Ishwor Pokharel, deputy CEO of United Finance loves to travel and describes it as a means to rejuvenate himself. In his free time, he goes on long drives to enjoy the countryside and to escape the noise and pollution of the city. Pokharel is a history buff and wishes to visit Rome, Amsterdam and the Great Wall of China someday. Besides, he eagerly wants to visit Rara Lake in Nepal. Tamish Giri of New Business Age Magazine caught up with Pokharel to note down his memorable and exciting trip to Singapore.
Travelling is the best way to explore the world. There are numerous destinations I have visited, and many of these journeys have left a distinct mark on me, the trip to Singapore was one of them. The trip to Singapore was a holiday trip to utilise my office vacation. Me, my wife and two other friends with their spouses visited Singapore, one of the world’s cleanest and economically stable countries.
The Land of Prosperity
I had heard a lot about Singapore; people described it as a clean, serene and beautiful country. The stunning combination of gigantic skyscrapers and green foliage mesmerised us. The country is a fabulous destination created with a mixture of human craft and natural wonder.
Similarly, I was fascinated with the economy of the country. As a banker, I was excited to visit the country hosting 110 commercial banks, 47 merchant banks and three financial companies. Further, it also felt wonderful to be in the country with the fourth largest foreign exchange market in the world, widely recognised as one of the strongest trading hubs. The cleanliness, infrastructure, and the economy of Singapore hypnotised us.
We started our journey with a short drive to Tribhuvan International Airport; we then took off for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with an Airbus A-330 wide-body aircraft of Air Asia Airlines. We boarded a bus upon our arrival in Kuala Lumpur, which took us to Singapore. We mostly navigated the city on foot, microbus or metro train during our five-day stay in Singapore. Upon our departure home, we enjoyed a bus ride to Kuala Lumpur and then boarded the flight back to Kathmandu.
Sun, Sea and Shopping
Shopping in Singapore was an outstanding experience and something our spouses enjoyed the most. Further, we loved the beaches even more; the beaches in Singapore are clean and good-looking, we spent hours there to watch the seashore. I felt the local parks were extraordinary because it offered a natural serenity to the people surrounded by concrete skyscrapers. Likewise, we experienced the Dolphin dance at Resort World and were thrilled with the River Safari at the wildlife park.
The Chivas Debacle
Upon our arrival in Malaysia, we bought a bottle of Chivas Regal whiskey from the duty-free store in Kuala Lumpur, which later put us in trouble with the Singapore immigration. A woman immigration officer stopped us at immigration after finding a liquor bottle in my baggage. At first, the officer screamed “Chivas! Chivas!” loudly which made me anxious. Later I discovered that bringing liquor and tobacco inside the country is illegal according to Singapore law. The officer persuaded me to pay a fine that was twice the amount of the alcohol for birching the law. Since I was unaware of the law, I refused to pay it and requested to talk with her senior. She took me into a cabin to her senior, I was scared; I accepted my mistake and apologised to the officer, and he persuaded me to pay the fine. Somehow, I finally convinced the officer that it was an unintentional mistake; I further explained to him about my affection towards Singapore. After an hour-long discussion, the officer finally agreed not to charge any fine and more interestingly let us carry the bottle. He had requested us not to open the bottle in Singapore and bring it back upon our departure. This incident made me feel I was a good negotiator and I feel proud of it.
A Whole New World
Before travelling to Singapore, I had only gone abroad twice, namely to China and India. Singapore was my farthest journey, which was exciting. Visiting a developed country was another aspect I had never experienced. I had only heard about the infrastructure of the developed world; I finally saw it in Singapore.
A Hospitality Haven
Singapore is a clean country, and it can be observed in hotel rooms and restaurants around the country, which are elegant and offer warm service. The hospitality provided to us was of the highest calibre; every single service staff we encountered made us feel well cared for. The civilised citizens are another enjoyable part of the country; the locals were polite and courteous. They were well behaved, friendly and sported a supportive attitude. This positive outlook of Singapore is one of the driving forces behind the country’s development.
If the readers have time and are willing to travel, I suggest them to explore Nepal first before going on a trip abroad. Nepal is beautiful, and many foreigners visit Nepal every year because of its natural beauty. I recommend people to visit Illam, Taplejung, Phidim, Palpa and Rara.