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    Sentosa Island Resort Tourist Attractions

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    The tiny nation of Singapore is made up of a main island with 60 over smaller islands. Some of these islands are developed into tourist attractions and resorts, particularly Sentosa Island, dubbed as the playground of Singapore. The main island of Singapore has a total land area of 682 sq km or 263 sq miles. Although Singapore is not very blessed in natural beauty as compared to other island attractions like the Hawaii in USA, through its clever city and nature planning, a holiday vacation in Singapore is filled with fun, pleasure and pleasant surprises. Singapore's strategic location, excellent infrastructure, fascinating cultural contrasts and tourist attractions contribute to its success as a leading destination for travelers on holiday vacations or on business travels. Sentosa Island is a themed tourist attraction. It is a one stop tropical island resort, a nature park and cultural heritage center. This tropical island in the sun is just minutes away from the city and is accessible by ferries, cable car or by road. Sentosa Island resort is a 390 hectare or 964 acre recreational jewel dazzles with a smorgasboard of tourist attractions and leisure activities. Sentosa used to be a fishing village turned British military base, and then was transformed into an idyllic island resort in 1972 and today, it is one of the must visit destination for any tourist in Singapore. Once you step on the shores of Sentosa, you can find your own niche interest among the many exciting tourist attractions. Singapore's rich history and culture comes alive vividly, you can find entertainment by day and night, explore the lush green tropical rainforest, picnic on sprawling manicured gardens, bewildered by dancing fountains and or have a putting game at the two international championship 18 hole golf courses with scintillating views of the sea and hills. If frolicking on the beach is your cup of tea, then you can play exciting beach games and sea sports along the 3.2 km or 1.5 mile long sandy beaches stretching across Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong. You can also enjoy cycling, canoe or in line skating, or just simply unwind at the many beach pubs. In recent years, Sentosa has also gained international fame for holding some of Singapore's most exciting themed events like the Sentosa Sandsation (an international sandsculpting event), Black Moon Foam Parties, Zouk Out Dance Festival and Sentosa's yearly Countdown Parties! As for nature lovers, keep a lookout for friendly peacocks, monkeys and squirrels or take a nature walk along the Nature Walk/Dragon Trails through a secondary rainforest and stop by the vantage point on the summit of Mount Imbiah for a panoramic view of the surrounding islands. Then visit The Underwater World (huge marine aquarium) and Dolphin Lagoon to meet the friendly pink dolphins and other exciting marine creatures. You can also admire over 2,500 butterflies from over 50 species and unusual insects like the man face bugs, stick insects, giant millipedes, scorpions and rhino beetles at the Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom. If you are a history buff, then you must pay a visit to Fort Siloso while in Sentosa. Built in the 1880s, Fort Siloso served as the last bastion of the British Empire armed forces during the Japanese occupation of Singapore during the Second World War. Explore the other historical enclave on top of Mt Imbiah where the remains of a former British artillery battery lie. For adrenaline pumping excitement, take a thrill ride at Cinemania which is an interactive simulation theatre. Prepare to scream your lungs out! The party at Sentosa comes to life at sunset. Take an evening stroll through the enchanting Fountain Gardens, bathed in fairy lights or go up to the top of The Merlion or Dragon Court to gaze at the glittering skyline. The Musical Fountain, Dance of Fire and Water Show offers a spectacular light and sound experience after dark. The latest laser technology is combined with motion pictures and 3 D animated images, choreographed to a ballet of dancing water fountains, multi sensory music and lights. There are various types of hotels and accommodation if you choose to stay over night at Sentosa Island Resort. Hotel and accommodation options ranging from five star resort hotels such as The Sentosa Resort & Spa, Shangri La's Rasa Sentosa Resort and Sijori Resort to affordable holiday vacation homes like Sentosa Holiday Chalets and NTUC Sentosa Beach Resort and budget campsites. Most of the high end hotel and resorts have facilities such as resort spas, massages, swimming pools and gyms with personal trainers. Food is never a concern as there are wide selections of food and beverage restaurants, food courts and fast food outlets. Traveling to Singapore for your holiday vacation? Do not miss spending a day or two at Sentosa Island resort.



