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How did Singapore Amaze me!

Four days, three girls, two flights and one city, Singapore!! There are only two weeks to go before my friends fly and I’m still undecided on whether I should go or not. “Get your Visa done, get your Visa done” are the messages I’m constantly bombarded with. Finally, with a push from all directions, I rush to get things done. “As usual you’re doing things last minute “, “How does this girl ever get anything done”, “One of these days….” Are a few of the taunts that I get from family and friends. Luckily the agent handles the Visa work efficiently and I’m set within a week of travel. We book our tickets with a stopover at Kuala Lumpur and we’re on our way to Singapore.

Singapore, the artificial beach of the Sentosa island

My friend had been called there on work a week prior to that,so her sister and I decide to gate crash the party. This is the main reason our trip worked out so cheap. I would say it was an uneventful flight had we not almost missed the connecting flight at the Kuala Lumpur airport.We also discovered on landing in Singapore that they had lost our luggage and I had made the mistake of putting almost all of my money in mychecked in baggage. So we wait, not so patiently, in line to fill out a form for the same.It seems like the airline has misplaced at least half of theluggage they had on board. Next we head towards the exit, figure out how to use the PCO with a credit card and call my friend to tell her we are on our way to her office area to pick up the key.

We walk straight out to the Mass Rapid Transit aka the Metro, which is Singapore’s primary mode of local travel, and that’s where I fall in love. I was literally talking about this metallic transport system like a love struck teenager would talk about Randeep Hooda or Taylor Lautner. The Singapore MRT is efficient, clean and serves its purpose to the fullest. It was the only mode of transport we used those four days till midnight. For travel after midnight you could use taxis, which are people friendly and not at all expensive.

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 Singapore Metro

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We reach the Singapore office area called Raffles place, with no means to communicate and let my friend know we’re there. A cute local lends us his cellphone when we ask him to point us in the direction of a pay phone (don’t expect too many of these around). Exhausted and starving we head to the food court of sorts and find an Indian restaurant there. We gobble down some puris and a dosa, not caring much about the taste and head to the hotel.

We get dressed for the evening (thankfully we fit into each other’s clothes) and head over to Buggis street to check it out. It is known for its street as well as high end store shopping. We check out the mall but get bored quickly since everything is too expensive to buy. We walk around aimlessly taking in the sights until we stumble upon the actual treasure trove, street shopping. *face lighting up at the memory*.

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Bugis Street

We take a look around and fall in love with so many things. However, we have very little money thanks to the airline, so we decide to leave shopping for the next day. Across the street we see an open food court with a lot of locals and local cuisine. It’s too tempting for a foodie like me to pass up so we head there to check it out. All of the food stalls majorly consist of shelves of non-veg curries and a few vegetarian options as well. For a mere $2.50 we are given the option of three vegetables and rice. (Yes I am a vegetarian and a foodie, it’s not that unusual!) I chose nice looking gravy; something else that looked like Manchurian which turned out to be non-veg; and a green veggie thinking it would be a safe bet but it turned out to be bitter guard.

Only partially full, we head over to Boat Quay to meet my friend and her colleagues. Restaurants by the riverside, pretty lights visible across and cool breeze in the air; it was a perfect night. While walking along the quay, you would see a live display of the weirdest of sea creatures outside the restaurant. There were gigantic crabs, lobsters etc. all creepily crawling about in tanks too tiny for them. I figured you could pick your poison and choose how it would be cooked. We had a nice time with her friends and spent some time at Clarke Quay as well. On our way there we walked into a tunnel which had the most amazing street art. A homeless man was strumming his guitar to the tune of Credence Clearwater alongside his father, setting the tone for the night. The overhead construction at Clarke Quay was beautiful and the lighting added to its glamour. It seemed like everyone was in one enormous club; the atmosphere was electrifying. A colorful fountain in the middle of the area and various clubs all around, we didn’t really want to head to the hotel but eventually decided to go check if our luggage, lost at Singapore Airport, had arrived.

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 Clarke Quay

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On our way back to the hotel, we were walking down a deserted tunnel to reach the Metro and woman’s instinct promptly took over. To our pleasant surprise we discovered how safe a place Singapore is. In all my life spent in India, I have never felt as safe and comfortable in any attire as I did there in those four days. In Singapore, you could actually walk around wearing the skimpiest of clothes and not be gawked or leered at. We visited Little India the next day and it was easily the dirtiest locality of the lot. We got off at the station, walked up to the nearest eat out and decided to get away soon after we finished. We again visited Buggis street, China Town and Sim Lim square where we shopped to our hearts (and pockets) content. There was a slight drizzle and the weather was pleasant; perfect for the amount of walking we had to do.

