When I look back at my time in Portugal, what comes to mind is the medieval castles, palaces, hilltop castles, picturesque cobblestone villages, bustling towns and great food.
My favourite time was sitting in the open-air cafes, watching the locals while enjoying freshly baked bread, delicious fried sardines served with sauces of your choice, olives, a wide variety of cheeses and the best potato dishes that I have never been able to emulate in my kitchen. If you like desserts as much as I do, indulge in an egg custard tart from the many cafes around the city.
As a foodie, I found the Mercado da Ribeira a haven, in particular the local produce in the food hall with a wide variety of cuisine to suit different tastes.
Portugal is idyllic and has a bountiful coastline, fertile countryside, scenic vineyards and some of the best markets to wander through. I was lucky enough to venture outside the city in search of ceramics one year and loved the true beauty of Portugal.
The country has biking and hiking trails with pristine scenery, olive trees, all the beautiful colours of nature, historic villages, riverside cafes, beaches with calm blue seas, boating, surfing and kayaking areas along the meandering Rio Guadiana, country fairs and music fests all along the coast.
In Lisbon, I recommend taking the vintage retro streetcars to explore the city’s narrow streets and normally unseen streets. Take the historic Alfama tour which takes you through Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood. There are walking tours, rail tours and private day trips offered by local agents who know the city best.
The museums and Aquarium tours and the Tagus River sunset cruise leaves you with a really great feeling afterwards and the cruise is one of the most relaxing activities you can do in Portugal.
I flew to Lisbon with Emirates and stayed in the town square which was a perfect place to wander around in the evenings.
By John Madisson, EVP of Products and CMO at Fortinet
Organizations have distributed data and workloads across both cloud environments and on-premises data centers. As a result, IT teams have to deploy, manage, and secure increasingly complex and hybrid networks. And even though many organizations have moved many of their workloads into the cloud, the majority of them still operate hybrid environments.
Hybrid environments allow organizations to keep important data on-premises. This allows them to maintain full control over sensitive assets, while also taking full advantage of the scalability and agility the cloud provides. However, as organizations become more hybrid and distributed, their security needs to be able to span across all environments.
As applications, resources, devices, and workers work from anywhere, networks need to be able to adapt in real time. Workflows now often span physical data centers as well as multiple cloud environments; applications follow users regardless of where they are connecting from or what device they are using; and data and other resources need to be securely accessed by any user on any device in any location. Security needs to be able to adapt and scale to meet these new requirements.
Five Essential Security Functions to Hybrid Networks
To properly protect and defend these hybrid environments, organizations should look for security solutions that provide the following critical functions:
Broad: Security solutions need to support a distributed security model where the exact same security solutions can be deployed in any environment.
Integrated: All of the various security solutions deployed across the network need to be able to see and work together as a single system to detect threats and respond to them in a coordinated fashion, regardless of where they occur.
Fast: These security functions need to operate not just at the speed of business, but at the speed of threats as well.
Automated: Anomalous and malicious behaviors need automated responses.
Security-driven Networking: Security-driven Networking weaves security and networking into a single, integrated system. This enables them to establish and enforce zero-trust access, dynamic network segmentation, and unified enforcement anywhere, on any device, in any location, without introducing security gaps or performance lags.
Success Requires Networking and Security to Function as a Single Solution
The majority of today’s security solutions are simply not fast enough, nor smart or responsive enough, don’t operate in enough places, and can’t adapt as quickly as today’s business requires. This is especially true in multi-vendor environments with disparate security solutions that don’t integrate when deployed. This lack of integration makes it impossible for organizations to securely use the flexible network environments they need to compete effectively.
Instead, these organizations need a security platform, like the Fortinet Security Fabric, designed to span, adapt to, and protect today’s dynamic environments. If they can’t, their business will not be able to keep up. And that is critical in today’s digital business environment, where the difference between success and failure can be measured in microseconds.
By: Hasan Darwish, Regional Sales Manager for Gulf at A10 Networks
2020 has been a challenging year for the entire world. We predict the pandemic response in 2020 will have a lasting impact on how and where consumers and businesses will use networks services, how service providers will build out their networks and where they will invest in additional capacity.
Here are a few predictions for 2021 for service providers:
Digital Transformation will Accelerate
The pandemic will erase years of resistance by late adopters, social institutions and businesses that previously hadn’t bought into the “digital transformation” argument. Forced to go “online or die” individuals and businesses have learned new skills, overcome technology limitations and forged new business models during 2020. These will continue in 2021 and will accelerate many technology transitions that service providers are conducting.
