Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Counting down...

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Marina Barrage: A Reservoir in the Heart of Lion City

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A brainchild of former Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the Marina Barrage is the first reservoir to be built right in the heart of the city among the other 14 scattered across the country.
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Boasting of 10,000 hectares of an urbanized catchment area, it is almost one-sixth of the size of the country itself!
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The dam/reservoir was built across the Marina channel, and is not just serving the sole purpose of being one of Singapore's water supplies, as the entire area is simply an award-winning masterpiece to promote an eco-friendly system as I continue to share on the amazing attractions discovered during my trip here in April 2011.
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The Marina Barrage, besides being one of the water conservation and supply system for the entire country, also serves its other functions to the environment and even being the latest attraction in the city.
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The Reservoir/Dam
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As mentioned above, this is the 15th reservoir to join the chain of dams in Singapore, although it is the first to be built right smack in the middle of the city.
Strategically located at the mouth of the Marina channel, this is now a freshwater reservoir.
A little bit on the facts of Singapore's water conservation and supply:
There are four ways of water supply provision in the country;
a. Imported water (one of the sources being from Malaysia; her closest neighboring country)
b. Local water catchment areas (stormwater, rain)
c. Desalinated water
d. NEWater - reclaimed and clean water

The above four ways are known as the National Four Taps; and are the pillars of the long term water supply for the country for a long period of time.

The Marina Reservoir alone, can provide at least 10% of Singapore's water needs.

The Marina Barrage
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Going green is the theme applied to the design of this place; and it is evident from their bagging of the Green Mark Platinum Infrastructure Award in 2009.

When I was here, I was in awe at the simple yet unique and environmental friendly architecture, and I was not even the least surprised to find out about the roles played in maintaining and sustaining the environment.
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One of the many functions include rainwater collection; whereby the annual rain supplies the natural water resource which will be collected and processed to be safe for water consumption/usage to meet the demands of the population.
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The many other features in the design of the barrage includes the natural lighting and ventilation, solar panels, water-efficient, power-efficient with the design used in the overall architecture of the place.

The Pump House
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Glass and louvers were used at the external walls; which allow the natural light from the sunlight to shine into the building; thus reducing the need to turn on the switch for lights and air-conditioning.

The Green Roof
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Besides being a spot for family gatherings and friendly recreational activities, one would be amazed to find that recycling and eco-friendly concept is the main backbone of its construction.
The name; Green Roof was also derived from the fact that the grass and soil served as a natural heat insulation for the building; thus reducing the need for air-conditioning and saving the costs to power up the building with electricity.

The washrooms within the building also used water-efficiency concept; through its water taps and also waterless urinals.
The Solar Park is also housed here; and boasts of the largest collection of solar panels throughout the country.

If you are interested in many more features of this place, don't forget to drop by the Sustainable Singapore Gallery on your way in or out to find out more about Singapore's efforts in creating sustainability in the environment through the wide arrays of displays of the works in the country.

One may question the decision to build a reservoir in the city, as it exposes the water to the risks of pollution from the nearby cities and buildings around.
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However, the government is doing their part to ensure that maintenance is constantly being carried out to sustain the usability of the water in the reservoir.

A little yacht docking yard spotted.
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Besides, Sitting in the heart of the city provides the perfect landscape for an urban setting and view of the beautiful skyscrapers in the background
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Singapore has once again proven that modernization and urbanization along with advanced technology can go hand in hand with the environment.
Thumbs up for a major Green project, and definitely one of the eye-openers, if not the GREEN wonders of the world!:)
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For more information on the Marina Barrage, go to their official website here

Nature view from Mount Faber

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Nestled among the busy hustle bustle of the advanced city of Singapore is the natural spread of lush greenery on a hilly areal.
Perhaps the greenery and natural park may be an ordinary scene from another place, but in Singapore, an ever booming city and where land is scarce, this is indeed a jewel and it is no wonder this is such a popular place among the busy city dwellers taking a break from the traffic on weekends.

Despite the scarcity of land in the Lion City, I was still amazed and also impressed with the efforts made by the government to maintain the natural greenery inside and outside the city.
It goes to show that nature is not to be traded with the advancement of technology.
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I spent a short while here at the park, before I was due to board my plane back to my country, and I was just so taken by the serenity of the area surrounded by trees of hundreds of years of age.
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As I was enjoying my walk around the park, I caught glimpse of the city skyscrapers lining the background.

I would have loved to take a longer walk around the park had I the time, but I would love to come back sometime to enjoy the beautiful view and tranquility of nature.
Looking at the crowd which includes families, couples and tour buses, I am definitely not the only one who thinks this way.
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Wonder Full Light and Water Show at the Marina Bay Sands

This is a feature on this spectacular lights and water show display at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, which is a popular attraction with tourists and locals.
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I was there this April; and I was excited to be able to witness this wonderful show (pun intended) of the Wonder Full at Marina Bay Sands, and it seemed like the whole city skyline came alive at night!

