Check out our adventure in Singapore and discover a vibrant city perfectly combining traditions, nature and a modern architecture
"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are" - Alfred Austin
A modern city-state revealing a great attention to combine progress and ancient traditions, innovative architectures surrounded by some of the most beautiful gardens of the world and plenty of attractions. Perfect for a stopover flying to (or back from) Australia.
Our itinerary in a nutschell
21/07/2018: Merlion Park and Marina Bay
22/07/2018: Singapore Botanical Gardens, Gardens by the Bay, Supertree grove
23/07/2018: Masjid Sultan Mosque, Orchard Road
Day 1 - Merlion Park and Marina Bay
Landed in Singapore after a very long flight from Italy (even longer than expected due to very bad weather condition over the city, delaying our landing more than one hour!) we are really excited to start our visit of the city.
A little bit tired, we decide to fight the jet lag with a walk to the waterfront Merlion Park, just 5 minutes far from our hotel. Few steps following the path which runs along The Esplanade (https://www.esplanade.com/) and we immediately realize one of the main characteristic of this city: the care to create a green environment and large pedestrian areas where people can walk, practice sport or simply relax en plein air. The Esplanade is a concert hall and art centre built with a modern design consisting of two rounded glass domes fitted with triangulated glass elements and sunshades, resembling two upturned durians (the tropical fruits). Undoubtedly original, it creates a lovely effect especially in the evening when lightened with color lamps and laser.
The path bring us to the waterfront where the iconic bay stands out in front of us with the Marina Bay Hotel and the Merlion fountain spouting water from its mouth. The shape of the statue combines two concepts: the body symbolizes Singapore's humble beginnings as a fishing village, while its head represents Singapore’s original name, Singapura, or ‘lion city’ in Malay. Crowd of people are taking some selfies with the fountain from the pier so we decide to move forward; in this area there are very nice restaurants with a breathtaking view of the bay.
Temperature is getting hot (and very humid as well) so we take a break and we head to the Marina Bay Sands shopping center. Hundreds of stores and restaurants offer almost everything and we decide to try the Bread Street Kitchen restaurant by Gordon Ramsey; the atmosphere is casual and we taste a supreme roasted black cod.
After a rest and a little bit of shopping, we decide to end with a bang enjoying the sunset from the rooftop of the Marina Bay Hotel, in the charming Cé la Vie skybar (https://www.marinabaysands.com/restaurants/modern-asian/ce-la-vi.html).
The 360° view from the 57th floor is amazing and from here we can also have a look at the famous infinity pool: the world’s largest rooftop pool.
Before coming back to the hotel we enjoy the "Spectra", a 15-minute show with dancing water fountains, accompanied by enchanting soundtrack and special laser effects.
Day 2 - Botanical Gardens, Gardens by the bay and the Supertree Grove
This second day will be completely dedicated to discover the unmissable wonder gardens of the city.
The Botanical Gardens (https://www.nparks.gov.sg/SBG) are the only tropical botanic garden listed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage and represents a real pride of the city.
The surface of the gardens is huge, so we decide to follow one of the trails starting from the visitor center close to Tanglin Gate. There is an extraordinary quiet in this place and we enjoy the walk up to the National Orchid Gallery, taking some breaks from time to time to read some of the displays along the path. The star of these gardens remains undoubtedly the Vanda Miss Joaquim, the national flower of Singapore; something you can't miss!
From here we move to the Ginger garden area and we reserve a table in the famous Halia Restaurant, where we can eat some excellent food surrounded by this awesome park.
After lunch we get a taxi and we head to Gardens by the Bay (http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en.html). We decide to start the visit from the Flower Dome, the gigantic columnless greenhouse holding nine different gardens from the 5 continents. The temperature inside is surprisingly colder then we expected, around 23 degrees; here olive trees coexists with African baobabs and Asian orchids, and visitors can move from the different areas enjoying this awesome varied vegetation.
In front of the Flower Dome there is another interesting greenhouse: the Cloud Forest. Inside this dome the atmosphere is completely different: the temperature is almost the same but the humidity is much higher; the mist accompanies us right in front of the tallest in-door waterfall (35 meters!). The lush vegetation here is completely different from the one seen in the Flower Dome and we make our way up to the Cloud Walk which bring us on the top of the mountain. Taking this walk you really have the impression of being in a tropical mountain.
It is getting darker outside and we move to the exit to reach the Supertree Grove area. These vertical gardens probably represents one of the most iconic landscape of Singapore and every night enchant thousands of visitors with their incredible show of light and music. We find a good spot in the small square in the middle of the trees and we seat to enjoy the show; tonight a mix of the lyric opera masterpieces accompanies the performance, culminating with Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot. We can't describe the emotion, the light heartedness and the pride a similar show can generate.
At the end of the show we have dinner in the gorgeous "Al fresco" bar part of the Indochine restaurant (http://indochine-group.com/supertree/), situated in the rooftop of one of the Supertrees. We select a mix of local food served with a good cocktail, chilling and enjoying the beautiful view of the Marina Bay and the city. Really unique.
Day 3 - Masjid Sultan Mosque, Orchard Road & Paragon shopping
Early in the morning, benefiting of a colder temperature, we take a walk up to the historic Kampong Glam district, the neighborhood where live the largest Muslim community of Singapore. Most of the shops and the restaurants are still closed, nevertheless their kitchens are frantically working and a lovely spiced aroma accompany us during our stroll.
Once there, a commemorative arch frames the beautiful Masjid Sultan Mosque with its golden domes. The Mosque was originally built in 1824 under the first Sultan of Singapore and a hundred years later rebuilt with the shape we can see today. This place of worship is definitely worth a visit, no matter what one's religious beliefs.
Right in front of the Mosque starts Arab street, a lovely alley with high palms running along and surrounded by typical restaurants, shops exhibiting colored fabrics and textiles and hand-knotted Persian rugs.
Before leaving the city we take a taxi to get to the famous Orchard Road for some souvenirs. The epicenter of shopping in Singapore derives its name from the nutmeg and pepper plantations that once lined it two centuries ago.. nowadays just an old memory vanished by a modern, large boulevard flanked on both sides by department stores, luxury hotels, beauty salons, restaurants and cafes. We spend sometime in the ION and Paragon shopping centers, a real paradise for shopping lovers before heading to the airport for our flight back.
To discover more about these places, have a look to our posts and stories dedicated to Singapore dated July 2018 on our Instagram page @2intour
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