Sunday, March 4, 2018

Singapore: The Old and the New

We’ve turned a new page in the New Lunar Year. In moving forward to new opportunities and new perspectives, it is important to look back to lessons learned in the past. This is why we’re taking you to a travel throwback two years ago when we visited one of the most modern cities in Southeast Asia—Singapore.

As an island city-state, Singapore is filled with wonders. Its small land area is home to a dense population of 5.5 million people. An evolving public housing has answered the need for living spaces in a highly urbanized city. But it’s not all concrete and cement buildings in Singapore. The urbanization is complimented with the installation and development of over 50 major parks and 4 natural reserves. Singaporeans are living in a garden city.

Arriving in Changi Airport, one of the best airports in the world, we followed the thick stream of tourists and migrant workers through immigration. We also followed the directional signages, pointing us to areas in the airport for relaxation (restaurants, lounges, restrooms) and for transport (MRT, taxi, shuttle). We took the MRT, which connected with the Downtown Line, where our first stop was--the Little India MRT station.

We booked a hostel in Little India, one of the most culturally and commercially vibrant areas in Singapore. Little India is one of the areas in Singapore, where one can see a mixture of the old and the new from architecture, to food, and culture.

We wasted no time in exploring its nooks and crannies. And the best way to explore any place in Singapore is to walk! 

We stopped by outside Hindu temples, with their colorful towering sculptures of Hindu gods; found a street with rows and rows of gold jewelry shops; went through all floors of the Mustafa Shopping Center the 24-hour mall famous for its cheap bulk pricing of assorted merchandise from cosmetics, food, chocolates, and medicine, among others. Thirsty and famished from our long photo walk, we rested and dined on one of the many Indian roadside diners. An iced teh tarik (pulled tea) took care of our thirsts, Waterloo Street’s famous ice cream sandwich, a mouthful of authentic Kebab in Arab Street and plate of murtabak, of our hunger. 

The good thing about getting around in Singapore is their efficient MRT system, which can take one to different areas, cheaply and quickly. We took MRTs to Singapore’s attractions, including Bugis and Kampong Glam, and Gardens by the Bay, among many others. 

Armed with only our cameras, we opened our eyes to new sights and experiences. It was refreshing to be in another multicultural part of Southeast Asia, which bore the marks of change in its urban landscape, and yet managed to keep parts of its old face, as part of history and heritage.

Our Singapore trip was brief, but worth every Singaporean dollar, and every minute spent walking with our eyes peeled out for every delicate detail of a growing city.

Photos by Vna Routel & Van Almeria, Nikon D7000, 50mm 1.D Nikkor, Nikon D610, Sigma 10-20mm 4-5.6


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