Once upon a time there was Shanti (in Shanti – Ek Aurat Ki Kahan), nine years later comes Nikita Rai (in 24). I could feel the excitement of what awaited on the other side of my little vacation to Singapore; 24 action packed episodes and a whole new avatar! With all the butterflies fluttering around in my stomach, all I wanted to do was enjoy a splendid vacation with my beautiful family and get back to the ring, gung ho!
Days 1-3, Cruise control
First stop, aboard the Super Star Virgo Cruise. And majestic is not the word. Over 900 cabins, yet more than enough space for the numerous swimming pools I could catch a glimpse of. The cruise journeyed from Singapore harbour to Penang, there on to Phuket and back to Singapore over two nights and three days. I planned to spend all the quality time I could with my little man Vir.
We were booked in the suite on level 10 of the Superstar Virgo. It had a large bay window and a balcony and a large Jacuzzi right in the bathroom. My hubby, Raj (Kaushal) called it ‘an amazing floating city’ and I think it’s quite apt. Vir simply loved the ship, I wouldn’t have imagined it but he had so many fun things to do too.
Captain Magnus runs the crew aboard the ship and what a kind man! One of the facts that he shared was that the Star behemoth weighed over 75000 tonnes and was almost 270 metres in length and all of it was controlled by the one tiny joystick under his hand! He even let me sit in the Captain’s seat, completely made my day!
Days 4-5, Racing and Rolling
We stayed at the W Hotel, a definite visual treat for the keen eye. Floating candles, quirky architecture and eclectic designs, the W Hotel had it all right. Our first stop in Singapore was the Turf Club for a night of speed and sinew! The Turf Club is one of the few places that still adhere to a dress code; they made Raj wear a tie. Almost a decade since that happened, so it was a welcome change for him. We had some champagne in the Owners Lounge and watched as the best of Singapore raced it out on the tracks. What a truly elite experience.
We decided to make the next day all about family, so our first stop was the Universal Studios Singapore. The USS is one of the most entertaining amusement parks I have ever been to and it’s got something for everybody. Vir met so many characters from his favourite animated movies like Sesame Street, Madagascar, Transformers and more. We took him on his first ever roller coaster ride. It’s so endearing to watch your child as he plays all carefree in an environment that’s safe yet so fun. He went on a boat ride, the rotating carousel, the Indiana Jones treasure hunt and more, till the little man needed some rest.
Soon after lunch at the Cat Cora, at the S.E.A. Aquarium we headed to what could simply be termed as a city in a garden. As nature lovers, both Raj and I decided to visit the Gardens by the Bay to witness the Supertrees and see the Flower Dome. The Flower Dome houses flowers from countries from all over the world and for all seasons! A perfect end to our day.
Days 6-7, Ferrari fun
A little retail therapy was what we needed, so the next day we went to Chinatown after morning tea and snacks at the Shangri-La Hotel. Not only did we manage to get our hands on some good deals, we quite literally witnessed the cultural dynamism of Singapore. Did you know that there is a temple, a mosque and a Buddhist temple within one kilometre of each other in Chinatown? Spectacularly combining the ancestral heritage into modern forms, Singaporean culture really does encapsulate the best of both worlds.
Vir was so exhausted after the trip to Chinatown that we had to tuck him in for a few hours. This gave Raj the unusual idea of taking a quick drive, in a Lamborghini, nothing less. Yes, we were off for the Ultimate Drive at the F1 track in Singapore. If only I had known I could get this chance to take my own Ferrari for a spin, I would have carried my driver’s license as well. All I got was a picture with the beast. Felt the need for some liquid courage to make up for the lost opportunity. So we headed off for some champagne at the Singapore Flyer. What a view from the top! Some Moet & Chandon with my hubby and a glittering Singapore skyline, this moment is surely going in the top 10 on my list.
Day 8, Rumble in the jungle
After all the highs and lows (quite literally!) it was time for the rumble in the jungle. My baby’s first zoo visit. I keep telling people, Indian zoos should take a leaf out of Singapore Zoo’s handbook. Never have I seen such a well thought out establishment for animals, where they are allowed to freely move about their business. Giraffes, snakes, polar bears and hundreds of other species all around you strolling in their natural habitats. And toy trains and carousels as well. But the highlights of this particular zoo were the two cutest little pandas named Kai Kai and Jia Jia. Vir wanted to take one home but he had to make do with the stuffed toys from the souvenir shop at the Giant Panda Forest.
High up in the Sky on 57 or right in the middle of nature at Gardens by the Bay, walking in the streets of Chinatown or enjoying the shoe string truffle fries at PS Café, dynamic Singapore made my holiday a beautiful memory.
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