Thursday, February 28, 2008

Part 2 - Singapore!

Ok, so if you felt Malaysia was good, wait till you hear about Singapore!!! ;)

We took the train from KL to Singapore. I was told that the ride is very scenic. And we were not disappointed. The ride is about 6 hrs, through mountains, forests, rivers and towns. If you think the city is beautiful, wait till you see the countryside! We reached Singapore at around 3pm. Immigration formalities took about an hour. There was a friendly man named Lee holding a placard with 'Salem, Mr. and Mrs. Masood - Welcome to Singapore'. He gave us a kit with all vouchers (hotel, food, entry tickets etc), tour itinerary, emergency contact nos. etc. And we were on our way. The first evening was at our leisure. We were staying on Orchard road, which is the Mecca for shopping malls in Singapore. Think of any famous fashion designer or brand, and you could see their boutique/outlet there. We spent close to 2 hrs walking, not to shop but hunting for an Indian restaurant!!! After 4 days of oriental & fast food, we were terribly Indian 'food-sick' (is that even a word?!). To our respite, we found one and, finally, ate to our heart's fill. Back on the street, our hunt now was for desserts! And, after 2 extra-large scoops of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, a thick strawberry cheesecake ice cream shake, it was time to hit the sack!

Our tour itinerary had the following mentioned for next day: "1.00 pm : Afternoon to Sunset tour of Sentosa Island". Who would have thought then that this was going to be the best damn afternoon of our tour!!! At 1pm sharp, as we got down to the hotel lobby, there was a large bus waiting for us outside. Sentosa is a small leisure island not too far from Singapore. We took the cable car (yes, lucky enough to, once again, get a chance!) to Sentosa.

Going towards Sentosa Island

This was on our left

First up, we had visit to the Singapore Museum. Now, this is not just any other museum, where you find weird stuff put on walls or on show. This place is a walk through history. Every event in Singaporean history is recreated in wax structures. Something like Madam Tussuad's wax statues - only difference is, this museum has not restricted itself just with human beings! Heck..they even recreated war torn Singapore! And with sound effects!!! It was amazing.

Singapore being 'signed'!

Hindu ritual of walking on burning coal

A typical market place in Singapore in 1920s

Next, trip to the underwater world. As the name suggests, it is a GIANT walk-through aquarium. With us in a narrow tube, water in all four directions, it was breathtaking!!

Underwater world

From the underwater world, our next stop was for the Dolphin show. Need I say more?!

After which, we stopped for the Musical fountain/fireworks/laser show. Again, need I say more!

It was 10pm by the time we were back to our hotel, after a wonderful and memorable day.

We had a half day Singapore city tour scheduled next morning from 8am!!! Instead, we went shopping to the most popular shopping center in Singapore called Mustafa market. And the evening was our trip for the Night Safari. Another adventurous experience hanging around the forest at night within close proximity of wild as well as domesticated animals. After dinner, we were back to the hotel and started with our packing! Our return flight was next morning at 11.15am.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Honeymoon - A dream in Malaysia and Singapore (Part 1)

And what a week we had! We booked a honeymoon package for 7 nights/8 days with 4 nights in Malaysia and 3 in Singapore. Our tour operator had every single detail taken care off including tickets, visas, hotel accommodation, pickup and drop, sightseeing, food etc etc. So, all we really needed to do was....just be there!!

We flew from Chennai on 3rd late night for Kuala Lumpur (KL). Landed early morning and in an hour were on our way to Genting. Quick note here: At KL airport, we had to take the internal train to move from the arrival section to the exit....the airport is that HUGE!!! So back to Genting, this is a small city located at approx. 3000 feet, on top of a mountain - almost in and above the clouds. Genting city is just a collection of 4-5 resorts, all interconnected. They have an outdoor & indoor theme park, shopping malls, restaurants, cable cars, bowling alleys, cinema halls, snow world, concert halls etc. No wonder it is also known as 'The city of Entertainment'. What truly amazed me was how colorful and bright everything was. And the view from our room was breathtaking!

View from our room...

Down below, far away, peeping through the clouds we could see KL city, the Petronas towers, the KL tower etc.

2 days in Genting was filled with lots of fun and shopping. Not to forget our first experience on Asia's fastest and longest cable car. It was just WOW! Awana is another city located on a mountain and the cable cars connect both of them. At 3000 feet, with only the sky above, tropical rain forests below, clouds all around - it was breathtaking!!!

From our cable car

For 45 min, we felt we were 'out-of-this-world'!!! Next, we visited the Snow World. The following day was Chinese new year (The year of the Rat). So we had fireworks, dances, live music on the streets that midnight.

It was cold, misty and windy. And we were out till 3am, strolling, hand in hand, relishing the moment, and trying to live our entire lives that night, with each passing minute!

Next day, at noon we checked out of hotel and were on our way to KL. The ride downhill was, again, mind-blowing. KL was like any other international city - skyscrapers, hotels, restaurants, pubs, gardens, history, cultural centers etc. We were so shell-shocked by our experience in Genting that KL almost went unnoticed...almost! Because no one can NOT notice the great Petronas Towers!!!!

With a height of 1500 feet, 88 stories of sheer engineering marvel, the twin towers are just sight to behold, standing tall with unabashed arrogance, intimidating and daunting! Not too publicized though, is the KL tower, which is the 4th tallest telecommunication tower in the world with a height of 420 meters (1380 feet).

The twin towers and KL tower

We visited the observation deck, which was 280 meters, that gave a birds-eye view of the entire city.

Twin towers as seen from the observation deck on KL Tower

The KL tower also boasts of the highest McDonalds outlet in the world, and yes, we had a couple of burgers too!!

Next: Part 2 - Singapore!!! :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy :)

Leading up to the wedding, I had so much to write (read: share) and now that its over, I am almost blank! It has been an overwhelming last 30 days for me. I got married (duh!), hosted a reception, went on a dream honeymoon, attended numerous parties hosted on our behalf, lived for a few days with my in-laws, left my wife back at her place, traveled back to Dubai and now am back to work - all in a span of 1 month!

Close to 4 months back, in my first post, I was confused, not sure to feel happy or scared or nervous. But I can, confidently and with pride, state that I am happy! :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Masood Salem

For more than one reason, I had to take this pic off but I have created an album online and would be glad to share it :)