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Mind-blowing Singapore

Singapore is the last stop of this holiday. The initial plan was to stay only 3 nights and then head to Jakarta for another 2 nights and return from there back to Amsterdam. Due to the floods from the beginning of the year in Jakarta I decided to spend the rest of the holiday in Singapore and fly to Jakarta only for the return flight to Amsterdam.
In these past days I revisited some places and also discovered new ones. I will share some of my favourites spots. 
I will start with Gardens by the Bay. This is one of the spots I revisited and I loved walking around during night time. Daily at 7.45pm, 8.45pm you can enjoy the Garden Rhapsody, a signature light and sound show at Supertree Grove.
Supertree Grove by night

Garden Rhapsody

The trees change the colours during the show 
Until 15 March 2020 you can also enjoy one of the outdoor exhibits #futuretogether. 
Autonomous resonating life on the water @ Dragonfly lake
The ovoids of light standing on the surface of the Dragonfly Lake shine brightly together with the trees on the lakeshore. The light of the ovoids and the light of the trees are autonomous: they shine brightly and then fade slowly, as if breathing.
When an ovoid is pushed, the colour of its light changes, and it emits a sound tone specific to that colour. The light resonates out to the ovoids and trees nearby. The sound tone resonates out continuously in the same way as the light, spreading throughout the ovoids and trees.
It just calms you down and invites you to be still.

Do you know that feeling of being at the right moment and place? Well, we were in the right place to celebrate the Chinese New Year! And what a better place to feel the festive event than on Chinatown's bustling streets. 
Night street market in Chinatown

Chinatown street decorated for CNY
Chinese community across the world welcomed 2020 Year of Rat, the first animal in the Chinese zodiac.

South Bridge Road, which happens to be the street where the first steam tram in Singapore ran in 1886
Unfortunately the trams were not one of the local's favourite public transportation and they quickly dropped them.
Returning back to CNY celebration, stunning fireworks displays cannot be missed.  The best place to witness dazzling fireworks lighting up the night sky is at Marina Bay waterfront. 
City's sky bursts with colour to ring in the Year of the Rat
Leaving behind CNY celebrations, during the day Sentosa island is a good choice to lay back and enjoy some sun. It's accessible by road, cable car, pedestrian boardwalk and monorail. Just pick one option and in short time you are on an exotic paradise.
My favourite is Tanjong Beach which is less crowded.
The island offers different activities. From Palawan beach you can reach Southernmost point of continental Asia.
Rope bridge connecting Palawan beach to Southernmost point of continental Asia
From the beach directly to the National Gallery. I was looking for a place to spend a couple of hours away from the heat and I came across National Gallery, a must see in Singapore. National Gallery of Singapore is an art museum housed in a restored municipal building dating to 1929. In 2015 the former City Hall and the Supreme Court building became the National Gallery. I easily spent around 3h admiring the galleries set over 6 floors. It's fascinating how many things you can learn from art about the history of a place. The artists over the time tried to express the social, political context. That's how I learned about the main events from Singapore's history such as the British colonisation from 1819, the Japanese occupation during WW2, the independence declaration from 9th august 1965.
View from Padang deck from City hall wing 6th floor

Upper link bridge between City Hall wing and Supreme Court wing

Smily body

Corridor in Supreme Court wing

One of the modern exhibitions

I liked these individual portraits which together they complete one to each other 

And a grumpy lynx on a Monday morning
Another discovery during my visit was Emerald Hill, a neighbourhood and a conservation area located in the planning areas of Newton and Orchard in Singapore. Former home to many members of the city-state's wealthy Peranakan community, it is located near Orchard Road. Many of its homes feature Chinese Baroque architecture.
Emerald Hill

Homes featuring Chinese Baroque architecture 
Jumping to Singapore skyline, I have two recommendations, one at Mr Stork sky bar located at level 39 in Andaz hotel, and the other one at CÉ LA VI, located at level 57 in Sands and Expo Convention Centre. At the last one there is a 23SGD entrance ticket and in return you receive a voucher you can use it to buy drinks & food at the restaurant. The ticket doesn't give you access to the Sands SkyPark Observation deck.
Singapore skyline from Mr Stork sky bar
Going down to Earth, another discovery is Haji Lane in the Kampong Glam neighbourhood. Young people frequent the shophouses along this lane for the independent fashion boutiques and Middle Eastern cafes. We returned also during night and there are different artists playing on the street.
Haji Lane during daylight featuring street art
During this visit I didn't go to the Botanic Gardens, but I did on my previous one and I decided to share it now. It is one of three gardens, and the only tropical garden, to be honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can easily spend half a day wandering around.

Symphony stage located in Botanic Gardens
And you can't leave Singapore without a stroll down Clarke Quay, a historical riverside quay located within Singapore river planning area. The best time to go is from evening till late at night. This is when the various warehouses and storage facilities of the past, which have been repurposed into iconic clubs and restaurants, come into their own. 
Clarke Quay by day with the skyscrapers in background
Clarke Quay might be delightful at night, but this is still an area bursting with history. If you happen to be around during the day, check out the nearby Fort Canning Park, also known as Singapore Hill or Bukit Larangan (Forbidden Hill). This place is where the British colonial founder of Singapore, Stamford Raffles, built his residence. Some of the earliest graves from the colonial era can also be seen here.
Interesting to note, it is called Forbidden Hill by the indigenous Malays because they believe the ancient kings of Singapore are laid to rest here – making this a solemn and haunting site. 
The park features nine historical gardens, from which Sang Nila Utama Garden is the most impressive from my point of view. The garden is named after Singapore's first king, as recorded in Malay Annals. The place is an oasis of serenity, meant for the king to meditate or entertain guests in seclusion. The garden was separated from the outside world by high walls constructed from bricks, the only non-perishable building material used in ancient Singapore, apart from sandstone.
14th century Majapahit-era brick split gate, Trowulan, East Java

Its strategic position allowed to overlook the port
 And the most instagramable spot from Fort Canning Park is the Tree Tunnel, an underground passage with spiral stairs.
Fort Canning Tree Tunnel

The spiral stairs where pre-wedding photo sessions are taken.

And few footsteps away, at Hill street you can find Old Hill Street Police Station, a historical building from 1934 and former police station. It has more than 900 eye-catching colourful windows. With balconies, columns, blinds, and gable walls set off against each other, it displays a neoclassical architectural style. It used to be a police station under Britain's rule and has now become a place for photographers to take pictures, as well as for various exhibitions and business events in Singapore. 
Old Hill Street Police Station with more than 900 rainbow coloured windows
As I am the end of this trip, the last spot I want to share is Jewel, a nature-themed entertainment and retail complex on the landside of Changi Airport. Its centrepiece is the world's tallest indoor waterfall, the Rain Vortex, which is surrounded by a terraced forest setting.
Rain Vortex @ Jewel Changi airport
I am sad to leave Singapore behind, but I am sure it will not be the last time. Maybe.. Why not? One day I will live there!



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