Friday, January 4, 2008

Chapter 3: The Trip (Day 2 - Merlion Park, Little India, Sentosa Island)

Allright, so this was the SOTC sponsored tour of the city, first stop was at Merlion Park at 9:30 AM. This is were the city originated from and like all city tour, you start the tour from the place where the city was born (kinda like Gateway of India). The place didn’t disappoint us. See the pictures to feast your eyes on the city skyline, the river, the bridge and of course the Merlion, the face of Singapore. There is also a Mini Merlion. You can read the history of the Merlion on the official Singapore website.

Our guide was a local man, very well informed, in fact he said he is the only guy around who could give you information on World War II events and sites. Hmm, he did impress us with his knowledge all along. Point to be noted, there are so many guides and tour operators, it is advisable you chose them in advance coz its mad rush out there.

Next stop Chinatown around 10:30 AM, from Merlion Park to Chinatown you have a horde of things that you can click pictures from your tour bus while the guide is highlighting the importance of each place. Places to see in Chinatown are the flea market and the Hindu Temple of Lord Mariamman. For us the temple held significance since it was like our own deity we worship back home. For those of you who don’t know already, I was born in Tamil Nadu, India and this deity is associated with Tamilians. That brings me to the fact that every second guy you bump in to Singapore is first an Indian and then in all likeliness he is a Tamilian. They are settled here big time so much so that Tamil is one of the official languages of Singapore.

Chinatown flea market is cool, just like any other market, bargaining is essential to get good stuff. Not everyone who smiles at you in the shops there have your best interest in mind.

We then drove to the Singapore Gems and Metals Co. Here we got to see the Singapore artisans doing their thing and that too in hard metal. Their showroom put up their work on display. Some metal works were worth more than $ 1mn SGP. Ladies will refuse to come out without buying a piece of jewel or gem from here (as I saw them nagging with their husbands/b’fs) and so men, you know where not to or take your lady when in Singapore.

Next stop to Little India to have lunch around 12:00 PM, again this place is famous for fabric, eateries, places of worship and shopping, India style. We had the SOTC sponsored lunch at a restaurant, the Ganges, the place is pure vegetarian.

From there we proceeded to Mt Faber where we take a cable car ride to Sentosa Island around 1:30 PM. From Little India, we passed around Orchid Road, famous for shopping malls for the exclusive and the budget traveler, check out the pictures. The malls were breathtaking. We also passed the Presidents residence and lots of Embassies. The guide informed as later that the President of Singapore is originally from Sri Lanka.

Mt Faber is a small hill from where they operate the cable cars to take you to Sentosa Island. So Mt Faber has only cable car as their main attraction and of course all hill views of the city. The cable car ride was cool and gave us a bird’s eye view of the city harbor, cruises lined up, traffic below and finally the Sentosa Island.

Sentosa, my gosh, where do I begin. Before that let me highlight that your timing has to be precise when reaching to Sentosa coz one of their main attractions is a Dolphin Lagoon Show that takes place at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 PM every day. We arrived just in time for the 3:30 PM show. That was our first stop in Sentosa. Second attraction is Songs of the Sea at 7:30 PM and that’s the only show they got.

You can buy a single ticket worth $ 19 SGP and take a tour of the Underwater Park, Dolphin Lagoon show and Songs of the Sea. This was also SOTCs choice.

Guys and girls please strip yourself to the bare essentials when travelling in Singapore in this time of the year, I cannot even begin to tell you how hot it gets. Primarily coz it rains for like 20 Mins and then stops and then rains and then stops. Humidity can be as high as 80%. Contrary to the belief, this doesn’t provide relief. Get loads of refreshing tissues, water, shades and sunscreen

Now the show has 3 dolphin stars and their trainers. Get a handycam and keep it ready for the job exclusively. This has to be seen LIVE. The dolphins as usual turned out to be smarter than the people watching performing tricks and mimicking the trainer actions. The main attraction is when they let volunteers from the audience to touch and feel the dolphin, girls in their shorts in chest height water kissing, cuddling, hugging, feeding the dolphin is quite a show. And you guys thought they did that only to you huh ;) Watch this babe get cozy with the dolphin...



Next stop the Underwater Park at 4:30 PM , like the name suggests, there are hundreds if not thousands of marine species and they are right in your face. Don’t miss the Shark trail, see the pictures and you will see it to believe it. Also, the whole ambience is a testimony to their engineering marvel. I’m floored one hundred percent.

My main moment of truth was when I let a Burmese Python over my shoulders and took a snap with it. There is this guy who sits just outside the entrance of the Underwater Park and urges you to have a picture with his…ah well he calls it his PET. No I’m not crazy, I think the snake doesn’t prefer asian meat living in Singapore ;)

Well the Songs of the Sea show was going to start only by 7:30 PM, so we strolled around taking in the beauty of the place, watching this whole MELA of people around me coming from all around the planet. There are plenty of shops where you can dig in and keep yourself away from starving. While strolling we saw another Merlion statue and this was HUGHEEEEEEEE like a Big Daddy in The Lion King standing on the cliff watching the jungle. No water coming out from this one but visitors can travel inside the statue and watch the city from its eyes (kinda like Statue of Liberty). The base of the statue is surrounded by lush manicured gardens and cascading fountains. A perfect picture op.

It was time, time for the magic (as a I realized later) to begin at the Songs of the Sea show. Basically, people are subjected to the open sea with some structures made of wood like a Pirate Show. The show revolves around the theme that all boys and girls grew up hearing, a Sea Princess-in danger-from evil-waiting for her man-to rescue her. You may think that’s it? That’s not it coz this show will put life in your grandmas story. It’s a laser light-water-movie-song-dance-show. When the show begins, jets of water are strewn in the air and the laser movie is projected on this water-screen. There are a bunch of kid performers and they are your actors and actresses. They communicate with the characters that come on the water- screen and therein lies another engineering marvel waiting to be experienced. On the shore, there is fire, water, laser lights and a complete thrill to the whole show. Kids will never forget it, as a matter of fact, I don’t think I’m going to too. Watch it here...



It was time to bid goodbye to Sentosa but you guys can treat yourself to other attractions like 4D Movies, Butterfly & Insect Kingdom, Sky Tower ride etc…(you can check on their counter)…Reached the hotel at 9:30 PM. What a day, downloaded all the snaps and videos and played them again and again on my laptop to marvel the pleasures of being in Singapore. Today, I’m planning (that’s all SOTC has to offer you) to go to the Jurong Bird Park, probably the Zoo in the day and shopping to wrap it up. I’ll keep you posted, Sayonara!!

Pictures of Day 2:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pretty cool, i like the dolphin show :)