Back to the Future
From the Travel Journal of Vamos Kigo, December 5, 2011
Singapore was a magical place that made us feel a little like we were living in the future. The country has four official languages – English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil – so we had no problems communicating, ordering, asking questions, etc. The people were so kind and helpful, constantly asking where we were from, if we were enjoying our stay and what we’d done so far. We mostly took the metro to get around town, which was the easiest, cleanest, most organized public transportation we’ve ever seen.
The ads lining the walls were all about being helpful, kind and courteous instead of fast food, banks and clothing brands.
There were a few times we took the bus, which was equally as convenient and pleasant, and on our first trip asked a woman about our stop. She proceeded to stay on with us, one stop past where she was planning to exit, show us a great place to get lunch and the cheapest place to buy water and snacks. It was these types of experiences that made our visit so special.
We were lucky enough to stay with a friend in his beautiful home, which provided us a perfect base camp to explore the city/country. It is HOT and HUMID at the southern point of the Malay Peninsula. We found ourselves sweating non-stop and wondering how the wonderful people who live there seemed to be cool and collected…a trick we did not learn before leaving. Regardless, we were up and at it each day, trekking through the modern city, admiring the architecture, exploring the marina and eating at every hawker center (Malaysia “food court” with amazing food) we could find. We spent two days hiking and biking in the rain forests, one in the city center at MacRitchie Reservoir and the other on a small island, Pulau Ubin. On these adventures we were lucky enough to see monkeys, boars, incredible flowers and plants and get caught in a torrential rain for 2 hours. (Stay tuned for a video!)
The city was all decked out for the holidays, with local departments stores on Orchard Road competing for the best light displays in a yearly tradition called Christmas in the Tropics. It was beautiful and definitely put us in the holiday spirit. We also explored quite a few temples, mosques and churches, enjoyed the city wide Elephant Parade (open air art exhibition to raise public awareness and financial support for elephant conservation) and an incredible 4,200 piece artwork and sculpture collection valued at $5 million at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.
Singapore is amazing and we highly recommend a visit to anyone who ventures in that direction.
Now….vamos to Malaysia! Share your ideas for great things to see and do in the comments section!