Singapore – the Lion City

Singapore – the Lion City

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To Do and See

Orchard Road, Singapore

Orchard Road, Singapore

A Shoppers Delight
Singapore’s Fifth Avenue – Orchard Road
Orchard Road is a 2.5 km strip of gleaming multi storey shopping malls and hotels. It starts at Tanglin Road and it concludes near the Dhobby Ghaut MRT (Subway) station Orchard Road has in its environs the flagship store Tangs belonging to the C.K.Tang group. It is a must stop destination for tourists as it caters to every need of every age group. Tangs also has a department to handle the G.S.T refunds for tourists. Tourists are entitled to a refund of Singapore’s sales tax levy of 5% Opposite Tang’s is  Wisma Atria yet another mall with a gigantic food court where one can sample local hawker stall delights like ‘Rojak’ and ‘Poh piah’ in air conditioned comfort. The sea of malls continues towards the end of the road and includes Paragon, a mall with designer retail outlets and Ngee Ann City which houses the multilevel Japanese department store Takashimaya. In the midst of all this modernity near the Center Point Mall are the quaint Peranakan   shop houses of Emerald hill. Many of these shop houses reminiscent of old Singapore are pubs today, but they represent what Singapore must have looked like in centuries past. At Singapore’s malls one can get every conceivable good from clothing, cell phones, house wares, designer goods and accessories. All the major retail brands of the world have a presence at Orchard Road. Orchard Road becomes a veritable shoppers delight in the month of July when the great Singapore Sale is held and many bargains are on offer to tempt the shopper.

Arab Street
Near the Central Business district is Arab Street an older part of town where the first traders from Arabia landed. This is yet another shopping area as are Baghdad and Bussorah Street.

Chinatown
Located at the Outram Park MRT station Sinagpore’s Chinatown has been spruced up. The traditional shop houses typical of old world Singapore have been restored and wear a fresh coat of paint. Souvenir stalls stand cheek by jowl with stores selling beautiful antiques such as old Chinese furniture, stone carvings and other lifestyle products. Located in Chinatown is also the oldest store in Singapore selling Chinese porcelain as well as the Hindu Sri Mariaamma temple with its colorful tower of dieities. The Thien Hock Keng Chinese Temple as well as the Fuk Tak Chi Chinese temple are also located here in Chinatown.

Serangoon Road “Little India”

More of old Singapore can be seen in Singapore’s own vibrant ‘Little India’ which is located on Serangoon Road and is accessible by the North East line on the MRT system. Here we have the ‘Little India’ center with its numerous stores selling colorful saris, spices, Indian sweetmeats and artifacts from the subcontinent. Outside the center Bollywood music blares out of many a small store selling DVDs and CDs of the latest Bollywood blockbusters. Bollywood movies are a favorite with Singapore’s multicultural society with even the Chinese and Malay populations enjoying them. There are also rows of goldsmith shops and shops selling incense and flower garlands to the people going the many Hindu temples of the area. The most famous temple here is the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple with its tower composed of many small multicolored idols.

Serangoon Road also has Tekka market a ‘wet market’ where stalls sell fresh produce of the region along with fish and other meats as well as a big hawker center with stalls selling local gastronomic delights. A number of good Indian restaurants are located here the most famous amongst these are Komala Vilas and Annapurnas. The latter is located opposite the gargantuan Mohammed Mustaffa shopping center a shopping center which carries almost every product under the sun and is popular with both tourists and locals alike. A mention must also be made of the excellent Buddhist vegetarian restaurant called Fut Sai Kai located on Kitchner Road adjacent to the Mohammed Mustaffa Center but make sure to go before 7.30 pm as the delicious vegetarian food which is prepared by Buddhist monks usually runs out by then

Holland Village
An expat enclave on Holland Road, the Holland Road Shopping Center has a store called Lims which is famous for its lifestyle products and house wares sourced from all over South East Asia.

Sentosa
Sentosa is a man made resort island accessible by cable car, bus and foot. It has three beaches which were made with imported sand and have many recreational water sport activities. It also has a Underwater world, Dolphin Lagoon, Wax museum showing the images of Singapore’s History, the Carlsberg Sky Tower, the Butterfly and insect museum and a Golf course. Now Sentosa also is the locale of new luxury apartments and a rapidlydeveloping residential area.

Raffles Hotel

Jurong Bird Park, Singapore

Jurong Bird Park, Singapore

This beautiful historic hotel named after Sir Stamford Raffle is an exponent of colonial architecture and provided much inspiration to many writers who lived and wrote here such as Noel Coward, Somerset Maugham and Joseph Conrad. One must have the famed drink the Singapore Sling invented at the peanut shell covered Long Bar. Also savor local eats at the restaurants of this hotel Doc Chengs and Ah Tengs Bakery famous for its high tea.

Jurong Bird Park
Set on Jurong Hill with a walk in aviary the Park is home to numerous species of birds. The Bird show at the Park is popular with children and adults alike.

Singapore Botanic Gardens
Situated on Napier road spread over 128 acres are the magnificent Botanic gardens. Lush landscaped gardens are popular with morning walkers and joggers and tourists who come to marvel at the many species of flora and Fauna. It has the National Orchid Garden in its environs

Boat Quay, Clarke Quay The Singapore River
These two Quays along the Singapore River are the centers of entertainment as there are several restaurants and clubs to be found here. The Satay Club is an up market hawker center on Clarke Quay. Boat cruises are also available to meander down the Singapore River. Dance Clubs such as Attica, the Ministry of Sound and Forbidden City are popular night spots on Clarke Quay. On Sundays a flea market is held at Clark Quay

The Night Safari
Held at The Singapore Zoo during nocturnal hours gives one a different experience as the shyest animals come out at night.

Cheap Food, Singapore

Cheap Food, Singapore

Singapore’s Gastronomic Delights
A travel guide cannot be complete without a mention of Singapore’s culinary delights. All kinds of cuisines are available in Singapore but for a tourist must sample the local food at the many hawker centers located all over the Island. These are stalls serving all the local foods such as Char Kway teow( flat noodles with chili paste and meat ),Haiwanese Chicken rice( Chicken with rice and fragrant broth),poh piah( steamed spring rolls) Rojak ( tamarind based salad) and Ice kachang( a local ice based desert). These are just some of the vast varieties of local dishes. Hawker centers and food courts abound all over the island. The most popular with tourists is the Newton food court but there exist equally good food courts on Maxwell Road and the Lau Pa Sat Festival Market on Raffles Quay. To experience Singapore is to eat at the Hawker Centers.

However excellent dining options are to be found at various restaurants such as the restaurants at Rochester Park which are housed in old Colonial homes and have an old world ambience. Min Jiang, De Paulo are some of the restaurants located here. Sentosa also has an excellent Italian restaurant called Il Lido as does Holland Village with Michelangelo’s. Club Street is yet another dining option which has excellent restaurants such as Indo Chine.

The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore

The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore

Hotels
The worlds leading hotel chains have a presence in Singapore. The Hilton, The Mandarin Oriental with its famous restaurant serving local delights ‘ The Chatterbox’, The Good wood Park with its old world feel, The Shangri La with its opulent gardens and the Ritz Carlton are just some of the many hotels that dot Singapore’s landscape. Along with these Luxury hotels budget hotels such as Hotel Asia, Sha Villa are also an option for the more price conscious traveler. In addition The Singapore YMCA at Dhoby Ghaut has a provision for lodging at reasonable prices.


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