Officially the Republic of Singapore, it is a sovereign city-state and island country, at the very tip of Malaysia. Since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1963 and its expulsion from Malaysia 2 years later, Singapore has experienced a rapid and significant increase in development.
It is considered one of the four Asian Tigers, (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan) known for their highly free, and developed economies. About 75% of the population is ethnic Chinese, with significant minorities of Malays, Indians and Eurasians. Because of the diversity in demographics, this small city-state has 4 official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil.
If you are visiting Singapore, you will be amazed with the superior efficiency of the public transportation system, as well as the incredible organization of the city. Here are some things that you absolutely MUST do while in Singapore:
- Singapore River Cruise
This is one of the nicest ways to see the sights of Singapore. On a nice day, bring your hat and camera and enjoy the breeze from a ferry boat. From the boat you will see all the imposing skyscrapers, historic and colonial buildings, sculptures that tell a story, the famed Marina Bay Sands Casino, the Helix Bridge, the Singapore Flyer, and other fascinating landmarks. It seems a bit pricey at 35 Singapore dollars, but it’s one of the more relaxing ways to see all that the city has to offer. Definitely worth it.
- Singapore Botanic Gardens
A beautiful haven in the middle of a hustling and bustling city, this garden is well worth a visit. Most of the garden is free, with the exception of the wild orchid area, but even that is worth the $5. Here you can walk and take pleasure in the stress free greenery that surrounds you. They also have a café and restaurant near the exit, so you can stop and have refreshments if you plan to spend the afternoon here.
- Clubs and Bars
The Pump Room
This is one of the better nightclubs in town. They’ve got cold beer on tap, strong cocktails and a platform for dancing the night away. On special occasions like St. Patty’s day or Halloween, you will find all sorts of sassy costumes, worn by staff as well as partygoers. You can also order lunch and dinner here, or just some finger food if you come later in the evening. Are you ready to get your pulse pumpin’?!
No 5 Emerald Hill
Housed in a 1910 Peranakan shophouse, this cosy and unpretentious bar with antique carvings and unpolished wooden flooring attracts both expatriates and locals. A unique place to get to know new friends. A great place to chill out!
- Merlion Park
This park is free, and right on the riverfront. It provides spectacular views of Marina Bay Sands Casino, the Helix Bridge, and all of the panoramic cityscape of Singapore. There are restaurants, cafés and bars nearby, so you don’t have to worry about bringing any snacks with you. It’s a beautiful place to go in the evening to watch the sky change colors and the distinct ‘Merlion’ spout water.
- The Helix Bridge
The Bridge is an architectural marvel. It’s created by two opposing spiral steel members, held together with connecting struts. It symbolizes ‘life and continuity’, ‘renewal’, ‘everlasting abundance’ and ‘growth’. It was designed by a consortium of architects and engineers from Australia and Singapore. It was inspired by the Yin and Yang concept of Asian culture, and resembles the double helix of DNA. It is said that the design of this unique bridge will bring wealth, happiness and prosperity to Marina Bay. Come check out this spectacle for yourself.
- Light Show from Beneath Marina Bay Casino
This is another free and fabulous encounter with Singaporean entertainment. There’s a shopping center below the Casino, so you can have dinner in one of the many restaurants within, and then later follow the sidewalk leading away from the center. You will experience a very entertaining light, water and music show. It’s one of Singapore’s many exhibits of modernity and grandeur.
- Ku Dé Ta
Experience one of the finest venues in Southeast Asia, overlooking all of Singapore. This bar, lounge, and restaurant provides the most sophisticated and luxurious environment to enjoy fine dining, drinking and entertainment. Oh, and also, if you fancy a late night swim, bring your bathing suit, there’s a pool on the observation deck. If you’re in Singapore, you might as well splurge for one night, this place is gorgeous.
Every country seems to have a “Chinatown” these days, but Singapore’s Chinatown has slightly more charm than others I’ve visited. There is a mix of old temples and mosques, eclectic cafés and shops, and several other ‘watering holes’ (more like beer/drinking areas). There are also fantastic dim sum restaurants that are hole in the wall gems. The food is authentic, the sights are stimulating, and there are numerous goodies to be found in the street vendors stalls. Come in the late afternoon to avoid walking in direct sunlight.
- Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
Not everyone can afford to stay in the grandiose luxury hotel overlooking Marina Bay, but everyone can come and dine in one of the 4 restaurants in this hotel. Come have a drink at Chihuly lounge, listen to some live latin jazz, and admire the stunning glass sculptures, with a backdrop of Marina Bay Casino. You won’t find this kind of atmosphere anywhere else. There are also modern art pieces to greet you at the entry of the hotel. Have a look for yourself.
- Singapore Food Trail Adventures
You can’t come to Singapore and not eat the food. There are lovely restaurants all over the city, but if you’re looking for something slightly off the beaten track, and something slightly more adventurous, this is your stop. Be taken back to the 1960’s, when carts and street stalls were the common thing. Here you can have your pick of many traditional dishes like Tai Wah Pork Noodle, Barbeque Seafood, and Alhambra Satay!