Singapore – Paisa Vasool Place
I was in Singapore last December and must confess I have fallen in love with the city. It’s a beautiful city and the sheer beauty of the city is simply mind blowing.
We began our visit with on a city tour that takes you through the city and some of the prominent spots. There are good tourist services with comfortable coaches and well informed guides who make you feel comfortable. There is a complete industry catering to the tourists and multiple companies that do a very professional job of taking you around and making you feel comfortable. The guide on your bus will give you very specific instructions of how to locate him and how to make sure you cover the key shows that they have lined up for you. The Merlion, body of a mermaid and the head of a lion, spewing water, the icon of the city, is a treat to watch.
Singapore claims to have the first night safari in the world and it’s a treat to watch the animals by the night. You are driven in open vehicles or trams. The tour guide usually takes a lot of pains to explain in multiple languages that you should not flash your cameras or handycams at the animals and you feel a bit scared initially but once the ride is over you realize that the animals are so used to these nocturnal trips that they hardly notice you. You see wild animals in their most natural habitat. Infact the route is divided in Himalayan Rain forests and other geographical categories so you get the impression that you are actually covering continents. These trams don’t run on rails but on well constructed roads. The Singapore zoo by the day is a great treat especially for kids. The lazy Polar bear , the biggest in the world is more than three metres tall and you get to see real polar bears in specially created chilled enclosures that are replicas of polar terrains.The tram inside the zoo is a great help especially if you buy the unlimited trips ticket. Every spot there is a photographer’s delight.
The Orchid gardens are a tribute to Nature and an example of how man can express his gratitude for nature. The Jurong Bird Park is something that will just blow your mind away. The flamingoes, parakeets, parrots, hawks, penguins are a treat to watch. The staff who conduct the show are particularly friendly, smiling and kind to the animals. Feeding the penguins is a popular show and its great to see real penguins jostling and pushing for food and gobbling up fish thrown by the staffer there. The enclosures are transparent and you can see the penguins swim under water and flap their heads ferociously. The hawk show is a brilliant example of birds being trained to obey their human masters. Every act of the bird is rewarded with a piece of nut or meat depending on the bird’s preference. The hawk show is sponsored by Fuji and one look at the colorful plummage and you know why Fuji would have done such a thoughtful gesture of sponsoring the show. I saw a parrot that sings Malay songs taught by a pleasant girl there and it’s a treat to hear the parrot rasp his words out.
The Sentosa Island is a beautiful island and don’t you miss the cable car ride for the world. It’s simply breathtakingly beautiful. The Pink Dolphin show is a big draw there and the tour guide makes sure he lines you up for all the important shows. An adult ticket for the whole tour of the Sentosa island would cost app 40 SGD. This includes the cable car ride and the Pink Dolphin show but you need to be sure of what you buy. There are some packages that differ and you must make sure that the main spots are covered. The musical fountains are a classic example of technology harnessed for creating aesthetically beautiful effect of lasers, water and sound. How did they think up this one?
The 4 D theatre at Sentosa is one more attraction. We are familiar with 3 D and the Bats in the movie look like they are flying out at you and you push your head back as a reflex action. The 4 D experience has one more dimension – dimension of touch and feel. Your seats shake and you get tickled and sprinkled with water depending on the scene in the movie. In one scene the villain sinks in a pile of creepy crawly insects and you have wires under your seats that start tickling your ankles and you experience the `real” sensation of being stuck in a pile of creepy crawlies and you feel you are ready to run. A rock falls in the sea with a splash in the movie and real droplets of water hit you in the face!! Don’t miss the 4 D experience for the world.
The city has a family touch. All announcements include mentions of boys and girls and it’s a clean cultured city. You are not likely to find couples smooching on city streets as you would find in some American cities. The Science Center is fabulous and education in itself. It has covered virtually all the topics covered in school. Imagine learning parts of brain with a model where different areas of brain are marked with distinct lights that respond to your touch. Its well maintained and yes every single public toilet there is clean and functional and not at all smelly. I know we have not managed this in our country so I particularly appreciate this.
The public transport system takes 15 minutes to master and once you have a map you can ride at very competitive rates. You must master the Map before getting on a train. Definition of a crowded train in Singapore is that you have to wait for two stations before you get a seat!! Try telling that to a Mumbai Wala and he will look at you with disbelief. The trains are Air-conditioned and as good as the ones you see in Yash Chopra movies.
You are never too far off from Indian food incase you cant do without it and China Town, Simlim center, Orchard road , Clark Quay, Mustafa have to be seen to be believed.
Just enjoy Singapore.