What haven’t I told you about Singapore yet? Part 1
In my previous posts about Singapore I told you about interesting places to dine in and to stay like Shang Palace with a Michelin star, about Indo Chine restaurant and its iconic jazz music, about the kids-friendly hotel on Orange Grove Shangri-La but much remained untold, which would be interesting and important for the readers of placescases.com, planning a trip there.
I start from the most important thing that Singapore is an island city-state, one of the last three remaining in the world (guess the other two 😊). The main population is Chinese. The state was once part of the United Kingdom, but it won its autonomy. In Sanskrit Singapura means the city of lions, except, lions have never lived there. Of course, you can see some in the zoo (the third movie of the travelogue is dedicated to it).
Interestingly, Singapore has been ruled by a single party for many years and yet it has one of the most prosperous economies in the world.
This is the state with the highest indexes for free-market economy, open to the world, pro business orientation and with the lowest levels of corruption. It heavily supports the development of innovations and start-up ventures, as well as biotechnology development. It is one of the largest exporters of refined oil. Personal taxes are 22% and corporate tax is 17%. The population is 5.6 million, and GDP is 350 billion USD. For 2018, it ranks first in GDP by purchasing power parity per capita with 98 thousand international dollars.
Singapore ranks forth as a worldwide financial center after London, New York and Hong Kong. It has one of the largest ports in the world.
On the back of the 1000 Singapore dollar bill there is a micro-text of its national anthem. The national flower is an orchid called Vanda Miss Joaquim, for the first time discovered and classified by an American who named it. The hotel we stayed in, Shangri-La, had a gazebo dedicated exactly to this flower. It was very beautiful, all in orchids of a different kind, and the construction itself was formed as a closed orchid blossom. You can see it in the Shangri-La video on the YouTube channel on placescases.com and on the Facebook page.
The highest point is 164 m. It’s always summers there, around 30 °C, as in winter months, from November to February, it rains a bit more. Don’t worry if it starts raining while you stroll along the streets, since shortly after it, the sun goes out. Besides every single rain drop is dully drained by the perfect sewage and drainage system.
World-famous violinist Vanessa Mae, who was a student of the famous Bulgarian violinist Vasko Vasilev was born here.
Not so entertaining fact is that in Singapore there is a death penalty and not only this but the execution is by hanging. It is used mainly in convictions for drug smuggling and distribution. Years ago, I came across a lengthy article in the Financial Times newspaper, an Asian edition dedicated to the debates on the subject, whether to replace it with another type of execution, such as an injection. There were opinions of scholars who used to claim that hanging is a far more humane way. I’m stopping on this subject since dark thoughts are coming to my mind.
Do not bring a chewing gum in Singapore, do not throw litter, spit and urinate on the streets, don’t jaywalk, do not walk around naked at home or in the hotel with open curtains, do not feed pigeons and other birds outside and if you are gay or you are into a person of your own sex, you are in trouble. For the latter you maybe imprisoned, although there are attempts to change this, yet the freedom of choice of a sexual partner is a chimera. For the other violations you will be charged a fine, but the smallest is about 150 dollars, and some are in thousands. In some cases, there is corporal punishment by caning. No kidding!
A friend of mine had bought a T- shirt with the inscription:
Singapore is a fine city, there is fine for many things like:
Spitting on the street, littering, urinating, chewing gum… And so on.
Singaporeans work a lot. If you’re a regular employee, you’ve got about a week of annual leave. That’s what a taxi driver told me. He added that everyone wants to be a manager to get hands on more days off. 45% of the Singaporeans have shared that they were unhappy in the year 2017, and the country ranks 34 at the Happiness Index list for 2018 years. When we visited a Hawker center (see the end of this article, to understand what it means and do not confuse it with hookers center to avoid caning 😉), I noticed how at 10-11 pm many people, had come directly from work to eat quickly, on the way home. I guess they spend more than 9 hours in the office! … Not that I haven’t worked the same way in a telecom company years ago.
If you’re still wondering what the answer to the smiley face question in the beginning was, it’s the following: The other two cities-states are Monaco and the Vatican.
