I arrived in Singapore not really knowing what to expect, I hadn’t done too much research on this wealthy ex-British colonial city-state, as it wasn’t initially on my list of places to visit, but was pleased with my last minute change of schedule. After checking into the Green kiwi backpackers hostel, I managed to get a run-down of exactly how to make my way around and was given a list of must see places to visit. Public transport is world-class in Singapore and the city’s metro system is clean, always on time, and the best way to get about.
I made some great friends at the hostel and a group of us made our way over to Sentosa island, which is home to Universal Studios and the largest aquarium in the world, we also had fun on the downhill luge track (picture below) and went to a 4d cinema, it was a great opportunity to be a big kid for the day.
At night Singapore comes alive, an area called Clarke Quay is probably the best spot for night life and if you can get your head around the astronomical beer prices then it can offer up some serious fun, I had some epic nights out there, you could be anywhere in Europe with the type of music that’s being played, but there is a friendly atmosphere and everyone is there to have a good time. We also made our way to the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, the view of Singapore’s skyline from up there is awesome, but after paying $24 SGD (roughly £12) for a pint of Stella, we decided to stay for only one drink. Although alcohol is extremely expensive, the food isn’t, if you find a local Hawkers Centre, you can pick up some quality local food for next to nothing, it’s a good opportunity to immerse yourself with the locals and the selection of food on offer means you will always find something you will love.
As a tourist, Singapore has a lot to offer, there are plenty of places to visit and sights to see and it is, for better or worse, the most Western looking city in all of SE Asia. This is mainly due to its British founder Thomas Raffles, who made Singapore what it is today. And for all the good things I could say about Singapore, there is a down side, as it is very much a city governed by strict rules and regulations and this has had a noticeable impact on the vibe and atmosphere of the place. There is still plenty of fun to be had here though, it lacks the authentic Asian city vibe, but it makes up for it in many other ways.
Highlights of Singapore
Marina Bay Sands – Or the odd looking boat building as many people refer to it as. It’s an incredible work of modern architecture and has understandably become an iconic symbol of Singapore’s impressive skyline. Ku De Ta which is a bar at the top of the building can be accessed by the general public and although the views come at a price, it’s well worth a visit even if it’s just for one drink.
Hawkers markets – The sheltered food markets are in stark contrast to the rest of Singapore’s overly manicured streets, but they offer the best culinary experience in Singapore at a fraction of the price and the variety of food on display is immense.
Everything is pristine! – After spending a lot of time in SE Asia and many other cities around the world, Singapore just looks immaculate in comparison.
My next stop after Singapore was Vietnam, where I would spend a month travelling from the North to South.
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