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  • Rediscovering the Greener Side of Singapore: East Coast Park - Changi Beach Park Green Corridor

    We have been focusing on reciprocal green lanes as of late but what about green corridors? Here’s something you can do without leaving Singapore. Cyclists and Runners rejoice, there will be a new green corridor with nature-based amenities connecting East Coast Park and Changi Beach Park. As part of the movement to develop Singapore into a greener city, the National Parks Board (NParks) has been busy developing more green spaces around the country. This is great news for us who are looking to connect ourselves with nature right here in this bustling city we live in.   300 Kilometers By 2030 Image Credit: NParks The corridor is part of NParks’ effort to expand on the existing 34 Nature Ways that are scattered across Singapore. It currently stretches around 130 Kilometers in total as of now. At the time of writing, there are no set dates as to when the 15 Kilometer Corridor will be completed. The new corridor from East Coast Park and Changi Beach Park will be 15 Kilometers long, Running along New Upper Changi Road and Loyang Way. Other than just the main corridor, this route will branch into other community corridors it passes, connecting to other parks and gardens along the way. The corridor will be an alternative to the existing cycling route that runs along the coast. The development of this route will be a breath of fresh air (quite literally) to the coastal roads that have been one of the most used cycling routes for locals on the island. We previously explored the cycling trails in Singapore in one of our blogs, and with these new corridors which are set to be completed by 2030, it will most probably connect almost all of the trails into one massive trail.   Nature-Based Amenities Image Credit: NParks The new network will feature various nature-based amenities all along the trail. Amongst the planned amenities are; community gardens, therapeutic gardens, nature playgardens, and inclusive playgrounds.  Other than just these amenities, NParks is also planning to reach out to the community through engagement sessions where the community will be able to share their thoughts and ideas to make the green spaces their own. If you’re looking to help out in the environmental efforts, there will also be tree-planting activities that will be a part of their One Million Trees movement.   Cycling to Rediscover Image Credit: NParks Well, we might not have mountains and the many countrysides that other land-rich countries have but, this could be an alternative if you regularly travel overseas to cycle or also known as Cycle Tourism. For the uninitiated, Cycle Tourism is a form of travel that lets you explore the countries on a bicycle. Regularly running trips to otherwise inaccessible sites such as parks, nature reserves, and landmarks while also maintaining a low environmental impact. This form of tourism is regularly seen in Europe and other western countries as a form of exploration and sightseeing.  In other words, with these corridors, you might be able to do the same thing here. Maybe stumble upon places you have never thought to exist in Singapore. Like being a tourist in your own country, the corridors might connect you to the greener side of this concrete jungle of a country we live in. If you’re lucky enough, you might even spot some wildlife while going down these corridors as it is planned to be designed in a way that allows the local wildlife to freely and easily travel through. Even though these green corridors are not technically part of the ongoing Singapore Rediscovers campaign, it gives us the option to explore our own country in years to come. For now, with the movement across the borders still very much restricted, cycling around Singapore is a great way to see the country through a different lens. The 15 Kilometer long green corridor might not be completed yet but, there are many different cycling routes you can try which will help you reconnect with nature. If you are looking for similar places to cycle now, check out our previous blog “Here Are 10 Best Cycling Trails In Singapore You Should Not Miss!”...

