Monday, May 27, 2013

Singapore, Republic of Singapore

Singapore, Pearl of Asia

By Siny Sebastian

Enter the realm of the Lion city and you are sure to be enthralled by the beautiful sights that this wonderful and vibrant country is proud to show the world. The enchanted metropolitan island city with its diversified cultures, cuisines and vivacious night life has been able to charm and allure multitudes of modern globetrotter to its shore.
One of the most remarkable features of this island country is that it has been able to constitute 50 % of its area with greenery along with modern sky touching scrapers and subways. In spite of being one of the most densely populated countries, it still has 50 major parks and 4 national reserves within the small area and for this reason it is called the Garden City.
A look back into the history tells how the country got its name from the Malay word “Singapura”. According to the legend, Sang Nila Utama, a Srivijayan prince, landed on the island and, catching sight of a strange creature that he thought was a lion, decided to found a new city and thus “Singapura” or the “Lion City” was born.
Tourism is a major industry in Singapore and therefore we readily accept and seize any new and future oriented trends in leisure and entertainments. As a result of which, tourists consider Singapore as a place which is always full of fresh and new surprises and as a place worthy of repeat visits.
The diversity that the country offers in terms of religion, language, cultures are unparalleled when compared to its size. Tourists are able to communicate easily with the local people since English is one of the main languages along with Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Due to multiculturalism, there is no single set of culturally acceptable behavior.  People are of friendly nature and it is not uncommon to see shopkeepers and customers of multiple races engaging in animated conversations.

Singaporean food cuisine is touted as the potpourri of all cuisines. Food in particular is a steal, since
there is an extensive array of mouth - watering cuisines to satisfy every palate. The legendary hawker centers and coffee houses are open 24/7 and furthermore it is possible to relish these excellent hawker foods for under $5 for a generous serving. It is a paradise for the food lovers since they can try the local favorites like Laksa, roti prata or Chilli Crab or indulge in the international cuisines like Mexican, South East Asian, American, European and Middle Eastern cuisine in this clean city.  International fast food joints such as McDonald’s, KFC can also be seen in most of the shopping malls and is very much visible throughout the region.
Due to the excellent public transport system, it’s very much easy to move around the region. Most of the citizens travel by using bus, train and taxis. Train mode consists of both MRT and LRT. Taxis are also
popular and are cheap when compared to other developed countries. Singapore is a ‘pedestrian-friendly' place with the roadways, pavements and pedestrian crossings being in good shape with safety precautions throughout.

The main festival that we celebrate over here is the Chinese new year when the country is painted red with the red celebration papers pronouncing “gong xi fa cai”. It is indeed celebrated with much pomp and fireworks.  Singapore also holds a number of events throughout the year. Some of the famous festivals and events include the Singapore Food Festival, the Singapore Grand Prix, the Singapore Arts Festival, and the Chingay Parade etc
Since shopping is one of our major pastimes, there is an extensive number of shopping options available.  There is the famous Orchard Road where shop alcoholics can shop at the endless numbers of high-end boutiques and major department stores and then they are the ethnic and artsy areas like Geylang Serai , Holland Village, Chinatown, Little India, Bugis street for shoppers looking for reasonably priced shopping.
Singapore can be quite expensive by Asian standards with accommodation being the pricier component.  A bed in a hostel can cost less than $20 whereas a stay in the average 3-4 star hotel in the city centre would typically cost anywhere from $100-$300 per night for a basic room.  The most luxurious hotels on the island can be yours for $300 and above.

The two popular areas famous for nightlife partying are the Boat Quay and Clarke Quay. In the past, these lanes were lined with Chinese warehouses and shop houses. But now the place is perfect for bar-hopping, feasting, and endless nights of partying since most of the nightspots are just a short taxi ride from each other.  Most of these night spots offer live and visually rich entertainment and therefore aid in pulsating the night life for both the locals and tourists.
So what all does a tourist needs to keep in mind while visiting the Garden city? It is always useful to carry an umbrella along, in order to escape from the rain showers that are very much abundant throughout the year and from the sunny weather which can be quite exhausting at times. April and May are the hottest seasons and the wettest ones are from November to January. Sunglasses, light dressing can indeed make the stay much more comfortable.
The country is quite tough when their laws are not taken seriously. Offences are not considered lightly. It has been able to maintain its status as one of the cleanest country due to the strict adherence to the laws which do not allow any Jay Walking, spitting, littering and other activities which might be considered lightly in other countries. Tipping is generally not practiced in Singapore, and is frowned both by the government and the people. The same policy is true in the case of taxis, where they usually return your change to the last cent or round - up the amount if there is a need. An understanding of the traditional Chinese etiquette can also be useful.

Major Attractions:

       Some of the major attractions of Singapore have been listed below. They are:

1) Marina Bay Sands - The SkyPark, the other name for Marina Bay Sands is an amazing engineering wonder. From the observation deck, it is possible for the visitors to admire the marvelous view of the Marina Bay area.
2) Singapore Zoo – The sight of animals moving around freely within landscaped enclosures is one of the reasons as to why this zoo is considered as one of the world’s best. The wide variety of animals and animal shows are sure to catch the attention of the kids. Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park gives an exceptional chance to see the animals and birds in a different environment.
3) Sentosa - One of the city’s liveliest spot has a number of attractions and activities which has everything to delight everyone in the family! Whether you want to understands Singapore’s past at the heritage centre or revel in the lush greenery at the nature park or explore the themed attractions, this mini city provides a chance for all these together at one place.
4) Resorts World Sentosa – It is Singapore’s first integrated resort and is a conglomeration of six hotels. It is home to a number of fun - filled and enjoyable world - class attractions like the Universal Studios theme park, Marine Life Park, a destination spa called ESPA etc. It is also has a Casino under it’s roof.
5) Gardens By the Bay – The newest attraction consists of three waterfront gardens in the Marina Bay area. Visitors to the gardens are greeted with everything in supernatural sizes like the super trees which are 9 to 16 storeys high. It also boasts a number of other attractions which are truly unique to this garden.
6) River cruise – There are a number of boat cruises that can be taken from the Clarke Quay area. These cruises make the tourist relive the original grandeur of old Singapore by cruising down Singapore River with its restored century-old godowns and shophouses on the banks.
7) Singapore Flyer – The Observation Wheel at a height of 165m enables the tourist to get a magnificent view of Singapore.  It is usually takes about 45 min to 1 hour for the wheel to finish one round.
8) Pulau Ubin - By undertaking a bumboat ride from Changi Point, it is possible to visit one of Singapore’s idiosyncratic islands for an unexpected and novel experience. The homely villages with its coconut plantations, mangroves and isolated beaches allow a peek into the unknown lifestyle of the Singaporeans of the earlier period.
9) Museums – They are a number of museums for the history lovers. The National Museum of Singapore and the Asian Civilization Museum helps in understanding the history of the country.

They are a several other attractions like the Merlion Park, Esplanade etc  all which provide a glimpse of the city’s vibrancy. Indeed they are innumerable number of other attractive places all which are equally wonderful.  So why wait anymore??? Go ahead and visit this exuberant country without any delay.

1 comment:

  1. You can now watch the story of Sang Nila Utama on YouTube. Check out how Singapore got its name, in bricks.