Changi International Airport, Singapore

This article is written by Srinidhi Hande. Srinidhi is a Business Analyst by profession and a Blogger by passion.

Of the few international airports I had explored in recent past (including Dubai, JFK, Colombo, Sau Paulo and Santiago), I find Changi international airport in Singapore more equipped to engage passengers. The reason I say so is because while all airports are loaded with duty free supermarkets trying to sell stuff, Changi offers lot of value added (most of them free) services to enable passengers make their wait a pleasant experience.

Below are some of the provisions at Changi airport, which I couldn’t find in other airports I’ve been to.

  • Free leg massage chairs: Enjoy nice massage to your knees and foot at various massage chairs. No charges. In other airports, this service will be chargeable
  • Free big screen display: Enjoy favorite game at some of the big screens. No charges- killing couple of hours is not an issue
    • View aircrafts from up close (few other airports also facilitate this)- you can get close view of aircrafts landing and taking off. I clicked below picture while observing the landing and take offs
    • Kids play zone: free playing materials for kids to kill their time
    • Free internet- many airports offer this. But I found very few kiosks in Dubai and Colombo. Changi has considerably large number of kiosks to access internet, so you’ll not have to wait for long
    • Sky trains for inter terminal moves. (JFK had Air train connecting terminal to city though)
    • Clear Signages- In Dubai, I found an Indian restaurant in terminal 1 purely by luck. In Changi, restaurants and other facilities were easier to find due to adequate sign boards indicating what is where.
    • Changi airport authorities are very active on social media, responding to comments and concerns.

    Changi on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fansofchangi
    On twitter : @FansofChangi

    Below: Casino counter at Changi Airport… 30SGD for a ticket

Changi also offers free city tours to those passengers who have couple of hours to spare before their connecting flight. If only I had this option in Dubai, I could have explored Dubai twice by now.

No wonder Changi is rated as one of the best airports in the world.

Srinidhi Hande

23 June 2012

http://www.enidhi.net/2012/06/changi-international-airport.html

Singapore in three days

This article is written by Lakshmi Sharath. Lakshmi is a media professional , a traveller, a travel writer and consultant .

Its tough to touch, feel and see any country in a few days , especially if you are a traveller like me. But if you are visiting Singapore as a tourist or on business and you have anything between a few hours to three days in hand, you can still get to experience the country based on your interests. There are no must sees – it just depends on what you want to see .

For instance, while we were at Changi airport on transit, we decided to go over to the orchid garden and then an airport official recommended a visit to the butterfly park in Terminal 3.  A friend recommended that I go over to the Changi beach while the information desk asked me if I was interested in a free city tour . I find Changi one of the friendliest international airports and here, you can even get a foot massage for free or you could visit a spa after duty free shopping.

5 weekend getaways from Singapore to pamper you.

This article is written by Shivya Nath. Shivya is an India-based writer who loves to seek out offbeat travel destinations that few have been to and fewer have written about.

Close to each weekend, I desperately resort to Google to find offbeat ideas for weekend getaways from Singapore. In the midst of my travel research, I came across these 5 weekend getaways in Malaysia and Indonesia that will pamper your senses and indulge you.

1) Tempat Senang, Indonesia

An hour’s ferry-ride away from Singapore, in the neighborhood of Batam Island (Indonesia), lies this exotic little gem. It’s a boutique resort, with under 10 suites, each designed, decorated and modeled after an Asian country. Besides the likes of Bali room, Indian room and Japanese room, there’s a Tree Room with a bed suspended in mid air. It’s also home to a traditional Balinese spa with a wide range of rejuvenating massages, and a pampering staff.

2) Nikoi Island, Indonesia

Close your eyes and imagine you are sprawling on a beach chair on white sands, in the company of crystal blue waters, sipping a drink. Just across the shores of Singapore, Nikoi Island affords you that luxury. Many describe this private island & its ecotourism resort as magical. Of course, a picture speaks a thousand words.

3) Lake Kenyir, Malaysia

Most spas have an artificial waterfall in the background, to soothe your senses with the effect of trickling water. Imagine looking into a lake instead while being pampered, reflecting upon life in its vastness. That’s the Lake Kenyir ecotourism resort & spa for you, in Terengganu, Malaysia.

