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2 mins Read | 3 Months Ago

Singapore Newsletter – February-2024

Plan Your Trip

February Dreams: Your Singapore Adventure

ICICI Bank introducing VACATIONS – your monthly Travel Newsletter! 

Month’s theme Introduction: Where it is summer in February .

Fusion of Heritage & Modernism

In some places, heritage stands as a living, breathing part of our contemporary experience. Modernity accentuates, rather than replaces enduring cultural traditions. The fusion of the two makes for an unforgettable traveller experience - where both the historic and contemporary come alive.

For travellers, each day brings new discoveries - savour tea in a centuries-old tea-house before experiencing interactive art at a futuristic museum. Learn traditional crafts in a historic village, then view the city from reflective skyscrapers. Immerse in spiritual sites and thriving epicentres of business. The interplay between past and present opens up endless possibilities.

In cosmopolitan hubs, heritage and modernity mingle in captivating ways. These dynamic ecosystems artfully fuse the old and new, delighting curious travellers worldwide.

Historic quarters display preserved shophouses with intricate facades. Age-old temples resonate with spiritual chants and aromatic incense. Colourful open-air markets offer goods - and a slice of local life. Layers of diverse immigrant cultures from years past seamlessly fold into the contemporary.

Yet modernity infuses these cities with its irresistible energy. Experimental architecture soars overhead. Audacious artworks surprise at every turn. Green spaces flourish, interwoven with urbanity. Cutting-edge technology improves daily experiences. Both heritage and innovation enrich these urban landscapes.

Don’t get lost in the 10 must-do lists. Find your own unique experiences – an equal measure of traditional and modern. Because only when you see both, will you know a place in depth.

Soul Trip

Take it all in!

Travel is not about crossing destinations off a checklist. It is about exploring deep into the spirit of a place. Peel back the glossy brochure veneer and immerse yourself in locales where culture and nature thrive untamed.

Let your curiosity chart the course as you wander ancient alleys and uncover colourful bazaars bursting with music, spices and whispered tales. Spend an afternoon chatting with an elder who unravels folklore and wisdom from long ago.

Venture into fragrant forests untouched by time’s passage. Search for mythical creatures said to roam these wooded realms. Let the verdant canopy envelop you as you listen for the secrets held within.

Gaze out across the waters, as endless as your longing to explore. Reflect on those who came before you and what dreams or trials led them here. Travel opens hidden worlds that stir and surprise. It awakens your childlike awe and reconnects you to humanity’s shared joy for adventure.

In dynamic destinations like Singapore, skyscraper glamour glitters but true magic lies in humble hawker markets, verdant tropical reserves and quiet curious corners that tell a people’s history. Scratch beneath the surface and step off the beaten track into the heart of a place.

Let adventure guide your journey, not a list of sights. Immerse yourself in locales overflowing with culture, nature and tradition. Tread deeper with an open heart and ignite your passion for the undiscovered.

Discover Your World

Singapore - Welcome the year of the Dragon

For intrepid travellers seeking vibrant culture, rich nature and fascinating history, Singapore serves up a tantalising feast for the senses. Step into an exotic world waiting to be explored.

Start your adventure in Singapore’s historic districts - Chinatown and Little India. Wander down South Bridge Road in Chinatown and immerse yourself in the bustling Clark Quay wet market. Inhale the fragrant spices as stallholders hawk traditional Chinese herbs and delicacies. Stand mesmerised by the riot of red and gold - auspicious Chinese colours signifying good fortune. Admire the bright joss sticks, rosewood furniture and colourful silk brocades. Feast on Hainan chicken rice, bak kut teh peppery ribs soup and buttery pineapple tarts. At the nearby Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, behold the 27-foot Maitreya Buddha in all its golden glory within the splendour of Tang dynasty architecture.

Next, make your way past shophouses bearing fading Chinese calligraphy to the Indian enclave of Little India. Aromas of curry and incense infuse the air as you browse five-foot-ways lined with sari shops and garland stalls. Graze on mouth-watering fish head curry and flaky parathas washed down with teh tarik pulled milk tea. Gaze upon the brightly painted Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple standing proud as the reflection of Indian culture abroad.

Escape next to nature's refuge at the 163-hectare Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. This precious tract of primary rainforest offers a glimpse into Singapore's biodiversity before urbanisation. Listen for whispers of old folktales as you explore the hiking trails shaded by towering tropical trees. Keep an eye out for long-tailed macaques that still roam here. The forest canopy envelops you in verdant serenity, transporting you away from the city bustle.

At Marina Barrage, stroll along the striking curved dam set against Singapore's cityscape. Look across the tranquil Marina Reservoir spreading out where the sea once flowed before remarkable engineering tamed the tides. Reflect on Lee Seng, the boy whose sacrifice according to myth led to the creation of this freshwater resource.

As the sun dips towards the horizon, join locals at East Coast Park for seaside recreation. Cycle along the 15km shoreline path, stopping to sip coconut juice along the sandy beach. Joggers, cyclists and families gather in the open green space, flying kites and sharing picnics and laughter much like the old kampong communities.

