Happy Birthday Herd for Paper Players #688
Moon and Back for Festive Friday #159

Things I love about Singapore

Happy Wednesday and greetings from a beautiful sunny Minnesota!

Honey, I'm home! And it feels strange writing about my travels now that I am home, but I did want to finish up writing about some of my favorite places.  Today it's all about Singapore.

Lou and I were lucky enough to live in Singapore back in the 90s.  Gosh, I feel SO old just writing that - but, truth be told, it was a long time ago!  It's been a minute (or two) since I was last there, so I was really looking forward to going back.  Quite a lot has changed.  The island isn't getting any bigger, but there are certainly more apartment blocks than there used to be and there are some amazing new sights, too.

Before we get to some photos, how about a few facts about Singapore:

  • Singapore is definitely an island, but what many people don't know is that its overall land mass does include  63 or so other satellite islands.  Of course, Singapore is also a city!
  • It just happens to be one of the greenest cities.  In fact, nearly half of Singapore is green space.
  • Singapore's government set a plan for 2025 intending to make Singapore greener and more sustainable.  The new plan is for 2030 and part of that is to ensure that any person in Singapore is no more than 10 minutes away from a green space.  Buildings also have requirements to make green spaces available, including on the rooftops.  This helps meet both the green and sustainability goals as green roofs lead to better insulation and less energy usage/leakage.  The plan also includes planting more than 1 million new trees to help absorb Co2.  I must admit - I can get behind all of those goals.
  • The 2030 masterplan also includes ensuring an environment that is more accommodating and welcoming of persons with disabilities and their caregivers.
  • Religious harmony is important in Singapore.  In fact, the government enacted a law in 1990 so  to ensure that religion is not exploited for any political or subversive purpose.   On the 21 July every year Religious Harmony Day is celebrated and is meant to educate children (and residents) about religious tolerance and to celebrate differences.  I must admit, in today's environment, many countries could learn something from this!
  • Singapore is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage site that is older than the country itself.  The Singapore Botanical Gardens was founded in 1859 and is home to some rare VIPs (Very Important Plants).  Over 200 plants have been named in honor of visiting dignitaries including Nelson Mandela.
  • The USA is 15,000 times bigger than Singapore.
  • Singapore’s national anthem is in micro-text on the back of their $1,000 note.

Singapore is an incredibly clean city.  It is exceptionally rare to see any litter and the drive from the airport to the CBD is one of the prettiest in the world.  Trees and flowers grow everywhere and it is home to some very interesting new developments, including Gardens by the Bay.  Here are some photos I took on my tour:

The Thian Hock temple is one of the oldest Chinese temples and was situated right against the coast when it was initially built. However, reclamation of the sea has meant that the temple is now inland. The temple is built around a central courtyard with a very elaborate red and gold altar (very auspicious colors).

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As amazing as it is outside, it's the skyline that really fascinated me:


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I also love the tile work on the walls

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In the same old part of Singapore, the traditional buildings are beautifully maintained.  They might have modern facades for the retail spaces, but upstairs the buildings retain their traditional charm.  BTW - the polka dots are from the decoration on the bus.... as we were traveling by bus and they didn't stop for us to take photos, I had to take some of the photos through the window!

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All very different to the highrise skyline that most people would recognize

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Part of our tour was by boat - something Lou and I had never done when we lived there.  So, I was really excited about doing the tour in a bumboat.  It was a great way to experience both the older parts of the city - and the sights of the newer.  Here's a photo of a bumboat (now electrified) that we passed. 

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And here's a photo of the famous Merlion - the official mascot of Singapore that is depicted as a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish.

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Along the river walk there are also statues in the "The People of Singapore" outdoor art display.  This one depicting 5 boys jumping into the river is one of my favorites:

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Our river tour started - and ended - at Clarke Quay.  It's one of my favorite places in Singapore as it has a wonderful mixture of the old buildings, most of which now house restaurants, cafes and upmarket stores.  It really comes into its own at night with throngs of people.  Singapore is blessed with a warm climate throughout the year - even though the locals don't think so... the wooly jumpers come out when the weather gets in the 70s!  The weather ensures that outdoor dining is very popular in Singapore and Clarke Quay is certainly a very popular place at night.

Clarke Quay's historical buildings nestle against modern buildings in the background:

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Back on land we continued our bus tour of Singapore and drove next to the Helix (or Double Helix) Bridge.  This is a pedestrian bridge designed in the double helix form.  It's 280 metre length is the world's first curved double helix bridge and, quite frankly, is rather beautiful.

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We did overnight in Singapore, but I chose not to go ashore for an evening tour.  It was hot - really hot - and very humid and I decided to stay in the air conditioning onboard.  Singapore has changed since we lived there, but so much of it was totally recognizable.  It was also fun to drive past the highrise buildings of some of our favorite clients and the trip certainly brought back lots of memories for me.

I'll be back later in the week with one of my favorite spots - visiting with the Orangutans!  In the meantime, warm hugs and prayers for those of you who need a little lift tonight.




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Welcome home! I've enjoyed reading and learning about your travels. Fantastic photos also. I hope your cruise was the perfect way to ease into retirement and celebrate a new chapter in your life. I'm sure Lou is also happy to have you home.

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