  • The Orient Express Steams into Singapore

    The legendary Orient Express train will be steaming into Singapore this December with the pop-up event “Once Upon a time on the Orient Express”. You might know this train from the many pop culture references like the recent movie, “Murder on the Orient Express” a detective thriller set on the exact train. This pop-up event will mark the exhibition’s first time outside of France to feature a series of showcases that relate to travel, culture, and gastronomy. The event will run from 12 December 2020 to 13 June 2021 at the West Lawn of Gardens by the Bay. Tickets are available on SISTIC from 2 October 2020 onwards.   History Image Credit: SISTIC Orient Express, a name that clearly sparks the sense of travel and adventure in the hearts of many. Synonymous with the idea of luxury travel and intrigue, the Orient Express was a long-distance passenger train service that ferried the rich and famous across multiple countries since 1886. Imagine there’ll be continental breakfast and all that jazz. The history of the Orient Express or also known as Express d'Orient is a long and mysterious one, unsurprisingly since it has been chugging down the tracks for over 120 years. The Orient Express originally traveled from Paris to Constantinople or as we know it today, Istanbul. Since its inception, the service line has gone through a lot of changes but it still remained the gold standard in luxury travel up till its retirement.  The 1930s was the golden era of the Orient Express. These days, the carriages of the Orient Express have been classified as National Treasures of France. The same ones that will be on show at Gardens by the Bay.   Immersive & Authentic Image Credit: SISTIC Be ready for the authentic experience at this pop-up event as it will feature two original train carriages from 1930 and a 158-year-old locomotive engine, straight from the railways of France. Together with the two hundred tonnes of machinery, the exhibition will also feature 300 precious items and documents restored to its former glory in hopes of replicating the world-class luxury rail travel in its heydays. Train guests will be able to immerse themselves in the whole experience as the exhibition will be adorned with “larger than life” artifacts, interactive displays, and historical facts that encapsulate the legacy of the luxury rail service, telling the stories of their journeys from Europe to the Orient.   Chance to Travel Image Credit: SISTIC The exhibition was planned in a way to let the visitors experience what the travelers would have experienced back in the day. One interesting way the pop-up will be doing this is that the exhibition will also allow visitors to learn more about the routes and scenic stopovers frequented by the service. Through screenings of movie clips, pictures, and other sources of media, guests will be treated to a unique "travel" experience. Other than just the sights, visitors will also get to go on a gastronomical journey through coffee blends that were discovered and made famous by the different stops of the Orient Express.   Escape Room Image Credit: SISTIC If that’s not enough, the pop-up exhibition will also have an escape room experience where you get to immerse yourself and roleplay as Hercule Poirot, the fictional Belgian detective trying to solve a detective case on the train. Leisure travel has changed so much since the 1930s. Although train travel has not been the main mode of travel since airliners have taken over, the idea of traveling by train has that unique appeal to it that no other form of travel seems to capture. This pop-up event comes at a time where borders and travel restrictions are causing everyone to miss travel. Some of us have never traveled by train even, let alone on something as fancy as the Orient Express. If you haven’t, why not visit this pop-up exhibition, you could even say the magical and legendary Orient Express was the first train you’ve ever been on! (Well if you don't include the MRTs) If you are planning to change that or if you have an interest in traveling by train, check out our past blog ”Great Train Journeys”.  ...

  • 5 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Singapore

    The Sunset, a glorious moment where the sky changes its colors to that beautiful pastel-golden hue. Very few things in life are as beautiful as the sunset, which holds true to the saying “Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest”. Even if you see it daily, the sunset never fails to impress.  Living in a concrete jungle like Singapore, it may come as a surprise that there are a number of quiet places in Singapore to see where you can get the best out of this few minutes of natural wonder. For the early risers, some of these places also double up as a Sunrise spot as well. Here are some places in Singapore where you can get the best views of the sunset (and sunrise).   Mount Faber Image Credit: @touchdown599 on Instagram Right smack in the southern part of the city, the inclination of Mount Faber makes it one of the go-to places to see the sunset. Due to its location, it overlooks the tall buildings around it giving off a great view as the sun sets and disappears behind the skyline. Kind of like Hong Kong’s famous Victoria Peak but a tad smaller. In addition to the view, Mount Faber is a great place for a nice and easy hike up the hilly terrain. Surrounded by lush greenery, the whole experience of going to the peak to see the sunset will be an enjoyable experience.   Henderson Waves Image Credit: VisitSingapore.com The highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, Henderson Waves also makes for a good spot to go chasing sunsets. Near Mount Faber, the Henderson Waves stands tall above the vegetation and roads to give you a clear view of the sunset. In addition to the already great sunset, Henderson Waves itself is a looker at night with its interesting design incorporating smooth curve lines that complement the surrounding hills. As part of the Southern Ridges trail, Henderson Waves require a bit of a walk to get to the optimum spot to view the sunset but it will all be worth it once you actually see the views. Sounds like a good place to rest if you ask me.   Changi Boardwalk Image Source: @hoteljenog on Instagram The first few things that come to mind when I think of Changi is Nasi Lemak, Airplanes, the ferry rides to Tekong, and of course, the beautiful sunsets. No, you don’t have to be on the ferry to see the beautiful sunsets. Take a trip back in time when you visit the Changi Boardwalk. With the Kelong-like walkways over the waters, it has this particularly rustic vibe to it that goes really well with the gorgeous sunset view that the place offers. You will want to walk till the end and onto the Sunset Walk for the best views of the sunset. This serene gem in the east is one of the lesser-known spots to chase the sunset but it is definitely worth a visit! Peaceful, beautiful, this place is a great place to see the sunset while also escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday city life.   Bedok Jetty Image Credit: u/Kinderboeno on reddit A true Fisherman’s Friend, Bedok Jetty has always been a favorite amongst the fishing enthusiasts and cyclists. The long stretch of concrete atop the waters of East Coast makes for an unobstructed view of the sunset. As a matter of fact, you can even see the iconic city skyline glow orange because of the sunset.  So chope a bench there and absorb in the views and the great environment that the jetty has to offer. If you’re cycling or jogging, be sure to make the jetty one of your rest stops!   Raffles Marina Lighthouse Image Credit: Jesstini Rays on Pinterest Perched at on the western tip of Singapore lies a lonely lighthouse that has been keeping the waters safe since 1994. The Raffles Marina Lighthouse is a popular spot for wedding photoshoots and sunset chasers looking for that Instagram-worthy sunset shot. The lighthouse area offers an unobstructed view of the sunset, you can clearly see the sun sinking over the horizon. Just a short walk from Tuas MRT station, this lighthouse is not only accessible, but it is also a very rare sight in Singapore. It almost feels like this place is a replacement for the now-closed Tuas Lalang field which was also famous for the same things. Rising in the East and Setting in the West, there are many places in Singapore to see the sunset, regardless of where you are on the island. With the busy schedules of work and other errands, missing the sunset seems like a regular occurrence. But sometimes it’s great to slow things down and just take in the magnificent view of the golden hour to enjoy the beauty of the world we live in. You’re gonna love it!...

