A common misconception of Singapore is that the city-state is dull, without much to offer except for a stopover to other places. Change your plans, stay a few days, and enjoy all that has to offer: you will be gratefully surprised. Singapore is a melting pot of cultures with fantastic architecture. There, the old and the new coexist with natural and technological elements, making us think twice about the integration of nature and built human landscapes.
Although it is always a good time to visit Singapore, this year is a special one. Singapore is celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence from Malaysia (obtained in 1965). There are events all year round, the central one being the parade and fireworks on August 9.
All photos by the author.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore is the second-safest and fifth-cleanest city in the world. It also has plenty of greenery right in the middle of the city, so it often ranks well in being a “green city”. You can walk around different parks and go for a picnic with friends: you will feel that you are somewhere else and not in a city famous for its skyscrapers. Pictured: Singapore Botanic Gardens
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay are probably one of the most spectacular gardens in the world. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit them at nighttime: you will be captivated with the daily show of lights and sounds.
Lorng Buangkok Kampang
Incredibly, only 20 minutes by bus from the downtown area, is the last village (or kampong) of Singapore, Lorong Buangkok Kampang, a place where you can experience the essence of a local village. It is slated for demolition, so if you don’t hurry up, perhaps when you go to visit you’ll find a mall or an office building instead.
Beautiful & friendly
Singapore could be busy with traffic and the stress of the financial market, but everyday and everywhere you will see and meet amazingly happy people. One of the most friendly and beautiful people you can find in the world.
Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple
It doesn't matter if you have visited India or not: speeding time in Little India will give you a 100% Indian feeling. People, food, temples, shops will make you forget you are in Singapore. Pictured: Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
Plus, Hindu rites can be experienced at beautiful temples all over the city, not just in Little India. Pictured: Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.
Chinatown food court
Although it may not be as genuine as Little India, in Chinatown you can enjoy China and its culture wandering the streets and visiting the lively shops, restaurants and food court.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Perhaps the best of China’s influence in Singapore can be found in several beautiful Chinese temples. I particularly enjoyed this one, called Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
Cantonese Opera show
I definitely recommend you pay a visit to a Cantonese Opera show. Located in a small and charming place in Chinatown, every Friday and Saturday visitors can enjoy opera classics excerpts, with their full costumes and incredible makeups included. In the picture, Mr Kwok Kwong Luen is the Emperor and Miss Lee Peng Mui plays his concubine, Yang Gui Fei.
On the other hand, inside the Sultan’s Mosque, you can get transported as well. Go to Arab Street looking for fabrics and beautiful clothes in their stores, make a stop for delicacies at their restaurants, or visit ancient mosques. If it’s Europe what you miss, you can walk around Holland Village district just a few subway stops from the center.
World War II Memorial
For those who are passionate about WWII, there is the peaceful World War II Memorial.
Although most people visit Santosa, you’ll be better of visiting another—quieter—island: Palau Ubin. Rent a bike and roam its dirty roads. The journey will take you to inexpensive seafood restaurants, Arab cemeteries that do not seem such, temples, and the tranquility of animals and vegetation.
St. John Island
Now, if you really love charming islands, take a daytrip to other rarely visited islands, such as St John (with its beaches and its mosque), Kusu (with a turtle sanctuary, a Chinese temple and Malay shrines) and Lazaro (close to St John where you can go walking). Pictured: St John Island.
And finally, do enjoy the skyscrapers. You can even go swimming above the skyline.
They are particularly breathtaking at night.
Nearly a 3 months after our trip to Malaysia & Singapore,we have finally got around to writing this report.
First of all, We Thanks to Trip Advisor & its fellow travelers & advisors (like Bradjill, Singapore Nancy, Rainmann Mumbai & many more) who willingly give their valuable advice to others, regardless how simple the questions seem. We found lots of answers and valuable info in the various forums that could not be found in the various websites, no matter how much searching we did.
