sexy, sublime, sizzling Singapore!

Singapore… sexy, sleek, sublime….to be seen to be believed.

This is an extraordinary city…a city that has to be experienced.
No tale of clean streets and world class services can adequately describe the real-life experience!

Colin Chester takes you on a whirlwind vicarious trip to the Super City!

super sexy singapore!

From the time you arrive at Changi International, the city puts wow factor into high gear!

I didn’t think it was possible to fall in love with an airport… but when you have experienced the Sunflower garden, butterfly gardens, cactus gardens, free movie, gyms and the EXTRAORDINARY rain vortex in the Jewel, it simply is impossible not to.

What other city in the world has an airport which is a tourist attraction in its own right?

But making all those attractions pale in comparison.….. the most incredibly welcoming staff at Passport Control!

I joke not!

I have never experienced arriving in a country where passport control makes you feel welcome and expresses their delight at your being there.

Once you have managed to prise yourself way from the marvel that is Changi, and hit the streets of Singapore, there are not enough superlatives to describe this city.

I had heard tales of how clean it was… of how efficient it was… But nothing,. truly NOTHING can prepare you for what you experience.

The Singaporeans are proud of their city, and its reputation, and justifiably so.

There are no derelict buildings… there is no litter… this is a model city.

Some may say a little sterile… but I find it a testament to human spirit and what we can accomplish if we set our minds to it.

The public transport is efficient, on time, clean.

The streets and paved areas are made with the “ user “ in mind.

The bayside promenade has large solar powered sensor activated fans, which pedestrians can catch their breath under.

There is a laser and hologram show over the bay each evening…

The Gardens on the Bay DEFY description.

And if you are in the mood for some great comparatively cost-effective shopping, take yourself off to China Town… The atmosphere. The shops… (and if you are a Tin Tin fan..the most AMAZING Tin Tin shop) make the trip something special.

This is a city that has to be experienced….

marina bay sands

We were fortunate enough to stay at the legendary Marina Bay Sands hotel.

I had seen pictures… I had read reviews…. But nothing really prepares you for the spectacle that is Marina Bay sands.

The 3 towers support the worlds largest roof top rim flow pool..suspended a  dizzying 57 floors above the street…A mesmerising statement of engineering and architectural prowess…a building which has become synonymous with the Singapore Skyline, and that’s just from the outside!!

We entered the incredible atrium from the Shopping arcade running from the nearby Metro, located below the hotel…I felt a little like “ Sheep in the big city”

The soaring interior gives some perspective of the scale of the building… But it is difficult to take it all in.. The glass walls give a view of the Gardens on the Bay, located immediately behind the towers.

As we had decided on the “ what the hell you only live once” motto , we opted for an executive suite, which gave us access not only to the Skypark and infinity pool, but put us in a suite above the 48th floor with incredible city views, and, joy of joys, a VIP Check in desk.

The room itself is probably bigger than some of the apartments I have stayed in in my many years…. In fact the bathroom was probably bigger than many of the bedrooms I have had in my various abodes.

And the view……. Oh my…the view…. Floor to ceiling class, with the incredible city across the bay before you. Now granted I’m terrified of heights, so I probably didn’t get the full benefit, (about 5 feet from the window was my limit!), but my other half assures me it was even more spectacular from close up.

And then there is the sky park…57 floors above street level…with a large rim flow pool overlooking the city. This has become one of the places to be seen in the metropolis.

To give some perspective of size, the rim flow pool alone stretches some 151m in length – or in terms one could visualize, 1.5 rugby fields long, and the Sky park consist of 2.5 acres of gardens.

All of this some perched 57 floors from the pavement below.

A spectacular albeit nerve wracking experience.

Throw in a breakfast which includes foie gras canapes and Angus beef and this is one HELL of a five star experience.

Yes…it isn’t easy on the pocket…but this type of accommodation doesn’t come cheap.. And if, like ourselves, you have decided to treat yourself just once..for the experience….it is worth every cent!

gardens on the bay

A trip to Singapore is not complete without a trip to the Gardens on the Bay. 

A mind-blowing experience which combines the wizardry of some incredible engineering, together with an educational experience about our planet and it’s biodiversity that you will not see anywhere else.

Two glass domes – the “Flower Dome” and the “ Cloud Forest” form the spectacular backdrops in the South Garden, with the Flower Dome being the world’s largest column less glasshouse, with the Flower Dome covering 1.2 Hectares (12,000 square meters) and the Cloud Forest containing a 35 Meter waterfall, and covering 0.8 Hectares (8000 square meters).

And if these aren’t impressive enough engineering feats, wander on to the “ Super Tree Grove”,  which contains tree like structures which vary between 25 meters and 50 meters in height, with spanned walkways between them, (a little hair raising for folk like me who are afraid of heights), some of whose functions include venting hot and cold air and cooling of waters for the domes, and interestingly, powering much of the electrical requirements for the Gardens…Each tree is topped with photovoltaic cells.

This is a botanic garden taken to a new level, and was an initiative by the Singapore Government to take the City from being a “ Garden City” to a “ City within in a Garden” .

The Gardens comprise of lakes, grasslands, massive sculptures, meadows, and the list goes on, whilst the domes showcase environments which differ substantially from Singapore’s natural environment (which is hot and tropical).

The Flower dome replicates drier regions, (The Med, Australia, South Africa), whilst the “ Cloud Forest” replicates environments found in the upper tropical mountain regions, with spectacular displays of orchids.

The Gardens are easily accessible, backing onto the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

You can catch a Metro to within easy walking distance.

There is even a “ Children’s Garden” with trampolines, balancing beams et al for travelling with the family.

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Singapore,  make sure you visit this incredible homage to the ingenuity of the forward thinking Singaporeans.

Singapore is an aspirational city which shows you how life could be lived, if we all out our minds to it. 

Do’s:

Do explore the airport a little – It sounds odd, but it truly is a marvel.

Do take a walk around the streets -It gives a better perspective of this incredible place. A forewarning however, the heat can make Durban summers look tame.

Do visit China Town – It’s incredibly easy to get to – There is a metro line with a station which comes up right beside it. The food and shopping are great!

Do try to get to the Sky park at marina bay sands – if you aren’t staying there, you do have to pay an entrance fee, but it is worth spending some time there.

Do get to Gardens on the Bay! – Even if you aren’t one for flowers, the engineering behind this place is mind blowing.

Do visit the Merlion –  A trip to Singapore isn’t complete without a visit to this mythical beast.

Do use the metro. Its cost effective efficient and reliable.

Don’ts:

LITTER! – They Singaporeans are VERY pedantic about this (understandably so) and you will face a very stiff fine!

Ignore the signs, rules and the law.

Expect this place to be cheap – It isn’t! In fact if you aren’t off the beaten track it is extraordinarily expensive!