Cruise Specialists hosts Steve and Wendy Bodenheimer are taking us along on another amazing journey. We hope this series shows you what you can expect on a Holland America Grand Voyage. Here are previous peeks: Grand voyage send off, what to expect at sea, Polynesia, New Zealand and Western Australia.
Fun Facts About Singapore
Singapore is a pretty amazing place. It’s a country, a city, and a capital all at once.
Almost 6 million people live here, but it doesn’t feel as frantic and crowded as Hong Kong or Manilla.
- It’s economically very successful and growing in a controlled and organized manner.
- Whole neighborhoods are conceived and built together.
- All parks in the city are connected to each other by paths or underground tunnels as are many of the malls.
- It is a 100% green space preservation city.
- If you take away any green space, you have to put it back somehow, so you have many roof top gardens as the result.
It’s also an international festival of food: Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Italian, American, and Indian restaurants are everywhere and the good smells permeate many of the local streets.
The number of cars and scooters in the city is fixed. You need to pay upwards of $50,000 for a car and $8,000 for a scooter permit to enable you to buy a car or a scooter. It is good for 10 years and then you have to pay again. Only when a permit expires will a new one be granted.
Singapore Day 1
We spent two excellent days in Singapore. And that was in spite of the oppressive heat and humidity.
Gardens by the Bay
Is two hundred and fifty acres of gorgeous plants, unusual trees, domed conservatories, lily ponds, manicured lakes, and even a small aquarium. Most of the facilities are free, except the indoor cloud forest and flower dome.
We loved the giant Super Trees which are made of metal poles and actually serve as a ventilation system. Vines are being cultivated to grow up through and around the metal so in a few years they will look more like real trees.
We loved so many things about this place:
- the petrified wood display
- the children’s water park with a beautiful fountain play area
- the living sculptures carved from bushes that take the form of animals
- the Sun Pavilion, with its unusual desert cactus display
- Dragon Fly Lake
We could have stayed the whole day but we had an evening tour and the heat was so draining that we headed back to the ship for a rest and cool shower.
Singapore Night Out
Our evening tour was called A Night Out in Singapore. We were supposed to have taken a ride on the Flyer, the world’s largest observation wheel, but technical difficulties kept it from running.
So our evening began with a walk around Bugis Village, a funky night market with all kinds of souvenirs shops and food places. There we picked up our trishaws for a ride around Little India and Chinatown.
A trishaw is a bicycle with a sidecar. We had a local driver doing the hard work of peddling us around. We rode in a caravan with 20 other trishaws, which made for some interesting activity at intersections.
Next was a riverboat ride along the Singapore River. Departing from Clarke Quay, a hopping night spot, we had a narrated look at the historic waterfront and caught part of the nightly light show on display.
Our final stop was a trip to the Observation deck on the 56th floor of the Marina Sands Hotel. That is the famous building that has three towers with what looks like a ship sitting on top – one of the most recognizable buildings in Singapore.
Needless to say, the view from this very high point down into the harbor was spectacular. The Gardens by the Bay were all lit up, especially the Super Trees. We enjoyed a Singapore Sling and a refreshing breeze to top off our evening. It was a great night.
Singapore Day 2
Day 2 in Singapore Steve took 20 Cruise Specialists Guests on the World War II tour, documenting the fate of Singapore during that conflict.
The group visited Changi Prison Chapel and Museum, which was a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, where 85,000 British and Australian prisoners were held. The Kranji War Memorial houses the graves of thousands of Allied troops. And the former Ford Factory is the site of the surrender of the British to the Japanese in 1942. It was a moving and solemn experience for the group.
So we’ve written a lot about Singapore because we really had a good time here and would be happy to return. It’s a fascinating city and we have lots more to see.
Don’t miss out on creating your own memories on an upcoming World Cruise >>