IPv6 will Finally Overtake IPv4
Hovering right around 33 percent for most of the year, according to Google, IPv6 will be used in more than 50 percent of Google searches globally. Boosted by the growth of 5G devices and networks, and increased pressure on CISOs to upgrade enterprise networks for strong network security, many enterprise and websites will accelerate their eventual conversion to IPv6 in 2021. However, many other ISPs, content providers and retailers, hard-hit by pandemic shutdowns, have web sites that are still IPv4 only and will remain unable to fund a conversion of their IT infrastructure. CGNAT can help extend their investment.
Service Providers Move to the Edge – Faster than Expected
Service providers will have to re-architect their access networks to accommodate the traffic shift from dense urban areas to suburban as work/play/learn at home continues, post-pandemic. Edge computing is forecast by IDC to exceed 50 percent of new infrastructure deployments by 2023 and identified by nearly all mobile operators as extremely important to future networks.
The Pandemic will have a Lasting Impact on Education – Remote/Online Learning will Continue Post Pandemic
The abrupt conversion of in-classroom learning to remote during the pandemic, will encourage educational institutions to offer online options to traditional in-classroom on a regular basis. This will expand education during illness, during period of inclement weather and other situations where a more flexible arrangement would be beneficial.
Lifestyles will be permanently altered by the pandemic and many will not want to return to commutes and less flexible working conditions. Remote work will become a new, acceptable alternative in many industries. The recent announcements by Tesla and Oracle to move corporate headquarters from tech talent-rich Silicon Valley in CA to Texas demonstrates a new trend. This will ultimately impact real estate, mass transportation plans and other social institutions that assume large-scale commutes to a few valuable job destinations. This shift will give a boost to distributed edge networks, cloud services and wireless that are less dependent upon centralized traffic aggregation.
That’s it for service providers….but here’s my final prediction:
2021 Prediction: This Year will be so Much Better than 2020 and We will all be so Glad
The COVID-19 vaccine will be hugely effective, and the world will establish an international day of togetherness in 2021.
During my nine years in Malaysia, Penang was the most popular local exotic holiday destination we used to head to for a dose of cultural sights and natural scenery.
Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is famous for its many soft sandy beaches and viewed as the food capital of Malaysia. As students, we used to spend most of our time trying street food in hawker stalls and exploring night markets with local delicacies which on the weekends was popular among residents of Penang and visitors to the Island.
Penang is also popular because of the palm fringed sandy beaches of Tanjung Bungah, fishing villages, the Snake Temple, the vibrant Georgetown area with heritage houses, small shop houses, old British colonial buildings and the Tropical Spice Garden.
As a UNESCO World Heritage site, many of the old derelict buildings are being restored to their former grandeur, offering even more places to visit on the island.
We love staying on the Batu Ferringhi Beach when we visit Penang as it offers a long stretch of shoreline ideal for swimming and the hotels are in abundance to suit every budget. Tanjung Bungah is another popular option for tourists.
Penang is an island that leaves you wanting to stay longer because of the historical sites, sandy beaches, night markets and so much more.
One of the most memorable trips I have taken as a motoring enthusiast was to Gramado, a tiny mountain resort that has the Hollywood Car Museum and a place for super car driving experiences. The town is like a Swiss mountain village with boutiques selling avant-garde glasswork, gourmet chocolate and has some of the best local clothes and shoe designers.
For food lovers, Gramado is a town that arouses all of your senses. The smell of chocolate and fondue is all around and the gastronomic experiences at cafes with restaurants along the streets that specialize in fondue. The city’s strong European influence can be seen in several traditional local dishes, but delicious Brazilian-inspired favorites can also be found throughout this destination.
Italian and German recipes, brought to the city by its European colonists and founders, are the most popular of the city’s diverse options. I had my best Italian meal in Gramado.
Most of the architecture comes from Bavarian inspiration with a lot of timber-framing and hotels are decked out like Swiss chalets with an Alpine vibe. The city is a delight to explore with building designs that are head turners.
One of my favourite stops was the manmade lake Negro with pine trees grown from seedlings from Germany’s Black Forest. A great place to walk and explore nature and visitors can enjoy the paddle boats as well. The walk around the lake is memorable and a must if you are in the area.
Hollywood Dream Cars Museum
One of my first stops in Gramado was the Hollywood Dream Cars Museum with a collection of some very interesting vintage and rare cars, memorabilia from the past with period music andan eclectic atmosphere. Visitors can step back in time as this collection explores the golden age of both the automobile and the movie industry.
