By: Payal Hindocha
What better way to end the old year and herald in a new one than with a vacation. My plans this time around took me to Singapore. Christmas lights and sounds of Singapore are one of the best in Asia Pacific. I went looking to celebrate. And came back smitten! Beautiful architecture, modern infrastructure and retail abundance are enchanting to say the least. Being my first visit to Singapore, it had to be a little touristy in nature.
My first stopover was at Sentosa Islands. Sentosa is a land of merriment. Resorts World Sentosa is an integrated resort with hotels, dining, shopping, theme parks and a casino. An entertainment cluster away from the city, that’s a treasure trove of visual and sensual treats. There are series of high- end hotels you can put up at like Hard Rock, Michael, Crockfords and Festive Hotel. To save on moolah, stay a little away from the tourist strips or in the city. There are plenty of travel options to get here like buses, cable cars and even monorail.
Staying at the Resorts World Sentosa was a boon though. Gigantic and legendary Universial Studios, Marine Life Park, World’s largest Oceanarium and the Festive Walk, were a short walk away. Giant Candilicious store in the middle of the Complex was the cherry on the cake. Colorful, sparkling and teasing your sweet tooth no end. A signboard reads, “Save The Earth. It’s the Only Planet With Chocolate.” Need I say more! The three days in Sentosa were spent :
- Loitering around Universal Studios, which has a palpable sense of excitement to it. Slew of thrilling rides, road shows, photo ops and glitzy souvenir stores. Bring Hollywood closer home.
- Marveling at the magnificent marine animals in Under Water Sea World.
- Lying down on the sun kissed Siloho Beach like there’s no tomorrow.
- Enjoying gigs at the Hard Rock CafÃ©, soaking in mellifluous music belted out by live bands.
- Craving Indian food, so headed to the dishy Rangmahal Pavilion.
The second phase of trip was a halt at Orchard Road, the Oxford Street of Singapore. Satiate your retail addiction with a series of malls, branded stores and boutiques. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Miu Miu, Tory Burch, Hermes, Channel, Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo. It’s all here. Needless to say burnt a whole in the pocket with my New LV acquisitions. Trudge out, filling your shopping carts during the day. At night let the mesmerizing city lights and slew of street performances enthrall you. Another great option if you want to get high on designer brands is Ngee Ann City. Its like Macy’s in the US. All good brands under one roof. Also houses my all time favorite French patisserie, Paul. Salads, sandwiches, coffee and desserts are to die for.
For a mix of High Street and High End Brands, Ion Orchard is the place to go to. Orchard Central would be for indigenous and edgy brands. This road houses the only Abercrombie and Fitch show room in Singapore. While here, also visit the Singapore Zoo and Jurong Bird Park if flora and fauna entice you. Would highly recommend the Night Safari. Well conducted, it gives you a nocturnal peek at the Zoo’s residents. Third and final halt was the magical Marina Bay Sands. For the swish set, it drips with opulence. Done with the thrills, shopped your heart out? Now how about stretching your legs and relaxing in a warm jacuzzi pool… on the 57th floor! Enjoying breathtaking views of the blue sea and its marvelous ships! Alongside stretches the infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The pool appears to be infinitely merging with the Singapore sky line! Views from up here are priceless.
Singapore Flyer, in close proximity to Marina Bay Sands is like the London Eye. Your eye- piece to Singapore from a height and is equally beguiling both at day and night. The Waterfront at The Shoppes, Marina Bay Sands (shopping mall) is a must visit for its ethereal beauty (and the sales ofcourse). Several waterfront eateries will delight visually and gastronomically. Our very own Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra is also housed here. Vegetarians, head to the lovely Mediterranean outlet, Pita Pan. Loved the Shakshuka and Pita Pocket sandwiches. The Waterfront Laser Show happens every night. Its free of cost, happens in specific time slots and is a captivating display of sounds, fire and lights. The high point of my trip had to have been the evening boat ride from Marina Bay Sands to The Merlion. Soaking in the calmness of still waters contrasted by a jamboree of lights encompassing the city in its folds. Famed Merlion Park houses coffee shops where you can sit and enjoy the ambience and java. I waas lucky to catch a live band playing beautiful tunes under the starry sky at a quaint underground eatery. If pedestrian streets, riverside cafes, pubs and open- air gazebos excite you, head to Clark Quay. Try out Mexican eatery, Muchos or sample the local fare at one of the local options. If your new year resolutions begin and end with something to do with travel, just like mine, I recommend Singapore with its heady mix of night life, retail therapy and tropical environs. Just like the Merlion, its roaring with life and yet soothes your senses