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    Free And Easy Adventurous Trip In Singapore

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    Singapore has been known to some as the Garden City. Singapore's strategic position has helped it grow into a major center for trade, communications and tourism. From Singapore to Malaysia, you can take a bus or train ride or even walk across one of the two causeway bridges. Not only that, it is just a quick ferry trip to the key islands of the Riau archipelago of Indonesia. Thailand and the Philippines are a short plane journey away. Singapore, with an airport served by more than 69 airlines, is very much the gateway to Southeast Asia. Singapore has a population of about 4 million, which comprises of 77% Chinese, 14% Malays, 8% Indians and 1% Eurasians and people of other descent. It certainly is a dynamic city rich in contrast and color as you'll find a harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture here. Moving around Singapore is easy not only because of the good transportation system, but also because English is the language of business and administration, and is widely spoken and understood in Singapore. If you are an adventure seeker, this could be the things you can do in Singapore. First, visit the Underwater World, which is Asia's first and largest tropical fish oceanarium with over 2,500 marine specimens including the World's Largest Display of Sand Tiger Sharks! It is located in Sentosa, one of the 63 Islets of Singapore. Sentosa is easily accessible by a cable car ride, the new train system that link the islet directly to the mainland. For more information on Sentosa: sentosa. com. sg If you have survived the heart stopping experience with the sharks, reward yourself with lunch at Holland Village, an enclave of charming shops, cafes and restaurants. Holland Village is popular with expatriates and yuppies. You may also want to do a spot of shopping for Asian arts and crafts at the Holland Village Shopping Centre and the Holland Village Complex. After lunch, proceed to the Jurong BirdPark, which is a 20.2 hectare open concept park. It is the largest in the Asia Pacific and the best in the world. Its collection of more than 9,000 birds from 600 species is among the largest in the world. The Park specialises in birds from Southeast Asia. This is where you can be a falconer for a day, learning to handle trained birds of prey. This is your chance to practise falconry a sport, which traditionally had been associated only with royalty and aristocracy. For more information on the Jurong BirdPark: birdpark. com. sg After all that excitement, it's time to relax with some light shopping at Bugis Street Singapore's largest permanent street bazaar. Besides unexpected bargains, you can also find interesting sights like the co existence of a Buddhist and an Indian temple side by side. Also, stop by Bugis Junction, the only shopping mall in Singapore with a glass covered and air conditioned shopping walkway, on top of a rich historical background and interesting shophouse architecture. For a different view of Singapore, proceed on to Clarke Quay and have a go at the Reverse Bungy Jump. Feel your heart drop to your feet as you are flung up at great speeds and then jerked back down to earth. This experience is certainly not for the faint hearted! The day's activities should have worked up your appetite and imagination. Join the Magical Makansutra Food Safari, where you will be able to sample some of Singapore's finest street food. Each safari lasts about three hours and features five food types. We guarantee that our local food like Bak Kut Teh (Pork Ribs in Tea Soup); one very unique food that you must definitely try. Laksa (noodles in a spicy coconut broth); this is one of the Singaporeans' favorites. Roti Prata (Indian pancakes) will leave you wanting more. After dinner, it's time to walk off those calories… if you dare. Go on the unique walking tour of the historic Kampong Glam area where you will be spooked by little known supernatural stories of Sultan Mosque, Old Istana, Kris shop, perfume shop and the royal graveyard. Embrace thousands of years of Malay folklore and discover forgotten places places that still haunt the memories of some in eerie twilight.



