Singapore – The Lion City without any Lions

After my time in Southern Indonesia, I flew to Singapore, where I spent 5 great days experiencing all it had to offer in terms of food, culture and architecture. When Singapore was founded in the late 13th century it was called Singapura, meaning Lion City, because the prince that founded it saw what he thought to be a lion as he sailed down what would become the Singapore River. Lions were considered good luck in that princes culture, so that is how he decided to start a city there that evolved to the modern metropolis that Singapore is today. The trouble is there are no lions in Singapore outside of the zoo, and there is no evidence that there ever were any, so historians guess that what his party saw was a Malaysian Tiger. Regardless the motif of the lion is seen all around the city, which I found rather funny.  I will let the pictures of my time there speak for themselves, but I just wanted to say that I have so much to share from the rest of my travels, and I will do my best in the coming weeks to find the time to work back through all of my pictures and find the cream of the crop to share with you all.

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The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the first of many temples I would visit in my travels
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Working in blue – one of the few examples of discord I found in my many hours spent walking around the city, but I am sure as I am writing this it is now all cleaned up and on its way to becoming another beautiful building
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The facade of the Theaters by the Bay, which was one of my favorite buildings in the city, and they were also holding free concerts for the christmas season, which was nice to drop in on
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The whole building looked somewhat gonad-like, but in a good way
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The skyline over the bay from the aptly named Helix Bridge
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Reflections
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One of many of the “trees” that are the signature structures of Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay (it seems that everything by the Bay in the city is named as such)
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Seeing the sun set as the trees came to life was very beautiful
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Just a random aquarium in the Gardens by the Bay
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There was a festival happening the whole time of there under the main section of trees which was a paid admission type of deal, and it felt weird to be celebrating the holiday season in beautiful weather. Singapore was also very full of christmas decorations and celebrations for being a country composed of about 18% Christians.
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The treetop walk and the beautiful Marina Bay Sands Hotel
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The christmas themed light show complete with music was quite a spectacle
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A very cool statue balanced all on the baby’s hand, with the festival in the background
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A concrete lion at the Haw Par Villa, an old estate of the founder of Tiger Balm, who used a lot of his wealth building a theme park of sorts with structures and sculptures.
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Some were just strange
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Like what?
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Others depicted scenes from Taoist mythology.

 

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The beautiful Henderson Waves bridge on a string of treetop bridges and platforms linking 5 different parks in SW Singapore
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The courtyard of the Singapore National Gallery, which was a very cool building because it is a modern renovation of the old City Hall and Supreme Court of Singapore, so it is a great fusion of older and modern architecture.

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A Jug by Singaporean ceramicist Iskandar Jalil, who had a whole collection on display at the Singapore National Gallery

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The first ever dish of food I have had that is from a Michelin Starred restaurant (or in this case a food stall). I would have expected my first dish deemed to be of that culinary caliber to be served on a styrofoam plate, but it tasted amazing all the same and for 2 SG$ of US$ 1.40, I wasn’t going to complain. The dish here is the Singaporean classic Chicken Rice, which is what it sounds like but so much more than just that.
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The unassuming appearance of Liao Fan, which is the first ever street food to receive a Michelin Star, is given away only by the line of people stretching from the stall. Waits typically are an hour or more for a chance to get a taste of one of their four dishes, but I was lucky enough to catch them reopening with extra food after the lunch rush, so I was able to walk right up and place my order. I had visited the Chinatown Hawker Center before this point and thought about waiting in the line, but I had decided to skip out because of the plethora of other options available in the Center. Hawker Centers are essentially conglomerations of street food stalls in big buildings, which were started by the government so as to better regulate food safety. You can smell and taste such a wide range of food wandering through one of the many centers around the city, but my favorite was the Chinatown Complex, which was the largest of them all. Singapore is about 3/4 ethnic Chinese, so the chinatown was very vibrant with all types of food available to try.
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A Hindu Temple in Little India, whose streets felt like how I would imagine India’s largest cities to feel.
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A tiger taking a snooze at the Singapore Night Safari, which is essentially a zoo of nocturnal animals that is designed to be visited at night.
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A cheeta on the prowl

 

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A fruit bat just hanging out
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Clouds and buildings
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The Marina Bay Sands with the ArtScience Museum reflected in the foreground
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A kid hanging out in one of the many rooms of the ArtScience museum, which was an interesting space devoted to the intersection of art and science. This room was covered floor to ceiling in projections of flowers that would move in reaction to your movements, and it was quite the sensory experience.
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Tunnels that I can’t fit through anymore
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A room full of bouncy balls that would constantly be changing color, which was fun to watch and play with.
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The 3D array of LEDs that made up the infinity room, which was surreal to walk through. Each LED was activated to form shapes and waves that would move through space.
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The Marina Bay Sands looks like a blimp on glass stilts
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I had to do some sneaking around but I was able to get to the top of the Marina Bay Sands and see their famous infinity pool, which looks out over the whole Singapore skyline to one side and the Gardens by the Bay on the other.
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The inside of the hotel was just as beautiful as the outside. Definitely my favourite building in Singapore
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Revisited the Gardens by the bay in the Day and it was just as beautiful.

Overall I loved my time in Singapore, and it is probably in my top 3 cities of the world that I have experience if I was forced to choose. It is such a clean, refined and culturally fascinating place, and I am very glad I decided to pay it a visit in my journey.

Coming soon is my time in Phuket, Phi Phi, Phang Nga and the Similan Islands. Stay Tuned!

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