When I had heard the name of Singapore for the first time during my childhood days, it never occurred to me that it is any "foren" country. It shared the same suffix as the city of my grandparental house, and many other Indian cities have, it always seemed like and gave a feeling as if it is some nearby village or a town. We lived in Delhi, and very often, someone known or relatives from Punjab would stopover at our home to catch a flight from Delhi Airport while on their way to travel towards Canada, London, or Gulf. Till about some point of time in my childhood, my definition of a foreign country was limited to these three places, and that was my World view.
I do not remember of anyone ever traveling to Singapore. It took a couple of more years to change my world view when a round football called "globe" came in my life. It started appearing in our school library, principal's room, staff room, and at many other places. Maybe it was always there, but I became aware around that time. It was surprising to see so many countries in the world.
Much later, after I finished my schooling and moved into my career, I got to travel to Richmond (in the USA) for a year. More thereafter to London, Dublin, Amsterdam, Krakow, and Paris but, but I never traveled towards our Indian eastern neighborhood. By this time, one of my school friends Puneet, as well as a cousin Sumeer, had settled down in Singapore and had been regularly inviting me to take a trip, especially after knowing that I like to travel. The airfares from Bengaluru to Singapore used to be mouth-watering as compared to what it costs to go to the USA or Europe, but somehow, the trip did not materialize to the lion city.
Singapore is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. Its territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. The tiny nation is known for its transition from a developing to a developed country in a single generation under the leadership of its founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. The country is a global hub for education, entertainment, finance, healthcare, human capital, innovation, logistics, manufacturing, technology, tourism, trade, and transport. It is the safest country in the world, and The Economist has ranked Singapore as the most expensive city to live in. The city-state is home to 5.6 million residents, 39% of whom are foreign nationals.
Singapore gained independence as the Republic of Singapore in 1965. It is a unitary parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. The Peoples Party has won every election since self-government began in 1959. It is also a member of the East Asia summit, Non-aligned Movement and Commonwealth of Nations. In the Post-independence era, the government focused on rapid economic growth through technological up-gradation and business promotion. Over a period, the port of Singapore became one of the World’s busiest ports, and the tourism industry grew immensely. The nation has also made efforts is developing it as a global tourism destination, especially with Universal Studios and the Botanical Gardens apart from many others. All this makes Singapore a fascinating country and amongst the fastest growing countries.
Last summer, while we were planning for our vacation travel, my daughters came up with an idea of making a trip to Singapore as we had not made any family vacation trip outside India till now except for a brief hiatus at London seven years back when they had joined me there while I was on my official trip. The decision was taken to travel to Singapore with a thumping majority to explore the beautiful & exciting nation and see its stupendous success story. One other factor which also contributed was the air-miles in my airline co-branded credit card, which meant we will have to pay for only two tickets while we would get two free tickets redeeming our mileage points.
Once the destination was decided, it was also decided that we will self-curate the trip. The aim was to go for the journey at our own pace rather than being driven by someone else. I will continue in my next post.