Singapore’s name comes from ‘Singa Pura’ which means Lion City in Sanskrit. According to the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals), a Sumatran prince called Sang Nila Utama landed on Temasek (Singapore’s old name) and saw a Lion which is called ‘Singa’ in Malay(language of Singapore). Thus he gave the island a new name, ‘Singapura’.
My summer holiday couldn’t have gone better with me and my family deciding to take a break from the scorching heat of Maharashtra and we decided for a quick five day getaway to Singapore.Since my dad has been to the city countless times and has been nothing less than praises for the development of the city and its people, he really wanted me to experience Singapore before I left for my MBA.
So we sat on the Air India Dreamliner, where the hospitality was beyond amazing and our five day trip was resplendent with a lot of city tour, wildlife and history. I would also try a lot of their street food because I think thats the best part about going to a new country and also befriending people, because Singaporeans are such amazing beautiful people, their discipline and perseverance amazed me and I think when we visit such places we have so much more to learn and take back home.
Also, on one trip, while asking the driver about the seasons, he jokingly mentioned how its hot, hotter and hottest. Which was quite true! It rains randomly and almost every day and the weather can get quite humid and sticky. Be prepared for an amazing tan and keep hydrating while you travel if you are visiting during the Indian summers.
Here is a quick brief lay down of the places I visited and what all we did –
1- Singapore Flyer
Singapore Flyer is one of the world’s largest observation wheels – after two and a half years of construction, it was opened in April 2008, its height reaching 165 meters. With a capacity to hold 784 people, Singapore Flyer is considered to be one of the main tourist attractions in Singapore.The view from Singapore Flyer opens up a magnificent panorama of the city and the Singapore Bay from a bird’s eye-view. One can also order a bottle of champagne, lunch, or a romantic dinner to be served on the wheel. No, we didn’t do that as we were straight up on the flyer after eight hours of flight and travel and no sleep. I refused to be photographed much to my mother’s chagrin because I looked like a mess.
Image credits – Embassy Alliance Travel
2- Singapore Botanic Garden
With more than 150 years of history, the 82-hectare Gardens holds a unique and significant place in the history of Singapore and the region. The Gardens has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) on 4 July 2015 and is the first and only tropical botanic garden on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It is the first in Asia and the third botanic gardens inscribed in the world.
3- Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a nature park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir. The park consists of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. The other attractions include the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, OCBC Skyway, Supertree Grove, Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes, Heritage Gardens, World of Plants and Art Sculpture.They have replicated gardens indoors from around the world, in the flower dome and the cloud forest is a rainforest replica complete with a skywalk. That was definitely my favourite part.
4- Sentosa Island
The 500-hectare island resort is home to an exciting array of themed attractions, award-winning spa retreats, lush rainforests, golden sandy beaches, resort accommodations, world-renowned golf courses, a deep-water yachting marina and luxurious residences – making Sentosa a vibrant island resort for business and leisure. Making Sentosa its home, too, is Singapore’s first integrated resort, Resorts World Sentosa, which operates South East Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park. Situated on the eastern end of Sentosa Island is Sentosa Cove, an exclusive oceanfront and residential enclave bustling with some 2,000 homes, romantic quayside restaurants, retail and specialty shops. Our entire day went by visiting the Madame Tussauds, Butterfly museum, Underwater World, Marine Life Park and seeing the most popular show on the island, the very famous laser show, Wings of time. Yes, I have tons of photos from these places but I am way too picky to put them here so only a few will have to suffice. Also we were so busy hopping from place to place, and walking for miles and totally exhausted by the time we sat for the show.
5- Orchard Street
Orchard Road, a 2.2 kilometre-long boulevard, is the retail and entertainment hub of Singapore. Often known colloquially as Orchard, the area is a major tourist attraction. With almost every luxury brand on the street, and malls like Takashimaya catering to major brands and luxury, one finds everything from Prada to MiuMiu, Chanel to Dior and Gucci and Louis Vuitton to Desigual and Tory Burch and Tiffany. Yes, this was my most favourite part of the trip. My dad had to push me inside a cab.
6- Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and Night Safari
The Singapore Zoo, formerly known as the Singapore Zoological Gardens and commonly known locally as the Mandai Zoo was on of my best experiences. From having breakfast with the descendants of Ah-Meng, the Sumatran Orangutan who became the poster child of Singapore zoo and led quite a celebrity life to actually feeding the elephants and watching numerous animal shows, I felt so connected and so much in sync with the wildlife around. Even the Jurong Bird Park and the Night Safari were absolute amazing parts of the trip. If you are at the bird park make sure to visit the parrot paradise because the birds actually mimic and talk whatever you say. And the night safari, you cant miss their tribal dance and animal show. All in all, its one wildlife experience you don’t want to miss.
7- Merlion park and River Cruise
The Merlion is the national personification of Singapore. The name is a combination of “mer”, meaning the sea, and “lion”. The fish body represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means “sea town” in Javanese. Once you are at the park you see the glorious Merlion and throw in a cent while making a wish, and take the river cruise that takes you through all the bays of the city and narrates the history of each port. It is definitely worth the ride, where you see Clarke Quay and the Fullerton Hotel.
In conclusion, Singapore is worth a visit repetitively because of the people, the city that is so beautiful, clean and well maintained and the street food that I just loved! Also, the hotel, V-Lavender had a great buffet spread that gave me lots of holiday weight to fight off once I was back! 🙂
Written by Adhisa Ghosh