Singapore might be as tiny as a dot or even smaller, but it is a city that is bound to mesmerize a visitor. Irrespective of genre of travelers’ interest, it has something(a lot!!!) for everyone. The planning phase churns out cliche pictures of the dazzling skyscrapers, iconic Merlion, sooner Singapore reveals it multifaceted offerings for everyone from towering skyscrapers, bustling urban culture, foodies paradise, children’s amusement parks, heritages, national parks, museums, places of worship, parks and gardens, national parks, luxury cruises and what not.
Changi, Singapore’s famed best in the planet airport welcomes and overwhelms one with its size, cleanliness, amenities, glamour and overall awesomeness. As one gets out to the road, the bustling, densely populated yet broad tree lined avenues, adorned with floral beautification, colorful and tall condominiums, posh bungalows and pent houses, dazzling super malls, cute and multicolored buses, art deco shops, al fresco eateries and the aroma of Spices, multi ethnic multi cultural melange of citizens are bound to cast its charm on the curios traveler.
As in my case, I checked into my uncle’s home and it offered me better view perhaps than best of the luxury hotels/resorts of the Singapore Strait overlooking the East Coast Park. Hundreds of Ships cruising or anchored with the Batam Island(Indonesia) on the other side of the strait.The evening stroll in the sprawling East Coast Park that runs 15 kms along the beach was very rewarding. It is a nicely preserved section of the beach, freed from traffic, beautified with pavements, trees,camping sites, eateries, flowers and water sports.
A Singapore visit must start with the visit to the Downtown Core area that is the colonial district, the quays and the Marina Bay.This is heart of the Singapore by the river where all the action started by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, founder of modern city of Singapore in 1819. From a sleepy village Singapore has turned into a space age megalopolis in this couple of centuries as trade prospered in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore Strait in the nineteenth century. The colonial powerhouses fought over the control of the Strait Settlements(Ports along the West Coast of Malaya Peninsula like George Town,Melaka, Singapore etc) till Britain emerged victorious.
Singapore grew in size and pomp under the British patronage and the magnificent colonial structures still bear the glory of the past. Chinese, Indian and Malay traders started to migrate and settle giving Singapore a distinctive multi ethnic culture. The Port of Singapore and the Quays(Clarkes, Boat etc) started to develop along the river.
The World War II is a significant event in the history of Singapore. Singapore was attacked by the Japanese and freed from British for a short period. It is then, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose started his mission to free India from the British right from the soil of Singapore. Government of Free India in Exile was established in Singapore and the onslaught towards Indian mainland through Burma and the subsequent events all have a strong connection with Singapore. The INA Memorial though destroyed by the British after fall of the Japanese and recapture of Singapore, there is another new one commissioned now in the Esplanade Park.
After British left Asia, Singapore joined Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia and later expelled in 1965 to form Sovereign City State of Singapore. Then onward Singapore became synonymous with sheer opulence, prosperity, brilliance and awesomeness in all walks of life and the story is continuing.The towering skyscrapers of the Downtown Core, Esplanade ~ Theaters, Arts Science Museum, Marina Bay Sands all are sprung up since 80’s and become Singapore’s neo modern iconic structures. The Singapore Flyer and the mesmerizing Gardens by the Bay are the latest additions to the Downtown Core. The Merlion is the lone witness about all the developments spanning two centuries.A ride at the Singapore Flyer ~ Asia’s Largest Ferries Wheel offers the bird’s eye view of all the Marina Bay cityscape.
Singapore is not all about marvelous buildings and structures, it contains ample amount of green and foliage to earn it a moniker of “Garden City”. There are numerous man made parks as well as reserved natural forests in the island. Mandai Lake area adjoining the Upper Seletar Reservoir is lush green and houses the famous Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and the River Safari. The three parks are brilliantly planned, designed and innovative enough to give a visitor experience something more than a ordinary zoo or aquarium.Singapore Botanic Gardens and the National Orchid Gardens contains mind boggling display of flora. Gardens By The Bay is a marvel one cant stop cherishing. The out of the world creation which contains the Giant Super Trees , The Flower Dome and The Cloud Forest along with several smaller gardens.
Tired of the outdoors, Singapore can offer countless super malls, museums, art galleries and science exhibitions to enchant one.Orchard Road is a heaven for the shopaholics with more than twenty gigantic malls along the stretch. The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands are another mega mall where one can spend days with shopping(or window shopping?), eating and hanging out.Moreover each MRT Station and Interchanges are mainly malls by nature. If one has countless money, Singapore has more malls/shops to draw that money out of the wallet.The Skypark at the top of the Marina Bay Sands can offer another mind blowing view of the city in the evening.
Singapore has numerous art galleries, museums, theaters and all are those more than a conventional one.The giant Durian shaped Esplanade Theaters ~ an architectural masterpiece contains a regal concert hall and art exhibitions. Asian Civilization’s Museum is another colonial house tuned into an amazing museum which is an experience itself.The Art Science Museum right at the foot of Marina Bay Sands is another blockbuster. The Future – Where Arts Meet Science and the Big Bang Data are two exhibits that are bound to change perception and traditional boundaries of Arts, Science, Technology and Statistics. All of those melts into one sheer out of the world brilliant exhibit.
Singapore is all about its people, culture and taste. A city with limited space, crowded with millions of friendly citizens, expatriates and tourists. It is a cultural melange of the world. Its Asia’s very own melting point ~ The Chinese, The Indians, The Malays, The Javanese, The Japanese , The Koreans and all other races are present and living and prospering with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of living perhaps the best Quality of Life in this planet. All of the ethnic communities have their own ethic neighborhoods like Little India, China Town, Kampong Glam, Arab Street but not limited or confined to any particular community. The colorful Gopurams of Hindu Temples,Domes and Minarets of the Mosques,The beautiful Churches, Jewish Synagogues, the bustling bazaars, the quaint Chinese Temples and Clan Houses, the street arts, art deco houses, the sight and scenes of Singapore will riot your senses.
Singapore manufactures nothing but produces bountiful happiness all around for everyone.I could see just the tip of the iceberg in 4 days. I know I missed the Jurong Bird Park, The Fun and Frolic of Sentosa, Idyllic walk at Mt Faber or Mac Ritchie Nature Trail and Reservoir Park, the Perankan Museum, Pulau Ubin and many more but who cares….Singapore is just odd 4.5 hours away from Kolkata.