Sunday, January 30, 2011

Experience The Night of Singapore

 The Republic of Singapore is an independent nation in Southeast Asia. Located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, separated only by the narrow Strait of Johor from the mainland, it is a prosperous nation whose people enjoy one of the highest standards of living in Asia. Singapore's resident population of over 4.2 million inhabitants is comprised of 77% Chinese, 14% Malay, 8% Indian and 1% others. Common languages English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. English is widely spoken.

 Place To Visit :

# Animal Kingdom
# Singapore Island
# Landmarks
# Museums
# Parks
# Singapore River
# Worship
# World War II Sites
# Ethnic Quarters
# Chinatown
# Suburban Living

Strolling through downtown Singapore, I can't help but notice a large tree growing out of the side of a skyscraper. Not far away, three 55-story buildings stand side-by-side with what appears to be an enormous ship resting across their tops.
And it only gets better. This one-of-a kind skyline is juxtaposed against so many gardens with rainforestlike vegetation that Singapore is known as the "garden city."

# Singapore Botanic Gardens and National Orchid Garden: This city is all about plants. Sir Stamford Raffles sought to establish a British colony here in 1819 because it was on the route to the Spice Islands. Today, Singapore is a powerhouse in the hybrid orchid business. You'll see amazing orchids in the garden. When we visited, the prime minister of Kazakhstan was there to be honored with an orchid created for and named after him.

# Singapore Zoo: Visitors walk through aviaries to get up close and personal with giant fruit bats and mouse deer. There's even a Komodo dragon, an 8-foot-long lizard that drools poisonous saliva. Don't miss the elephant show where Asian elephants demonstrate their skills at working with humans.

# Jurong Bird Park: Avians of every hue fill this park, described as the largest bird park in the world. There are pink flamingos and really, really pink flamingos. The finale of the bird show: an Amazon parrot who sings "Happy Birthday" -- in three languages.

# Pulau Ubin: In a densely populated city like Singapore, residents want to enjoy nature and open spaces. All of Pulau Ubin, a small island, is a national park. To get there, we took the MRT, then a bus past the Changi Airport to a tiny port where we hopped on a "bumboat." For two Sing dollars each, the captain shuttled us across a quarter-mile strait and dropped us at the quay. You can take the day to circumambulate the island, enjoy bird life (and roaming pigs) and enjoy a well-programmed nature walk. Rent a bicycle and eat lunch at one of the restaurants where the boat drops off visitors.

# National Museum of Singapore: Housed in a 19th-century building with a soaring rotunda, it tells the story of the city's rise from malarial swamp to world-class city. The top floor of the addition displays recent cultural artifacts from Singapore's film and fashion industry. A display of photos offered a narrative about who lived, and how they lived, in Singapore. One gallery was devoted to food. Nothing reveals the city's rich cultural diversity more than its foods.

# Asian Civilisations Museum: It was here we learned how nature determined Singapore's global role. Spring monsoons blew trading ships north; fall monsoon winds blew them south, and Singapore was the trading center.

# Downtown Marina Bay area: Includes the Marina Bay Sands, and the Marina Bay Seating Gallery and floating platform (now a soccer field). More than 30 years in the making, the Marina Bay is the heart of modern Singapore. The city's symbol, the "merlion," spouts water from a central plaza near the Fullerton Hotel and across the bay from the newly opened 55-story Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino (the aforementioned buildings with the "ship" on top).

# Little India: This is a distinctive neighborhood where you can dine on naan and curry, buy a sari or look for colorful floral leis.

# Chinatown: A neighborhood with a plethora of street vendors selling everything from hand-painted perfume bottles to porcelain and Yue Hwa, a Shanghai-based department store that sells clothing, teapots, arts and crafts. The most fun? The Chinatown Food Street where food carts serve up Cantonese, Sichuan, Teochew, Hainan, Hokkien and other Chinese cuisines.

# Arab Street: We were dazzled by the little shops selling some of the most beautiful fabrics imaginable.

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