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Published: March 29th 2015
Sunset at Bedok reservoir
I'm writing this from the perspective of a Singaporean. Singapore is now a world-class cosmopolitan city that has its humbled beginnings as being a part of Malaysia. This little city-state also known as the tiny red dot on the World map gained independence 50 years ago under the leadership of the late founding father of modern Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. It is also a fitting tribute that I should choose to do my write-up today as this day also marks the State funeral of the late Mr Lee. For starters, Singapore or Singapura as it is called in Malay, means Lion City. Singa means Lion and Pura means town. The mascot of this city is the Merlion which can be found overlooking the Singapore River along the Esplanade. This former British colony founded originally by Sir Stamford Raffles, makes for a unique country as the key values embraced here are multiculturalism, bilingualism, meritocracy and equality. A statue of Sir Stamford Raffles can be found along the Singapore River near the Parliament House. The main races that makes up Singapore are the Chinese, Malay, Indians and Eurasians.
More touristy places include Orchard Road, City Hall, Bugis, Marina Boulevard, Boat
HDB in the heartland of Tampines
Quay, Clarke Quay and Sentosa. These are nice places for shopping, dining. clubbing, sight-seeing and exploring historical monuments. The museums are located at Dhoby Ghaut which is in between City Hall and Orchard Road. The memorial to the Civilian victims during the Japanese Occupation is located near City Hall.
Singapore is known for its famous Zoological Gardens at Mandai as well as the Night Safari and River Safari. It's a good idea to visit all 3 in a day. The city's skyline can be taken in at the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and One Altitude. For those who like more greenery, try taking a stroll at Gardens By The Bay.
Sentosa is a tiny island off the south of Singapore that's linked by a bridge to the mainland. This island teems with many activities such as beachside bars and Songs of the Seas performance at Siloso beach, paddle board and a suspension bridge leading to the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia at Palawan Beach. A quieter beach would be Tanjong Beach which is home to the popular Tanjong Beach Club. There is also Resorts Worlds Sentosa that houses a casino, Universal Studios and Adventure Cove.
Singapore River near Fullerton Hotel which was once the General Post Office Building
Also to add to the list would be Chinatown, Geylang Serai and Little India where you can experience the Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures respectively, more so, if there is an on-going festival such as Chinese New year, Hari Raya Puasa, Thaipusam and Deepavali. Most Singaporeans live in government- subsidised housing called HDB apartments usually found in the heartlands and it is at this very places that you see the soul and character of Singapore. Your trip to Singapore is not complete without a day tour to these heartlands to soak in the lifestyle of most ordinary Singaporeans. Try having a meal at a local hawker centre such as East Coast for an authentic experience. Favourite local delicacies include chilli crab, chicken rice, dim sum, satay, mee goreng, rojak and fish-head curry. Even better would be to try getting a foot reflexology done in the neighbourhood shops. What better way to relax and re-charge during your sight-seeing.
If you have time, do check out the Loyang Tua Pek Kong temple which houses Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu deities as well as a Muslim Kramat on the same ground at the easternmost Singapore. Also at the east would
Suspension bridge at Palawan Beach, Sentosa
be Pulau Ubin which is a small, rustic island off Changi Village. Last but not least, challenge yourself to try the King and Queen of fruits which is the durian and mangosteen respectively. It's recommended to drink lots of water when eating the durian as it is a 'heaty' fruit. Just so you know, water can be drunk right off the tap. This would surely make for one interesting holiday!
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