Ever secretly harboured a desire to climb aboard a ship and break into an ‘I’m the king of the world’ jig à la Leonardo DiCaprio? Then, Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition, currently showing at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, at its ArtScience museum, may be your best bet.
And for those beyond mimicking cheesy lines, this adventure offers a slice of history, 100 years after the Titanic set sail on its disastrous maiden voyage.
It features over 275 artefacts recovered from the ship, and an experience that sinks in the minute you’re handed a boarding pass.
The 2,500 square meters of gallery space that the exhibition is stretched across is technically on water, like the reclaimed land on which the hotel property stands, but rest assured that it is stationary. Though, the fact that you’re onboard with a replica boarding pass of an actual passenger may give you heebie-jeebies. Mine was in the name of bride-to-be Hilda Mary Slater, aged 30, who was travelling second class. She was carrying her wedding dress from England to take to New York, where she was to marry.
For years, tourists have viewed Singapore as comprising Universal Studios and the Merlion, with a visit to Orchard Street thrown in (you’ll return many shopping bags richer!). Now, this exhibit could well find prominence on the wanderer’s itinerary, were it to remain in the island city beyond its April 29 deadline.
Featuring a detailed replica of the infamous vessel and a magnificent reconstruction of the grand staircase that is 27 feet high (featured in the climax scene of the 1997 film), the guided walk also offers a sneak peek into the luxurious cabins of the first class passengers, not to mention the sordid bunkers of the third class. The promenade deck makes clever use of sound and lights to lend an aura of actually being on a boat. There’s even a life-sized iceberg that gives visitors the chills, allowing them to leave their hand imprints on it.
Of course, just when you’re completely immersed in 1912, the exhibition comes to a standstill with a gigantic memorial wall that lists the survivors and the not-so-lucky. And unlike the ship’s captain, it seems, I (Hilda, actually) didn’t go down with the ship.
China town & little India
With stations like Dhoby Ghaut and Little India, it’s no surprise that Singapore has plenty of temples, restaurants and even grocery stores to keep any Indian from feeling homesick. For those looking for affordable souvenirs to take back, China Town has umpteen options. Don’t forget to try out the treasured food this lane offers.
A historical riverside quay, which is now refurbished to become a bar-hopper’s paradise, Clarke Quay boasts of an array of floating pubs and restaurants. One of the most happening haunts is Rupee Room. Any guesses? Indian fusion lounge, of course!
Wicked— the musical
Singapore’s latest import is this Aussie Broadway production. Winner of 35 awards, a talented cast that’ll give Glee stars a run for their money, stupendous sets and glam costumes. Need we say more?
Marina bay sands
If you happen to pass out in a cab in Singapore, your cabbie is most likely to drop you off here. Marina Bay Sands is to Singapore what the Venetian is to Macau. It boasts of a swanky hotel, plush casino, sprawling mall, an infinity pool and a host of celebrity restaurants.
Beyond Singapore’s skyscrapers and concrete lies this vibrant artist street. Stop by and enjoy a laidback meal at the cutesy cafés here.
Angry birds nation
From the main airport to thrift stores on Bugis Street, the island state is obsessed with naughty pigs and kamikaze birds.