The museum showcases cars dating from the 1920s to 1960s that have been restored and polished to perfection. I enjoyed adding some retro props to my attire for some nostalgic pictures during my tour. It is the most fun I have had in a car related journey I took in an exotic location.
Gramado is definitely a place I would love to go back to try more super car experiences, have more fun at the car museum and for a dose of chocolate treats along the way.
By: Partha Narasimhan, CTO of Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
We enter 2021 in a very different place from where we were at the start of 2020. The role of networking and more broadly, the IT function, has more often become the hero – and sometimes the scorn – of business continuity and resilience in the face of the pandemic. As CIOs soak up the praise or take their lumps, they must now look to the horizon and define their approach and strategy in a post-pandemic world.
Aruba has identified four major trends that CIOs now face that can make or break an organization’s IT program:
The rise of the hybrid workforce and how that will evolve during and after the pandemic
The changing role of network security integrated across the fabric of the network
Graduating from uptime networking metrics to user satisfaction metrics, examining networking holistically as part of the broader IT technology stack
Staying the course in implementing automation in networking operations, despite challenges posed by the LAN, WAN and Cloud
The Hybrid Workforce is Here to Stay
Despite recent advances in vaccines for COVID-19, many roles may still not fully return to the office until late 2021, and in many cases, not at all. After speaking with CIOs from across the country, what is clear is that some amount of remote working will remain after the pandemic exits. That admission portends profound changes for physical office spaces, corporate culture, connectivity, and networking.
What many organizations thought would be temporary remote setups to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic infection rate, have evolved to form the hybrid workforce of the future, where employees will work from home, the office, or anywhere else – wherever they have a secure and reliable connection.
For IT, this crisis has presented enormous challenges, but there is a silver lining. CEOs and their boards of directors have come to recognize the impact that IT can have on the business, including how fast change can be implemented, even under such stressful circumstances.
Now, CEOs and their boards are thinking about lessons learned from the pandemic to make networking, security, and the overall IT programs they oversee more flexible and dynamic. As a result, IT has a seat at the table in pushing forward ambitious forms of digital transformation, even accelerating existing planned transitions, emboldened with how the workforce has adapted to what has become known as the “new normal.”
Security Must Be Viewed Dynamically – from Endpoints, to the Edge, to the Cloud
With the maturation of the cloud and the growth of edge networking with its myriad endpoints – all accelerated by the explosion of IoT – how security is defined and implemented is now becoming part of the network architecture, and not some bolted-on component of the enterprise IT environment.
With the rise of remote working and the hybrid work environment, CSOs and CIOs are clamoring for a connected security approach. When looking at network design principles of the past, security experts essentially started with a policy and then designed a network topology that in turn satisfied policy, which meant that topology and policy were tightly coupled. That dynamic is drastically changing. Networking solutions have evolved to offer significant degrees of separation, where policy gets programmed when and where it is needed, and only when and where it is needed.
Zero Trust network architecture solutions will remain a core piece of effective security with traditional IT workloads moving out of the Edge into either the cloud or SaaS environment. The vacuum left behind is eventually going to be replaced by OT/IoT specific workloads at the Edge. Furthermore, with the implementation of 5G, the networking architecture must contend with multi-access edge compute (MEC) workloads – both private and public – all the more requiring dynamic approaches to security policy that must evolve beyond the user-centric workflows that Zero Trust is primarily optimized for today.
End-User Satisfaction is King
Key IT metrics are also evolving. It’s no longer sufficient to just keep the network infrastructure up and running. The metric du jour is user satisfaction which, from the CIO standpoint, is tied to employee productivity that can ultimately impact business profitability.
Networking and security teams are now focused on dynamic experiences that end-users want and expect with the services and applications they choose to use for improved productivity. Instead of asking just what kind of devices are connecting to the network, they are also required to focus on maintaining flexibility and agility while minimizing risk. The goal of network control goes hand-in-hand with business agility. By applying the appropriate security measures, CIOs can better facilitate this increasingly dynamic IT environment.
Ultimately, CIOs want insights beyond the network itself and into availability and performance applications that the users and business leaders care about. They are not as interested in how esoteric aspects of the network are performing, but rather, they’re more concerned about whether a specific user had a poor Zoom experience.
