Friday, July 10, 2009

Singapore 2

Orchard Road will never missed its place from our list when we talk about shopping in Singapore. From Orchard Rd. to Dhoby Ghaut MRT stations, there was a belt of continuous shopping centres with their own identities. We chose a few of them, walked around, and took some nice food there. There was a nationwide shopping fair during our visit. We managed to grab a few clothes with good bargain there, although we are not good in shopping at all (or should said not so interested in shopping).

On the right: Photo showing Betty on the walkway of Orchard Road. The rest showed the shopping centres- from antique to contemporary.

Vivo City, the largest shopping mall in Singapore, was a place that shopaholics should not miss. We went to Vivo City on our way to Sentosa Island and enjoyed a wonderful meal there.

The historical trails, which stretched from City Hall to Raffles Place MRT stations, promised a different view. The historical buildings were well maintained there, backgrounded by the skyscrapers with international brands. From City Hall Station, we walked towards seaside with great view of Cathedral of St. Andrew, crossed over Padang to War Memorial Park, took a great view of City Hall and Supreme Court, Victoria Theatre, Parliament House, Arts House, Asian Civilization Museum, and last but not least, the statue of Merlion at Merlion Park. That was the trip that we enjoyed the most, as we journeyed back to the historical part of Singapore (exclude the Merlion).

Clockwise from left: Merlion; City Hall and Supreme Court of Singapore, Victoria Theatre, The Arts House, and War Memorial.

Singapore really looks like our home country in culture and lifestyle. For us, we never feel alone there, as we could communicate easily with English and Mandarin, even with Bahasa Melayu there (Most Singaporean can communicate with English). Even the food there tasted almost the same with our food here. With assistance from my uncle and some of our friends, we were able to hunt some of the nice food around.

Wherever we go, we will not hold back with local delicacies. Clockwise from left: taking breakfast at Boon Keng Market (just a few steps away from boon Keng MRT Station) with local "kueh-muih"; view at one of the hawker centre; dim-sum and famous Singapore Chicken Rice at Food Republic.

There are some changes in Singapore - More Chinese speaks Mandarin now, rather than English, compared to my last visit. Besides, there are more motorbikes and bicycles on the road than the old days. I wish to share a scene that is not easy to catch in Malaysia - old folks from different races sat together at the food court, talking and laughing to each others in English. That scene really touched my heart!

Clockwise from top: MRT networks which look like shopping centre; advertisement in the station; bicycles were widely used across the residential area.

Going places in Singapore was easy with MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) network webbing across the island. So, an advice from us, stay near to the MRT station, then almost all tourist spots will become nearer to you. For more information about Singapore, well, there is a good map at Singapore Streetdirectory, MRT directory, tourist information at official site for Singapore Tourism Board and Sentosa Island. Of course, you can always visit Tripadvisor for latest ranking of hotels in Singapore.

Lastly, we wish to foward a big THANK YOU to Uncle Gregory, Peter and Magdalene for all the hospitality and warm assistance, nice to have you all in our way.

Singapore 1

Singapore, a small lovely country south of Peninsular Malaysia, was an attractive destination that we visited June 2009. I visited the island for a few times before, but it was the first time for Betty. She went to Singapore first to conduct a workshop at Republic Polytechnic and I joined her three days later. We visited several places, which can be categorized into fun and thrill, historical and shopping trip.

For fun and trill, where else besides Sentosa Island? Honestly, the island didn't change much since my last visit a long long time ago. Port Siloso and Underwater World almost remained the same, while The Song of the Sea, Dolphin Lagoon are new for me, while the beach...uh, felt like getting worse by the heavily dotted ships stretching along the bay. However, all of the attractions were new to Betty! We did a little bit of screening as there were too many tourist's attractions on that small island. We decided to visit the old part of the island first- Fort Siloso, which really brought us back to the history. The exceptionally attractive part of the fort was the wax models, and the description over the role the fort played during War World II. The visit visualized our knowledges and the background of the country. Well everyone, the wax model exhibition is really worth a visit, they looked so real until the guard there scared me, once he moved from his standing post.

Clockwise from top: Gate of Fort Siloso; the entrance; wax-models; underground tunnels; and the model of one of the canons.

The UnderWater World was a attractive tour spot with few hundreds species of fish swimming around us. After the tour, I really amazed by the consistency of the management, which keep UnderWater World nearly unchanged for so many years. I met my old memories in a lot of the corners in that aquarium. The ticket to the UnderWater World is complemented with Dolphin Lagoon, which is 15 minutes away by shuttle bus. The presentation by the pink dolphins was spectacular- flips, spins, tail walk, jumping over the hoop and playing soccer were just like one two three, A B C to them. Well, frankly from both of us, UnderWater World is missmatched to Aquaria KLCC or Langkawi Underwater World in Malaysia. However, a chance to watch the dolphins presentation and visit the old Dugong was still a suprise.

Clockwise from top: Betty tried to reach manta-rays beside "touch pool" of UnderWater World; Pink Dolphin perfomance at Dolphin Lagoon; and fishes, squids, and jelly fish found in UnderWater World.

At night, we watched the "fire and water" show (which we think the Musical Fountain is not a suitable name for it)- The Song of the Sea at Siloso Beach. The stage was set up in the sea while we sat on the beachside, faced the sea, pampered by breeze, , took a great view of the islands far away, and enjoying the show. With blasting fire, splashing water, and blazing laser effects, the show should be rated five stars excellency, with lousy story line. But who cares about the story? Special effects talked louder there!

Great scenes from the Song of the Sea show.

Well, a solid day trip in Sentosa might end up with tiring muscles and souring legs, but not for us. We chose leisure and steady way, with a lot of resting, drinking, talking, and skipped many places of interest on the island (which might be saved until next visit).

Our trip continued...