The wonders of Singapore start at the airport. First you will feel that you step on a soft floor, covered with carpet. Then you see the most amazing bizarre sculptures, all around you, including over your head. Changi is famous for its kinetic sculptures. The moving up and down shapes literally enchanted me. Then you go to get your luggage and you feel like you’re in the park- so much greenery, bushes and trees everywhere. You haven’t assimilated the wonderful things that impressed you inside when you go out and see that there is not even a taxi queue. The organization of the travel services is perfect. You can get on public transport, or you can just stand at the taxi point and immediately one arrives to pick you up, the driver takes your bags and you are heading of to your hotel. In the car, you notice that you can call a taxi through an application at any spot.
We stayed at Shangri-La hotel, which I reviewed and rated in Great service in Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, in perfect sync with booking.com. For this reason I will not get into details about it, I will only say that it is a really nice kids-friendly place.
Gardens by the Bay Botanical Gardens and Supertree Grove
On our last trip to Singapore in 2009, they hadn’t been made yet. For that, as soon as we settled, we headed off to them. And that was another super interesting place and once again we were mesmerized by the spectacular projects in this country. Under two huge domes were collected flora specimens from all over the world, as well as artificial waterfalls and vertical forests. Everywhere there were extraordinary sculptures. One of my favorites is “The Traveling family.” Make sure you watch the first part of the movie about Singapore, because I included it there. Before, my favorite sculpture was with the kids jumping into the river in front of the Fulerton hotel, but now I have more favorites. All these things you can see in part two of the video.
Around the botanical gardens there are many attractions, extremely entertaining especially for children- make sure you take swimwear for them, because it is about playing in water. 😊
Then we go to SuperTree Grove. This is a park with huge constructions, overgrown with greenery, looking like trees from another world. At night they glow in colorful lights and it’s an extraterrestrial experience. Like in Avatar.
Right in SuperTree Grove we found the new location of our favorite restaurant, famous with its wonderful cuisine and jazz music- IndoChine. I have described my experience and evaluation in Dinner in the nest of a Supertree, surrounded by jazz music in IndoChine, Singapore. Even if you don’t happen to visit it, go for a drink and beautiful view from its rooftop bar in one of the trees’ crown.
The nature of Singapore
Many people would say that Singapore is a mega-polis of glass and concrete, but it is not. There are parks, vertical gardens everywhere. Even the skyscrapers are green. You can see in the view from Shangri-La hotel such buildings. A garden with trees is made on the middle floors. This tendency is also evident from the video that I shared on the Facebook page of the placescases.com about hydroponic vertical farm built on one of the shopping malls’ roof.
The best interaction with Singapore nature is in the zoo. You will see it in the third part of the travelogue
To be continued…
In order not to make this travelogue about Singapore boring long, I will stop here and if you are interested, I invite you to continue our journey in the second part. In order not to miss it, follow me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter. The best option is to subscribe to the blog directly.
In the next parts we will go to a shopping mall, because in Singapore it is obligatory to visit at least one of these and you will see how different and interesting can be shopping centers. We’ll be on a huge Ferris wheel and visit another interesting and typical Singapore attraction- we’ll eat in one of the popular for the region hawker centers- open places that offer cooked street food.
Finally, we’re going to the zoo and the aquarium. I have a whole movie dedicated to them because they are unique and very much worth our attention.
For hotel bookings
If, however, you are already terribly convinced that you are going to Singapore, for your convenience I have added a booking.com search box in which you only need to add the dates of your trip and press search. Remember that you retain all your genius discounts and privileges. In addition, booking.com are doing their best to make sure that your expectations as a customer are fulfilled. I’ve described an example about the latter in my story about our stay in Shangri-La hotel.
How to get there?
Check-up for promotions of Qatar Airways with the QR code below. This is how we booked our tickets at very affordable prices.
To make it easier for you to find the places I’m telling you about, view the map and click the pins if you want to get directions.
For more reviews about restaurants, hotels, and other places in Sofia, Bulgaria and the world, check out all categories of placescases.com
If you are interested in the Experience Economy, read my articles dedicated to it and the places that apply its principles in practice.