We love going to Malaysia & Singapore for its tropical feel, friendly people and a general all round great infrastructure. We thought it might be of interest to others planning a visit to these fantastic countries. We flew to Malaysia from Mumbai by Malaysian Airlines – such a wonderful airline(liked peanuts & veg. food serve during going to Kualumppur). We Catch midnight non stop flight from Mumbai & arriving in Kualumppur, Malaysia at 7 a.m., giving us a whole day to do things.
Arrived to Kualumppur International Airport (KIA). We caught a Sky train from terminal 2 to reach terminal 1. After one hour journey by private taxi, reach to Hotel Areena star (Near China Town). Since our check in time at 14.00, after keeping our luggage in hotel lobby, we went for 4 hrs. sight seeing of Kualumppur city by private taxi.
First, we went to world famous Petronas Twin Tower for photo shoot from outside. From there we went to see King Palace, Museum, Leather factory & chocolate factory.
Around 3 p.m. we check in to hotel & after lunch, we took rest.
In the evening, we went to KL tower by using KL Purple bus which is free shuttle service to roam around in city.
We went to second level of KL tower approx. 350 meter high to see magnificent view of city by night. We purchased souvenir like key chain, T-shirt, watch etc. from there.
Later we return to hotel by walking for 20 minutes & ordered Domino’s pizza in our hotel. Pl. note that there is very few variety for vegetarian.
After having breakfast, we check out the hotel & Start for genting highland by private taxi at 10 a.m. Enroute, we saw Batu caves & reached genting highland by 12.00. After checkin into Hotel First world, we went for outdoor theme park. We bought full day pass but due to heavy rain, major rides closed & we will able to sit only in cork screw & pendulum. Our children set in THE WAVES ride which they like very much. Personally, we feel that there is nothing much in Indoor park for adults.
In the evening, after having veg. dinner at second floor level, we went to casino.
After having breakfast, we check out the hotel. We set in monorail which runs through enitre outdoor & indoor theme park (20 min. round). We kept our luggage in private taxi & get down by cable car (apprx, for 20 min.- It runs from morning around six till midnight, worth to have one way trip) to lower level, from where our private taxi took us for airport.
On way to airport, we went to famous china town for purchasing souvenirs.
We heard about KLIA express on trip advisor , so myself & my wife got down at KL central. From there, we caught KLIA express for airport (about 38 min. nonstop at RM35 per pax-worth to experience & really good for family or ind, person doing tour of themselves). We like KIA very much. U can easily spend around 3 to 4 hrs.
We took flight to Singapore at 19.00 & reach Singapore Changi Airport by 20.00. After gathering information from airport, we proceeded to hotel Windsor near Aljunied by private 12 seater bus.
After having breakfast, we went to famous Little India Area by Bus. We had our lunch at Park Baloochi Restaurant (opp. To world famous Mustaffa market). We liked veg. food very very much (we went almost once in everyday, even though it is far from our hotel about 4 km).
For travelling in to Singapore of our own, we bought E z link card for SGD 20 for 5 Pax which include processing charge of SGD 5 for one time, which is not refundable. After that when we refill (min.SGD 5) the card, we’ll get full paid up value to utilize. E Z link cards offer discount on travel by bus & train. We also bought Singapore tourist pass for 3 days for 3 Pax at SGD30 out of which SGD 10 we got it back from airport when we depart from Singapore. It entitle us to travel free in any MRT, LRT & bus. At the end of tour, we feel that it is better to have tourist pass for 3 days(i.e. for 72 hrs.) for travelling in to Singapore of our own (for more than 3 days, they also offer 5 days pass but min. is for 72hrs. at SGD 30).
From China town, we took MRT to Esplanade for Singapore flyer at 16.00. We bought ride pass from my singaporian friend ( Zi Hao, who helped us a lot in travelling Singapore & to cover which place by what time). Flyer took apprx. 40 min. for one round(worth to have one round).
From there we went for walk on Helix bridge & from there via Marina Bay Mall we reached Garden By Bay by 18.00. We feel 2 hrs. is not enough to see Garden By Bay as it is very informative & our children liked very much. We saw spectacular light show over there at 20.30 for half an hour.
