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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The allure of Singapore

SINGAPORE may just look like a tiny dot on the map but this small nation-state in Southeast Asia is full of energy, vibe and interesting sights.

As its skyline lights up at night, the skyscrapers tower over the city in a fascinating way. Singapore is an urban jungle – trees grow side by side the buildings, natural gardens co-exist with modern ones, and greens blend with steel and glass.

Only a few hours from the Philippines, Singapore is a popular destination among Filipinos, not to mention the adequate number of our kababayans residing there. And with the ease in getting around the city, I find it fun navigating around Singapore.

For my first trip, I tried its Hop-On Hop-Off HiPPO Bus Tour, which helped me familiarize with various areas of my succeeding trips. Here are my favorite alluring tourist spots that you can visit in Singapore.

1. Sentosa Island

Theme parks, images of Singapore, restaurants, beaches, and animal attractions. All these and more are found in this man-made island that was built for leisure. Now, kids and kids-at-heart like this island even more with the development of Universal Studios, Resorts World, and other places of interest.

2. Marina Bay and Gardens by the Bay

The first time I was in Singapore and visited the Merlion Park across Fullerton Hotel, the view was just mostly water while the durian-shaped Esplanade stood at the other end of the bridge. The next time I was on the same spot, the iconic Marina Bay Sands stood across the sea.

My recent travel granted me the opportunity to explore Gardens by the Bay up close and witness its light and sound show. More and more attractions keep propping up within the area of Marina Bay that it has become a not-to-be-missed spot in Singapore.

3. Clarke Quay

One of my favorite night spots in Singapore is Clarke Quay. The vibe of the place is electric. Whether you want to pump up the volume in one of the bars, or simply lounge in a restaurant or café by the river, or watch the street performers do their tricks, you have plenty to choose from in this side of Singapore.

4. Chinatown

Old quaint colorful buildings, temples, and shops draw people to Chinatown. Add to that the existence of backpacker hostels and the authentic Chinese eateries in the area. Heritage, culture, traditions, and shopping are fused together in this Singapore spot.

5. Haw Par Villa

I have never heard of this attraction until my co-winner in the Kerala Blog Express Season 4, Bernard Tan from Singapore, mentioned it to me. It is a theme park that features folklores and other Chinese mythologies. They say the depictions were scary, but they were so colorful that almost every corner was Instagram-worthy.

6. Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and River Safari

Animal lovers, get ready for an adventure! Choose among these Singapore attractions or visit them all where you can see several animal species that you will not normally find in your jungle. My favorites were the pandas at the River Safari and the polar bears in the Singapore Zoo.

All photos are by this author. Claire Marie Algarme blogs at http://firsttimetravels.com. Follow her as @firsttimetravel on Twitter and Instagram and like her Facebook page First-time Travels blog.
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