Year 2016 began with a very interesting events. First of all it was New Year in Rome, than a bit of beautiful night photography in Prague and at the end of the month I made my first trip to Asia: Prague – Singapore.
Going ahead I need to say it was a trip in a time machine into the future. It turned to be also an experience with lots of happenings under the label of #myfirsttimeever Looking back at the days spent in Singapore I smile and realise that it was a trip to a fairy tale.
Packing for the trip to Singapore I was not very sure about the very right choice of the clothes, because there is a huge gap between Europe and Asia in time as well as in temperature. January in the Czech Republic is quite cold, about -5 degrees, when in Singapore they have permanent +30 and more. Even following the guidelines of my local friend, there were several items I put into the suitcase and never put on.
My first longest flight so far
Traveling throughout Europe with local airlines you never experience a flight longer than 4-5 hours. My longest trip on a plane before the January 2016 was a 3 hour trip from Warsaw Modlin to Paris Orly. I have heard from lots of my friends about the flights over the ocean and I was very excited about it.
I will write soon an article with my impressions and review about flying from Europe to Singapore with KLM company
The time machine launched and brought me to the future. With every step through the jet bridge I made after arrival and leaving the beloved airplane hot air welcomed me. I saw experienced people who changed the jeans for light and comfortable shorts and dresses. It was like to enter sauna wearing winter clothes, but already in some 10 steps a new world of air-conditioned fresh cool and transparent insides of the biggest airport I have been to so far greeted me.
A few days later cycling in the Eastside park along the shore I counted that every two minutes a new airplane arrives in Changi airport, bringing about 4000-5000 people every hour. But you will never feel this crowd, because of the plan and design of the airport. As the whole city-country of Singapore, Changi is built according the laws of feng shui, where the streams of energy and people are redirected the way there are no crossings and traffic jams.
Another surprising feature of Changi is the silence. The floor is covered with carpets which absorb the noise absolutely. Solemn and silent.
The hotel was chosen according to the location which was very fancy, because Clark Quay neighborhood is very popular with locals and travelers. During the day this place opens possibilities for shopping and in the evening numerous bars, restaurants and clubs are crowded with people willing to get refreshed and relaxed after a long hot working or traveling day.
Holiday Inn Express Clark Quay was absolutely fine, with incredible roof top swimming pool, crazy huge breakfast, super friendly crew and comfortable rooms with all you may ever need inside. Find a link for individual bookings of this hotel in Singapore.
Getting around Singapore one should try both public transport and taxis. The first option is easy to use, if you read manuals in advance. The metro plans are very clear, stops are located quite close to the most popular location you may travel to. Navigation is very easy, just follow the line, color or name of the station and you are a success.
All the sings are written in English and Chinese
To put it mildly Singaporeans are even more crazy about food, than Italians. Believe me or not, but number of dishes and flavours, tastes and variants of eating in Singapore is absolutely insane. The cuisine was strongly influenced by Indian, Chinese, Malay and Japanese chefs, therefore the local kitchen today represents amazing combination of ingredients cooked in a traditional way adopted to the area.
Some of the dishes I tried in Singapore were strongly correlating with quite close foods to European tradition, but even more were unique and and the the label #wow #amazing #givemeanotherportionplease
Almost all the dishes are spicy and hot. Unfortunately my stomach is not able to digest much of such food and I am always very careful with it, but what happened to me in Singapore was a miracle! Every day I ate local food only, spicy with lots of flavors, mixing the dishes, because of strong desire to taste as much as possible and everything went smoothly! There were absolutely no problems with my stomach.
Singapore is a very young country, with the history of some 50 years. It was built on the empty territory and today it is a prosperous dream country, with strong economy, strict law and friendly people. Singapore nation like local food is a mixture: Chines, Malay and Indians live on a small island together at peace.
It was though not always like that
The mother of my friends remembers her youth when she could have been killed just for being a Chinese. To protect citizens from such troubles and to make locals tolerant and friendly to all the races and nations, the government adopted a law according to which in the so-called public areas the real estate is given to people of different cultures. Thus citizens get mixed and no «national» neighborhoods exist. This huge step toward tolerance made Singapore a safe and conferrable city to live in.
Are you a black, white, tall or small, no one cares
The city of Singapore is a very young one. Therefore all the solutions used in its construction reflect all modern tech inventions, but on the other side they follow the traditions and customs of ancient times.
This mixture of super modern and checked with time methods gave birth to the most comfortable, attractive, green and impressive city, I have ever been to. Being surrounded with concrete, you never feel like in urban jungles, but sometime you may find yourself in the real jungles.
Skyscrapers near the promenade by marina by Sands hotel are absolutely iconic. They are modern reflection of prosperous country.
Entertainment and relax
Here and there in Singapore you see SPA and massage salons. They do take care of health and healthy lifestyle is a common idea among locals. Alcohol is very expansive, as well as tobacco. For example, a bootle of beer in a supermarket is about 6 Singapore dollars, which makes twice a price in comparison with Europe. For drugs people get death penalty and it is not a fairy tale, it really happens.
In the city they made several relaxing zones. The most popular with locals is the East coast park. This is a long line for cycling and jogging along the shore, with various facilities for people of all ages. All the parks in Singapore are linked to each other, making an endless chain of green and comfortable areas for sport lovers.
Sentosa island is another popular place to go in Singapore. There you find entertainment of all kinds.
- There is a beach with bars and discos, where parties take place every night.
- In the huge casinos, where locals pay 100 dollars entrance fee and tourists go for free, thousands of luck hunters spend and win the money.
- Aquarium being one of the biggest in the world make kind and grown-ups happy, because the way it is organized and designed gives an amazing opportunity to see and observe the life of thousands of water animals.
- Universal park, with its long queues open the world cinematography to visitors.
Gardens by the Bay in Singapore
Gardens by the bay in Singapore are the absolutely #mustsee. On the one hand you get into real jungles, on the other you can climb unique futuristic trees and walk between them experiencing the views of the gardens, flyer and amazing hotel Marina Bay Sands. If you book a hotel close to this area, you can make morning runs through the gardens by the bay and see impressive views over the Singapore port.
Promenade is a popular place for strolls and photo taking. Instagram gives much of inspiration for those who plan to come to Singapore with the pictures taken in the area. Just in 5 minutes walk from the promenade you get to Singapore flyer, which was the biggest one «eye» in the world. It is another place worth visiting even if you have limited time to spent in the city.
Time machine effect
At the very beginning of the article I have said that it was a trip in time. And it is true. First of all it takes 14 long hours of flight from Amsterdam to Singapore. Moreover, everything that I saw before and all the places I have been to so far, are ancient, with long and dramatic history. There, in Singapore, I felt that local society has made huge steps towards adopting the common sense and logics into daily life with a respect to old traditions.
They are not afraid of crazy and too ambitious projects like Marina Bay Sands hotel or the Gardens by the Bay. I think that Europe, even the most developed parts of it, are some 50 years behind Singapore in the ability to discuss and make decisions based on the results. And the bases for this are the clear and strict legislative and executive powers, that function and make the country and every citizen prosperous.
Today is Chinese New Year, a very important holiday for Singaporeans. Therefore I would like to congratulate all of my friends, who follow the tradition of the moon calendar and celebrates this day. I wish I were in Singapore these days, because I say how advanced and proper preparations of the event were. Happy New monkey Year!