The Asian City-state That Has it All
The city-state of Singapore is a fascinating mix of an old Victorian English territory and the mix of ethnic peoples that have lived there for centuries. Not only does the architecture reflect this, but so does the language. In Singapore, everyone learns English; it’s compulsory. It is also one of the cleanest countries you are going to find anywhere in this world. I never saw one piece of trash. There are ample garbage cans, and people are given fines for doing things common in other Asian countries such as spitting. For travelers heading to Asia for their first time, Singapore is a must. It deftly bridges the western and eastern cultures and it provides a rich mixture of sights, foods, and things to do. There really is something for everyone, even the kids!
There is so much to do packed into a relatively small space, that we compiled our Top 10 Singapore! What is your favorite activity on our list?
Go see the Merlion, a Singaporean highlight. He’s been dropped, moved, touched, and loved for decades, and he always looks great at night! Look at all of his admirers!
Have an original Singapore Sling at the famous Raffles Hotel or wander around and look at the old world grandeur of this first Singaporean hotel.
Gawk at the Art. Singapore is full of street art and sculptures everywhere you look. The sculptures depict life on the quays, families, cultural diversity. They are there for everyone to enjoy, like these kids.
Ride a Bum Boat. What is a bum boat? It’s a traditional skiff that carries folks from one end of the quay to the other. Singapore has a system of water taxis, which are pretty luxurious as well as convenient and you can also use a bum boat for this purpose. However, most visitors like to get on a bum boat and take the river cruise, a narrated trip along the river. A video plays throughout the ride recounting bits of history, both political and anecdotal of the region.
Eat some delicious food! We’ve written much about the food in Singapore, such as the iconic chili crab. Plenty of restaurants, plenty of food stalls, plenty of durian and other exotic fruits, but did we mention the fruit juices? Located so close to the equator, it is hot and steamy all year round and the juice stalls provide not only a needed service, but a myriad of new tastes. In Singapore there’s a food for every taste from dragon fruit, to carrot cake, and Bak Kut Teh is available.
Visit a religious building. There are not many places in the world that there is such tolerant religious diversity. On one street, you can see a Christian church, a mosque, and a Buddhist temple. We went from visiting the Temple of the Tooth, where we gawked at one of Buddha’s teeth and spun an over-sized prayer wheel to the Miraman Temple where we marveled at the numerous gods and goddesses that adorn every nook and cranny of the famous temple.
Go to a museum. Singapore is full of interesting museums. There’s probably too many to do in the time you’ve allotted, but just pick out some of the best ones. Our favorite was the Peranakan Museum with its display of mixed cultural life throughout history of the country.
Relax at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where you can sip cocktails on the 57th floor, walk around the amazing Gardens of the Bay, or shop,shop, shop! Stick around or come back later for the amazing light and sound show that plays out over the bay and across the city skyline.
Take public transportation, the cleanest in the world. The bus and metro system is so easy to use. The entire city is well covered, you’ll be able to find a bus stop or metro stop within one or two blocks max. Riding a bus through the city, even with no real destination, is a cheap and easy way to get the lay of the land, and the bus drivers are some of the most helpful.
Shop until you drop! From landing at the snazzy Changi Airport to malls, markets, stalls, temple sales, Singapore has a myriad of shopping opportunities, and as I said above…everyone speaks English!