Singapore – the Obvious, the Odd and the Unexpected

Singapore 2014-02-021We spent our short 4 days stop-over in Singapore between the obvious, the odd and the unexpected.

Having fun with our couchsurfing hosts Nitin and Shuchi and their dog Bella

Obvious: Marina Bay

The modern skyline of the Marina Bay with city skyscrapers and the popular Marina Bay Sands hotel offers a lot of photo opportunities at day and night. Unfortunately the light and projections show in front of the Marina Bay Sands at night is rather disappointing.

Odd: Haw Par Villa

The Haw Par Villa was built in 1937 by the brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par who became rich through the famous Tiger Balm. To immortalize and share the moral values behind the various meaningful Chinese legends they decorated the grounds with three-dimensional sculptures and figurines. The villa was eventually destroyed but the grounds are still accessible to the public. Also on display is the “Tiger Car” of the older brother Aw Boon Haw.

Unexpected: Henderson Waves and the Public Gallery

We got a first sense that there is more to Singapore than just modern architecture and clean streets when we visited the Henderson Waves bridge. It is one of the 2 modern design bridges connecting 12 km of green parks in the south of Singapore. Besides being a connector the Henderson Waves are a space of reflection and peace high above the traffic in the green roof of the city.

On our last day we followed the tip of a local we met and visited the Public Gallery just behind the Maxwell Food court in Chinatown. The urban redevelopment agency URA presents the past, present and future of Singapore’s development on 3 floors in a very informative exhibition. We were surprised by the long term vision and determination, the diversity of the city and especially about the open dialogue with the public and the active involvement of the communities in urban planning.

We would have wished to visit the gallery on our first day. It would have made Singapore a very different experience.

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