The Singapore Experience

Ahh…. Singapore.. you either hate it or you love it. With me though, my trips to Singapore have somehow always been linked to work. It doesn’t matter which company I work for, almost all have sent me to Singapore for something. This round of travel to Singapore was no different. It was suppose to be for ‘work’, but you can’t help but lose yourself into the multitude of new things that keeps popping up here every time I come here. After all, who hasn’t heard of the new Marina Bay Sands that opened recently?

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It isn’t exactly a tourism hotspot, unless your idea of holiday involves shopping, and shopping. Of course, I could try and pay a visit to every shopping center in Singapore, but I know I would be bored pretty quickly. Every shopping center seems to have at least a Louis Vuitton, a Tiffany, a Cartier and perhaps Armani. It starts to get dull after a while.

Besides, I recently read an article that talks about the key to happiness, which concludes that buying ‘experiences’ rather than ‘stuff’ results in higher satisfaction with life:

http://www.livescience.com/6158-study-happiness-experiences-stuff.html

With this knowledge in mind.. I didn’t hold back at all. Once you go beyond the shopping centers, you start to realise, Singapore does offer some pretty unique experiences!

Segway at Sentosa

The brochure claims that Singapore is the first in Asia to offer this little toy, that I have seen plenty of on TV. Seems a bit out of this world, that the wheels could keep you balanced in between them without falling, but that’s exactly what the gyroscope in between my legs does!

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It takes a bit of getting used to, but in no time, we were zipping around the track like a pro, going over bumps and turns. Fortunately, we didn’t end up hitting trees like some did. Apparently the technique is to stand up straight, and not put too much of your body weight on the handlebar.

Luge at Sentosa

This is another activity that I first tried in New Zealand years back. It’s basically an all downhill go-kart with no engines. Basically, you choose to go as fast as you are comfortable with, by letting gravity take you down the hill, and using the handlebar brakes to control the speed. The only thing stopping you is your guts, and how sharp the corners you are negotiating. Too fast around the corner, and you may just find yourself tipping over!

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I was only annoyed towards the end, ‘cause I got busted for taking the photo above. What crime have I committed? Photo-taking and driving?

Flying a Boeing Dreamliner

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No.. that’s not a real plane, but supposedly the most realistic simulator that real pilots use for training to fly the up and coming Boeing 737 Dreamliner. For SGD$175 (~AUD$140), you get a real pilot sitting next to you to take-off and land in half an hour. It does show off the new all-digital displays that the new 737 features. As much as I like gadgets, these controls are well beyond my processing capability! It’s only then you realise just how many damn controls that a commercial pilot has in front of him/her to fly this thing! It’s simply overwhelming!

I chose to fly the old Hong Kong airport (Kai Tak Airport) which is apparently one of the most challenging airport for pilots in the world! Before the new airport arrived, this single airport averaged of 2-3 accidents a year! Going through this simulator, you can quickly see why. If you are really keen, have a look what every pilot goes through when they land:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PCOcyt7BPI

Overall, it was an enlightening experience, and makes driving a car such seem like childs play.

Driving a Lamborghini

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Yeap.. that is my dream car in the colour that I want. In Singapore you can hire one for 15 or 30 minutes from the good guys at Ultimate Drive. I’ve seen it around the streets of Singapore quite a few times, and was wondering why I keep seeing this same yellow Lambo on the streets. Turned out, it’s just someone hiring it to take it out for a spin.

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The controls weren’t exactly difficult, but does feature the semi-manual pedals to shift gears behind the steering wheel. That was fun to operate.

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Now if you have ever been to Singapore, obviously you know that the traffic there ain’t ideal to test drive your favourite supercar! And that’s exactly what happened to me. Crawling around at 60km/h is not exactly what I had in mind. Fortunately, there was a straight long enough towards the end of the session, where I was told I was allowed to push the limit a bit, and by that, I mean 120km/h. It’s enough to hear the signature roar when the engine revs goes above 6000rpm. And I can tell you, that roar will put a smile on any man’s face!

With a go-kart like handling, I am beginning to understand why people love driving this thing. No I still can’t afford it. But hey, experiencing it was more than enough! But there is one downside. The number of eyes that look at you while driving this thing starts to get annoying after a while!

The Mud Experience

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Sorry if this scared you there, because I scared myself for a little bit when I first looked at it. This isn’t something I would normally do. But hey, I hear it will make your skin glow resulting in beautiful complexion and infinite goodness. Can’t argue with that. But, that’s exactly what Spa Botanica at Sentosa offers. All the other facilities like swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room failed to impress. But the mud experience did! Somehow people coming here are more than happy applying mud all over themselves, presumably for fun. Most responses from others were ‘I feel stupid’, but with plenty of laughs.

With the mud on, the idea is leaving it on for approximately 20-30 minutes to allow the mud to dry and do its magic. So with 30 minutes to spare, what do you do?

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Let’s just sit around looking stupid and scare other people who is about to embark on this experience. That’s what I did for 30 minutes!

I have been to Singapore countless times, but have to admit this trip was probably the best fun I had. So, perhaps the focus on ‘experience’ was the key? Let me test out this theory more when I get to China early next month.

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