For an extra dose of culture, visit during Chinese New Year and experience Singapore's most vibrant festival. The city dazzles in red and gold as locals celebrate the Year of the Dragon this year - associated with prosperity and fertility. Watch the lively Chingay parade with magnificently costumed performers, martial arts displays and acrobatic acts. Ooh and aah at the spectacular River Hongbao fireworks exploding over Marina Bay. Toss yusheng prosperity salad and receive hongbao lucky red packets. Indulge in auspicious pen cai dishes like braised duck, abalone and fatty pork. Sample sweet nian gao cakes and pineapple tarts too. From the cacophonous drums to the symbolic reunion feasts, the celebrations showcase Singapore's multicultural identity interwoven with Chinese traditions. Make a wish at the iconic wishing well while visiting the decorative floral dragons throughout the city. The feasting, reunions and cheer remind all of the hopes carried into the Year of the Dragon for success and good fortune.

Of course, Singapore has lots of contemporary entertainment areas as well such as Gardens by the Bay, Marina Sands, Universal Studios, Sentosa, etc., but when you explore Singapore through its culture and heritage, it offers new, striking vistas to its visitors.

Travelling opens hidden worlds that stir and surprise. Singapore lifts her exotic veil to reveal a dynamic country filled with rich experiences waiting to be uncovered beyond the tourist sites. Absorb the sights, sounds and flavours as you wander off the beaten track into Singapore's diverse culture, nature and history. Let your childlike awe reignite here and connect with this island country's infectious passion for life.

Travel Smart

World’s best airport: Changi

Knowing your airport can transform travel from stressful to superb. Follow these insider tips to uncover Changi Airport's hidden gems and breeze through your journey. Changi has won awards time and again for its efficient amenities - clear signages, smooth immigration and customs, clean washrooms and free WiFi make transit easy while features such as the garden, waterfall, swimming pool, sleeping pods, etc can make Changi a destination of its own. If you are at Changi, make full use of it with our tips below.

  1. Download the Changi app for easy navigation, flight updates and exclusive shopping and dining discounts.

  2. Indulge in a massage or manicure at the transit spas situated throughout the terminals. Get some pampering in before your long flight.

  3. Stash heavy bags at 24-hour storage areas conveniently located between terminals before exploring light. Retrieve them quickly later.

  4. Free movie theatre - Changi has two 24-hour movie theatres that screened the latest blockbusters for free. Great for passing time during long layovers.

  5. Kinetic art installations - The airport is filled with amazing kinetic art pieces and light displays like the Matrix-style control tower light show. A visual treat.

  6. Butterfly garden - An open-air garden with flowering plants, waterfalls and thousands of butterflies fluttering around. Provides a calming natural break.

  7. Rooftop swimming pool - The crowning jewel is the rooftop swimming pool at the Luft terminal offering stunning views of the runways.

  8. Premium lounges - Changi has pay-per-use lounges with meals, drinks, shower facilities, business centers and more.

  9. Free Singapore tours - Free city tours are offered to passengers with long layovers to experience Singapore's sights.

  10. Entertainment decks - PlayStation and Xbox consoles, VR games, TV lounge areas and more gaming fun.

 Sustainable Travel Tip of the Month

“To get a sample itinerary for Singapore, "Click here

Reuse, Recycle: Learn from Singapore

In an era where global awareness of environmental issues is growing, sustainable tourism has become necessary for frequent travellers. Taking cues from Singapore's initiatives, here are practical tips that can be adopted to contribute to a greener world:

  1. Reusable Essentials: Invest in reusable water bottles, cutlery and shopping bags to minimise single-use plastic waste during your travels.

  2. Eco-friendly Accommodations: Choose hotels committed to sustainability. Singapore, with its Gardens by the Bay, showcases green architecture, while hotels like the Parkroyal Collection Pickering emphasise eco-friendly designs and energy-saving practices.

  3. Public Transportation: Opt for public transport or eco-friendly options like biking and walking to reduce your carbon footprint. Singapore's efficient public transportation system, coupled with extensive cycling paths, exemplifies this eco-conscious approach.

  4. Waste Reduction: Be mindful of your waste. Singapore's 'Zero Waste Masterplan' encourages the reduction of single-use items and hotels like Marina Bay Sands implement recycling programs to minimise their ecological impact.

  5. Support Local and Sustainable Tourism: Choose local, sustainable tours and businesses. Singapore's 'Green Events Guide' promotes eco-friendly events and hotels like the Mandarin Oriental focus on sourcing local, organic produce for their dining options.

As travellers, embracing these practices not only minimises our impact on the environment but also supports destinations, like Singapore, which lead the way in sustainable tourism.

Vacations - travel question of the month

What is the red envelope called which is given as a symbol of luck during Chinese New Year?

‘Vacations’ is powered by OneShoe Trust for Responsible & Mindful Travels – a social enterprise that promotes travelling as a means to raise awareness about climate change and environmental issues. Incubated at IIM Bangalore, OneShoe is the source of the most authentic travel experiences around the world.

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