Our trip has been one of contrasts so far. The wild celebrations of Buddhist new year in Thailand, the weight of genocide in Phnom Penh, the ruins of an ancient world in Siem Reap and now the accomplishments of an advanced society in Singapore.
Impeccably clean, overwhelmingly safe, perfectly engineered and undeniably cosmopolitan, Singapore is what every city should aspire too. It may be mini in acreage but it’s mighty in architecture. And everything works right, fits right, looks right; from traffic control to skyscrapers it is a well-planned feat of creativity.
Which is why we spent the first day in Singapore underwater. Literally. Neither of us are enamored with animals in captivity but we couldn’t resist the national aquarium where one walks through glass tunnels underneath the bay to see sharks, baracuda, moray eels, jelly fish, and our favorite: the graceful manta rays. We even got to witness a feeding whereby divers hand-fed crab and fish to other sea creatures. The sting rays literally enveloped the divers. Crazy!
From there we ventured on Singapore’s perfect metro railway to the Gardens by the Bay to see the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. Both are indoor marvels, giant domes housing plants and flowers from around the globe. We got to see the Tulip celebration honoring Vincent Van Gogh in full color.
Such a beautiful display!!
Next we trekked through the adjacent Cloud Forest via a 10 story high narrow catwalk around the top of the dome (kudos to Courtney for braving the heights). The view of the city was fabulous. And it was fun to discover the myriad dragon sculptures hiding throughout the indoor forest.
That’s where we just were….doesn’t Courtney look thrilled? Might have something to do with her fear of heights…
To finish the day we watched an evening laser/light show perfectly choreographed to “A Waltz in the Garden”. We even climbed atop one of the Supertrees in the garden – a 16 story treehouse that we sat in – and drank wine on a lovely summer evening.
All the aquariums, domes and super trees were architecturally dwarfed however by the Marina Bay Sands hotel. It was 55 stories high and looked like a massive modern day Stonehenge. Or, a spaceship perched upon massive towers posing as a hotel. One could tour Singapore architecture for days.
Stonehenge? Spaceship? Or….?
Of course, because we’re basically eating our way across Asia we had to add chilli crab to the list. Tipped by our cab driver to eat at Newton Food Center (where most of the locals go for chilli crab) we chowed down a large crab doused in spicy egg and chili sauce, an oyster omelette, an egg and prawn dish strangely called carrot cake, and 3 tall beers. We’re still full.
Soon we jet to Bali, the second unplanned destination of the trip. We leave Singapore both agreed we could easily live in a city like this. Only one mark stands against it: the strict laws prohibiting public displays of affection! 🙂