My grandmother used to tell us about how wonderful Singapore was. She would rest and relax there for months on end while my geologist grandfather opened oil wells in Sumatra. We never did figure out why they weren’t rich, but maybe it was their mutual love for Singapore hotels and casinos. In any event, one thing is certain, my grandmother loved Singapore. If anyone knows where the bridge above is located in Singapore or the history of it, I would love to know. The people on it in the picture are my grandparents. The year was 1974.
That’s partly why I chose to visit the Lion City in mid March. The other reason was simply that I happened to be nearby. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the budget to stay in the many fancy boutique hotels the city offers to the jetset, nor did I have the inclination to indulge in the many touristic opportunities the city offers. What I did have was a desire to wander around this magnificent city-state and get a sense for what it has to to offer. My conclusion in brief: my grandmother was right, Singapore is a wonderland.
Each day it seems, Singapore offers something new and innovative to those who are looking to have a unique, adventurous, or just relaxing holiday. As a city it is ultra-modern, easy to get around, exotic, and (here’s a big bonus) nearly everyone speaks English. Singapore is safe for families and solo travelers and it offers plenty to do whether you want to take thrill rides, soak in history or culture, or get pampered and spoiled in the many spas and boutiques.
From Sentosa Island to the Skyline Luge there is something for everyone in Singapore and the weather is almost always perfect for a holiday. For those looking for thrills, the Skyline Luge offers some serious adrenaline. Essentially, it’s taking a bobsled down a concrete track through the jungle. It’s up to you how fast you go down the 650 meter track. On the way down you can watch for monkeys or just check out the views of Sentosa Island and the newly revamped Harbour Walk.
In my grandmother’s time it was the gardens and the sea that drew the most attention, but these days the architecture of Singapore is equally as exotic. The incredible Marina Bay Sands is composed of three 55 story towers with a huge banana spaceship perched on the top. Since 2009, this modern wonder has been captivating visitors. Especially when they go to the amazing Skypark which fills the banana.
With the theatre, the casinos, the innovative Art Science Museum, and the many flowers in the city, you will be forgiven if you didn’t happen to look up and see the Skypark, but just in case you did, here is the lowdown. Completed in 2009, the Skypark holds a 146 meter long pool that sits just about 190 meters in the air. Nearly 400,000 gallons of water surrounded by restaurants, botanical gardens, and nightclubs.
The whole complex sits on movable joints connected to the three hotel towers so that if the ground shakes or the wind shifts the buildings, the Skypark will adjust and flex. If you take a swim in the infinity pool, you will no doubt note that the water seems to be falling off the edge of the park…Getting in isn’t cheap (not much in Singapore is) but $20 Singapore dollars is a small price to pay to experience this modern wonder of the world.
Of course you are going to head to Sentosa Island while you are in Singapore for the restaurants and more. Sentosa is also called Pulau Belaking Mati, or Death Island. Ohhh…scary. But in fact, Sentosa (the name since the 1970’s) is anything but scary except to your wallet. To get there you take a ten minute cable car ride. After that you can play in the water at the Wave House, visit Universal Studios, or take a walk through some carefully managed rainforest. Of course, if you prefer to zip through the jungle, there is a fun looking adventure park too.
While some people turn up their nose at it, the Singapore Flyer is a must see and must ride for many travelers. The Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel and while it may not look like it is moving from a distance, that is because the thing is just really really big (and it moves pretty slow).
The ride takes 30 minutes and passengers sit inside one of twenty eight air con capsules. Each capsule holds twenty people so that means that the Singapore Flyer holds a whopping 784 people. Wow. It was built by Japanese architect Dr. Kisho Kurokawa. It took more than two year to complete and stands 165 meters high. On the ground it takes up more space than not one but two football stadiums. From the top when the weather permits it is easy to see both Indonesia and Malaysia.