The three days of the rigorous ITB Asia Convention left me tired and exhausted. The massive exhibitions in the three large halls of the Suntec Convention Center concluded successfully and I came back to my hotel room with considerable feet pain. All thanks to the continuous meetings, visits to each and every booth, multiple press conferences and the need for a lot of networking. But, at the end of the event I felt satisfied at a job good done. While I enjoyed the opportunity of interacting with the top notch travel professionals around the world, the high point and undoubtedly the most enriching experience was my meeting the Secretary General of UNWTO Mr Taleb Rifai. The Editor-in-Chief of the Travel and Leisure magazine Chris Kucway inspired me to aim higher in my profession. His poise, skills in anchoring an event, discussion and his thorough knowledge left me spellbound. I was thankful to my employers for giving me the opportunity to attend one of the major events of the world tourism industry.
|Mr Taleb Rifai giving his speech in the press conference|
At the end of the event, media delegates were given passes to visit Sentosa (Sentosa is an island nearby). With two days of the weekend to explore the city of Singapore, I booked my pass for Sunday. I wanted to see Singapore first and what better way than to take the Hippo Bus City Tour! The Hippo Bus City Tour is a tour of Singapore on a roofless double decker bus and it has four routes. You can pick the one you are most interested in. The main hub of bus tours was just by the side of the main lobby of Suntec Convention Center. I hopped into one of the many double decker roofless busses that waited there. The lady driver asked me if I needed a day pass or just that single tour. I opted for the single tour, as I had no intention of getting down and wasting time. I wanted to see it first and know the routes.
|The Hippo Bus I was in.|
The moment the bus started the in-bus audio system started and a handsome voice welcomed all the boarders in the bus. One by one the audio system, now to be our virtual guide, began to explain the attractions appearing on our right and left, as we made our way. I was amazed by the seamless synchronisation it had with the stops, traffic signals and sites of tourist importance. Starting from Suntec, we went through the city roads, reached the Formula1 racing ground, the Singapore Flyer and the Skypark on Marina Bay Sands. The skypark has always fascinated me ever since I saw the programme on Discovery Channel. Oh what a feat! A man-made marvel!
The bus, continuing its journey and the synchronised iTour, took us through the financial district of Singapore where I could see all the tall buildings and heritage houses restored and re-used as restaurants and market places. Many such tourist spots later, the bus reached the Singapore Botanical Garden. This is a bigger halt for the Hippo Bus and you are given 20 minutes to get down and have a look around and enjoy the freshness. The entire area was alive with the fragrance of flowers and I couldn’t help taking deep breaths. It was very refreshing and I suddenly discovered I didn’t want to leave anymore! But since the time was up, I had to. On our return from the garden, we passed through the ultimate posh area of Singapore and the houses there looked like dreams on earth! The bus then took us to the Orchard Road, one of the many tourist attractions I wanted to see in Singapore. Orchard road was in a simple word – alluring. After enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful sites, the bus returned to its original hub and I got down to go back to my hotel. However, many of my co-passengers hopped off in different locations of their choice. Now, my visit to Orchard Road remained.
|The Marina Bay Sands Sky Park|