Staying the Course on Automation in Network Operations
Tied to understanding the needs and experience of end users is the maturation of network automation. But automation progress is not equal across the entire networking paradigm. In the data center, which is a more controlled environment when compared to the WAN or LAN, adoption is farther along. Changes in a data center are driven mostly in a naturally hierarchical structure and is thus easier to understand and manage through automation scripts.
The Edge (both LAN and WAN), on the other hand, is a more chaotic environment because changes are triggered by factors that are not totally within IT’s control – namely human and device behavior patterns that are constantly changing. There is a big need for leveraging AI and machine learning models to sense changes as soon as they occur and respond to the ones that seem persistent, even if for a short period of time. The maturity of deployed solutions that provide this learning component of automation at the Edge will improve significantly in 2021. There will also be significant progress in combining these with APIs and other automation tools that will deliver on the promised efficiencies and insights that IT leaders crave.
The pandemic has also heightened the interest in networking automation at the Edge among CIOs and IT leaders. According to a recent survey of 2,400 IT decision makers across the globe, 35% plan to increase their investment in in AI-based networking, as they seek more agile, automated infrastructures for hybrid work environments.
Making 2021 a Success
In 2020, businesses and the economy were rescued by a raft of communication technologies developed over the past 40 years, ranging from security, cloud connectivity, to managed and supported applications over the network. Now in 2021, the four trends outlined here can provide CIOs and IT leaders with the tools to be better equipped for navigating the unpredictability of today and beyond. They empower IT leaders from the top down to strategically position IT as the crucial function businesses need to successfully maneuver whatever the future holds, from pandemics to accelerating shifts in work culture trends and environments.
Mobile Operators Transition Core Networks to 5G Core (5GC)
By: Amr Alashaal, Regional Vice President – Middle East at A10 Networks
Contain your excitement …..5G is coming (again)!
Wait….wasn’t 5G launched over two years ago?
Well, yes. For those not familiar with the nuances of 5G technology, 5GC (core or standalone) takes 5G deployment to the next level and replaces the 4G packet core with a new, cloud-native core using containers and following 3GPP specifications (release 15). This is somewhat separate from the market-by-market launch that most operators publicize, and the activity is less visible to the casual subscriber.
We recently sponsored a 5G security survey to understand the extent of mobile operator 5G core deployment. It was a global survey of 115 service providers that included mobile operators as well as fixed broadband providers. We asked several questions about the timing and extent of 5G core deployment and adoption and where the functions A10 Networks provides will fit in.
So, given that research, what do I see for 2021?
2021 Prediction – Over Half of Mobile Operators will have Launched 5GC (standalone) by the End of 2021
Most mobile operators that have launched 5G have chosen what’s called a “non-standalone” implementation. That is a hybrid of 4G and 5G that allows mobile operators to offer much of the 5G capabilities to their subscribers while still leveraging existing investment in their 4G packet core. Operators are eager to take advantage of the benefits of 5GC (standalone) – greater service agility and lower costs. The survey revealed that operators are committed to 5GC (SA or standalone) implementation, with 93 percent of mobile operators implementing within a three-year window and investing in multiple 5G security options.
2021 Prediction – a Half a Billion Mobile Subscribers Globally will be Using 5G by EOY 2021
Mobile operators also see rapid adoption of 5G over the next three years by subscribers as 5G deployment accelerates. Most operators said that within five years, at least 25 percent of their traffic would be carried via 5G – with 40 percent of operators predicting that most of their traffic would be carried by 5G. This is consistent with the recent Ericsson Mobility Report that forecasts 56 percent of total mobile data traffic will be 5G by 2026.
That’s a significant leap from today where almost half of operators report they have no traffic on 5G core at all. For 2021, 9 percent of operators say that most of their traffic will be on 5Gwith 70 percent predicting less than 50 percent will be 5G.
2021 Prediction – Three-quarters of Mobile Operators will have Whittled Down their 3G Traffic to 25% or Less
It’s really hard for mobile operators to get rid of old technology. 3G still exists in most mobile networks despite rapid 5G deployment. This is a combination of subscribers that won’t give up their older handsets, specific geographic areas, such as rural areas, that have legacy equipment and regulatory and industry practices that require a lengthy process for “sunsetting” older technologies. In North America, AT&T shutdown of 3G is expected in 2022; Verizon in 2021.
For example, today, only 13 percent of mobile operators surveyed have managed to eliminate support of 3G. By 2025, most operators (60 percent) said that they will no longer support 3G. That means that by 2025, 40 percent of operators will still carry 3G traffic. This also increases concerns around 5G security, since older technologies have multiple security vulnerabilities that will still be present in these multi-generational networks.
