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An unplanned start to life in Singapore


Confessions of a Traveler’s Unplanned Singapore Trip

“I know the dark moments of dusk shall be succeeded by sunrise,
And a million miles need to be traveled before I close my eyes,
But I wish to escape away from this world, where even silence seems to scream,
Far away into the fantasies of a beautiful dream,
Where I don’t need to smile wide, only to keep my tears from falling,
Away to a place where like dreams, reality is beautiful and enthralling!”

Traveling to escape the reality is something we’ve all been doing since long. Travel is indeed, the best respite from the complexities, stress and the unending work of your everyday lives. I never knew about the therapeutic effects travel can have on your restless, unhappy souls until a few weeks ago, when I packed my bags and headed for a trip to Singapore.

It would definitely not be an overstatement when I say that this trip has completely transformed my life. It means a lot to me, and I have had the best time of my life during this trip.

Why Singapore?

pic: cprogrammer/flickr

Why not Paris, Edinburgh, Shanghai or Africa? I could have gone to any place in the world, but I chose to visit Singapore. It was partly because my trip was unplanned, and then procuring the tourist visa for Singapore was relatively easy.

Heading towards the Lion City…

Without proper planning, no fixed itinerary and no guidebooks, heading towards Singapore was not really the wisest thing to do. It was however, a risk worth taking.

My travel began on an unpleasant note, as I suffer from air-sickness. No amount of medication and remedies could provide relief from the nausea and headache I was facing. I was certain that this trip would turn out to be a complete disappointment, so I started praying that this hopeless travel and my unplanned stupidity come to an end soon. Little did I know that my prayers would be answered in such a conflicting manner!

My Tryst with Singapore’s Vibrant Culture

Singapore’s vibrant culture caught me off-guard, and I was surprised to see the peaceful coexistence of so many diverse ethnicities together. It had a very soothing and pleasant effect on me, as I saw people from different parts of Asia living together in harmony. Some of the notable aspects of Singapore’s ethnic culture are:

1. Food: People from almost all parts of the world throng Singapore for its delicious and multifarious cuisines. Good food is abundantly available in Singapore. You can practically go on to pick anything and everything from Singapore’s food shelves. There is enough variety to have you experimenting all your life.

The Singaporean cuisine comprises of Chinese, Indian, Malay and Indonesian cuisine. There are many hawker centers in Singapore, and also some of the most renowned and popular hotel chains. Some of the best picks from the Singaporean cuisines that I had a chance to savor are:

a. Chilli Crab- I tried this super-amazing dish at Ming Kee Live Seafood, and still cannot get over its heavenly taste. It was made with Sri Lankan crustaceans in thick gravy. It had a well-prepared, sweet and spicy taste to it. It tastes even better when the female spawning crab is the main ingredient of the dish with deep fried sweet-dough buns as sides. (I did go for the second helping, after all!)

b. Chicken Rice: This is one dish you shall find at almost all hawker centers. White chicken is said to be the traditional version of this dish, though I think I tried some other version. The chicken rice I had was served with a mound of spring onion, a bowl of soup, some vinegary sauce and another sweet dark sauce.

c. Grilled Sambal Stingray: The Grilled Sambal Stingray was personally, my favorite dish. It was served with a large, cold glass of pressed sugarcane juice at Chomp Chomp. It was a spicy dish and it was prepared by grilling the ray’s fin over charcoal. It was served smothered with a sweet and chilly paste that had my tongue wagging for another glass of the green sugarcane juice.

d. Ayam buah Keluak: This was one stand-alone dish from the Nyonya cuisine. You can not help but marvel at the superbly prepared chicken stewed with black buah keluak nuts. I enjoyed this delicacy at True Blue Cuisine, where I was served by Benjamin ‘Baba Sen’. He served dishes, prepared by his mother in the Peranakan grounds, which had a museum-kind of feel to them.

pic: jjcb/Flickr

I also enjoyed my brief stint in some Singapore hotels, which served immaculately prepared dishes. Out of all my food adventures there, I cannot forget the thin-crust pizza prepared by an orange-clogged chef at one of the most renowned hotels there. The pizza was prepared perfectly in a completely Italian style. I do not remember having tasted such an authentically prepared pizza outside Venice or Naples.