4) Tanjong Jara, Malaysia

Tanjong Jara replicates the magnificent palaces and the pampering luxury of Malay kings in Terengganu, Malaysia. On the coast of turquoise seas, this traditional resort swept away Time‘s editors too. After all, you must live life king size, at least once!

5) Pangkor Laut, Malaysia

You have probably heard of Pangkor Island on Malaysia’s west coast, but Pangkor Laut, a private island resort, is a world in itself. Think crystal blue waters, white sands, chalets on stilts. Think indulgence.

Which of these 5 getaways have you already pampered yourself at? Do you know of any other secret pampering getaways?

Shivya Nath

22 Dec 2011

http://theshootingstar.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/5-weekend-getaways-from-singapore-to-pamper-you/

 

The Henderson Waves Bridge – Singapore

The Henderson Waves Bridge – Singapore

Henderson Waves is a 274-metre (899 ft) long pedestrian bridge. At 36 metres (118 ft) above Henderson Road, it is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. It connects Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. It was designed by IJP Corporation, London, and RSP Architects Planners and Engineers (PTE) ltd Singapore.

The bridge has a wave-form made up of seven undulating curved steel ribs that alternately rise over and under its deck. The curved ribs form alcoves that function as shelters with seats within. Slats of yellow balau wood, an all-weather timber found in Southeast Asia, are used in the decking. The wave-forms are lit with LED lamps at night from 7pm to 2am daily.

Description

Henderson Waves springs from a scenic location off Mount Faber and spans some 284 meters above Henderson Road, a six-lane freeway running through the south coast of the island state. This man-made structure, the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, is smoothly integrated into the landscape.
It has seven spans, six of typical size (3.5 meters high, 24 meters long), and a larger one (6 meters high, 57 meters long). The upside spans unfold above deck level and house temporary activities, such as seating, lounging and sight-seeing. The remaining spans unfold below deck level and are not accessible –simply ensuring the continuity of the structure.
Two inclined decks extend the bridge at both ends, linking it with existing pathways and plazas. The full length of the bridge runs close to 284 meters, and the difference in elevation between springing and landing is equal to the full height of a seven-story housing block.
The design concept of Henderson Waves is based on a folded three-dimensional surface-form created by means of simple mathematics. The architect of the project used proprietary mathematical techniques to define its form simply and rigorously. Hence the form bends, undulates, and ascends by twenty-one meters in one movement; in the process it also deforms to provide adequate egress, sloping, shelter, and scenic viewing to pedestrians and cyclists.

Materials
The surface-form of Henderson Waves is made of steel and timber. Steel is needed for structural purposes, whereas timber celebrates the beauty of natural forms.

Steel
The primary structure of the bridge features a sequence of steel arches and catenaries (or down-facing arches) joined across, and resting upon, reinforced concrete pylons. These pylons (the tallest of which reaches 38m) sit between waves as it were, at the point where the surface-form self-intersects and tapers down to a single beam.

Timber
The 1,500 square meter timber deck sitting on top of the steel structure is the centrepiece of the project.
The complex, doubly-curved portions of this large expanse of tropical hardwood form a tapestry of 5000 modular boards, each varying by a single degree every 10m –and many tapered to measure.
The entire deck being supported on a steel sub-frame with vibration dampeners, the coordination of steel and timber became a challenging task. Using its proprietary equations, the architect issued precise numerical descriptions of the surface at regular 500mm intervals, and provided dimensional coordinates that greatly assisted the production of the timber manufacturer’s shop drawings.

Coda
The Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong inaugurated the newly completed project on Saturday May 10, 2008. This stunning piece of public infrastructure is one of three new linkways built by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in the Southern Ridges, at a total cost of S$25.5 million.

Architect IJP Corporation and RSP Architects Planners and Engineers PTE Ltd, SIngapore. Engineer RSP Architects Planners and Engineers PTE Ltd, SIngapore. Concept and scheme design engineering by Adams Kara Taylor Consulting Civil and Structural Engineers, UK.

Source: Wikipedia

Memorable trip to Southeast Asia

This article is written by Tania Roy Chowdhury

My heart was full of joy when my husband Tanmoy told me that our package tour had been finalised. We were 40 members and our vacation was planned from May 10 to 24.

During the pre-trip preparation, for passport verification etc the authority had taken fingerprints of my three-year old daughter Pori on the relevant papers.

My daughter was surprised with this and used a nail polish remover to remove the finger spot. Seeing her innocence we all had a good laugh.

