Singapore hits the jackpot with the Marina Bay Sands (part 1)

by Stephan Larose
Posted: March 10th, 2010 | Updated: September 12th, 2014 | Comments

Bamboo Compass joined a media tour of the Marina Bay Sands construction site, a project that re-authored Singapore’s “downtown” landscape. 

The majority of Singaporeans are of Chinese descent, with their 15th and 16th century ancestors hailing from China’s southern provinces, and it’s a Chinese population that’s been subject to a fascinatingly diverse number of influences since their arrival. Not only did Singapore’s Hakka, Hokkien and other Chinese adopt aspects of Indian, Malay and Indonesian cultures, but complemented these with borrowings from Dutch, Portuguese, British and Thai culture.

The result is an intriguing fusion that’s produced everything from reinterpretations of traditional festivals and world famous delicacies like char kuay teow, bak kut teh and Hainanese chicken rice to the ornate, baroque Peranakan-style architecture. Anyone interested in Chinese culture, especially in its overseas manifestationsthe Chinese have been doing "globalization" for centuries, a fact evident in Chinese restaurants worldwidewill certainly find Singapore to be an alluring destination.

The Marina Bay Sands is a sister hotel of the Venetian Macao. If you’re considering a trip to the Venetian, you might also consider the Marina Bay Sands (not hard to do, as flights to Singapore from Mainland China are plentiful and affordable), especially if you’re mixing business with pleasure. The Sands is an integrated resort offering everything from entertainment to the largest meeting and conference facilities in Southeast Asia. It’s a tourism project on a truly ambitious scale.

Singapore’s vibrant culture, cleanliness and mature service industry make it a prime travel destination, especially when you consider all its attractions. 

There are a few big events and festivals to consider when planning a trip, including Chinese New Year and the colorful Chingay Parade Singapore.

The Asia Fashion Exchange is an annual event for both trade professionals and consumers that showcases world class collections by top international designers and labels, as wel as a fashion design competition for up-and-coming couturiers.

The World Gourmet Summit brings a constellation of stars from the culinary world to Singaporean shores. Delectable cuisine, fine wines and unique dining experiences are a certainty. In the summer, Singapore goes into a shopping frenzy for two whole months with the Great Singapore Sale. From mega malls to neighborhood centers, shoppers enjoy great prices on just about everything, from apparel to watches, jewelry and more.

The Singapore Food Festival takes place in July each year. This month-long event is a showcase of local delights and features food carnivals, culinary workshops, cooking demos as well as special events in ethnic enclaves across the island.

In September, the Marina Bay city circuit plays host to the Singapore Grand Prix, the only night race on the Formula One calendar. Visitors enjoy parties and race-themed events, as well as great shopping and dining promotions.

The Singapore Sun Festival in the fall is all about the “art of living well” and showcases an exclusive program of acclaimed experts in the fields of music, film, literature, art, cuisine, wine and wellness.

If you’re in China and don’t want to miss out on Christmas festivities, Singapore’s Christmas in the Tropics celebration sees Orchard Road and Marina Bay transformed into wonderlands of lights and decorations. Shopaholics will find great sales and promotions in the city's numerous malls.

Check out Part 2, where we tour the Marina Bay Sands. Photos 1, 2 and 5 by Stephan Larose; others courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board

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