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    Singapore Casinos

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    Singapore is one of the world's most successful countries and until recently had strict laws on gambling that restricted the development of casinos in the small city state. However, with recent changes in the law, Singapore casinos will soon be among the world's most spectacular leisure developments, and plans are afoot to create what is expected to be the most expensive casino and leisure complex in the world. This can only increase the desirability of Singapore as a destination for tourists visiting Southeast Asia and bring more revenue into the country. Until late 2004, the government of Singapore had tight restrictions on gambling, which meant that there were no casinos in the country. However, there has been a growing realization that casinos are a valuable tourist attraction bringing in welcome revenue, as well as creating jobs for the local economy, and so the rules have been relaxed, paving the way for the building of the country's first casino. The bidding process involved companies from all over the world, and following this period, the Las Vegas Sands Company was selected to build and operate the first of two planned super casinos in Singapore. The vision for the first of the two huge Singapore casinos is a staggering one; not just a place to gamble, but an entire entertainment district, comprising shopping and leisure amenities, convention facilities, theme parks, theaters, and even museums; an integrated vision that will cost more than $3 billion and is expected to create over 30,000 jobs. The development will be sited on over 50 acres of reclaimed land at the city's waterfront, and it is expected to be completed by 2009. The government is keen to promote Singapore casinos to the large numbers of tourists that visit the country every year, particularly as several other Asian countries are expanding their own casino sectors to cater to visitors, as well as demand from their own public. Indeed, Chinese people are known for their love of gambling, and this applies no less to Singaporeans of Chinese descent, who make up over three quarters of the indigenous population. A second Singapore casino development is planned for Sentosa, a tourist island off the coast of Singapore, which attracts around two million visitors every year to enjoy its beaches, golf courses, and leisure facilities, not to mention its historical sites including Fort Siloso, a fortification used by the British during the Second World War. As with the first Singapore casino, the Sentosa casino will form the centerpiece of a massive integrated resort designed to attract tourists from around the world and further cement Singapore casinos at the forefront of the Asian tourist market.



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    Destination Ideas For Fantastic Winter Trips

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    The best way to combat the biting cold of the winter is to simply run away, to take winter vacations to somewhere warm and comfortable; somewhere where your toes would not seem frozen; somewhere where you would not be straining your back clearing the snow off your front door and driveway. We have all heard of birds that migrate during winters. So be smart and choose mounds of sand over mounds of snow. If lounging on the beach is your thing, then head straight for Antigua or may be to the little island of Barbuda which neighbors it. There are as many beaches in this Caribbean country as there are days in a year, yes 365 or more. The clear blue waters make it a paradise for water sport lovers. Temperatures hovering around 80 degrees make for great winter holidays, for even those of you who don't care for the beach, for you also have the choice of exploring and enjoying St. John, Antigua's capital which lies in the northern part. Speaking English and playing cricket, both of which are part of Antigua's culture may seem to be the legacy of British imperialism, and some may not want to be reminded of this aspect of world history. For them then Rio de Janeiro is a better option. The Portuguese who once ruled here have left Brazil with the stamp of being a party loving country. Equally famous they are for being devoutly religious. This largest country of South America boasts of Samba clubs side by side with being home to the 128 feet tall statue of Christ the Redeemer which weighs more than 1000 tons, seeming to gaze down from the top of the Corcovado Peak. If you feel like a traitor for deserting your home country in favor of this religious version of the Statue of Liberty, then head for the sandy beaches of Perth, which will give you an English speaking, homely atmosphere. Flanked by the dry sandy desert on one side and the clear blue ocean, it is an idyllic holiday destination. You can both take in the King's Park which spans 400 hectares and explore the Swan Lake, which lie in the Southern part, or head to Monkey Mia in the Northern part to swim with the dolphins. You may even settle to sight see in the centre of the city which has fabulous examples of 19th century architecture, built with convict labor. For those of you who think that Perth is too far off, then Singapore is the next best choice. This modern city has a population of 4.8 million. This island hums with life offering you a choice of enjoying either the local cuisine of noodles and curry, or Sentosa Island, the popular amusement park, or for that matter taking in both. Should Sentosa seem to be catering to childish tastes, then the ideal choice would be the Sunshine State of Florida. This is out and out a tourist destination for winter trips and there are sure to be great winter vacation deals to be found. All you need is a bottle of sunscreen, a book and your swim suit / trunks and you are ready to go enjoy the warm and sunshine available much closer to home!



