Growing up in Singapore, I was always reminded in school, at home and even in the TV that Singapore is just a little red dot in the world map. It is one of the smallest country in the world (50 km from east to west and 17 km from north to south), however Singapore has come a long way and has reinvented itself in many ways.
Besides the airport being a popular stopover destination for travellers around the world, in 2015, Lonely Planet named Singapore the Number 1 city to visit and here are the reasons why:
- A Concrete Jungle.
I finally realized what an amazing skyline Singapore has as I sipped my drink and lounged at the top of the infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands. Not only the sky scrappers in the Central Business District wow tourists, my Aussie mates were just as impressed with the high rise condominiums and apartment blocks (a.k.a HDB flats) that filled up the country. I can catch a bus from the city and end up in a tropical rain forest filled with creepy crawlies, monkeys, or even bananas and papayas. If you want New York style city kind of rush, Orchard Place is the place…or you can always head to either sides of the islands to rough it out.
- World’s Largest Rooftop Pool
Voted as one of The BEST and MUST VISIT pools in the world by many travel magazines, the view form Marina Bay Sands 495-foot rooftop pool is out of this world. Trust me or you can #marinabaysands in Instagram and you will have a clearer picture.
- Food, Glorious (Street) Food
With all the different cultures making up Singapore, you will never be hungry on this tiny red dot! It has been dubbed that the favorite hobby of Singaporeans are eating! Be rest assured that all food stalls in neighbouring hawker centers are rated for hygiene by Department of Health. All you got to have is a sense of adventure and spice! In the middle of the skyscrappers in the CBD, sits Lau Pa Sat, a colonial and historic building that has been turned into a food feast. The side roads to Lau Pa Sat actually closes, making way for the satay-makers and its counterparts to operate and serve food. I grew up on East Coast Beach and personally, I prefer the less tourist East Coast Lagoon Food Market, for the best food and prices. Chilli crab, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa, Nasi Lemak, Fish Head Curry….the list of food I want to eat whenever I hit the motherland is always never ending.
- The Island
I am actually referring to Sentosa. On a recent trip back with my Aussie mates, I decided to do all the tourist activities with them. I worked in Sentosa Island when I was 16, while waiting for my equivalent to TEE results. Oh boy, did the island changed in 12 years (eek!). Sentosa has a world class theme park – Universal Studios, adult playdates at the Resorts World Casinos, beach bars, mega zipline (which we did and loved), a water fountain show at night, world class golf courses, spas, aquariums that you can actually swim in..and the list is endless!
- Famous drink
Singapore sling, a pink cocktail including gin, cherry brandy and lime juice, was created in the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel in the 1900s and have since made its mark internationally.
Singapore is home to the world’s first nocturnal safari. And did I mention the (daytime) zoo is home to two cute but lazy pandas?
- Accessibility around the country
Nowehere in Singapore is far. I grew up on the South-eastern part of the country and used to study in a school that was located at the northern tip of Singapore. It only took me 45mins to go to school everyday. Not too bad for travelling to the other side of the country. Maps are easy to follow, trains (a.k.a MRT) have a good network to everywhere and taxis won’t break your wallet.
- Walk on the safe side
Crime rates are super low in Singapore. With the strict laws the government imposed, I guess it is a good thing
- Shop till you drop
You will find a shopping mall probably 50 m from the next one if you walk down Orchard Road. With the Great Singapore Sales in June/July, I have seen the crazy side of Singaporeans and its tourists! Also, where in the world can you get a 24-hr shopping mall? Only at Mustaffa Centre!
- Fast and curious
Home to the 1st and only nighttime Grand Prix, Singapore has definitely branded itself again! In September every year, the whole nation stops and get involve as top international drivers and acts flies in for this 3-day event.
I can go on and on..if you asked me, I feel that Singapore is a mini New York City, however, with its Asian culture still holding strong. Singapore is like a hot pot melting with cultures ready to be explored, and I find that there are still plenty to explore whenever I head back to the motherland. It is hard to imagine that this country is just a little red dot..