Singapore – Part 2, Clarks Quay

9 – 14 June 2018

Pic 2018-0610 07 Clarks Quay (7) edit

Singapore has several excellent entertainment, restaurant and retail districts. We chose to stay in Clarks Quay which turned out to be a good central location. We walked to most attractions but the Clarks Quay subway station and bus stop were convenient for quick access, especially to Sentosa Island. The city is an expensive place to stay and Clarks Quay was no exception but it did offer some more affordable accomodation options. The restaurants and bars along the riverside light up at night.

Clark Quay’s Riverwalk at Night

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Singapore – Part 1, The Switzerland of Asia

9 – 14 June 2018

Pic 2018-0610 10 Singapore Flyer Area (16) edit

We spent the second half of our trip to Asia in Singapore. It was incredible. The city far exceeded our expectations and we debated if it was our favorite. All of us had different opinions but agreed Singapore deserved to be in the conversation, certainly world-class.

Singapore, the city-state islands on the tip of the Malaysia Penninsula, is small but packs a powerful punch. The former Bristish colony acts as an interface between East and West for business and finance. One of the four ‘Asian Tiger’ economies, it has developed into an intriguing mixture of world cultures. For the English speaking population, Singapore is an easy first step into Southeast Asia. Their official primary language is English so there is little difficulty with communicating or understanding street signs. With a history of steep foreign investment, low income taxes, and large percentages of foreign workers, the city has a little bit for everyone, especially for those with money.

The city center lies on the banks of Singapore River. The skyline is dominated by modern and unique structures interspersed with tradional European and Asian architecture. A beautiful and clean city by day, Singapore turns into an amazing display of color and lights at night. The shops cater to a largely affluent crowd with all the high end retailers you might expect in New York, London or Beverly Hills. The restaurants and food vary widely too. We enjoyed some of the American chains we haven’t seen since leaving the States. For us something as simple as having buttermilk biscuits for the first time in 12 months was a treat.

Here are a few pictures of the city with many more to follow.

Fullerton Shore Skyline (top left), Singapore River at Anderson Bridge (upper left), Keppel Island (lower left), Progressive Green Architecture (top right), Sri Mariamman Temple (lower right), and Tooth Relic Temple (bottom)

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Shake Shack Tokyo

5 June 2018

Pic 2018-0605 12 Shake Shack Lunch (2) Edit

Yep, our Shake Shack obsession continues. We found two of the six located in Tokyo.

 

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Tokyo – Part 5, Shrines and Temples

3 – 9 June 2018

Pic 2018-0608 04 Senso Ji Temple Area (60) Edit

Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples can be found throughout the city. Several of them have become tourist attractions. We visited several out fo curiousity. The crowds and their endless duck-faced selfies took away any serenity these buildings were intended to bring. Despite this, we valued our glimpse of different religions.

Senso-ji Temple

Pic 2018-0605 13 Meiji Jingu Shrine (16) Edit

Meiji Shrine

Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple

Zojo-ji Temple

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Tokyo – Part 4, Divine Wind

3 – 9 June 2018

Pic 2018-0606 01 Tokyo National Museum (12) Edit

The Divine Winds or ‘Kamikaze’ according to Samurai legend twice saved Japan from Mongol invasion in the thirteenth century. The history of Japan is filled with stories of war and peace. We spent time in a few of the many museums and gardens in Tokyo to gain a basic understanding of the island nation’s history and culture.

Samurai Museum

Tokyo National Museum

Pic 2018-0606 03 Nat Museum Nat and Science (12) Edit

National Museum of Nature and Science

Pic 2018-0605 06 Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (41) Edit

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

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Tokyo – Part 3, Tokyo for Tourists

3 – 9 June 2018

Pic 2018-0604 04 Odaiba Area (37) Edit

Tokyo has a number of entertainment districts and tourism sites throughout the city. We spent most of one day on Odaiba, an artificial island that was redeveloped into an entertainment district, adjacent to Rainbow Bridge. There was plenty to see and do all of which lit up nicely at night.

Rainbow Bridge and Odaiba

Tokyo Tower is an iconic structure that was “inspired” by the Eiffel Tower. At 333 meters (1,092 feet) it was the tallest structure in Tokyo when it was built in 1958. On the tour they would have you believe two great men with a unique vision created this magnificent structure. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool. We really enjoyed our visit and the views from the upper deck. How can anyone take much credit for essentially copying a famous building and painting it international orange because, well, they had no choice but to comply with flight safety regulations?

The real genius was to hide a television and radio communication tower in plain sight. The tower could stand alone as a successful tourist destination and internationally recognized icon; however it’s real purpose was as a communications tower, the rest was just icing on the cake. Ironically when Japan transitioned to all digital television broadcasts, the tower was not tall enough so the Tokyo Sky Tree was used.

Pic 2018-0607 14 Tokyo Tower (113) Edit

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Sky Tree became the second tallest structure in the world when completed in 2011. You can see it from most anywhere in Tokyo. We decided one observation tower was enough for us so we did not go up.

Pic 2018-0607 14 Tokyo Tower (45) Edit

Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo Dome City is an entertainment district centered around the city’s largest stadium, Tokyo Dome. The Dome is home to the Yomiuri Giants, one of Japan’s professional baseball teams, and the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

Pic 2018-0606 07 Tokyo Dome Area (17) Edit

Tokyo Dome

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Tokyo – Part 2, The Phoenix

3 – 9 June 2018

Pic 2018-0607 02 Imperial Palace Gardens (31) Edit

 

For a city who’s history dates back to the twelfth century, there are few historic buildings to be found. The Great Kanto earthquake of 1923 and the WWII bombing raids of 1945 cleared the path for a very modern city to rise from the ashes.

Imperial Palace

Akasaka Palace State Guesthouse

Pic 2018-0607 05 National Diet Building (3) Edit

National Diet (Capital) Building

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