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    10 Places To Get That Holiday Trip Tan

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    Are you tired of watching your friends, family members and coworkers go on vacation and return a week later with a beautiful tan? Well it could be you with that stunning tan if you plan your next vacation in the right place. By selecting one of our top ten places to get a tan as your next travel destination, you will be sure to come back with an eye catching tan. 1. Located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Copacabana Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With a backdrop of the rolling hills of Brazil, you will not only find yourself tanning here but also enjoying the beautiful scenery. In addition to being a great place for tanning and for enjoying the landscape, Copacabana Beach is rarely quiet. There is always something happening on this beach, whether it is tourists enjoying the summer sun during the day or music and drinking at night. Copacabana Beach offers it all to the tourist looking for a tan. 2. Waikiki Beach on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is a great place for sunbathers to sit back, enjoy the sun and watch the action all around them. While sitting on the sand beachgoers can watch the experienced surfers surf the large waves that swell off the two mile long beach. Hawaiian beaches offer soft sand and spectacular sun. After tanning during the day, stick around to watch the beautiful sunset at night. 3. If you are looking to get a great tan during your trip to Europe make a stop in Greece. The island of Crete off of the south coast of Greece is surrounded by 100 miles of beach along its coastline. Try the area of Rethimno on the island’s northern coast. The beach is beautiful but tends to be crowded, as it is one of the most popular spots on the island. If you are looking for a place to tan in solitude then try elsewhere, as there are plenty of small, secluded beaches scattered around the island where you will be more than likely to catch a few rays. 4. Baby Beach located on the coast of Aruba is a great place for sunbathers. The ocean along the beach’s shore remains very calm and shallow making it a great place to put a low beach chair for the day. If you would rather work on your tan than take a dip, you can spread your beach towel out in the soft Arabian sand that lines the shore of Baby Beach. How great is this beach? It is even a favorite among locals, who make this one of the most frequently visited beaches among locals. 5. If you are looking for a great beach for sunbathing but are not sure about leaving the US, try Newpoprt Beach in Southern California. Newport Beach is one of the most famous and frequently visited beaches in California. When you arrive make sure to take notice of all the tan bodies around you, proof that sunbathing on this beach will get you that bronze tan you are looking for. 6. The worst part about tanning, other than the unexpected burn, is the tan lines that inevitably come with your sunbathing. What is the best way to avoid tan lines? By losing your bathing suit! Haulover Beach in Miami, Florida offers beachgoers the option of shedding their suits in pursuit of that all over tan. Located close to both South Beach and downtown Miami, Haulover Beach is the ultimate place for those seeking the perfect tan. 7. For the frequent traveler who is looking for a more unique place to bronze up, why not try the Sentosa Resort in Singapore. Sentosa offers guests the option of three beaches; Palawan Beach, Siloso Beach, and Tanjong Beach, which is probably the best bet for sunbathing. Tanjong Beach is typically frequented by those looking for a quiet day of solace and relaxation on the beach. The sun is bright, the water is cool and the conditions are perfect for tanning. 8. For a beautiful tan in a beautiful place, make sure to visit St. John Island in the Virgin Islands. One of the only seemingly untouched islands in the Caribbean, two thirds of St. John is designated as a National Park, preventing any development on the land. There are a number of beaches on St. John from Cinnamon Bay to Hawksnest Beach but one thing is certain, whatever beach you choose on this island will be beautiful and great for tanning. 9. Down in southern Mexico you will find miles and miles of beaches in Cancun. Cancun boasts a fourteen mile peninsula that jets out into the ocean and provides a favorite beach going spot for vacationers. There are a number of scenic beaches great for tanning in Cancun but think about trying San Miguelito, which is also home to a small, historic Mayan ruin. 10. If you have plenty of money to spend on your vacation, consider visiting the beaches of St. Tropez in France. A number of famous people make vacation stops at St. Tropez each year, pointing to the specter of this French getaway. The Plage Port Grimaud is undoubtedly the place to be seen catching rays in St. Tropez, as it is the most popular beach in the area.



