Singapore is a rather small but vibrant city offering plenty of thing to do even on a rainy day. In my opinion, everyone should visit it once in their lives.
Either per plane, ferry or bus you can easily reach this city. The transport is a dream – everything is simple and written in four languages. Yes, four languages – English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
Because Singapore is such a diverse city, no two streets look the same. The largest ethnicities are Chinese, Malay and Tamil. When you walk through the streets you will see a Hindu temple next to a Buddhist temple next to a Mosque. We were impressed by how different people are and yet how good they understand each other. There you won’t meet any racists, but friendly and open-minded people.
Another thing that surprised me was how green the city is. There are huge parks and gardens spread throughout Singapore – Botanical Gardens, Orchid Gardens, Gardens by the Bay to name a few.
On our first day we headed to Botanical Gardens and Orchid Gardens. The Botanical Garden is an amazing park that will make you feel like you’re in the jungle. Not only because of the variety of plants, but also because of the insects. Still, I highly recommend visiting the garden, just wear long sleeves and trousers and you will be alright! The Orchid Gardens are actually part of the Botanical Garden. For this part of the Botanical Garden you will have to pay a small fee, but it is worth it! The varieties of only one plant are insane. Most of them you probably haven’t seen before. If you plan to spend a lot of time there, bring your own bottle of water. The ones that you can buy there are small and overpriced.
Next, we headed to Chinatown for a late lunch. Apart from the main tourist street, there are restaurants everywhere. Most of them are traditional ones, so be prepared to see on the menu animals or pieces of animals you normally don’t see, e.g. frogs or chicken legs. Still you can find very delicious food. Since Chinese people go to a restaurant with the whole family portions are big. Jan ordered a soup with the idea of getting a small bowl of soup for one person. What we got was a big bowl of soup that was enough for four people! So, when you go there, make sure you are with someone to share all the food.
If you want to buy some nuts or dried fruits Chinatown is your place! We found there dried mangos, figs and guavas.
On our second day we explored the food in our neighborhood – Little India. Most of the restaurants there offer South Indian cuisine and only a some offer North Indian food. Again portions are big and very cheap!
Then we headed to the Art Science Museum. The building looks from the outside like a big lotus blossom. Now there is only one exhibition – “Future World”. There are different rooms which demonstrate nature and urban cities. From space lights, which you can control via app, to drawing a car or a house that can become part of a city. I felt like a kid full of curiosity, wanting to try everything. For me the highlight definitely was the space part. No matter if a child or adult – you will find many interesting things there! All this magic is created by teamLab. And the best part is that it is permanent!
In the evening we again spent time in Little India from where we went to Marina Bay Sands. There is a light show every evening. It brings together bits of the three main ethnic groups of Singapore and how they merge. The animations change every now and then but the idea is the same.
Underneath Marina Bay Sands there is a shopping mall with all the upscale brands. We didn’t go there for shopping but to drink tea. We visited the TWG café. There you can choose among hundreds of different teas. I chose ‘Chocolate Tea’ and the taste was of a liquid chocolate bar! Prices for a jug of tea start from 11SGD and you will love it!
On our last day we explored Gardens by the Bay. This huge garden by Marina Bay Sands is an example of nature and sustainability combined. The whole garden resembles Avatar’s scenery. The big trees have photovoltaic systems tied onto them to produce electricity when the sun is shining, and they also collect rain water. The gardens are a nice place to go for a walk. On a rainy day you can visit ‘Cloud Forest’ and ‘Flower Dome’ which are indoor gardens inside the park. They are also air-conditioned.
There is such a huge contrast between Singapore and the rest of South East Asia considering the level of service, hygiene and everything. People are extremely friendly and helpful. This is also the place where the wealth of the region is concentrated. The city’s population is ca. 5,6 million people, but you will never feel like place is crowded!
The living costs there are high mostly because of the high rents. So, when planning your trip to Singapore expect accommodation to be a little bit more expensive than in Europe. The rest is at a reasonable price and very affordable. Though, I would suggest to stay there no more than three days as all the sights are in walking distance from each other.
P.S.: Check our Route Map to see where we are!