The City That Enchants

Singapore SkylineGlamourous, bustling, and absolutely fantastic.

New York, what makes it so captivating to people?

I mean, it’s there all the time – the hype about “Oh, New York”. Especially in Hollywood-franchised movie productions and popular television series. Those are seriously overrated.

What is it about New York that really makes people so dreamy though? Sure. I mean, even I was drawn to the fascinating idea of the “New York Dream” at first – where it’s all about the bagels, the hotdogs and dreams and aspirations. Dollar pizzas, outdoor concerts and whatnot, New York is the city of everything mixed together, a confluence of cultures.

“I want to wake up in a city, that doesn’t sleep. And find I’m king of the hill, top of the heap.” New York, New York – Frank Sinatra

With the Classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, the big Broadway theatre, Times Square and the well-known Central Park, New York is charmingly packed with quixotic elements of romance and fantasy. The city of seamless streets and the epitome of modern dreams, who wouldn’t love the capital of the world, New York?

But honestly though, If I squeeze my brain hard enough, I could come up with a couple of other, maybe less popular, cities that are just as breathtaking as New York. Scratch that, I’m pretty sure I don’t even need to think that hard to come up with a few. Off the cuff, I could think of 4 other incredible cities that deserve recognition for being just as splendid, if not more.

1. Bangkok, Thailand

bangkok-skyline

Bangkok is probably one of the most popular cities in terms of overnight visitor arrivals, beating London for first place with about 21.47 million international overnight visitors in 2016. But all these is not for nothing as we take a glance at Thailand’s tourism industry and how it’s able to attract millions of people into the country despite it being a developing country.

With its bustling night market activity with the famous Chatuchak Market which houses more than 8,000 different and unique market stalls, tourists and fellow countrymen can enjoy a huge discount on the products in the 35-acre market.

chatuchak-weekend-market1

But of course, other than the bustling night market activity, Bangkok is also very famous for its sex tourism – and they’re pretty proud of it. Drawing millions of tourists into the country, the Thai Government is earning large paychecks from people all over the world.

It is no surprise that this marvelous country could attract so many tourists and even exhibit the same allure to the once-so-amazing (or maybe it still is) New York.

2. Rio De Janerio, Brazil

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Next up would be Rio De Janerio in Brazil. From the Copacabana Beach to Christ the Redeemer to even Santa Teresa Neighborhood, it’s hard not to love Rio for what it is.

Apart from the higher levels of criminal activity which involves credit card scams and amateur theft cases for the average tourist there, Rio is stunningly beautiful and romantic if you explore the right places. But of course, roaming around in Rio completely alone (and as a total foreigner) is a no-go.

Copacabana Beach is filled with the natural scenic beauty of the great ocean and of course, who could forget, hot and beautiful women waltzing around the beach, enjoying the afternoon sun. And hey, for the Santa Teresa neighbourhood, if you think about it, it’s kind of a contrast to the Bronx in New York (for comparison’s sake: it’s a deliberate attempt to juxtapose the city from the slum), and exploring the true “developing” side of Brazil in a popular city is not such a bad idea for anyone.

If you like the natural environment such as mountain tops and jungles and whatnot, Rio is a perfect blend for you. With Jardim Botanico, house to 8,000 over species of plants, it features many variety of specimen plants and trees, with precious monuments, and informative exhibits that serves to educate the public on the environment and the preservation of such. Not to mention the Sugarloaf Mountain of up to 400m above sea-level, where visitors can traverse via a glass-walled cable car up to the mountain’s summit.

Christ-Redeemer-8

The best is always for the last. The “Cristo Redentor“. Standing at 710m above sea-level, it requires visitors to climb up to a 100 steps to reach the top. 100! Well, lucky for you though, there are elevators and escalators up the peak, shortening and simplifying the trip for all tourists alike.

3. London, UK

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What’s not to love about London? With the famous and pretty much hard-to-miss Buckingham Palace, and the Palace of Westminister (the Big Ben up above), and not to forget, the parks and the museums will charm you to set foot on this spectacular land.

