Amaz­ing Sin­ga­pore

Daz­zling is­land na­tion brims with su­perla­tives

Central and North Burnett Times - - EXPLORE - Tiny coun­try stuns ANN RICKARD

I NEVER use the word amaz­ing un­less I re­ally am amazed.

And I was re­cently on a visit to Sin­ga­pore.

It was my first time back in more than 40 years and the trans­for­ma­tion of that tiny is­land coun­try in such a rel­a­tively short time was, well...amaz­ing.

Four decades ago I re­call just a botan­i­cal gar­den, many mon­keys, a sprin­kle of small build­ings and a few hawker stalls.

Now, Sin­ga­pore is an on­go­ing nar­ra­tive of el­e­gant sky­scrapers bunched to form a soar­ing sky­line, an in­ter­na­tional food and bar cul­ture where ev­ery­thing is avail­able, at­trac­tions that go be­yond the imag­i­na­tion, a celebrity chef and wow fac­tor on ev­ery cor­ner, and a glam and bold life­style – all of­fered with in­grained hos­pi­tal­ity.

If Sin­ga­pore doesn’t have it nat­u­rally, it makes it. And with un­equalled panache.

No reef? Let’s build an aquar­ium, and let’s make it the big­gest in the world.

No CBD gar­den? Let’s make two. One a trop­i­cal rain­for­est, an­other filled with pre­cious trees, lush lawns, flour­ish­ing plants and nat­u­ral blos­soms, all land­scaped be­neath mas­sive light-flood­ing domes in 101 hectares of hor­ti­cul­tural won­der­land.

Not much beach? Buy in truck- loads of sand and cre­ate one, then fringe it with vi­brant bars and stylish restaurants.

While we’re at it, why not build the world’s long­est el­e­vated swim­ming pool and place it in the sky?

The Ma­rina Bay Sands ho­tel, with its three grace­fully an­gled tow­ers, is the heart-stop­ping build­ing that sup­ports the 150 me­tre in­fin­ity rooftop pool which can­tilevers into the blue be­yond and de­fies the mind's eye.

It is the most com­plex ho­tel ever built, now a global icon and a sym­bol of Sin­ga­pore’s un­abashed suc­cess.

The lo­tus-shaped Art Sci­ence Mu­seum be­low Ma­rina Bay Sands is as ar­chi­tec­turally dra­matic as our Opera House (but smaller, let’s save a lit­tle boast­ing for our­selves) and its out­reached hand clev­erly col­lects wa­ter and light for the mu­seum.

Yet just min­utes from these mod­ern marvels is na­ture’s green tran­quil­lity in the MacRitchie For­est where a free-stand­ing sus­pen­sion bridge has you up in the for­est canopy with the birds and wildlife.

It’s es­sen­tial to ban­ish thoughts of tick­ing all Sin­ga­pore’s boxes in one go. You must stay a while, dig deep into its multi-lay­ered thrills and keep go­ing back for more.

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