Singapore – Relaxed and Intriguing
Singapore in Southeast Asia is the only city-state in the world that is also an island. The main island is 42km from east to west and 23km from north to south, compact enough to explore in just a few days. Much of Singapore’s fascination comes from its multicultural population, including a mixture of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Arabic, which makes a short walk across town feel like a hop from one country to another. Singapore is a mosaic of contrasting cultures making it a captivating destination.
One of the great advantages of travelling in Singapore is that most attractions are situated within the heart of the city, and those that lie outside the urban center still can be easily reached. You can start touring the ethnic parts of Singapore by first visiting Little India. This neighbourhood is comprised of Hindu temples, curry houses, restaurants and spice and produce shops with indian music playing around the streets. Little India also houses several monuments and sites of cultural and historical significance.
Nearby you will find Arab Street, dominated by the golden domes of the Sultan Mosque. This area called Kampong Glam is the traditional heart of Singaporean Muslim life. Here you will see traditional stores and boutiques selling textiles and regional handicrafts along with Middle Eastern restaurants. Next is Chinatown, home to many temples as well as shops and restaurants which of course specialize in Chinese food. Visit Chinatown’s immense Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Hindu shrines draped with marigold garlands. This neighbourhood is an authentic part of Singapore’s history which must not be missed.
You will then find that the British also left their imprint on the island as you enter in the Colonial District. The most notable attraction in this area is the towers of Marina Bay Sands. This resort allows you to find all you need from relaxing to entertainment, such as an expensive casino, ice-skating rink, theaters, restaurants, cafes. In addition, the Marina Bay resort is a paradise for the shopaholics as it is equipped with a variety of world-class retailers. The famous rooftop infinity pool at the resort is 150m long, gazing out over the Singapore skyline, overhanging the hotel and was named one of the best swimming pools in the world.
An extremely unique and interesting architectural wonder to see at Marina Bay is the Helix pedestrian bridge. The bridge is designed to resemble the structure of DNA assembled with great precision. Its curved design is created by two opposing spiral steel members, held together by a series of connecting struts and this is supposed to represent the growth and life of the bay. There’s also a night lighting feature built into the bridge which can be fascinating to see. Another attraction is the Singapore Flyer, which is one of the world’s largest Ferris wheels that offers a breathtaking 360 ° panoramic view of Singapore and the region.
Just a few minute walk from the Colonial District, you will find the area for Singaporean consumerism, Orchard Road. It is filled with shopping malls and high-rise hotels and is considered the tourist center of Singapore. Just beyond here is the finest park on the whole island, the Botanical Gardens, featuring a swan lake and a collection of more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids.
Another attraction to visit is the Night Safari which has won the Singapore Tourism Board’s Best Visitor Attraction Experience 8 times. You can explore the park either on foot via three walking trails or by tram. The city continues buzzing well into the evening and night at Boat Quay and Clarke Quay. This thriving area includes restaurants, bars, clubs and retail outlets that all grab your attention by the river.
Among the many smaller islands and islets that lie within Singapore waters, Sentosa is a must see. Linked to the main island by cable car, it includes Southeast Asia’s only Universal Studios theme park and several slick beach hotels, a maritime museum and a Marine Life Park. Locals treat it as a kind of resort for full-day trips or weekend breaks due.
When travelling to Singapore, one must recognize that the multiculturalism results in mouthwatering cuisines, and are a major highlight of any visit. There are endless dining options in Singapore, but the Hawker Centre is the ultimate local eating experience for visitors. The city’s mix of traditional, colonial and futuristic make this pristine environment one of the most attractive tourist destinations that offers endless attractions and activities that indulge every interest.
Photo Credit: RJ P.