Iconic and essential to British people, the Buckingham Palace is at the heart of the fellow countrymen, recognising and acknowledging its power and precedence over their lives. Aside from all the monarchy and royalty, Buckingham Palace is a place you’d want to at least take pictures with while you’re here. Unlike New York where most of the city’s skyline is almost the same as another city in the States like Chicago or L.A City, the Palace is a must go and cannot be missed. With tours around the Palace almost all year long, it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most, if not all, who travel past here.

I’m going to talk about The British Museum now. Before you brush this section off and read the next one, I’ll just like to say that this is definitely part of why the charm of London exists. Comparable to New York, and Brooklyn’s Public Library, the allure of the Arts also exists in London – and it resides in The British Museum. Home to more than 10 million artifacts from the ancient world, The British Museum displays one of the most exquisite collection of delicate antiquities such as the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, the Rosetta Stone from Rameses II and the 4th Century Roman Silver called Mildenhall Treasure.

Just laying all the boring stuff, let’s talk about the night life. Yep, you heard that right. With an extensive range of night spots in London, you’ll be sure to not miss anything good on your nights out! Won’t be giving out much spoilers but Fabric, Proud Camden, Corsica Studios and of course, Cargo are a few of the more famous clubs you’ve got to visit in London. Drinks and dance, with loud music and people partying their pants off till morning, this is where you’d want to be.

4. Singapore, just Singapore

Commonly referred to as the Lion City or the Little Red Dot, Singapore is home to only 5.7 million people, and it’s pretty much packing up quite a punch on space here. I’m pretty much biased by placing my home country here but do hear me out first, alright?

Home to local Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian folks, Singapore is, like New York and London, a multi-cultural, multi-opportunity society of today’s cosmopolitan world. Focusing its efforts on the tourism industry for the past couple of years, we have successfully ascended ourselves to be on par with major cities in the world, rising up to a world-class level with buildings like the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.

Apart from being one of the world-class tourist attraction sites, Singapore also proves to be a reliable country with rich culture and history, albeit brief. With around 12.1 million overnight visitors in 2016, Singapore’s edge over the rest of the world in tourism could essentially beat any of the larger cities in the world in terms of acre to acre ratio.

The allure of New York is noticeable in Singapore, from the bustling street of Orchard Rd, Singapore’s supposed and dedicated shopping district is very much similar to Times Square in New York. With the wide variety of malls in Orchard, including the Paragon, Wisma Atria, ION Orchard, 313 Somerset and countless others, Singapore is no stranger to international brands and tourism. Definitely though, there are a larger range of places to go to in Singapore, including Chinatown, Geylang Serai and Little India for the ‘decentralised local culture house‘. And of course, Jurong East and Tampines, a shopping hub for the West and the East of Singapore respectively.

Apart from the “city-life”, Singapore is also very unique in culture, especially in comparison to the Western world. Preserved from Singapore’s Colonial history, these shophouses paint a quaint, unusual and intriguing look to Singapore, striking a stark contrast from the rapid and fast-paced city-life that most Singaporeans and Permanent Residents wind up conforming to.

But hey, all in all, from the bottom of my heart, New York is an amazing place. No less than any of the few cities I’ve mentioned above, New York still possess the international recognition for being the capital of the world. No one, even myself, can strip this title of the grand New York.

Photo Credits:

Bangkok Skyline Image by: WCC (http://paradiseintheworld.com/travel-guide-to-bangkok/)

Shopper’s View of Chatuchak Market Image by: (http://www.bangkok.com/shopping-market/popular-markets.htm)

Rio de Janeiro’s Skyline Photography and Design by Thales Anibal Jardim @ (https://www.flickr.com/people/rioparadiso/)

Christ The Redeemer Statue Photo by: (https://odb.org/2015/06/30/christ-the-redeemer/)

London’s Skyline Photo by: (http://ronlimphotography.com/blog/2012/06/08/hdr-friday-london-skyline)

Singapore Skyline at Night Photo by: (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/353743745701734108/)

Bird’s Eye View of ION Orchard Photo by Someforofhuman @ (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ION_orchard_Singapore_final.jpg)

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