On the eve of having to return his Citroen DS3 back to its rightful owners,...
Thanks to the Citreon DS3, house moving for A-Lister Pern Choo got off to a zippy start. As he slowly settles into his new pad in the chic district of Tiong Bahru, he managed to take some time out this week to show a visiting guest the fun side of Singapore and all that that it has to offer.
From the glitz of Marina Bay Sands to the wilds of the Singapore Night Safari, Pern proves that despite what many say, there's no shortage of things to see, do and experience on the little red dot - all you have to do is don a pair of fresh tourist eyes and if you're lucky, have a nice set of wheels to make exploring all the easier.
This little city-state received around 12 million visitors last year, bringing with them tourism receipts of around 23 billion Singapore dollars. Given these amazing numbers, is there any wonder why there are so many things to see and do here.
We ourselves, as long term ‘stop-over’ guests are spoilt for tourism and hospitality, leisure, culture and entertainment choices.
Being an Australian based in the Merlion city, our Singapore home allures many a friend (or friend-of-a-friend) and family member to ‘stop-over’. So with a sister-in-law in town, and the luxury of the purring DS3 at my disposal, I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to enjoy the sights of Singapore, the tourist market mecca of today and the future.
Stop 1 – Marina Bay Sands
As an integrated resort destination, MBS is the pinnacle of tourism, hospitality, leisure and culture in Asia. After a day spent browsing the shops, scoffing macaroons at TWG, a mandatory indulgence at Pizza Mozza, inspiration stop at the LV store, a gondola ride, some ice skating, a few bets of the pokies and a sunset bevvie at Ku De Ta, the girls were notably satiated with the endless excitement. The DS3 cruised into the grand forecourt, turned a few heads and picked up the ‘tourists’.
The DS3, in triptonic mode, hit an upper gear and sped off along the PIE, via the CTE and up past BKE (just like on a PS3) for Mandai. Things were going to get a little wilder!
Stop 2 – The Night Safari
The world’s first wildlife night park, with over 1,000 nocturnal animals on display, is a must-do attraction for all. Kindred spirits, the DS3 is sorted for night life with its bi-xenon headlights and potent little engine; so are these creatures, big and small. We interacted with otters at the “Creatures of the Night” show, cruised past hippos on an informative tram ride, and explored varied trails by foot in the dark of night. This safari provided an educational insight into the many animals of their respective kingdoms, and what they get up to while most of us are usually settling in for sleep.
With our childhood love of animals ignited, vivid discussions of the cuddly and not-so-cuddly bouncing off its sleek racing interior, the DS3 also ignited an inner roar (almost as loud as the lion king) and departed back for our next attraction for the night.
Stop 3 – Cultural delights
To fully make use of the little pocket rocket at my beck and call, we looked at showing our guest the bright lights and insatiable pulse of Little India. This night safari in its own right assaults the senses with a variety of visual and visceral delights that include amazing restaurants, cafes, bars, markets, shrines, people and the like. Definitely a must-see recommendation for any visitor by foot or by car. Needless to say the DS3 handled the tight little back lanes with aplomb.
After this drive-by we headed for another cultural mecca, a place where a different sort of night owl feels exceptionally comfortable.
Stop 4 – Arab Street
Amid the heritage facades, coloured smoke, mood lighting, trinkets and the clink of glasses, a culture of the ages brings back memories from my last home: Dubai. The comfort of a sheesha, pomegranate juice and great company allows the day to end in a dream-like haze of smoke, laughter and conversation.
Comfortably, the DS3 and its grey and orange livery managed to slip into its environs, while attracting the cursory glance by those owls enjoying the night at this cultural and off-beat location.
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