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    Winter Vacation Destinations

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    When your toes turn purple and your eyelashes sprout icicles, you know it’s time to head south for the winter. The birds do it, so why shouldn’t you? Stop, now, before you break your back from shoveling one more pile of snow, and consider some exotic locales for winter getaways where the only mounds of white you’ll being seeing are of the hot, dry, and sandy variety. Speaking of white, sandy beaches, a trip to Antigua, or its neighboring island Barbuda may be just what you need in order to restore feeling to your toes. Every water sport lover’s dream, the Caribbean nation boasts of at least 365 beaches surrounded by clear blue waters with an average temperature of 80 degrees. Trade your snow boots for fins, and snorkel through spectacular coral reefs, maybe even catching a glimpse of the wreck of the merchant ship Andes, which has rested on the bottom of Deep Bay since 1905. If you’d rather not get your feet wet, you can enjoy all that the charming capital St. John’s in the northern part of the island of Antigua has to offer. Purchase colorful local artwork while strolling down Market Street or fortify yourself with sweet black pineapple (which isn’t really black) and some local rum. Watch a spectacular sunset over English Harbour on the summit of Shirley Heights while tapping your feet to the rhythms of a steel band. If you would prefer to watch birds instead of people, then head north to the tiny island of Barbuda, which has only a single village of 1100 people but is famed for its frigate birds and huge rookery. If Antigua’s cricket playing and English speaking ways bring up unpleasant memories of Britain’s colonial imperialism, perhaps its time to head to Rio de Janeiro for a little taste of the party loving legacy of Portuguese imperialism in Brazil, the largest country in South America. Lying on the Bay of Guanabra, the city, which is most well known for its pre Lenten festival of wantonness, “Carnaval,” also prides itself on 75 miles of coastline. Do words like Ipanema or Copacabana ring a bell? Yep, they’re both in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilians in the city party hard and pray hard. After dancing all night at a samba club, look into the sky and enjoy the slightly surreal sight a 128 foot, 1,000 ton statue of Christ the Redeemer hovering over the city proudly at the top of Corcovado Peak. If Rio’s religious version of the Statue of Liberty has you feeling faintly guilty for deserting your home country in the midst of winter, perhaps Perth, Australia will provide the English speaking taste of home (with an exotic flair) that you need. Kick back and ride the waves in the Western Australia’s isolated capital, nestled between a blue, blue ocean and a dry, sandy desert. Getting there is half the adventure, consisting of a 4000 km car ride from Sydney or a long and winding train ride on the Indian Pacific. Explore the Swan River and the 400 hectare King’s Park in the south, magnificent nineteenth century buildings constructed using convict labor in the city center, or perhaps travel north to swim with the dolphins at Monkey Mia. If Perth leaves you feeling a little isolated, perhaps a trip to the modern island city of Singapore, with a population of approximately 4.5 million, will help alleviate your winter doldrums. With not one but four official languages—Chinese, Malay, Tamil, and English—the country offers a delightful blend of ethnic influences. Enjoy a bowl of hot noodles followed by your favorite curry. Buy a sari in Little India on a Sunday evening or sip on herbal tea in Chinatown. Or perhaps enjoy the sights on a cable car ride to Sentosa Island, the sight of a thrilling amusement park. If Sentosa Island puts you in mind of childhood yearnings for the Magic Kingdom, perhaps a trip to the sub tropical Sunshine State may be just the cold remedy you are looking for. The Magic Kingdom isn’t the only amusement park in central Florida. Choose from the likes of Universal Studies, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney MGM Studios, Sea World, Busch Gardens, or Cypress Gardens, all within a short drive of each other. Florida is all about the tourist industry, and travelers can find some great winter travel deals if they shop around. Wherever you decide to go this winter, don’t forget to pack sunscreen, a bathing suit, and your favorite book. Warmth and relaxation wait just a few thousand miles away.



