Singapore is the worlds only city state built completely on an island and competes with Hong Kong as the centre of commerce in the far east. It truly is a global city with amazing infrastructure, cleanliness that is rigorously enforced and a level of multiculturalism that would put London and New York to shame. Infact Singaporeans pride themselves on their racial harmony and we can definitely learn a lot from the way they do things, from respecting each others religions to mixing different backgrounds in a large cosmopolitan city.
There is no doubt the city is expensive, perhaps a little too expensive for me to ever consider moving there, but with that tax money, the government has built a city to rival any other in the world. The city mixes colonial buildings, architecture from different cultures and modern skyscrapers almost effortlessly and the only other city I have been to that I can really compare it to is Dubai and Singapore comes out on top (probably because it also treats its labourers much better).
I didn't spend as long as I would have liked in the city, but here are the 5 things I loved most about Singapore.
5. Orchard Road
Orchard Road is the entertainment and retail centre of Singapore, sort of like a mix between Oxford Street and Leicester Square and its known as the most famous stretch of shops in Asia.
The 2km road is packed full of high end shops, restaurants, bars and hotels. Large trees line the road to provide shade from the sun. The shopping centres in particular are incredibly impressive; from the luxury of DFS Galleria to the large Ngee Ann City although Orchard Central is the most spectacular with its unique modern architecture (think Selfridges at Bullring in Birmingham in terms of style).
Unlike Leicester Square and Times Square, Orchard Road does get quiet towards the night, despite its many bars and clubs, especially on weeknights, however compared to other parts of the city it still has the best nightspots on offer.
The Downtown area is the historical core of the city, and it remains the financial and administrative centre of the city.
Downtown Core, or the Central Business District is home to the seat of Singapore's Parliament, the Supreme Court and all the large financial institutions and multinational corporations.
On a weekend the area is pretty quiet but it does look impressive, although to get a good view of the whole area you need a good vantage point...
3. Marina Bay Sands
...and there isn't a better vantage point than from atop Marina Bay Sands, Singapore's premier resort location and luxury hotel. This was one of the sights I was most excited to see, just because of its unique architecture and its one of the few buildings that's even more impressive in real life.
It has a large footprint, its basically three towers combined into one and going in I felt like a bit of a fraud, make no mistake this is one nice hotel. However, make sure you do go in because the observation deck is better than its equivalents in other cities. You can literally see a 360 panoramic view of the city; from the Downtown area to the Port and its not too expensive either, tickets are about £15.
Singapore is famous for its food and it doesn't disappoint. The city state is one of the biggest multicultural hubs in the world and at a cross roads in Asia. Immigration to the city is from all parts of the world, with sizeable Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Japanese and European populations and all this means that you can find pretty much any type of food.
The one thing to be aware of is a lot of the meat is Halaal, and as Halaal meat is one of the major no-go's in Sikhi, I did find it a little difficult to find meat that I could eat, however, its not hard going veggie for a few days in Singapore.
1. Cloud Forest & Supertree Grove
There is no way to describe the Cloud Forest, I'd say experience it, but even when you're there it feels surreal. It's like something out of the film Avatar. Opposite the Marina Bay Sands complex are gigantic structures, resembling large trees, covered in lights. In the day they look odd but at night they become unlike anything else you will ever see.
A light show runs regularly after sunset where the entire park complex is transformed into a show. The trees light up different colours to the sound of music and are almost dancing. I know, if you think it sounds weird, wait till you see it. For a small fee (it was under £10) you can climb the walkways that connect the structures.
It was a little windy when I went and the walkways were rocking ever so slightly, but it was hilarious watching some people hanging on for dear life at the edge of the bridge. The walkways go straight past Marina Bay Sands to give you the best view of the complex you will get on the island. Security regularly walks across the walkways to ensure you don't spend too long but it genuinely is breathtaking. The views of the park, the tree like structures, the city and Marina Bay Sands is something that will stay with me for a long time.
The actual park itself is very nice, you can easily get lost in the grounds. Its surprising how green they have made the middle of the city but it definitely works. A word of warning, if you are travelling around the complex at sunset, make sure you bring mosquito spray.
Changi airport has won more awards than pretty much any other airport on the planet so its well worth getting to your flight a little early to take a look around. You will find all the usual shops and restaurants, however the design of the airport is quite impressive as is the service.
I stayed in Little India and really liked it. Ethnic Tamils make up the largest population here, but you can also find a mix of nationalities. The food is amazing and at times I thought I was in the subcontinent (or Soho Road).
There is still so much to see that I didn't have time for; from Singapore Zoo to Chinatown and I would love to see the Singaporean F1 Grand Prix one day. Is there anything on the list you didn't enjoy or anything that I have left out? Leave me a comment or Tweet me @travellingsingh
British Sikh, born in the Midlands, based in London, travelling the world seeing new cultures.