A Little bit of History
The country was always considered to be a fabulous unexplored island in the old times.It was known as a 'Sea Town' (Temasek) under a Malaysian empire, and was a key trading post. By the beginning of the 13th century, the country was taken in by 'Sang Nila Utama', who was a member of a royal family. When the patron arrived in the country for the first time, he saw a tiger and got confused with a lion. Lions were considered to be good omens, so he renamed the city as 'Singapura', which means a lion city in the ancient Indian language of 'Sanskrit'. In the year 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles of the 'East India Company' signed a contract with the then Sultan, for the trading rights to the British and the island was transformed in to a major trading hub. After the Second World War, Singapore inhabited a self-constitutional system and later joined the province of Malaysia in the year 1963, but due to massive differences between their political leaders, Singapore became an independent country on August 9, 1965.
Arriving to the Island
I traveled to Singapore by the more conventional way of airways, but you can also travel by star ship cruises departing from most parts of the world. The cruise to the island itself is an experience, and surprisingly it is not that harsh on the pocket.
Traveling in the country
From the airport itself, you can hire London Taxi, or normal cabs to your destination. If you have booked a decent hotel or if you are in some travel package, you will be collected by your respective hotel buses. Singapore I feel has one of the best and cleanest metro system in the world known as the 'MRT'. You can commute by the high-speed metros, or if you want to watch the city while you travel, you can sit in one the air-conditioned buses to your destination on the basis of MRT cards available in the metro station. It is however much cheaper to travel by metros or buses than cabs. If you have an international driving license, you can rent cars; but being a former British colony, driving is right hand drive in Singapore.
Fun places in Singapore
Well this is the segment, where I can write for hours. There is nothing in this world what you cannot do in Singapore. If traveling with kids, you can start off with a visit to the Singapore zoo. The place is filled with exotic animals like white tigers, polar bears, and Asian elephants etc, which are very well maintained by its highly trained and friendly staff. The zoo has shows of its own, where the elephants and seals splash water on the audience watching the show. There is enough energy and activity in the place to catch the imagination of not only kids but adults too. In the nighttime it has lately started the 'Night Safari', which is definitely worth a watch. You can next head onto the 'Juroung Bird Park', which has one of the finest collections of birds. Here also you will be able to see shows, in which these birds do amazing feats.
The 'Haw Par Villa', is an important tourist place, where you can see the mythology and legends of the Singapore culture. Here you will be entertained by the dragon dances and other cultural shows. A dragon boat that takes you in a ride to the happenings of hell, and the roller coaster ride are the highlights of the park.
This place has something installed for everybody, art lovers can head for the 'Singapore Art Museum', where more than 4000 art have exhibits to be seen in its 13 galleries. Spread on an area of more than 130 hectares is the 'Singapore Botancial Garden', showcasing more than 20000 different species. There is an orchid park in the arena, which considered the largest in the world.
Being an avid bowler, the first thing I do is hunt for bowling alleys, but after alluring my skills in 5-6 bowling alleys, I came to know that Singapore has more than 250 world class bowling alleys with more than 20 lanes!! No wonder that this place has produced so many bowling champions. For the adrenalin junkies, there are a number of spots to be explored. You can do bungee jumping; mountain climbing can be done at numerous places in Singapore. There is also the reverse bungee, which with lot of coaxing from my friends I tried, and I was launched 30 stories up at the speed of light, and then was turned at high speeds. The ride is for a very short time but it is definitely worth trying, though for a brief moment, you feel you might have popped out of your eyes. The city also has a lot of water sports activities, like scuba diving and wind surfing and skiing available in the city.
Singapore has one the finest collection of golf courses of Asia. The golf courses like the 'Warren Golf club' and 'Kepper club' are absolute peaches.
You can take cable car rides, watching exuberant sights from mount Faber to the famous 'Sentosa islands'. This is a definitely a place where you can spend your whole day. It has a whole of places and things to be explored. You can do cycling; with your family around the island or you can enter the beach and paddle your way to the ocean. There is the awe- striking underworld water, which is a tunnel of high tensile strength glass and has a straight escalator, where you can see right from sharks to sting rays, at a very small distance. There is also the pink dolphin show, where the lucky ones get to feed them and play with them. There is also the dome theatre, where you will be shown movies like Grand Canyon, to make you feel wobbly. Do not miss the laser dance show in the night; it's a great way to round up the trip to Sentosa Island.
There is also the 'Kusu Island' to be explored, which is a place of golden sand and picturesque waves. A perfect place to sleep in the hammock, and sip on chilled beer.
Fun places around Singapore
Singapore is a perfect gateway to travel other countries of Asia. You can easily travel to Malaysia or Thailand from Singapore subject to visa availability. The jungles of Brunei are also a perfect place for adventurers.
Shop till ya drop
Singapore has one of the world's finest malls and shopping streets. If you come during the shopping festival, which is between June and July, you will get huge discounts on goods. Move yourself to 'Little India', where you can buy traditional Indian jewelry and Indian silk sarees and spices at nominal rates. Places like China town add up to your shopping delight, and can buy anything from bamboo furniture to hi-tech gizmos. Sky hugging shopping Malls are plenty in the city, and electronics are the best buy in the city. Moreover because of its location, it's got best of the both worlds, and you will be able to see goods of the highest standard and quality sold in the malls. The sheer size of malls like 'mustafa' will make you feel, that it will take days to surf this place! The 'Kampong Gelam and Arab Street', is a good place to buy souvenir of Arabic nature.
Tickling your Taste Buds
It really doesn't matter which country you are from, you are bound to find your local cuisines here. Whenever I travel I make sure, I have the local food, but because the place is so multi-cultured, you get the best of all cuisines. My personal favorite along with most of the Singaporeans was the chicken rice, this is a dish that fills your tummy and leaves your taste buds completely satisfied. You will get right from continental to Arabic shormas. If you like spicy food, then only try the Malay cuisine. And if you are a lover of sea- food, then you have hit the right area, the tiger prawns or the delicious big fishes, whose names we cannot pronounce make you feel right up in heaven.
This country throngs with pubs, discos, lounge bars, and a whole lot of night entertainment. The 'Tiger Beer' is definitely one that you will like to drink like a drum. This is one place in the world where your nights won't go in the dark.
Please don't try this in Singapore
Anyways when we smoke we invite cancer, and if you want to add insult to injury, try smoking in no- smoking zones, where you will be fined close to US$500.The place is so clean that you won't feel like littering, but just incase if you do, then get ready for a massive fine.
The place is an absolute beauty, and should be explored by all those who love traveling and having fun. The climate is pretty warm, so its better you dress light. The ambience of the place and friendly nature of the people makes you feel like coming time and again to the place.
Article written by Siddharth Sule.