We also saw Spectacular Light & laser show performed near marina bay for 45 min. at 21.30 which is worth seeing, we returned to hotel via train & Bus service.
After Having breakfast, we took bus from Mcpherson Rd. to Harbour front bus st.(1 hr.) for visiting world famous Universal Studio in Sentosa Highland.
From Harbour front Bus st., we caught RSW8 bus for Sentosa(15 to 20min). We can go by cable car but we took bus.
We reached Universal studio by 11.00. we have children with us, so we started from anticlockwise direction to avoid long que at adult ride like transformer, mummy ride.
First up went to Shred 4d and Madagascar ride. We then lined up for Water world shows at 12pm– don’t miss this.Took a break for lunch, followed by Jurassic park adventure. We continued to Transformers ride with waiting time of < 5 mins twice. Superb ride. After that did Revenge of Mummy. Kids did the transformers ride again followed by Battlestar Galactica (Human). None of them wanted the cyclon one. Took some snaps with some characters at evening parade and we were done by 18.00.
(Tip – go early at 10am and go on a non peak day & we suggest to family going with children should start from kids zone).
We left Universal Studio & came to Vivocity mall by monorail(free only from U.S.S. to vivocity) in 10 min.
From vivocity, my family member took MRT for little india, while I took double decker bus no. 30 for Bedok MRT at 19.30 (again thanks to trip advisor for posting article on bus no. 30 route) It took around 1hr. to reach Bedok MRT. On the way to Bedok, I saw garden by bay, Singapore flyer, helix bridge, etc.(worth to take this route).
From Bedok MRT, I caught train for Dhobighat MRT & from there train for china town. After having dinner at Park Baloochi Restaurant, we return to our hotel by Bus.
After having breakfast, we caught bus for Aljuneid MRT. From there we went to City mall MRT for Duck tour.
We experienced the Duck tour (for 1hr. give good info. About Singapore history, worth if u don’t go for Singapore river cruise) After having our lunch, we went to Hotel Maradian( Near City Mall) for free bus shuttle service for Universal Studio(thanks to Singapore Nancy, Trip Advisor) . we show our passport & embarkation card to driver & he allowed us to sit in bus.
After reaching Sentosa, we get down at Beach station(transfer hub)
Our chidren like Luge ride & sky way very much & they set 4 times (apprx. 30 min. per round)
Later evening at 21.00, we saw famous Crane dance show (20 min.) Crane dance was too good. Again a not to be missed show & returned to Vivocity mall by monorail. (we suggest to reach sentosa by 14.00 to enjoy its various beach & keep one day separate for universal sudio)
We had our dinner at Sub Way at ground floor level in Vivocity mall.
We returned to our hotel by train & bus.
After breakfast, went to the bugges for souvenirs purchase. we check out our hotel at around 13.30 & transfer to airport by 12 seater private bus (30 min.) After having packed lunch from Park Baloochi Restaurant, we went to see Terminal 3 by train. After roaming for 2 hrs. we returned to terminal 2 by train to catch our flight for Mumbai via Kuallumpur at 18.05.
Attractions visited in Singapore:-
• Singapore flyer
• Gardens by the bay
• Universal Studios Singapore – Transformers, The Mummy, Jurrasic Park, Madagaskar ride – the best
• Sentosa attractions – 4D Adventure land, Luge and skyrides(every one will enjoy)
• Crane dance at 21.00
• Duck Tour
In a Nut shell, We feel that our decision to go Malaysia & Singapore of our own is wise. The best way to travel around there is by taking 3 or 5 day Tourist pass which is easily available from any MRT on request.
We very much like both countries transport system which is very well interconnected & discipline of people.
We once again thanks to everyone knowingly or unknowingly helped us to make our tour memorable since we enjoyed each moment from start till end of our tour.
We request u to give ur comment, query, suggestion for this article so that it can be useful to many other tourist like us. We r happy to help.