The Merlion (Malay: Singa-Laut) is a well known marketing icon of Singapore depicted as mythical creature with a lion’s head and a body of a fish. It is widely used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore.
The Merlion was first used in Singapore as the logo for the tourism board. The Merlion is similar to the heraldic sea-lion which occurs in a number of different artistic traditions.
We had last visited Singapore in 2014 on our return to Penang. Without realizing what we were about to experience then, we made our way down to the Marina Bay Sands to experience the wonder of this new icon for Singapore. Yes, we were very impressed as we made our way around the hotel, Marina Bay Sands. It has been built on an area of reclaimed-land. This area has become of a mixture of technology, ingenuity and beautiful nature in the form of gardens, all in one. Having now won many awards for tourism, architecture and management, a visit to Gardens by the Bay was on our list to visit.
Singapore never disappoints, but today it had forgotten to provide blue skies with the sunshine. We often find in Asia that on a sunny day, a thin layer of cloud prevents that brilliance to be poured out on the experience.
During this trip, Lyn and I have been measuring our steps and distanced travelled each day and today was going to be one where we increased our distanced walked by a good margin. We chose to walk down to Marina Bay Sands rather than the quicker cab service. It was quite a walk but fortunately, it was early Sunday morning and there weren’t too many out doing the same. We came across the oldest icon for Singapore, which we hadn’t in the past. Still looking imposing, the Merlion seems to control the surroundings and the man-made lake before it.
We walked around the lake to the Marina Bay Sands precinct. Here is another imposing icon that has become the feature of every travel brochure on Singapore. Many buildings in Singapore appear to be ‘entrants in the national architects competition’ and this building surely was a winner at some stage. It provides the backdrop to the magnificent Gardens by the Bay.
Stepping off the shuttle train towards the two domes brought a feeling of ‘what have they done to improve what we had seen before?’ Each three months, the floral display depicts different moods within a garden. We were there for the change and so the full display was being a little disrupted as the change from tulips to Christmas lilies, as gardeners extracted the old and were planting the new.
Moving to the Forest Dome, Lyn found that the colour variety had more to it than at our last visit. I had used a small Sony camera last visit but this time, the movie got a chance to take in the many blooms up the side of the vertical garden. I hope the movie does justice to the scenes before us.
After dinner in one of the Chinese restaurants in the gardens, we took some time on the skyway that is ‘strung’ between the ‘man invented trees’. Each tree has vertical gardens growing amongst the metal frames of the trees. We were impressed with the one that was laden with bougainvillea of various shades.
The Garden Rhapsody Light Show is on twice each evening and we took our spots to film from an appropriate location to take in the complete performance. Popular orchestra music is played while the lights in the trees ‘perform’ their translation of the emotions played in the music. The 11 minutes went all too quickly.
We had mentioned to the others in our group where we would be for the evening, but did not see them after the show. We waited for them to return on our arrival back at the motel. Each of us said how we enjoyed the light show and well worth going to. However, as it turned out, we were talking about different shows. The others had gone to a light show that is played 15 minutes after the Garden Rhapsody on the other side of Marina Bay Sands with the lake being used in the performance. So looks like next time we return, we will be going to each other’s shows.
Tomorrow is our final day on tour as we wing our way back to Melbourne or Sydney.
To see yourself, get out and see the world.