Well, here are the 10 things I love the most about Singapore:
1. Haw Par Villa aka Tiger Balm Gardens
For me this is the most special and intriguing place in Singapore. It's also the most forgotten and undervalued place. I'm always a bit scared that they will tear it down one day...
The rundown, huge themepark with such a long and rich history, is usually about deserted, although it is free!
Wandering through the grounds with it's more then 1000 statues, you feel as if you are alone, walking in a fantasyworld.
Complete legends, stories and morals are depicted lifesized.
The detailing and colours of the statues and paintings are unbelievable. The teal, ocre and aqua coloured fake rockformations make this place the perfect backdrop for fashion and fotoshoots.
If you haven't visited Tiger Balm Gardens, please do! But leave small children at home, cause the images are sometimes extremely bloody and scary.
By the way: many Singaporeans hate Haw Par Villa, since their parents took them there when they were kids to educate and scare them: "Look, this will happen to you when you lie, steal, disrespect your parents, etc.".
|Look at the 'rocks' behind these two ladies. Arent the colours just gorgeous? The growth of the orangy mosses and organismes on them only makes the rocks more beautiful.|
|See the small hairs around her face? What a details!|
|These mermaids have two or three more sisters there.|
|In the midst of renovation; chalkpainted before the new colours go over it.|
|Dragon, hound, mythical beast?|
|Relaxing after her sunbath?|
This seemingly endless shoppingcentre is a phenomena in Singapore.
Situated in Little India, owned bij Indians, but great for everybody. It is a real one-stop-shop. Meaning that if you would come to Singapore with absolutely no stuff, small nor big, you spend one day at Mustafa's and your life can start.
(Although I think they stopped selling cars;-))
And when I say "...spend one day..." I mean 24 hours! Because this shop NEVER closes; 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Isnt that amazing?
If you have not been there, DO go there and check it out. Be sure to see both the older sections as well as the new ones.
|The streets around Mustafa are always fuill of Indian migrant workers.|
Here, they love water, as do I.
Singapore has lots of water in all sorts: the sea, the river, the bay, reservoire nature areas. But also pools and lots of fountains. The latter not in the last place because of Feng Shui. Water streaming towards the entrance of your building, bank or office is believed to let money stream in like water.
Many of the fountains are made in a playfull way with intervals, lights and what not.
|Sentosa; palm trees and freight tankers.|
|Young and old playing in this fountain.|
|Marina Bay, where we live at. Gorgeous area. Lovely for morning and evening strolls.|
|Boarding practice lake.|
|East Coast; fishing while staring at the neverending queu of freightships.|
4. Lights and colours
I am known to be a sucker for lights and colours. Friends call my house in the Netherlands the Eternal XmasHouse due to all the lights everywhere;-)
Luckily for me Singapore loooooooooves lights and colours too.
Fireworks are very popular and done at every big event.
Buildings and bridges are lit in various, alternating colours.
There are daily light and pyrotechnic shows.
This way architecture and art gets an added dimension. The giant Merlion, normally a greystone coloured tower, changes dramatically with colours projected to it.
I enjoy all that every day again.
|Fireworks @Marina Bay, as seen rom the Sail, where we live.|
|Artists show with lights.|
|Chinese New Year decorations in office building|
|Light, water, sound and lasershow @Fountain of Wealth|
|Red fountain @One Fullerton|
|Lights upon bridge Clarke Quay|
Singapore is multi cultural and multi ethnic. There is confucianisme, hinduisme, muslim, catholicisme, taoisme and more religions and beliefs. There are Chinese people, Indians, Malay, Philippines, western expats and much more nationalities and ethnic backgrounds.
There are architectural heritages of the different groups and so on.
All that variety is nice and gives this city something vibrant and interesting.
|Muslim and Indian dresses|
|Encounter of children from different cultures.|
Coming from a country like Holland and disliking the cold, living in Singapore is a relief.
OK, the humidity could be lower and yes, the temperature (around 32 degrees year around) could be a bit lower too, but hey, I'm not complaining.
Except from being hot constantly, the weather changes a lot here, even within one day or one hour. The sun is shining, it suddenly gets pitchblack, rain, thunder, wind....and two hours later sun again... Or not...
But in general this does not bother me as it would in the Netherlands. Because at least it stays warm, tomorrow is another day with probably sun and you can keep doing your things without getting wet. And that brings us to point 7.: "Convenience".
|From our appartement we can see the dramatic changes over sea very well.|
|The cloudformations can be spectacular|
|Other times there are no clouds at all and the sun is making our building shine and sparkle.|
|The golden or blue hours put everything in a flattering light.|
Singapore is very well organised and totally focussed on convenience.
Walking through the rain or under burning sun? No need. Many areas or places are covered or you can walk underground.
Public transport is cheap and everywhere. Trains and busses run often and the same EZlink card gives access to all. Topping-up ur EZlinkcard, phonecard, bankaccount....there are automated points for that everywhere.
Many people have maids and or nannies, since they are dirtcheap here.
There's always some place where you can eat, whatever time of the day or night it is. (see point 8.:"Food".)
Some people call singapore: "Asia for beginners". And they are right. Many people speak English, the city is safe and clean, tabwater is fine and you can choose widely between couleur locale or luxury and westernised.
Not authentic? Maybe not. For sure not as much as in surrounding countries like Indonesia or Malaysia. But if you take your time and look deeper, you can still find authenticity to a certain degree. After two years I am not yet bored.
|Everyone can find his way with Singapore's clear and convenient machines.|
What can I say? Food is mega important for the Singaporeans. Every 10 meters you will find a place to eat. Most people eat out twice a day (lunch and dinner) since it is dirtcheap here. As long as you go local, ofcourse. If you go for western food, it tends to be more expesive or even really expensive.
People post pictures of their lunch or dinner on FB all the time. Their are numerous foodbloggers.
If you meet somebody you do not ask: "How are you?", but "Have you eaten?".
I am not such an adventurous eater, but still...I like the importance of food over here.
|You can eat your soup from a bread;-)|
|Durian. Sorry, cannot, lah!!!!|
|Lau Pa Sat, 'our' foodcourt. very famous in Singapore.|
9. Marina Bay Area
This is our neighbourhood and we love it. The area is highly photogenic and great for walks or just hanging on one of the many benches. The architecture is spectacular. There is often a nice breeze and a lot of events take place in this area.
We are looking forward very much to the finishing of the Gardens by the Bay in 2012. That promises to become a beautiful area too! Can't wait!!!
|Esplanades and the Bay; isnt that beautiful?!|
|The infinitypool @Marina Bay Sands Hotel. That's what we call a pool with a view!|
|Inside Marina Bay Sand Shoppes; a canal with sampan's.|
Cosplay, Halloween, celebrations....it is not hard to run into people in costumes over here. Lucky me, because that is another thing I love;-).
I'll just show you some pictures, no further explanations needed.
What are the things YOU love about Singapore? DO share your experiences and suggestions. I would love to hear them!