Singapore: SG50!

Sad to leave Bali, we boarded the plane that would take us to our last “new” country we would visit (we had already done parts of Malaysia before); Singapore.

We had already seen some information about Singapore before we arrived, as lately, Singapore was featured in a lot of documentaries on TV. Only when we arrived here, did we realize that it was because Singapore turned 50 years, right as we were here! Great timing right?:)

We went to our hostel at the Boat Quay, a super nice expat restaurant street next to the canal and with great views of the old centre and the Marina Bay Sands. Our first impression of Singapore was very positive; perfect, clean roads, no dirt, no chewing gum patches, but best of all, few cars! O, and did I mention all the green which is omnipresent here? Everywhere you see vertical gardens, trees, flowers; it just makes you happy.

After dropping our bags, we went for a walk through the old part of town. We didn’t get far before we realised that much had been cornered off. We saw people in red shirts everywhere, and then also military and tanks.. Hmmm… It turned out that this afternoon there would be a national parade and a show with fireworks to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday! The military parade would go through many streets of the old town, so we couldn’t go there. So instead, we decided to go to the Marina Bay and see the Merlion, the famous half lion-half fish statue that is also on the dollar. Again, we find out that it was really busy here with preparations for that evening. We walked (and stopped) past an orchestra playing, past people handing out goodies, past a food festival, and walked along this bay that can rival Dubai in terms of its beauty. The Marina Bay Sands, the hotel that looks like a ship stranded on the hotel, looks very impressive. In front of it is a building that looks like a lily that is the Singapore science museum. Part of it was now free to all due to the SG50, and so we went in and saw the exhibition about Singapore. At the end, Samsung was offering to try their Virtual Reality goggles, and we did (duh:P). It was pretty impressive, but the sharpness of the virtual world was not yet convincing us. We went along the bay even further, past a big mall (The Shoppes) and lounged together with Singaporeans in front of a huge screen that would soon enough starts broadcasting the show. It started at around 5, and because it was such a lovely day, it was great to just sit on the pavement and watch the show.

There were performances of all kinds, singers, dancers, and of course the parade. We saw parachutists jumping down, an A380 flying over, and fighter planes coming by. Every now and again there would be some firework, and the show also ended with a big fireworks show.

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As you can tell, we loved our first night in Singapore;)

The second day, we tried to sleep in, and then walked to China town. We walked past impressive high-rises with vertical gardens and rooftop gardens everywhere. Also, we saw the oldest Hindu temple in SG, which was located right in front of Chinatown:P. We went into Chinatown, and indeed saw all the things that reminded us of our time in China, only then 10 times as expensive, haha. We had lunch at Tak Bo, a busy dim sum place, nad had some super tasty dishes. Their dumplings were great (and their tea too:P).

After lunch, we walked back to the Boat Quay and onwards to the Gardens at the Bay, a big and beautiful park that has several “supertrees” in it that are artificial trees with vertical gardens along the sides. At night, they would light up. We went inside the two domes there that have massive inside cooled gardens, showing plants from all over the world. The second dome, with a huge waterfall and artificial mountain had plants from the cloud forests. It was very nice to walk there, also because you had a great view from the top of the mountain of the Sands hotel, and the Singapore bay and port area.

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When we went outside again, it was already getting dark, so we lay below a supertree while the world turned black. Just in time we got up again to go to the group of supertrees that would give a light show every evening. We lay there and just enjoyed as well-known soundtracks were played, accompanied by a great show of coloured lights.

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Walking back after the show along the bay towards our hotel, we appreciated the fact that we felt totally at ease here, and could enjoy Singapore’s beautiful skyline without worrying about unwanted company. It made us believe that this country is definitely amongst the top countries in the world to live in.

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The next day, we would already leave for Malaysian Malakka in the afternoon. We wanted to take a morning walk before we left, but it was (and still is) raining and thundering, so we’re not very keen on doing that just now. So we updated the blog while we wait for it to stop raining, so maybe we can still have a short walk before we go.

Next up: Malakka, our final stop before flying back to Holland!

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