Our tour programme was divided into three days at Thailand, four days at Malaysia, four days at Singapore and one day at Port Blair on the way back to India. I want to share some colourful memories of the holiday from my diary.

Pattaya Coastline

On May 10, from Delhi our journey began for Bangkok- Pattaya. From Bangkok airport a luxury coach took us to Pattaya.

At Pattaya, Non Chung village, dolphin lagoon and elephant mela were the main attractions and children enjoyed thoroughly. Decorated elephants played football, drew, took banana from the kids and made a bow.

The dolphin lagoon was also a funny circus for the kids.

We also visited Corolla Island, a tourist spot. We enjoyed the famous Thai body massage, which is done in a scientific manner.

The KL twin tower, Malaysia

In Malaysia, we visited the KL twin tower, which is 250 ft high. The KL city was like a dreamland. In the evening we went to the shopping mall and bought many gifts and mementos including a typical Malaysian umbrella.

In Singapore, Universal Studio under the sea was a remarkable spot.

The historic Cellular Jail, Port Blair

On our way back we arrived at Port Blair and saw the historic Cellular Jail.

We enjoyed a lot everywhere because we had good hotel accommodations and everything was well planned by our tour operator. We came back with memories to cherish.

Tania Roy Chowdhury

18 Oct 2010

http://travel.hindustantimes.com/travelogues/memorable-trip-to-southeast-asia.php

A dream destination

This article is written by Mukesh Gupta

We are very fond of holidaying like any other Indian family. Last year in April, we planned a visit to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. It was our first overseas trip and we were very excited. As my son Nitesh was pursuing his MBA programme in Singapore, he gave me a lot of feedback on Singapore. We were received by our son in Singapore at the airport.

We had with us the complete itinerary with all air and hotel bookings. As the taxi headed towards our hotel on the Orchard Road, we were stunned to see the neat and clean roads. There was no littering anywhere. Traffic chaos was missing and I was told that one should blow the horn only in an emergency. Honking otherwise is considered a crime in the city.

After taking rest, we visited Orchard Road and were taken in by its beauty. We also went to Sentosa Island and enjoyed a night safari in a well known park. We enjoyed Indian food at a place called mini India. Another high point of the trip was visit to the Mustafa Mall. Singapore sets high standards of discipline.

Kuala Lumpur was our next destination. We had seen Petronas Towers in movies but watching it in reality was a dream come true.

We also visited the Genting Highlands, it has Asia’s longest ropeway and traveling by the cable car was an amazing experience.

Thereafter, we headed for Bangkok. At Pattaya beach we enjoyed water sports. It was a thrilling 10-day holiday filled with fun and adventure.

Mukesh Gupta

2 Aug 2011

http://travel.hindustantimes.com/travelogues/a-dream-destination.php

Travel Industry Wooing Tourists from India

An entertainer dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean poses for a photo with an Indian tourist outside the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles

In India, May is the cruelest month. The short spring is already a distant memory, and the heat- and dust-quelling monsoon rains are still weeks away. There’s no better time for Indians to take to the road.

All told, some 550 million Indians travel to other parts of the country each year. Once school lets out for the summer, many families set off on annual visits to grandparents in their native town or village. Another 12 million Indians choose to fly overseas. Wealthy families from Punjab and Gujarat, in the north and west of India, respectively, flock to cosmopolitan meccas like Switzerland or Dubai, where women can indulge in brand-name shopping and don the revealing, Western-style fashions they don’t dare flaunt back home.

But while more than half a billion Indians take a holiday each year, the appeal of travel has traditionally been less about exploring someplace new than about simply getting out of town. Many Bengali families in the eastern corner of the country, for instance, escape north in the summer to the cooler Himalayas — an unfamiliar land and landscape. But they typically join large tour groups, interacting almost exclusively with other Bengalis and eating only Bengali-style meals.

There is, however, a quickly growing segment of Indian travelers — mostly young, rich and hailing from India’s larger cities — who are decidedly more adventure-seeking. Unlike their parents, they visit uncommon places and pursue unconventional activities — a safari in Tanzania, a ruins tour of Turkey, an F1 race in Singapore — with an interest and curiosity about other cultures that previous generations may not have had.

