The clean green trail

The clean green trail

Singapore is one of the safest, cleanest cities in the world and an ideal destination for a solo traveller. It is a small city, it is slightly smaller in area than Bengaluru, and is well-connected by the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). Singaporeans are conscientious, helpful and a happy lot. It is they who make the ‘Singaporean experience’ one you will always remember.

I will never forget how strangers offered me their only umbrella when it rained, or alighted on a different station than the one they intended to show me the way, how everyone I encountered called me brave and wished me well. This is one journey that will always stay in my heart.

There is much to do in Singapore. Sentosa was the first place I decided to visit since I had to also meet my friend and her INSEAD MBA classmates there later for a ‘Holi’ celebration.

Sentosa is an island created for fun. There are umpteen thrill rides and shows to keep one grinning from ear to ear.  I chose to grab a gelato and visit the marine park and watch the beautiful sea creatures move as if in a symphony. The manta rays are hilarious and play with you even through the glass display.

There was a personable manta ray playing peekaboo, he would slide into the water and slide back up the glass barrier umpteen times, causing us all to break out in mirth. I snorkelled in the adventure cove where there are hundreds of beautiful, colourful fishes, floated down the lazy river and had a sundowner at the Tanjong Beach Club. All the while everyone I met, including the ranger who gave me a ride back when the buggy was out of commission, were warm and welcoming, making me feel at home.

I spent the next day at the lovely, lush, expansive Botanical Gardens. Never have I experienced solitude amidst so many people, Singaporeans are mindful of your space and let you be.

There are so many old trees here at the gardens, each with a story of its own and every part of the garden is an oasis of peace especially the Saraca stream pathway.

The gardens are also a venue for orchestra and concerts at both the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage and the bandstand. I had a wonderful lunch at the Halia after I finished viewing the famed orchids. Close to the gardens was Orchard Street where I indulged in a much needed bout of retail therapy. There are so many malls here and so much of choice, it takes a day all on its own. I also promptly lost my camera and yet again, a good Samaritan came looking for me to hand it over!

Being an ephemerist, my last few days were spent at the Singapore Philatelic Museum that’s filled with vintage collectibles and of course stamps from all over the world. This is where I bought one of my favourite souvenirs — a dinosaur stamp from Ecuador. The museum is close to both Clarke Quay and Marina Bay Sands, but I instead chose the historic Raffles Hotel for a spot of afternoon tea.

At evening I headed to Haji Lane over the recommendation of a writer friend for a relaxing massage at Frangipani Spa followed by an alfresco dinner at a cafe there, accompanied by wonderful live jazz. Can’t wait to go back to this beautiful city soon.

Shruthi Gowda
(The author can be contacted at shruthigowda5987@gmail.com)

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