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    What To See In Singapore

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    When many people in the western world hear of Singapore, it’s often the Singapore Sling cocktail that comes in mind. Most people don’t really know where the country is and would probably never consider it as a travel destination. For any trip to southeast Asia, especially on longer excursions to multiple countries, Singapore is worth a stop as it provides a nice change compared to the usual crowded, polluted and chaotic large cities of Hong Kong or Bangkok. Singapore is an island, country and city all rolled into one. Compared to other destinations in southeast Asia, Singapore is ultra clean thanks to its somewhat restrictive government. There are heavy fines for littering, spitting in the streets and jaywalking. It’s even illegal to bring in chewing gum into the country. Drug offences can result in death penalties so travelers definitely should not take the risk by bringing any illegal narcotics into Singapore. But the result of all the tough laws is a place in the region that is quite low in crime rates. It is one of the safest destinations for female travelers where equality is encouraged. With its gleaming high rise buildings, Singapore is one of the most modern cities in Asia due to its economic success. It also makes great efforts to make itself presentable and beautiful. On the trip from the international airport to the city center, it can be noticed that the bridges passing over the main highway are covered with orchards and flowers. This is something that one doesn’t see often anywhere else in the world. The city center itself is well designed with the Singapore river running through it. River cruises are available to take in the local sights from the water. There are numerous outdoor cafes, restaurants and shops along side the river which makes for a pleasant stroll. Because of the hot temperatures here since Singapore is pretty well on the equator line, the city can feel like a giant sauna. So extended walks are suggested in the early mornings, late afternoons or evenings when things get a bit more comfortable rather than in the midday hear. Singapore with its mixed population including Chinese (77%), Malay (14%) and Indian (7%) is a case study in multiculturalism. Everyone here lives and works together in harmony. Only in Singapore can one see a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple and an Islamic mosque all in close proximity to each other. The country has four official languages being English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. One of the great advantages of such a multiracial scene is that there are different ethnic neighborhoods to check out including Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street. All have their own distinct flavors in little shops, markets and cuisine. In addition to restaurants, there are outdoor food vendors which serve very low priced meals so one can dine well at any budget level. For horticulture enthusiasts, Singapore is a gold mine where there are world class gardens including the Singapore Botanic Gardens as well as the Chinese and Japanese Gardens. For nature lovers, there are some interesting attractions including the Jurong Bird Park, Jurong Reptile Park, Singapore Crocidilarium, Singapore Zoological Gardens and the very unique Night Safari which is open only during evenings. Sentosa is a small resort island south of the city with a scenic cable car, an aquarium and some nice beaches. In addition to the modern skyline and the contrasting ethnic temples, there is still some wonderful colonial architecture including the famous Raffles Hotel where the Singapore Sling was originally invented. If one wishes to stay indoors during the hot midday sun, there are several museums including the National Museum to take in. Singapore has some Asian theme parks such as Tang Dynasty City which is a recreation of life during 7th century China and Haw ParVilla Tiger Balm Gardens which has colorful statues depicting Chinese mythology. High end boutique shopping for fashion and electronics will be concentrated on or near Orchard Street. It is a good idea to take a quick organized city tour to get an overview of what Singapore has to offer. Then tourists can easily take advantage of the very efficient bus and subway system known as Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to go pretty well anywhere on the island for selected sights of interest. A nice thing about Singapore is that it is pretty compact and easy to get around. It won’t take long to see all the sights and attractions one would be interested in so even a few days is all that would be required. Singapore would be the much needed change of pace within a longer hectic southeast Asian tour.