2021 Prediction – In North America, 2G will Finally be Gone – not so in Europe
2021 Prediction – Mobile Operators will Build More Relationships with Cloud Providers for Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) Services
According to a BPI report commissioned by A10 Networks, nearly all mobile operators state that mobile edge compute (MEC) is a vital part of their 5G deployment plans and most are actively deploying or will deploy within the next year or so. IDC forecasts 50 percent of all new infrastructure deployments (enterprise as well as service provider) will be at the edge by 2023. I believe that mobile service providers will also jump on the advantages of mobile edge compute, but take a more measured, strategic approach to their use of MEC, at least in the near term. By 2025, we see most mobile operators will have deployed 5G (standalone) combined with MEC and will direct up to 25 percent of their traffic through these nodes. Operators will also use strategic partners for their enterprise customers that want the lower latency that a mobile edge compute service provides.
2021 Prediction – In 2021, DDoS Detection and Mitigation will Become the Top Security Investment Priority for MEC networks
It’s already going in that direction now. DDoS attacks are getting more frequent, intense and most are smaller in size, making them harder to detect. The average attack size is only 12 Gbps, with most attacks being under 5 Gbps. A10’s The State of DDoS Weapons Report, Q2 2020 shows 10M available DDoS weapons.
The Heavy Reading 5G Security Report shows that small DDoS attacks are the primary reason for investment priority for MEC. And with MEC capacity as low as 600 Mbps, mobile service providers and their new 5G enterprise customers are at substantial risk for these common DDoS attacks.
Those are the predictions for 2021. Overall, in spite of the pandemic, we believe that demand for 5G services will be strong and that subscribers will continue to find more value and use cases from the growing 5G capability.
Cruise Baltic looks forward to welcoming cruise guests again all around the Baltic Sea Region, such as in Stockholm, Sweden.
The cruise network, Cruise Baltic, has just published the annual Cruise Baltic Market Review, which not surprisingly shows disappointing figures in 2020 due to the pandemic. The network is now looking forward to more normal conditions in 2021 and to restart cruise tourism.
The newly published 2021 edition of the Cruise Baltic Market Review reveals not surprisingly that 2020 was a challenge. In the past year, the cruise industry all around the world experienced an extraordinary setback due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, and the cruise industry in the Baltic Sea Region was no exception. What was expected to be a record number year with more than 6 million guests in the Baltic Sea Region turned out to be the complete opposite. The cruise network, Cruise Baltic, now looks forward to the world returning to more normal conditions in 2021 and to a restart of cruise tourism.
“The figures are of course disappointing and not at all as we predicted they would look at this time last year. No one could have foreseen what the year 2020 would really be like. We can now only hope for better cruise tourism times and prepare to welcome more cruises in a safe way in 2021,” says Claus Bødker, Director of Cruise Baltic.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of cruise guests visiting the Baltic ports in 2020 declined by -99% compared to 2019. The number of calls also decreased -96% and resulted with a total of 109 calls. The number of turnarounds decreased by -98%, from a total of 481 to 11. Despite strict lockdowns and border restrictions, the Baltic ports still managed to welcome some cruise calls. 13 ports in total had cruise calls and guests in 2020.
With the unfortunate results in 2020, expectations are naturally higher for 2021.
“Estimates for 2021 are extremely positive, but we still expect the cruise season to be affected by the pandemic. Together with our destination partners, we work to offer all cruise guests an unforgettable – and not the least safe – experience in the Baltic. We will continue to attract cruise guests by ensuring that it is safe and secure to travel to our destinations,” says Claus Bødker.
Although the industry most likely still will be affected by the pandemic, the cruise network remains optimistic and expects guest numbers to increase with 3,380,936 guests in the Baltic Sea Region in 2021 compared to 2020.
In 2020: – The total number of cruise guests decreased by -99% – The total number of calls decreased by -96% – The total number of turnarounds decreased by -98% In 2021, Cruise Baltic expects guest numbers to increase with 3,380,936 guests compared to 2020.
Founded in 1998 with the aim of designing a range of luxury motor yachts offering voluminous interiors, combined with opulence and design excellence, Pearl Yachts is one of the UK’s most prominent shipyards.The new 18.6m PEARL 62 is the latest addition to Pearl Yachts growing fleet of ocean-going yachts designed in collaboration with Bill Dixon and Kelly Hoppen MBE.