  • Travel News Wrap: 21 September Week

    Saudi Arabia Reopens for Umrah Image Credit: Photo by Sulthan Auliya on Unsplash The most exciting news of the week came from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has announced that it will be reopening for Umrah. The reopening will be done in phases with the first phase only being for residents and citizens of the Kingdom. While international travelers will be allowed in from November onwards. The decision to reopen came after Saudi Arabia held the smallest Hajj ever recorded in modern history with only 10,000 pilgrims. Furthermore, in order to assure a safer environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a companion app will be launched along with the reopening. The app will be used to regulate the flow and visitor numbers of the holy and historic sites that pilgrims will visit during their Umrah. The first phase will commence on 4 October this year. Only Citizens and Residents are allowed to perform Umrah in the first phase. The second phase will commence on 18 October, where the number of pilgrims allowed will be increased to 15,000 pilgrims from inside the country. While the third phase will commence on 1 November this year, this phase will allow for 20,000 pilgrims and will be open to international travelers as well. Read more on the reopening in our blog “Saudi Arabia Planning to Reopen for Umrah”.   Airbus’s Zero Carbon Airplane Image Credit: Airbus Earlier this week, Airbus has revealed 3 new concepts of airplanes that they plan to add to the fleet by 2035. What makes these concepts interesting is that they will be the world's first zero-emissions commercial aircraft. Thanks to the development of Hydrogen as an alternative fuel, Airbus is aiming to introduce this technology into the aerospace industry.  The designs include a turboprop fan which is a propellor powered plane and the "blended-wing body" reminiscent of the flying-wing aircraft designs. In order to support Hydrogen technology in commercial flights, airports will be required to implement adequate support such as hydrogen transport and refueling infrastructure. This is a major step in the future of the travel and aerospace industry as it is a viable solution to the problem that has plagued the industries, Carbon Emissions in travel. Before the release of the concepts, the method chosen by the airlines is usually carbon offset programs. This method involves airlines to initiate activities which cancel off the carbon produced in flights. Such activities include planting/replanting trees.   Business Travel Pass Pilot Image Credit: Photo by Shawn Ang on Unsplash Another development in the travel landscape is the news that a new business travel pass is being piloted for senior executives who travel regularly for official and business purposes. The pilot program is currently in effect in Singapore. Travelers in this program will be required to follow a strictly controlled itinerary when they are abroad. When returning, travelers will be given a choice of taking a COVID-19 test in lieu of serving a stay-home notice or to self-isolate until the results are out. Currently, the number of passes is strictly limited in this starting phase for the ministry to monitor the outcome of the pilot program. The program will not be country-specific and will allow travelers to visit a range of countries.  However, travel restrictions and measures of the country of visit still apply. Please refer to the authorities for more information on this program.   Lufthansa COVID-19 Testing Image Credit: Photo by Nick Herasimenka on Unsplash According to multiple news reports, Deutsche Lufthansa AG plans on making rapid COVID-19 antigen tests available for their passengers starting in October. This is in line with the global requirement of travel in this pandemic where travelers will have to show proof of negative COVID-19 test results when traveling.   Due to its limited supply, the new tests will initially be available to its first-class and business class passengers....

