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Stunning Singapore on two wheels

Not quite hitting F1 speed, we nonetheless peddle onto the racetrack, giddy with our starting position.

You see, our group of rag-tag tourists is on Let’s Go’s ‘Historical Singapore Bike Tour’ and one of the highlights is cycling at the starting line of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.

Of course, we’re on utilitarian city cruiser bikes, not in supercharged F1 race cars, but the elation is real.

The racetrack is underneath, the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix sign looms large overhead, famous Marina Bay is to one side and the glimmering skyline of this city- state is on the other.

<who>Photo credit: Steve MacNaull/NowMedia Group</who>Our Let’s Go bike tour covers part of Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix racetrack.

Plus, our tour guide, Melvyn Yap, is making us laugh – again.

Just before gliding onto the F1 course, he tells us Singaporeans aren’t very athletic.

In fact, the nation’s favourite sports are eating, lining up for things and jumping to conclusions.

<who>Photo credit: Steve MacNaull/NowMedia Group</who>Bike tour guide Melvyn Yap.

Over the four-hour, 14-kilometre tour, Yap will make other humourous quips to keep us entertained and informed as we cycle past the shophouses and back alley bars of Kampong Glam, through the Civic and Central Business districts, along the Singapore River and around Marina Bay.

Most of the peddling is on sidewalks and even through a shopping mall and the lobby of an office highrise.

Yap says that’s because land is at a premium in densely populated Singapore (six million people on an island 55-by-23 kilometers) and there’s no room for anything as frivolous as bike lanes.

<who>Photo credit: Steve MacNaull/NowMedia Group</who>Cycling along the Singapore River.

He also tells us about ‘Asia Lite,’ the nickname for Singapore and its notoriety for operating in English and everything being organized, orderly, clean, modern and on time.

“Don’t worry, we still also have plenty of time to be superstitious, fuss about feng shui and be traditional,” says Yap.

<who>Photo credit: Air Canada</who>Air Canada flies the quick, quiet and comfortable Boeing Dreamliner 787 on the new Vancouver-Singapore route.

My wife, Kerry, and I find ourselves being Crazy Not-Rich Cauasians (the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians was set in the city-state) because Air Canada has just started to fly between Vancouver and Singapore.

We’ve always wanted to experience this tiny nation, so we boarded the Air Canada flight – the longest one the airline does at 16 hours and 10 minutes and the only non-stop link between Canada and Singapore.

The flight on the quick, quiet and comfortable Dreamliner 787 is already a success, attracting a mix of business, tourist and visiting-friends-and-family passengers.

<who>Photo credit: Steve MacNaull/NowMedia Group</who>Coastes Beach Club on Sentosa Island.

We jam as much as we can into six days, wandering around the Gardens by the Bay with its futuristic Supertree sculptures, hanging out with white tigers and feeding a rhinoceros at the Night Safari, lounging at Coastes Beach Club on Sentosa Island, riding a bumboat up and down the Singapore River and shopping in supermalls along glitzy Orchard Road.

Our respites after long days of sightseeing are the two Pan Pacific hotels in Singapore – the one at Marina Bay and the one just off Orchard Road.

Both have comfy beds in well-designed rooms, resort-style pool complexes and Pacific Club Lounges with views for Champagne breakfasts, afternoon teas and happy hours.

Pan Pacific near Marina Bay is the Singapore-based hotel chain’s original property – a 38-storey landmark with 790 rooms and subtle Asian style.

<who>Photo credits: Steve MacNaull/NowMedia Group, above, and Darren Son, below</who>The lagoon pool, above, at Pan Pacific Orchard Hotel. The hotel, below, looks like its constructed of giant Jenga blocks.

Pan Pacific Orchard is a new design hotel just off the famous shopping street that looks like it was constructed of giant Jenga blocks.

It's covered in foliage with four terraces scooped out of the vertical facade of the building at the second, fifth, 11th and 18th floors for the outdoor lobby, pool, cabana lawn and outdoor convention space, respectively.

We’ll also do some hotel hopping for eats and drinks – afternoon tea in The Courtyard at the historic Fullerton Hotel, sunset drinks at Lantern rooftop bar at the new Fullerton Bay Hotel and pre-dinner signature cocktails at Origin Bar in the Shangri-la Hotel before dinner at Origin’s Australian-style steakhouse with a new menu of ribeye and tenderloin cuts.

Check out www.aircanada.com and www.panpacific.com.

<who>Photo credit: Steve MacNaull/NowMedia Group</who>Some of the futuristic Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay.



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