The Pearl 62, with its sporty looks, top performance and four comfortable guest cabins (plus crew cabin or jet-ski garage) is unique in its size range and is sure to please owners who are looking for a yacht that is fun to use with friends and family, with or without crew. Industry leading Pearl’s comprehensive 5 years warranty completes this unique offer on the market.
Starting aft, the yacht can be fitted with an optional bathing platform that also glides outwards to become a terrace on the sea. The transom has a built-in bench that can be used as seating or as a passageway if a tender is stowed on the platform and it lifts to reveal a jet ski garage that can alternatively be fitted as a crew cabin. The bathing platform has runners so that launching a jet ski from the garage is a breeze.
Starboard steps lead to the aft cockpit where there is a large table with banquette seating. The glass doors leading to the saloon slide all the way sideways and a window slides down so that the cockpit opens onto the saloon to become a large indoor/outdoor space. Kelly Hoppen proposes four interior style themes: Modern, Studio, Taupe and Luxury so that owners can personalise the yacht to suit their taste.
The saloon has large glazed areas that sweep upwards so that the interiors are bathed in natural light. Starting aft, there is a fully equipped galley with Miele appliances, a private stairway leading to the owners’ cabin, a dining area and a living area next to the indoor helm station. A second stairway leads down to the VIP and the twin cabins.
Side decks lead to the foredeck where guests will find a large seating area complete with foldaway table that disappears into the seating and sun pads with adjustable backrests. There are plenty of drinks holders and lockers and the area can be fitted with an optional Bedouin style canopy.
The full-length flybridge is accessed via a staircase on the starboard side of the aft cockpit. This large and versatile space has a helm station with joystick controls and Garmin touch screens with controls for everything from the yacht’s anchor to its Fusion entertainment system. Next to the helms there is comfortable seating that can convert to become sun pads.
A hardtop with an opening central section is optional but a wet bar with a cool box, sink and BBQ grill is standard. An icemaker and fridge can be added if owners desire. Across from the wet bar there is banquette seating and a dining table for eight.
The Pearl 62 has four guest cabins. The full beam owners’ cabin is accessed via a private stairway and features a large, centrally placed bed, a desk, a reading corner and his and hers closets. Long hull windows mean that owners can enjoy the view even lying down.
Two twin cabins can both convert to doubles. The port side twin has direct access to a bathroom that is shared with the starboard twin. The VIP cabin is fore and has a large, centrally placed bed, a dressing table, his and hers storage and an en-suite with a walk-in shower. All cabins and bathrooms enjoy excellent light and views through Pearl’s signature hull windows.
Volvo IPS propulsion gives the Pearl 62 optimal performance and efficiency characteristics while joystick controls with dynamic positioning system and an integrated Garmin touch-screen display make helming and accessing all of the yacht’s systems easy and intuitive.
Singapore was my favorite cosmopolitan city for weekend visits during my nine years in Kuala Lumpur. As students took the overnight train and ventured the streets for culinary experiences trying hawker food, Indian food, seafood, scrumptious Chinese cuisine and strolled through the lovely hiking trails or enjoy the beaches in the South.
As a working adult, not much has changed when I visit Singapore except that the city now has more world class exhibitions and even more attractions than ever before. With a strong Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, Arab and Western cultures merged into one society, there is plenty of activities to suit every taste.
The strength of the city lies in the melting pot of cultures and the most efficient and widespread public transport systems that makes it easier to explore. I particularly enjoy staying on the Sentosa Island and then use it as a base to go on walking trails, Botanic Gardens and for retail therapy.
My Singaporean friends love Orchard Rd so we generally walk down the street but later head to local neighbourhoods for independent designers, quirky art galleries, Chinatown, vibrant night markets and of course no visit is complete without a visit to the museums and the science centre.
The MacRitchie Reservoir Park is a lush city park with an eight-kilometer treetop hike, bridges suspended high above the forest floor and has flying lemurs, monkeys, squirrels, monitor lizards and owls.
Top of my list is the Singaporean Zoo, the Tiger Balm and the Botanic Gardens, the Marina Bay Sands area, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Pulau Ubin Island, Little India and of course Chinatown to get a sense of Chinese culture within the city and enjoy the craft shops, restaurants and other bargains. If you like architecture, visit the Thian Hock Keng Temple. Enjoy music outdoors as well as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra hosts various free concerts at different venues around the country.
I flew to Singapore directly with Emirates Airlines. It is a great Asian city to visit and you need at least five days to a week to be able to explore all the attractions.