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    Asian Affair Vibrant Vietnam Sizzling Singapore

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    I simply love aircrafts and long haul flights. We board award winning Singapore Airlines with about 30 hours to go. With 8 magazines, 6 movies, 4 meals and a sleeping pill, I arrive relaxed and ready to explore. American airports are still not people friendly. Singapore’s ultra modern airport invites you to linger with free internet terminals, a cinema, rooftop swimming pool, aromatherapy spas, oxygen bars, indoor nature garden with waterfalls and koi pond. I’m escorting my smallest group yet with 28 singles. Over 60 had begged me to offer these destinations, but most bailed last minute claiming fear of bird flu. So it’s like a vacation for me with this quality over quantity entourage of culture vultures. We begin with an orientation tour at the top of Mt. Farber with spectacular views. I can see the group is impressed with this sparkling metropolis located between Malaysia and Indonesia. Here is the leader of S. E. Asia, a bustling port that was modernized by the British Empire. It’s called the “Lion City” and inhabited by 4 million souls. 76% are Chinese and the other minorities blend harmoniously. Singapore is a city, state, capital and country all in one and draws 8 million visitors per year, yet few Americans have yet to discover it. We check into the opulent Regent Hotel of the Four Seasons. I’m given a suite and swear this wins the award for the most gracious staff on the planet. We’ve arrived at a perfect time now with the “Great Shopping Festival” on. There is nothing like some retail therapy to soothe our jet lag. Orchard Road, like a tree lined Fifth Avenue is a block away and center of all life. Shopping is the national obsession and bargain hunting can become a blood sport here. There are 150 mega malls with some that never close. I’m a label slave and purchase a used authentic Rolex with documents for a fraction of it’s original cost. We have only 4 days here. So much to do 24/7, its like Hong Kong on steroids. The Arts Festival is on with a multitude of venues. After dark, it becomes party city at the trendy Clarke Quay area by the river. We have an astute and friendly guide named Farida who shows us all the sights along with a great sense of humor. We visit the lush National Orchard Gardens with 60,000 orchids, China Town with its markets and temples as well as Little India with its intense aromas and vibrant colors. Then on to the ultra contemporary financial district, Merlion Park with its landmark fountain and the historic colonial area that was established by Sir Stanford Raffles. We stop to sip a Singapore Sling at the famous Long Bar of Raffles Hotel where rooms start at $700 per night. Other tours included Jurong Bird Park and the Night Safari at the zoo, considered the best in the world with its free roaming enclosures for 2500 animals. In free time, we ride rickshaws around town and take the cable car over to Sentosa Island. Some of us opt to head back to the zoo for a Jungle Breakfast with the Orangutans. At night Terry & I dine on jumbo chili crabs and rice cakes. This vibrant island state of Singapore is glistening clean with purple bougainvillea bushes lining the highways. All cars are equipped with alarms to sound if one exceeds the speed limit. No graffiti, no gangs and in this tightly “controlled democracy”, it’s the death penalty for drug traffickers. We all make jokes about getting caned for chewing gum or jay walking. Its been a leisurely visit here. I usually feel like Jack Bauer on the TV series 24 on my trips with non stop itineraries. I feel rested as I board our 3 hour flight to Vietnam. We arrive to another world with rice paddies, sampans, lotus blossoms, coconut milk and noodle soups. It’s like time machine travel back to the 15th century in this graceful land that is steeped in history. It is far poorer than I anticipated. There is however, an alluring charm which is found in the gentility of these people with the sincerest of smiles. I am a fan of the Third World. Whereas Singapore was dynamic, Hanoi is culturally stimulating. The city is studded with lakes and shaded by tamarind trees. It is a dichotomy that bustles with Chi energy and yet is tranquil at the same time. We check into the deluxe Sheraton Resort, an oasis of calm amidst the chaos. Our fabulous guide named Hong will be with us for 6 glorious days. His first lesson was in teaching us how to cross the streets. The traffic of 7 lanes is horrendous with 2.4 million motor scooters. “It’s called the Chicken Game.” Hong says. “Don’t run, don’t stop, just walk slowly so drivers can predict your direction.” That afternoon I stand in fear stranded 20 minutes curbside as this lesson goes against all instincts. There are entire families on a single scooter, called the “Vietnamese sandwich.” Everything