We head to our hotel only to rest our feet and change for the night. We were all set to party on our Saturday night there. Clarke Quay was set up for some adventure and we reached the place all charged up. While taking a walk around we saw a wonderful belly dancer act and stood to admire the act. Only when a friend mentioned did we notice that it was a man and not a lady performing the dance. The poise and elegance with which he performed would have anybody fooled. All the nice clubs and lounges were already full by the time we finished our touristy oohing and aaahing of the surroundings. We head over to a decent looking pub and hang out there for a while. A bachelorette party was taking place there which was turning wild.After a couple of drinks we decide to sit by the river before taking a cab back to the hotel. The calmness of the river, under the starry sky spills over to your soul and if only momentarily, all troubles melt away. Singapore was treating us very well.

B’fast is usually a sad affair in Singapore for vegetarians every day since McDonalds has absolutely nothing vegetarian on their menu, but that doesn’t dampen my spirit that morning because it was time for Universal Studios. We take the long scenic train ride in to Sentosa and $74 is the regular pass to Universal. First on the map is a Steven Spielberg special effects show. It was an amazing display of a Titanic like disaster complete with rain, fire and sound effects. Every point of attraction has a queue and an hour long wait but they’re certainly worth it, especially the Transformers ride!! We’re thrown around in the transcab and it’s one hell of a rollercoaster ride. You definitely come out with jelly legs and if you’re an adventure enthusiast, also with a smile. You would want to take pictures with the transformers and other attractions but there would be a long queue for all of these as well so spend your time wisely.

Next up, Egypt! The revenge of the Mummy was a brilliantly done up set with giant Egyptian statues and sand all over. The ride was as stomach churning as the Transformers one and my friend shed a few tears (she’s going to kill me for giving her away but what the heck).After a small photo shoot at the set we move on. The cafeteria thankfully presents some veg options so I gobble down some noodles and soup. I’m dying to go on the Jurassic park water ride next but since we just ate it didn’t seem like a good idea. We check out the set and move on to the land of Far Far Away. One 4 D movie, a nice slow water ride at Madagascar and a picture session later we were exhausted. We had a little time before the parade started so we head to the entrance, check out the gift store and then pick a nice spot to watch the parade from. It began and the crowd cheered and roared for characters like Marilyn Monroe, Dracula, Shrek, Charlie Chaplin, Donkey etc. It was a splendid environment and you feel completely childlike when inside. A day well spent recollecting childhood memories and making new ones. Please make a point to include Universal studios in your Singapore Itinerary.

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Universal Studios

Still reeling from the day’s adventures we head to find some dinner. It’s the end of an exhausting third day and we still haven’t seen the Merlion, the Marina Bay Sands or the gardens. I refuse to take no for an answer and drag those two to the Merlion. The stunning spectacle of Singapore was totally worth the effort. From the quadrangle, you can look up and admire the amazing Marina Bay Sands, the unusual but yet lovely flat-roof structure of Singapore’s Supreme Court, Singapore’s version of the London Eye and numerous other high-rise building marvels whilst the Singapore river lay peacefully beneath the glitzy lights.The photo sessions began but at a point I just wanted to sit and take it all in. I was in no mood to leave and totally ready for another adventure but we had to head to the hotel. We explored a new route (which to my pleasure turned out to be a longer one) and saw some wonderful things on our way; elderly gents and ladies dancing in sync outside a building, some crazy art work, more shops at the MRT station and a clear starry night.

The next morning we went to the gardens, however, unfortunately the walkway above was shut for maintenance. We took a walk around checked out the Marina bay and then headed back to the hotel to prepare for the journey home. We had a flight that evening so there wasn’t much else we could do. We took the long train ride back to the airport where this time we could appreciate the beauty of it. The Changi airport is quite a sight indeed, very well built. With heavy hearts we board the plane taking us away from this beautiful place.I loved Singapore; Its clean, safe, efficient and everything that a place should be. It was only the first of many more visits to come, of that I was sure. Singapore was a treat! I have compiled a list of things to do in Singapore which you would surely like.

Travel Tips

  • Singapore Visa is a relatively easy process and does not take too long, however I would not recommend leaving it for the last minute. There could always be unexpected situations that arise and as mentioned, ticket prices get steeper.
  • The Singapore airport has a tourism counter where good deals are available for Universal, the flyer and other attractions. I would suggest that you pick up passes from here before heading out into the Singapore city.
  • Singapore Airlines has some bargains as well for the hop-on service within the city

Have you been to Singapore? Leave a comment and let me know what can I include in my next trip to Singapore

Comments

comments

Sudha Mangalani

sudha.manglani@gmail.com
13 Comments
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