There is no denying that one of the more significant benefits of recurrent air travel is the rapid accumulation of frequent flyer miles. Frequent flyer programs are often a weighty, differentiating factor in air travel. After flying countless miles, I finally achieved Delta Diamond Medallion status in 2016. One of the perks of Diamond Medallion status is free worldwide upgrades.
In August 2017, I decided it was time for an overseas adventure. I wanted to travel as far away from Pensacola as my upgrade would allow. Exploring a faraway destination where I could experience the local culture and primarily focus on photography was the keystone of my travel plan. The destination was tough to decide. I drew a circle with a ten-thousand-mile radius on a map and found the only place Delta flew that far away was Singapore. It was a sign.
A photography vacation to one of the world’s cleanest countries, a city rife with visual appeal, a place where summer never ends, and fantastic street food awaited. I booked my flight, received my Delta One bed assignment, and was ready for my journey to begin!
Three flights, ten thousand miles, eight excellent first-class meals, unlimited wine, and thirty-six hours later, I arrived in Singapore, an island-city-country at the tip of Malaysia. Although a bit mind-boggling, Singapore is the only island-city-country in the world. Although Hong Kong is technically an island-city, it is a part of China.
Singapore is the most expensive city in the world in which to live and has nearly zero unemployment. It is also one of the most technologically advanced countries. With close to six million people on a tiny island of only 275 square miles, an area smaller than New York City, Singapore is one of the safest countries in which to live and travel. Given that Singapore was under British rule for nearly 123 years, most Singaporeans are bilingual with English being one of the country’s three official languages. The speed and efficiency of the bus and subway transportation systems made it almost effortless to move about the country.
Singapore is 1° north of the equator, so walking around during the day was quite hot. I took the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour so I could visit and photograph more of the city. The “Duck” water tour was a great way to beat the heat and snap views of the area from the water. For the best aerial views of downtown and Marina Bay, I rode the air-conditioned Singapore Flyer. At 50 stories tall it once stood as the tallest Ferris wheel in the world for eight years before the High Roller, standing nine feet taller, opened in Las Vegas. The sights were breathtaking.
One of the more unique excursions was the River Tour. I took the cruise at night so I could capture the colorful Quays, the Raffles Hotel, the Spectra Light and Laser Show at Marina Bay, and the famous Merlion Fountain. I loved how the light reflected off the water. It was interesting watching how the light behaved and moved.
The contrast of modern skyscrapers and contemporary casinos located in a tropical climate and in proximity to the ocean made me think Manhattan meets Las Vegas meets Miami. The entire city of Singapore reminded me of Disney World’s Epcot Center except Singapore is a vibrant, fully functioning city with a reputation for impeccable cleanliness.
One of the most impressive parts of my visit was the food, especially the “hawker” centres. Hawker centres are stalls that sell a variety of cooked food. The open-air stalls were my favorite, and Chili Crab and Chicken Rice were a couple of my preferred dishes. One of the hawker stalls has a Michelin Star, which is a restaurant quality rating awarded by the Michelin Guide. This is a testament to the quality of Singapore’s street food.
I toured Singapore for three days before embarking on a side trip to Thailand. I made the most out of every hour I was on the island. Sleep was of little importance to me as I had the luxury of sleeping in a bed while in-flight. I was able to capture some of the most beautiful images during my visit. Thank goodness for digital photography! The photography opportunities were endless. Singapore is truly a photographer’s dream. I hope you enjoy my images as much as I enjoyed selecting a few to share.