When in Manila, it is but a hop and a skip to Singapore. If you’re thinking of making the trip, be prepared for some extraordinary sights. This city-state amazes and overloads the senses, and the city itself is meticulous in its delivery of an experience that is carefully cultivated to impress.
Your journey really begins as soon as you arrive at Singapore Changi Airport, arguably one of the best international airports and servicing more than 100 different airlines to 60 countries. The scale of the airport can only really be understood when you walk from your arrival gate and into the wide expanse of the terminal. There are long moving walkways and a SkyTrain to get between the three terminals, and whilst the boast is that 66,000,000 passengers can be handled in a year, such is the size that you wonder where the other 65,999,999 passengers are!
The first thing that strikes you as you head towards the city is how clean everything is; there is no rubbish anywhere, none. The grass verges by the road, the flower beds, and the streets themselves, are perfect. Nothing is amiss. This is truly a city that has been planned right down to the width of the white lines on the road.
With a population of just over 5 million people, and a relatively small land mass, it is hardly surprising that the Government has spent a lot of money and effort into land reclamation projects. This has allowed some amazing development to happen along the harbour, and in particular the most dominant feature as you head into the city is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and its surrounding shopping and Casino complex.
The hotel has 2,500 rooms spread over three towers, and what appears to be a gigantic boat sits across the top connecting all three towers together. Nestled in this boat are restaurants and bars, but most amazingly the world’s longest elevated infinity swimming pool. Watching the sunlight fade over the city, and drinking a cold beer whilst looking over the edge of the 55 floors is quite spectacular.
The night time laser and light show, best viewed from atop any one of the numerous hotel bars across the dock, is not to be missed.
Everything about Singapore exudes wealth and extravagance. The hotel interior of the Marina Bay Sands is no exception, and the foyer is a vast expanse that sweeps up towards the sky. The bustle of the foyer is like that of a busy railway station during rush hour, but in true Singaporean style, there is the usual structure and purpose and weary travellers are shepherded to check-in desks, restaurants, bars, or to the casino by an platoon of smiling employees.
This is surely one of the best hotels in the world for a room with a view; rooms either look out over the gorgeous city scape of lights or the expansive harbour where the countless ships are moored waiting their turn to unload cargo into the busiest port on the planet. A staggering fifth of the world’s shipping containers pass through Singapore and you can bet your last dollar that they’ll do it with the same precision as everything else here.
When in Manila, you can revel in the culture of a people, a city and a country with several hundred years of culture. When in Singapore, whilst the city is full of beautiful architecture, beautiful people, and boasts more millionaires than any other country (with one in every six households recorded as having more than US$1m), it lacks any real history like those countries of old who have earned their right through feast and famine. The modern Republic of Singapore is only really 50 years old and it is going to be interesting to see how far and for how long they can stay ahead of the world. One thing is clear though, there will be a plan, and it will be expertly designed and delivered.
Singapore 101: Facts You Need to Know