Follow me to Singapore!
I was able to make two trips to Singapore this summer – one with my MBA program and one solo. If you couldn’t guess from that, I loved Singapore.
What to do in Singapore:
- Gardens by the Bay
My absolute favorite thing in Singapore. Sure, the Singapore Flyer is cool and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel is a great place to grab a Singapore Sing, but if there is one thing you do in Singapore, make it this. Visit Gardens by the Bay in the late afternoon to tour the Cloud Forest and then stay for the Supertree Grove show at night. The trees light up and show tunes play for an hour (silent video here). It sounds cheesy, but it is the most magical thing. It is free and happens twice daily.
- Singapore Botanical Gardens
Speaking of free, swing by the botanical gardens for a few hours. Extremely peaceful, this is a great place to go for a run or have a picnic (if you can stand the humidity). It will cost you $3 Singaporean Dollars to get into the Orchid Garden and it is well worth it! So beautiful!
- Tour the Religions
There are temples, churches, and mosques galore in Singapore, and it is definitely worth spending a half-day popping in and out of many of them. And because they are used to the tourism, most places of worship have the necessary garb to enter (such as a sarong).
- Hop on the MRT The MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) is simply amazing. Extremely clean and efficient (it comes every two minutes at most stations). You can navigate the entire country easily and can even take it right to Malaysia. I’d highly recommend walking to the front car and taking in the view within the tunnels – it is something out of the Millennium Falcon entering hyperspace.
- Eat at the Hawker Stations
Chicken rice and chilli crab are two of the national dishes worth trying. I personally loved having a fresh juice once or twice daily and delicious hot buns (fresh and warm coffee flavor was my favorite!). And you can’t eat cheaper than at the hawker stations!
- Hit the Markets Whether you want to visit Chinatown or a local artisan shop, there are lots of places to find souvenirs.
Other Things of Note:
- It is Hot as Hell – Singapore is located on the equator and it is hot and humid all year around. People operate on the basic assumption that everyone is sweaty and you kind of just move past it. The entire country runs on A/C.
- Speak Up – There are four official languages of Singapore! English, Malay, Tamil, and Mandarin. This country is really inclusive – which makes sense because 1.5M of its 5M citizens are expatriates.
- Efficiency at its Finest This is the most efficient place I have ever seen. Everyone operates within the same assumptions – that you will be quiet and respectful, the left side of the escalator is for standing, and laws will be abided by.
- Big Brother is Watching – Singapore is the safest country in the world. In fact, a murder is solved on average in 12 days! That is partly due to the intense amounts of cameras located throughout the city. You are always being watched, and that bothers a lot of people. I personally did not have a problem with it because I felt completely safe and was not doing anything illegal.
- Gum is Illegal – Speaking of illegal, selling gum is outlawed in Singapore! The small country got tired of seeing gum left under bus seats and on sidewalks and banned the sale of gum in 1992.
- Money – At the time I went, $1 USD was 1.30 Singaporean Dollar.
Singapore is a great city/country and I can definitely see myself living there for a short period (summer internship with LEGO perhaps?). I would highly recommend visiting this country and I know that I will be back in the future for visit number three.
What are your thoughts on Singapore? Let us know below.