you can see all the baby birds fed with fruits and the right atmosphere has been created for the birds to feel at home. The birds don't have to look for food/water s they are in abundance. There are small fountains where the birds can bathe or there are fruits struck on every branch of tree for the birds to feed or the largest man made waterfall to create the right ambience. In al, at the end of this trip you will fall in love with birds!

There is also a reptile park next to the bird park for those who enjoy looking at crocodiles!

AquariumOn our third and final day of stay, we went to Sentosa Island. This former fishing land is today a hotspot of activity. This 500-hectare ground is home to Singapore's best beaches, golf courses and other attractions. There are also hotels for those who want to prolong their excitement. Getting here is easy as there are ferry trips, taxis, buses or even a cable car! If all this is boring then, you can even walk as it is not a long walk. We took a ferry and in a matter of 5 minutes, we found ourselves in this place where everything is picture perfect. The beaches have imported sand, and the museums and aquariums are unending. There is a dolphin show or the under water world, where you can explore the secrets of the sea. The butterfly park is the area where you can walk into an area filled with colourful butterflies flying past you and feeding on fruits and flowers! The Merlion, which is the symbol of Singapore, stands majestically inviting one and all. You can go on top of the lion's head and take a good look at the island.

As this is a huge place which can't be covered by foot, there are buses and monorails to take you from place to place. There is "Images of Singapore" which will take you down into Singapore's history. Also there are many gardens where you can rest or take a good walk. At the end of the day, there is the sound, light, laser and musical fountain extravaganza. This is probably the best of the day's show. There is no way you should miss this. But, sadly, I realised, I could have spent more time. So just in case, you are planning your first trip to this place, make sure to get there early or just stay over!

Travel Tips:

  • Singapore is an expensive city. Budget accommodation will be available for not less than 35S$. Food is manageable because almost all the big food chain restaurants are here.
  • Bargaining is not the thing here although shopping is inevitable in this city. You can pick up souvenirs.
  • Apart from the above-mentioned places of interest there is also the Tiger Balm Park which has many interesting colourful structures where you spend about an hour and buy Tiger Balm too!! Singapore is also famous for its botanical gardens where you can see many orchids.
 
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