2. Friendly Locals: An unplanned trip to Singapore could never be so successful, had it not been for the super-friendly locals. Luckily, most of them speak English easily. I guess that’s mainly because English is one of the four official languages in Singapore. I enjoyed their cooperative approach and interesting company.

Interacting with local Singaporeans helped me learn a lot about Singapore’s diverse culture. I would love to share some of the following aspects of Singapore’s local culture and lifestyle:

a. Local Dialect: I adore the instances of Singlish terms in the local English dialect of Singaporeans. They use words like ‘leh’, ‘meh’ and ‘Atas’ many times in their English conversations. These sound too cool, and I really like the cool and carefree style of conversations Singaporeans indulge in. They like to keep their conversations short and crisp, and use many acronyms during their conversations. This makes their English dialect even cooler.

b. Respectful Culture: Singaporeans have a very refined culture, which has its roots evolving from different ethnicities. I was surprised to hear little boys and girls address their elders as ‘Uncles’ and ‘Aunties’, even when they were random strangers. There were also instances where I saw people touching the feet of their elders, with such reverence. It’s a delight to be a part of such a beautiful and respectful culture.

c. Religion: People in Singapore come from different cultures, and also from different religions. These people were quite tolerant of each other’s religious practices and beliefs. It was a treat to witness such communal harmony. I felt so glad to be at a place where people do not discriminate each other on the basis of looks, riches and religion.

d. Entertainment: Besides some of the best tourist spots in the world, Singapore has many entertainment options for tourists. There are many clubs, pubs and casinos in Singapore. I particularly enjoyed clubbing and my visit to the two-resort casinos in Singapore was an unforgettable one. Though casinos in Singapore are just two years old, I sincerely believe that they can actually give casinos in Las Vegas a run for money.

Singapore’s rich culture makes it truly worth-visiting. I have grown so deeply attached to Singapore’s attractive multi-faceted culture that I’m planning to apply for Singapore work permit. I’m sure it would be real fun to work and stay in such a culturally rich country.

Tourist Spots in Singapore

Singapore is a traveler’s paradise. A bit of planning in advance could have really helped me tour Singapore in a better way. I went for an unplanned trip and had no clue about popular tourist spots there. I was lucky to encounter a few friendly locals who helped me frame an itinerary. I visited some of the best places in Singapore. Some of these places that have an unforgettable impact on my mind are:

pic: tass/flickr

1. Sentosa Island: Sentosa was the only tourist spot I had heard of in Singapore, before I planned my trip. I spent an entire day at Sentosa, and enjoyed every bit of it. The Underwater Aquarium in Singapore was probably one of the best experiences of my life. It was pure thrill to walk besides some of the most beautiful and rare aquatic creatures. There were also some exotic marine and freshwater creatures in this underwater aquarium.

I was so happy to let go off all my inhibitions while taking joyrides with kids at amusement parks in Singapore. The Universal Studios is another tourist spot in Sentosa that completely enthralled me. It was all like a beautiful fairytale!

2. The Esplanade: I’ve always been an art-lover and thoroughly enjoyed my visit to The Esplanade. It is a hub of art and depicts the art and culture of Singapore beautifully. Given a chance again, I would love to visit the Esplanade when it hosts the International Music Event.

3. Orchard Road: A visit to Singapore is incomplete without a satisfying shopping spree. I am a self-confessed shopaholic, and I enjoyed shopping to my heart’s content at the Orchard Road. I was lucky, for having visited Singapore during the ongoing Grand Singapore Sale. It was a lifetime experience, and I got some attractive branded items at an awfully low price. After having experienced the best ever shopping expedition in recent years, I think Singapore is every bit a shopper’s paradise during months of June and July.

Author Bio: Priyanka Iyer is a content writer associated with one-visa.com. She is an avid reader who likes to travel and study the work and business cultures of different places. Priyanka has written about different topics related to travel tips, work and business opportunities in different countries and cost-effective strategies to start a business.

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