Marina Bay Sands is a myriad of colors and lights at night, and just walking around makes me feel like I was in Wonderland or something.
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Singapore city skyline at night
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The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
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Awesome costumes worn by models prancing around the mall on stilts
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Marina Bay Sand's breathtaking view
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The Wonder Full Light and Water show is not any ordinary show; despite it being a nightly free performance.
Yes, you did not read it wrongly, it is free for viewing, and it is shown at interval times at 8pm and 9.30pm, and on Fridays and Saturdays, there will be an extra show at 11pm too.

The show is about 13 minutes, but trust me, the length of the show goes unnoticeable as you are struck with awe at the amazing display of lights and water, with beautifully orchestrated music and songs in the background as the main story theme is being told.
It is a beautiful story of the journey of life, and one can be mesmerized by the enchanting images accompanied by the magical lights
and sounds.

The following are the snapshots of the show:
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Location: Event Plaza
Show times:
Sunday to Thursday: 8.00pm, 9.30pm
Friday and Saturday: 8.00pm, 9.30pm, 11.00pm


For more information, you can refer to the Marina Bay Sands website here

An interesting attraction for those who are in Singapore; and not just for tourists, trust me, even the local Singaporeans are caught there enjoying the show!
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: Pangkor Laut Resort

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Pangkor Laut Resort was planned as a prequel to our sweet honeymoon shortly after our wedding, as hubby wanted a short escapade to relax after our wedding planning.
He had always wanted to come to Pangkor Laut Resort as he had read that this is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations among the foreigners from the west due to its exclusivity.

A lot of people told us that it was not worth it to spend our honeymoon in Malaysia, as with the prices we are paying, we could have gone on an overseas trip, to probably places like Taiwan, Hong Kong or even Australia.
However, we still proceeded to this as hubby had projects on hand and unable to take long leaves, we looked forward to a short but sweet escapade locally.
Furthermore, our country is a rather popular tourist destination and with so much natural beauty surrounding us, what better way to start our marriage if not on an exclusive and private island like Pangkor Laut Resort, which is an award-winning and highly ranked in the world?
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We didn't make a mistake, as we, especially me, was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome of the resort the minute we arrived at Lumut jetty.

Everything that you could think of, it was thought of by the resort as well and basically, I won't be wrong to say that we did not have to lift a finger to do anything on our own at Pangkor Laut Resort.

From the luggages to the speedboat to the checking in, it was all handled by the resort with so much professionalism that they already made us feel at ease immediately!
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The lovely view of and from the resort is just simply stunning, and spells tranquility and peace in one's mind; an ideal picture of a perfect relaxing vacation.
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Despite being an island of its own and away from mainland, there is still no need to fear of pirates or unwanted company as the resort had everything under their hands and guests like us just feel safe and secure all the time.

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The remarkable part about this resort is its surroundings of a 2 million year old rainforest; which lends it the natural environment and mystery required.
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Most of the facilities here are surrounded by the natural environment; and even the spa and the bathrooms are just built right in the middle of the forests!

Despite the natural surroundings, that did not stop the little touches of design to enhance the comfort of their guests; for instance the little pebbled path for walking for the guests.
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Bathrooms by the beach are not your typical public toilets, mind you!
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Take a step into them and you feel like you are transported into luxury!
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Everything was just so aromatherapy-like that you are constantly reminded of your lovely breakaway from the city life.
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At the same time, taking note of the nature's environment around them, the resort does its best not to strip the place of its natural resources and yet, considering the comfort of their guests, they provided facilities and little touches that took care of every need of the guests.
They provide shuttle service for their guests, shuttle stops, phone booths, bathrooms, etc.
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At the beach (Emerald Bay) area, they even provided towels and chilled mineral water for the guests lazing by the beach!
There is even a pot at the shuttle station with water for one to wash the sand away from their feet.
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(I love the touch of using a coconut husk; very environmental and natural, as a tool to ladle the water from the pot)

One need not worry about the bad weather as the shuttle will take you to the nearest point before dropping you off near your villas.
Also, there are two umbrellas provided in every room, but if you forget to bring them, there are always umbrellas everywhere!
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There are pavilions for you to rest, and for book lovers like me, they also have libraries; one at the main reception and another one near the spa village area.
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I loved how they made the reading areas so comfortable and cosy!
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I am sure by now, that you are certain that my review of this place is a positive one; if not uplifting!
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I truly enjoyed the natural beauty of this place which gave me the much needed peace of mind, and the top notched services and hospitality makes my stay even more memorable.
I am already looking forward to my next visit here, and it was a very reluctant departure on my last day.

I am truly happy with the first part of my honeymoon, albeit a short one, and it has made the first part of my marriage a very sweet one :-)

I would definitely recommend this award-winning place to newly weds, or honeymooners or couples looking for a romantic retreat;)
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If you do not believe me, well, let their awards and testimonials convince you.

Disclaimer: I am not paid nor hired by Pangkor Laut Resort to write this review, as it was done purely based on my own opinions and experiences and am not speaking for the majority.