AN INDEPENDENT TRAVEL GUIDE TO THE LION CITY

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SINGAPORE RIVER > THE MERLION
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GETTING HERE:
Disembark at EW14/NS26 Raffles Place MRT station, from which you will walk towards the Singapore River and then turning right into Fullerton Hotel. Get across Fullerton Road and turn down to the riverfront walk under the Esplanade Bridge. Eventually you will see The Merlion. On CityBuzz, disembark at either C2-#2 (The Padang) or C2-#3 (Clifford Pier) which will bring you to Fullerton Road and find your way from there. Alternatively, get down at bus stop C1-#1, C2-#1 or C3-#1 (Esplanade) from which you can walk across the Esplanade Bridge to Merlion Park.

DESCRIPTION:
How can anyone visit Singapore without paying homage to this much-celebrated emblem? The Merlion is actually a statue of a mythical animal with a lion's head and a fish's body resting on wave crests. Why it is called Merlion, you may ask. Quite easy: the whole concoction actually resembles a mermaid ("mer" + "maid" with a lady's head on top of a fish's body), hence the name came out as "mer" + "lion" in similar connotation. Hence, The Merlion!

The Merlion also takes its emblematic form from the fact that the country's name also comes from a lion spotted in the island many years ago. "Singapore" is actually the western name of "Singapura" which is the official name of the country, though it is rarely pronounced even among its own citizens. "Singa" is a word taken from ancient Sanskrit as well as modern-Malay language that means "a lion", while "pura" is Sanskrit for "a place, or a state". Hence, "singa" + "pura" eventually becomes Singapura and then Singapore. Whew, that was some linguistic diversion!

OK, back to The Merlion. It stands proud at 8.6 metres against the majestic backdrop of Singapore's Central Business District (CBD). Built with some 70 tonnes of white-cement fondue in 1972, the mouth of Merlion constantly churns out seawater brought in by subterranean water pumps. The water jet is quite strong that during a breezy day, the water mist could be felt from some distance away.

As I expected, the place was extremely crowded with foreign tourists. Unless you are really lucky, it seemed hard to get a one-to-one photographic moment with The Merlion.

MY VERDICT:
A must visit when in Singapore due to its symbolic status.

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