  • Saudi Arabia Planning to Reopen for Umrah

    COVID-19 has brought on a lot of changes in recent times and for once, there is some good news! The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) has reported that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has decided to reopen for Umrah again. An activity that was suspended ever since March, earlier this year. During the recent Hajj period, KSA held the smallest Hajj ever in modern times with only 10,000 citizens taking part in this year’s Hajj amid the pandemic. With this new development, visiting Makkah and Medina looks to be quite possible this year.   Reopening in Phases Image Credit: Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash The reopening will be done in phases which is most probably due to the added safety measures in place. The first phase of the reopening will only be open to the residents and citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The number of Umrah pilgrims allowed for one day is limited to 6,000 citizens and residents. The pilgrims will be able to visit the Two Holy Mosques Masjid Al-Haram and Masjid Nabawi) along with other historic religious sites in the country. This phase will start on 4 October this year. When the second phase starts, the daily capacity will be increased to about 15,000 pilgrims or 75% of the revised capacity of 20,000. This phase is set to start on 18 October this year. Finally, the third phase will welcome more people to the country for Umrah. With the numbers being bumped up to 20,000 pilgrims, this will be the biggest number of participants the mosques will have since the outbreak of COVID-19. A major change in this phase is that it will be open to visitors from overseas as well. For the safety of the pilgrims and their citizens, Saudi Arabia will be limiting this option to include only countries that they deem to be safe for Umrah. Currently, at the time of writing, the list of countries has yet to be published. The Third Phase is set to start from 1 November this year. Moving forward, the Saudi government has stated that the country will allow the “natural capacity” for Umrah once the pandemic is over. This is presumably done in order to control the number of visitors to minimize the risk of any COVID-19 from spreading in the country, leaving a detrimental effect on the healthcare and economic systems.   Current COVID-19 Situation Image Credit: Photo by Sulthan Auliya on Unsplash This decision to reopen their borders might have been influenced by the fact that there were no reported cases of COVID-19 during the Hajj period. Currently, the kingdom has recorded over 330,000 cases of COVID-19 to date but on the other hand, they also have a high rate of recoveries for the virus. Insha Allah, it will be safe for pilgrims to carry out and fulfill their Umrah amid the global pandemic.   Safety measures Image Credit: Photo by said alamri on Unsplash Some takeaways from holding Hajj this year might be that they have learned and built upon the safety measures in place in order to control the outbreak in activities that involve a large number of people. The safety measures for Umrah will most probably be similar to the ones that were enforced during Hajj. Visitors will be subject to temperature checks and will be placed under mandatory quarantine after the ritual has been completed. In addition to those measures, social distancing was also emphasized during Hajj with people praying one meter apart during congregational prayers. Please refer to the official authorities for more details and updates on the safety requirements.   I’tamarna Official App Image Credit: Photo by ali guddam on Unsplash Furthermore, Saudi Arabia’s government has launched a new initiative in the form of a phone app that will be extensively used by pilgrims during their Umrah. The app called “l’tamarna” which will be available from 27 September onwards, will regulate the flow and number of visitors at the Haramayn. Using the app, visitors can also plan their activities, visits, and pilgrimage in advance. Allowing them to route and schedule their plans even before going down to the site. Other features of the app include reservations of optional services and ensuring the compliance of health and precautionary measures that the visitors will need to follow.  This news of the reopening came after last week’s news that the country partially lifted its suspension on international flights. Following the trend of the improving COVID-19 situation in Saudi Arabia, who knows maybe in the near future, more and more Muslims can visit Makkah and Medina again. Isha Allah! ...



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