I was a little unsure of what I’d think of Singapore after the simple life that the tropics and beaches of Sri Lanka and Thailand had provided me with. Friends back home had assured me it wasn’t to be missed, so I hoped the stark contrast of such a modern city would mark a great end to my eight weeks away. As it turned out I wasn’t to be disappointed.
A taste of Singapore…
Singapore sits at the southern tip of Malaysia, an island-state with a multicultural population, tropical climate with a modern metropolis, which has become a huge global financial centre of our time. Singapore is both a small built-up country and city awash with contemporary, chic architecture for which the city has become known for. But amongst the advanced architecture lies the old colonial buildings telling a history of a different decade. Besides the contrasting architecture, the city stands out for being surprisingly green with nature and even more so surprisingly clean and litter free for a city. Adding to the contrast you’ll see places of worship of every religion amongst intriguing graffiti on many a wall. Two days in Singapore didn’t quite provide me with enough time to see all that the intriguing place has to offer, but it definitely whets my appetite enough to return one day.
The big draw to Singapore is the famed Marina Bay area known for the impressive Marina Bay Sands Hotel that opened in 2010, which acts as an entrance to the stunning Gardens by the Bay. The hotel stands tall and proud overlooking the bay in its spaceship-like form, though most tourists won’t have the pleasure of staying here as that would cost more than a pretty penny or two, they will though venture here to gaze at its magnitude, visit the mall, taste the edible delights in one of the many restaurants or take a gamble in the casino. Gardens by the Bay will put a smile across your face from ear to ear; built purely on reclaimed land covering some 101 hectares it pulls in everyone who visits Singapore like a magnet. The futuristic “trees” provide a spectacular light show by night whilst the huge modern greenhouses walk you across every part of the globe telling a story of flora.
Singapore gives you a taste of many countries; Walking the streets across the other side of town you’ll find Little India, painted boldly in every colour of the rainbow, trinket shops and gold for cash. Next stop you’ll feel like you’re walking in Arabic land as you come across the Masjid Sultan, a mosque that looks like the kingdom from Disney’s Aladdin, surrounded by textile shops by the dozen. A short step from here is the much loved Haji Lane, a European feel with boutique shops and cute cafes. Jumping over to Clarke Quay gives you a taste of America with expensive restaurants and cocktails bar, with an unclassy Hooters thrown into the mix. Hop on board for a river cruise for a laid back view of life in Singapore taking in the British Colonial architecture adorning the banks. After that head on down to China Town for the little street markets, splashes of colour and beautiful aromas.
There are no two ways about it, you’ll love Singapore for its cleanliness, the greenery, the futuristic touch yet historical charm, the diverse culture and the brilliant cuisine, but just prepare yourselves for the intense humidity and the heavy price tag that comes with a modern city, which has become a stepping stone to the rest of the world.