|Stopover in Singapore|
Probably the easiest place to travel in South-East Asia, Singapore is just perfect for an exotic stopover on the way to New Zealand! Everything is efficiently organised from the moment you step out of your aeroplane. Due to the cultural diversity of the population practically everything is translated into English. Some enjoy the all year round hot and humid climate, others can rely on plenty of airconditioning.
Singapore: Singapore River (city centre)The scenic centre of Singapore is a must for every city tour. The modern skyscrapers tower impressively over the wide river. On one side of the river lies the Boat Quay with dozens of restaurants in old Chinese shophouses. On the other side you can find Singapore’s oldest building, the Parliament House, and other colonial houses like the Victoria Theatre, the Empress Museum and St. Andrew’s Cathedral. From Sir Stamford Raffles’ statue (the founder of Singapore) short boat trips take you along the river, passing the Fullerton Hotel and around the corner of the harbour Singapore’s icon: the mythical Merlion. Upriver you will turn around at Clarke Quay, another fashionable restaurant area.
Singapore: Orchard Road
This main shopping street is something like New York’s 5th Avenue. It is very wide and offers a good 2 km of trendy shopping opportunities, with huge malls to the left and right.
Singapore: ChinatownAlthough it is quite touristy there is lots to see here. The People’s Park Complex (ex shopping centre) looms strangely over the quarter, the traditional buildings along the narrow and packed alleys are beautiful and the temples extremely exotic. Thian Hock Keng is the oldest temple in Singapore, full of treasures with a gorgeous structure, dedicated to protect sailors and fishermen. A great contrast is the Sri Mariamman Temple from 1843, an Indian dream of colours and fairytale shapes. If you want to see a 21st century temple then visit the fantastic Buddha Tooth Relic Temple from 2007, with stunning craftmanship and thousands of details to adore.
Singapore: Little IndiaThere’s a good Indian atmosphere in this quarter full of shops and good Indian restaurants (fish head curry being a specialty). But it’s again the relics from the past that excite the most: along Serangoon Road you can find and visit the exotic Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, the important Sri Srinivasa Temple and the Central Sikh Temple.
The Bugis people from Indonesia were once famous for being seafarers and pirates. The Bugis quarter also has an infamous past, but is now as modern as the rest of Singapore with countless shops and restaurants.
Singapore: Kampong Glam and Arab StreetTwo blocks away from Bugis waits the Malayan core of the city, with a very different and calmer atmosphere. The oriental Sultan Mosque lies in the middle of many small houses, the surrounding alleys are inviting for a half-hour stroll.
Singapore: Outside the city
Further out of town are some other highlights. A cable car or bus can take you to Sentosa Island, a mix of weekend park and really beautiful beaches. Singapore Zoo is fantastic with animals in spacious natural environments. There’s still the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve conserving the jungle from ancient times. The Botanic Gardens are a tropical paradise with an extraordinary orchid collection.
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