Monthly Archives: February 2015

Singapore… The ‘City In A Garden’

As I glided into the city on the MRT, Singapore’s main transport system, I felt a great sense of ease.  I was able to fully appreciate the efficiency and thoughtful planning that had gone into the layout and infrastructure of this tropical city-state.

Despite being in an air-conditioned carriage on a high speed monorail there was no denying I had arrived in the tropics.  A combination of effort on the part of the government to develop and enhance Singapore’s greenery, and a warm climate with abundant rainfall throughout the year, have resulted in a city where foliage can flourish.  Lush vegetation springs up from the earth in between the clean lines of the modern city buildings, reminding me that, despite being surrounded by modern space-age style buildings, I was still very much on a living planet.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Singapore wasn’t my wildest adventure, but that was part of the appeal for me.  I stayed for a couple of weeks visiting a friend so I had time to really settle in.  Not that it took long; I instantly felt at home there.  In the preceding months I’d been travelling alone around Turkey, Georgia and Armenia.  It had been amazing, but it was a relief to be somewhere I could blend in with the locals (there are expats from all over the world living in Singapore) and communicate easily.

It was familiar enough to be comfortable, but different enough to be interesting.  I only had to venture across the road to the nearest shopping mall to experience a wide variety of excellent reasonably priced food from all over Asia and the rest of the world, catering to the tastes of the diverse mix of people who lived there.

I was a stones throw away from Sentosa island which on a quiet week day is quite a relaxing place to explore.  It’s known as ‘The State of Fun’ and certainly has its fair share of entertaining attractions, but I preferred to find quieter spots to stroll around, or take a quick dip in the sea.

 

Palawan beach on Sentosa island, Singapore, with suspension bridge across to the southernmost point in continental Asia.

Palawan beach on Sentosa island, Singapore, with suspension bridge across to the southernmost point in continental Asia.

One of my favourite memories of Singapore was walking around the forest on Sentosa and then hopping on the free bus that takes visitors around the island.  It’s probably a different story at busier times but I really appreciated the peace and tranquility of that moment combined with the convenience of being in a city resort.  It definitely isn’t the place to go for a relaxing beach holiday, but it’s one of many havens in a large modern city.

Singapore zoo

Singapore zoo.  I loved this poncho which sheltered me and my bag from the torrential rain… I think the tortoise liked it too!

Singapore zoo was another such haven for me.  As zoos go it’s a pretty good one, with lots of space for the animals and an emphasis on conservation.  There is a lot to see, and a separate “Night Safari” too which is well worth a visit.

Singapore also has some stunning and fascinating botanical gardens which are absolutely huge.  My favourite parts were travelling through time in a garden that told the natural history of the Earth, and strolling barefoot on the ‘reflexology’ paths that give your feet a massage as you go.

The Gardens by the Bay were the last gardens I visited in this ‘Garden City’, with the Supertree Grove being the perfect example of the city’s green aspirations.  Each ‘Supertree’ is a beautiful fusion of modern technology and nature.  The trees capture solar energy to help run the park, collect rainwater and channel it to where it is needed, and cool the large domed conservatories.  They are a magnificent sight to behold, with plants climbing all the way up the huge steel frames that reach up to the sky, and views of the park and beyond from the suspended walkway between them.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

 

These crazy futuristic gardens are a perfect symbol for Singapore which is doing its best to live up to its slogan of ‘City in a Garden’.

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