It is still a small proportion of Indian travelers who are so venturesome — but, by the numbers, even a small proportion qualifies as a mass movement, globally speaking. So it is no surprise that the travel industry has taken note. From New Zealand to Namibia, government tourist boards have designed campaigns specifically to woo Indian travelers, and luxury-tour purveyors like Cox & Kings and Kuoni, both based in Britain, advertise hard for Indian rupees. Kuoni, for instance, has joined hands with fabled Bollywood production house Yash Raj Films to offer the “Enchanted Journey” tour of movie locations, letting travelers ski the Alps or boat on Lake Zurich in the footsteps of their favorite stars.

In February came another nod to the Indian traveler’s increasing clout: international travel-guide leader Lonely Planet launched an Indian version of its eponymous monthly travel magazine (other editions of the magazine are published in the U.K. and Brazil). And in October, the bible of luxury travel, Condé Nast Traveler, has plans to follow with an Indian edition, building on the established successes of the publisher’s Indian versions of Vogue and GQ.

The target readers of the new magazines are Indians who are traveling more and traveling differently — many as singles or couples without children or parents in tow. “You’ll be surprised by how many married women there are traveling without husbands and single women traveling with girlfriends,” says Sumitra Senapaty, 49, a travel writer who has run Women on Wanderlust, a travel club for women, since 2005 and has watched her business grow many times over. “I quite struggled with it initially,” she says. “I didn’t have the pocket to advertise, so everybody’s mother, friend, aunt and sister spread the word. I just wanted women to come onboard.” Today, Senapaty’s tours — which usher female travelers to hard-to-reach places like Ladakh, a high mountain desert in the Himalayan foothills — are usually sold out.

In addition to seeking girlfriend globetrotters, the industry is going after the growing number of travelers who embark on longer, activity-driven trips and seek novel experiences, rather than just another jaunt to the hotel pool. More and more, Indian travelers are going deep-sea diving in Australia, for instance, and booking yoga retreats in the Himalayas. “There are more people choosing adventure travel over conventional holidays,” says Vaibhav Kala, who runs Delhi-based Aquaterra Adventures and arranges trips for more than 3,000 customers per year. “Since four or five years ago, our clientele has turned on its head. From catering to largely inbound foreign tourists, we’re now catering to mostly Indian travelers.”

But catering to Indian travelers means catering to certain Indian preferences and peculiarities, no matter how far-flung or exotic the vacation. Lonely Planet Magazine India always gives readers the requisite practical information about obtaining visas and finding consulates overseas, but it also has a section called Fancy a Curry? that locates Indian restaurants and vegetarian options in foreign cities. “Indians are getting a bit more adventurous, but we still need a little hand-holding,” says Vardhan Kondvikar, editor of Lonely Planet Magazine India. “We’re a bit like Nemo right now — the big world outside is very exciting, but we still need the anemones nearby for security.”

The worldview of the Indian traveler strongly influences the editorial choices that the magazine’s staff make, Kondvikar says. For instance, the magazine tends to highlight mainstream tourist destinations — which are perhaps familiar to world-weary travelers but new to the Indian populace. The tone of the magazine is also much more introductory, friendly and informative than that of its British and Brazilian counterparts. Recent feature stories introduced readers to Rome, Vietnam, Los Angeles and Puducherry in peninsular India; another popular article covered five weekend getaways from several major Indian cities. “[The U.K.] magazine was designed for experienced travelers who want to see the unexplored sides of places they’ve already been. So it has a lot of stories that bypass traditional tourist sites and find hidden alleys and restaurants,” says Kondvikar. “We couldn’t do too much of that — many Indians are only going to the major destinations for the first time, and we didn’t want to ignore them.”

The travel lust of this budding demographic has largely survived the global recession, which has otherwise diminished international travel overall. In fact, a stronger rupee has seen more Indians traveling abroad, especially to long-haul destinations. The U.N.’s Madrid-based World Tourism Organization estimates that by 2020, some 50 million Indians will be taking foreign holidays each year.

So while Lonely Planet and Condé Nast may be wading into a shaky market already cluttered with dozens of travel titles, they have high expectations for success. “[In terms of] advertising revenues, not only have we dominated market share in the categories we operate in but also we are growing at an exponential rate,” says Alex Kuruvilla, managing director of Condé Nast India. “So we are very bullish on the opportunity.” If the rupee continues to rise, this May might not end up being so cruel after all.

Madhur Singh
2010
http://www.time.com/time/travel/article/0,31542,1989633,00.html