Traveling in Singapore

Traveling in Singapore. (Phuket and the Maldives will come later.)

Recently my kids and I went to Singapore, Phuket Thailand and the Maldive Islands for a 17 day vacation.

Traveling is highly educational, can build family relationships and it expands one’s compassion and mind to the big world that God has created. While my ;ate wife and I traveled overseas quite a bit, once we had kids, it was too problematic (and expensive) to do so-even though we really wanted to have them experience what we did. So now I’m glad I’ve been able to give that to them.

Some people invest in their retirement, paying down their house, or buying things, but for me, spending money on travel comes with a lifetime or returns- intellectually, emotionally, relation-ally  and spiritually.

The only things these 3 places had in common was 1. The heat and humidity and 2. The kindness of the people we met.

Singapore

Traveling in Singapore: Of course President Trump and Kim Jong-un are meeting in Singapore as I write this, so it’s heavily in the news. We went there because I was able to get a first class ticket from San Francisco to Singapore via Seoul. Cost would have been $10,800. Free is much better. (I let my son pretend to be on the later, six hour segment and I took the 12 hour SFO-Seoul flight). I now know why people do their best to get award tickets to fly first class overseas. At the 1st class lounge in SFO:

 All the drinks and food you wanted. For free. Sandwiches, soup, cookies, candy, on and on.

All the drinks and food you wanted. For free. Sandwiches, soup, cookies, candy, on and on.

 My 1st class cabin with fold out bed. Plus a closet. They gave you (to keep) pajamas, slippers, but not the Bose speakers. 🙂

My 1st class cabin with fold out bed. Plus a closet. They gave you (to keep) pajamas, slippers, but not the Bose speakers. 🙂

 the food choices were many. Plus, I have to admit, the Caviar WAS very good.

the food choices were many. Plus, I have to admit, the Caviar WAS very good.

 The Seoul Airport was very nice with live trees even. Obviously just having hosted the Olympics, it was all fixed up.

The Seoul Airport was very nice with live trees even. Obviously just having hosted the Olympics, it was all fixed up.

We arrived at 1am Singapore time…after we got to our hotel it was a 34 hour trip.

 Intercontinental Hotel, a 5 star luxurious hotel we booked for 2 nights via points. So it was free….

Intercontinental Hotel, a 5 star luxurious hotel we booked for 2 nights via points. So it was free….

The first thing we did after sleeping in, was go to China town for lunch. Yum! Singapore is made up of many Chinese, Malyasians (Singapore got their independence from Malaysia in 1964), Indians and various other groups. Because it was a former British Colony and the variety of people’s English is the official language.

Chinatown-Singapore-4-683x1024.jpg
Chinatown-Singapore-11-768x512.jpg

After Chinatown, we took the MRT (subway) to the Gardens by the Bay, a huge park.

Gardens-by-the-Bay-Singapore-1-1024x768.jpg

Pouring rain, we found shelter in the huge Flower Dome (spring all year long.)

 My wife would have LOVED this place and could have spent all day admiring the intricacies of each plant and flower or tree species.

My wife would have LOVED this place and could have spent all day admiring the intricacies of each plant and flower or tree species.

 Harrison and Sophia admiring the various sections. Australia, South Africa, China, American Southwest (huge cacti), California, Holland and many other areas to be explored within the dome.

Harrison and Sophia admiring the various sections. Australia, South Africa, China, American Southwest (huge cacti), California, Holland and many other areas to be explored within the dome.

Gardens-by-the-Bay-Singapore-9-1024x768.jpg
Gardens-by-the-Bay-Singapore-14-1024x576.jpg

Cloud Forest Dome, with waterfalls and more tropical plantings.

Gardens-by-the-Bay-Singapore-17-576x1024.jpg
 The bridge we walked out on.

The bridge we walked out on.

Gardens-by-the-Bay-Singapore-46-1024x576.jpg
 One of many gorgeous wood sculptures all over the park.

One of many gorgeous wood sculptures all over the park.

Later that evening, we went to the bridge to see the view.

Gardens-by-the-Bay-Singapore-46-1024x576.jpg
Gardens-by-the-Bay-Singapore-55-768x432.jpg

Later we watched the 15 minute light show with the Super Trees. Lights changed to Vivaldi’s classical music. Metal structures that will, in time, be totally covered by flowering vines.

Gardens-by-the-Bay-Singapore-1024x608.jpg
Gardens-by-the-Bay-Singapore-93-1024x683.jpg

Before we turned in, we caught the view from the Marina Bay Sands, a huge hotel-casino complex.

Marina-Bay-from-Marina-Bay-Sands-Hotel-Singapore-1.jpg

One of the delicious pastry shops near our hotel. So many incredible food places. I rank Singapore up pretty high in the foodie department (New Orleans too for that matter).

pastries-in-Singapore-market-1024x768.jpg

The next day we had lunch at Little India. Superb vegetarian food. Across the street was the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Hindu temple. Every 12 years they dedicated the temple with local milk and water from the Ganges River in India. The dedication was set for the next day (Sunday), so many devotees were decked out in their traditional clothing to watch the festivities.

Sri-Srinivasa-Perumal-Temple-Hindu-temples-Singapore-13-498x1024.jpg
Sri-Srinivasa-Perumal-Temple-Hindu-temples-Singapore-15a-625x1024.jpg
 One of the many of hundreds of Hindu gods. Colorful, but almost cartoon like.

One of the many of hundreds of Hindu gods. Colorful, but almost cartoon like.

Sri-Srinivasa-Perumal-Temple-Hindu-temples-Singapore-21-768x512.jpg
Sri-Srinivasa-Perumal-Temple-Hindu-temples-Singapore-32a-768x962.jpg

After Little India, we went to Koon Seng Road, where these gorgeous homes have stood for over 100 years.

Old-homes-Koon-Seng-road-1890s-Singapore-6-683x1024.jpg
Old-homes-Koon-Seng-road-1890s-Singapore-4-1024x683.jpg

Our last stop was Merlion Park, downtown on Marina Bay. Singapore after all is called the Lion City. Mermaid and Lion mix.

Merlion-Park-Marina-Bay-Singapore-11-1024x683.jpg

We didn’t make it to the Singapore Flyer (Like the London Eye) or the Science Museum (super cool design), but felt we got a good feel for the city. Incredibly vibrant and active, by far the cleanest city I’ve ever been in. All cars are no older than 7 years (it costs $80,000 for a 10 year drivers’ license) and chewing gum is outlawed. Littering is not just a huge fine, but also a potential jail time and they execute drug dealers. So very safe and very strict.

One of our taxi cab drivers (3rd generation from China) was pretty frustrated about the government and it’s spending and heavily taxing. He’s 70 and has to still work. Giving up freedom for safety and beauty would be a good topic to discuss….but man that would be a long discussion.