is transported on these mopeds, 8 piglets, a dozen chickens upside down, a TV, a tree and more. Pollution is bad. The inner city looks tired and worn. Suddenly there’s a monsoon downpour. People drape ponchos and it becomes raincoat city. It dissipates as quickly as it began and life goes on. The sun shined on our daily tours which included the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, the French Quarter and the memorial to Ho Chi Mihn. We line up with hundreds of people to enter the tomb where his preserved body is visibly encased just like Lennon in Moscow. Communist armed soldiers command us to silent reverence, no cameras, umbrellas, sunglasses and arms at our sides. Later we visit Hoa Lo Prison, or Fiery Furnace. Built by the French in 1896, thousands of political prisoners were tortured here until 1954. We view the dungeons with leg irons, torture equipment and “head cutting machies.” In the 1960’s the Vietcong used this as a prisoner of war detention center for American pilots shot down during the Vietnam War. It was our captive pilots that sardonically named this place “The Hanoi Hilton.” We also do a walking tour through the Old Quarter where each narrow lane was named for its ancient craft: Silk St., Coffin St., Grilled Fish St., etc. Hong leads us to a food market with turtles, sea slugs, pig heads and other unmentionable creatures for sale. Thit Chow is dog stew which is considered peasant food here. Country rat is ceremoniously served at all birthday parties. Most of our meals are included with elaborate breakfast buffets and 10 coarse lunches. Every restaurant is affordable. One evening my dinner menu presented salad of jellyfish, deep fried eel, ginger crickets and sticky rice with tender roasted pigeon. It seems the Vietnamese will eat anything that moves because “it tastes like chicken.” We attend the Water Puppet Show, a ancient art form unique only to Hanoi. This blend of music and dance on water was the source of entertainment of villagers long ago. We then scatter to explore the city, Asia’s oldest capital. Some go for massages and pedicures at prices that can’t be resisted. Some shop for souvenirs while others have clothes tailor made for them. I have an embroidered silk dress cut to my body in 4 hours for $45. We also visited the handicraft villages for bargains in art, ceramics and lacquerware. The currency is a great challenge for us as $10,500 dong equals 65 cents. We felt like millionaires yet it was disheartening to learn that the annual per capita income is just $320! We tip generously throughout. Vietnam’s pulse is found in its cities whereas its decorous grace is found in its villages. We head out through the countryside for a full day cruise at Halong Bay. The air is fresh as we pass rice paddies, duck and prawn farms. It is rice harvest time and hundreds of rice farmers are bent over their ponds. Timid children wave as we drive by. We arrive at this natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and board our private wooden junk boat. Quietly we sail into a dreamscape that looks surreal. 3,000 islands of sheer limestone cliffs emerge from the emerald sea. There is a timeless, haunting quality to this scenery. Nat. Geo. calls it “magic in stone and water.” We enjoy a seafood lunch with fresh caught crab and prawns. It’s a perfect day in the sun for escapism and serenity. The highlight of the trip for me was our group cyclo tour through Old Hanoi on the last day. We turn a corner downtown to see 28 bicycle rickshaws lined up to peddle us individually for an hour through the narrow scooter filled lanes of oncoming traffic. There are some near misses at the red lights which are always ignored. We all laugh as locals stare. Terry at 6’4” is considered huge even in America. Here he looked like King Tut seated on a throne as his 90lb. driver peddles him effortlessly in line with our group. We later go our separate ways for independent exploration. After several hours, I found myself lost in an area of town with no taxis. I had to get back to join others for dinner. No choice but to hire a ride on a scooter. Dressed in a skirt with my arms full of bags, I mount the tiny seat and we’re off. On the highway, I wrap my arms and legs around my driver like an octopus. He laughs the entire way to the Sheraton. We fly back to Singapore for a good nights rest at the Le Meridian before our long flight home to Los Angeles via Tokyo. I reflect on another journey well done with new insights gained on history and cultures. It was like visiting two different planets within one vacation. The contrast of this trip is evident in our photos from the contemporary garden paradise of Singapore to the new renaissance of traditional Vietnam. This is certainly an Asian affair never to be forgotten. Suzy Davis Adventures For Singles Inc. 800 813 9421 or GA. 770 432 8225



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