| James Kon |
BESIDES being known as a shopping paradise, Singapore has a lot of attractions and sightseeing places, especially for family vacations.
Thanks to the Singapore Tourism Board, media representatives from Asia and Europe were recently given a unique discovery tour from January 16-20 in Singapore in conjunction with the Asean Tourism Forum for a Tai-chi lesson, a relaxing evening at a beach as well as night safari.
The Lion City actually has numerous fun and exciting spots as well as learning experience in its hotbed of tourist destinations.
Head down to the National Gallery of Singapore located at 1, St Andrew’s Rd of Singapore. Accessible by at least 15 buses and City Hall MART, the National Gallery of Singapore is actually the combination of two national monuments, the former Supreme Court and City Hall.
At a total gross floor area of approximately 64,000 square metres, it is the largest visual arts institution in Singapore, matching established museums such as Musée d’Orsay (France) and Tate Modern (UK) in size.
The Gallery draws from the National Collection, one of the world’s largest public collections of Southeast Asian artworks. Through careful nurturing over the years, the artworks the Gallery draws from now number approximately 8,000 pieces.
Apart from being displayed within Singapore, this collection has also travelled to international museums and exhibition venues in the Americas, Europe and Asia. The collection’s strength also lies in its comprehensive representation of Singaporean art and its unparalleled holdings of works by major Singapore artists such as Cheong Soo Pieng, Liu Kang, Chua Mia Tee, Georgette Chen, Chen Chong Swee, Chen Wen Hsi, and Tang Da Wu.
The building itself is connecting the structures of both former Supreme Court and City Hall, and houses numerous art collections including masterpieces from each Asean member country.
The UOB Southeast Asia Gallery houses some of the finest arts from the region where some 400 artworks are being displayed including the famed Indonesian artist Raden Saleh. One of his most noticeable work is Boschbrand (Forest Fire), measuring 300x396cm, depicting tigers trying to escape a forest blaze.
In a brief visit to learn more about urban planning and national development, media representatives took a tour at the City Gallery by the Urban Redevelopment Authority where a miniature scale of the city was on display.
Another highlight is the Garden by the Bay, a must-visit site for tourists. Its highlights include the Flower Dome and Supertree Grove of the south bay. The uniqueness of the Flower Dome is the periodic change of floral on display in conjunction with festivals and celebrations.
After a delicious feast at The Disgruntled Brasserie, Club Hotel that offers a fresh take on European classics, the group took a stroll in China Town to admire the radiance of the Chinese New Year decorations that were on display. Its lively markets and festive atmosphere definitely makes it the place to be.
In an unusual yet remarkable experience, media personnel were given a Tai-chi session at the Singapore Botanic Gardens the next morning. Led by Tai-chi Master Yip See Kit, the invited media had a half an hour of Tai-chi workout in The Gardens – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The next stop was the National Orchid Garden. Spread over three hectares of land on the highest hills of Singapore Botanic Gardens, the National Orchid Garden is house to the largest display of tropical orchids in the world, with over 60,000 orchids from 1,000 orchid species and 2,000 hybrid. Some of the highlights include the Dendrobium ‘Memoria Princess Diana’ and Vanda William Catherine. The coolhouse of the orchid garden has a selection of plants from the mountainous areas of Southeast Asia.
Taking a scenic view of Singapore through the Singapore Cable Car from Mount Faber Peak to Sentosa Island was also an extraordinary experience. At 100 metres above sea level, Faber peak is privy to some of the most stunning views – from here, one can get the best view on Sentosa Harbourfront precinct, the city skyline and the southern islands.
To learn about conservation of marine wildlife, visitors can go to SEA Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa, home to more than 100,000 marine animals of 800 species, across 49 different habitats.
After a long day, take a stroll on the sandy beach and chill with refreshments at Tanjong Beach Club located in Sentosa Island.
Capping off the leisure trip, the invited media got up close and personal with animals in the wild at the Night Safari. Visitors can take on a buggy or choose a walking tour accompanied by a guide. Hear insider tales about your favourite animals and have wildlife conservation queries answered personally by the knowledgeable and experienced personal guide.
The Night Safari, a 12-time winner of the Best Attraction category awarded by the Singapore Tourism Board, receives over 1.1 million visitors annually, luring visitors with its world-class service quality, product offerings and physical surroundings.