Sightseeing in Singapore

Singapore is a small city-state in Southeast Asia that has quickly become one of the most developed countries in the world! 😍

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there are only two other city-states in the world: Monaco and Vatican City; picture of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Singapore was established in 1965 after it separated from Malaysia. Malay and English are the national languages, although Singlish, Singaporean English, a fusion language and a more informal speech that has emerged in recent years. It seems similar to Spanglish, a fusion of Spanish and English words that is commonly spoken in the U.S.

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examples of Singlish

Now, not only is Singapore’s economy booming, they also have an admirable justice system. They are one of the cleanest and least corrupt countries in the world thanks to very strict rules that everyone must follow. Aside from the standards laws, like not eating or drinking on the metro, and not littering in the streets, more obscure rules include no gum-chewing, no spitting, no peeing in elevators, and a fine for not flushing! Apparently, there is a sensor in the elevators that will lock the doors if they detect urine, and signal for the police! You may wonder, what makes people follow these crazy rules? Well, in addition to the hefty fines, the country still finds caning as an acceptable form of punishment (being beaten with a cane)! 😮fines-on-MRTSingapore is also known as the “Garden City” and is a nature lover’s paradise.🌲The city does an incredible job of incorporating plants and trees into the urban landscape. I couldn’t believe how even the highway underpass looked green! 😮DSC_4110Now, what stood out to me the most in Singapore was the unique and modern architecture. 😍DSC_4319Architectural highlights in the Central Business District included the Park Royal Hotel, Keppel Bay, the ArtScience Museum, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the Esplanade Theatre, and the Fullerton Hotel.

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Park Royal Hotel
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Park Royal Hotel
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Keppel Bay
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Marina Bay Sands Hotel(three vertical buildings with a horizontal structure across the top) and the ArtScience Museum (lotus-shaped building)

This building is supposed to look like a durian fruit! 😜

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Esplanade Theatre
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the Fullerton Hotel

The funky architecture extended in neighboring districts as well. Highlights included the colorful buildings in Chinatown and the Muslim Quarter.

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Chinatown
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Chinatown
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street art in Chinatown
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Chinatown
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barbecue beef is a popular Singaporean dish
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colorful art deco buildings in Chinatown
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shiba inus in Chinatown
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Chinese food options in Chinatown
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Chinatown

It was a nice spot to do some souvenir shopping. Although I know how to use chopsticks, I thought these were pretty cute. 🙂DSC_4313DSC_4314

This past week also marked the start of Ramadan, a month-long period of fasting for Muslims (only from dawn until sunset).

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mosque in the Muslim Quarter

The Muslim Quarter had a cool market with Arab food options, like lamb shawarma and Medjool dates.

DSC_4231In addition to the cool architecture, I also found some funky sculptures located around the city as well. DSC_4324DSC_4325DSC_4203

Now one of the main attractions in Singapore is the Gardens by the Bay.

Gardens by the Bay

The Gardens by the Bay is a billion-dollar work of art, which is both inspired by and enhanced by nature. 😍DSC_4178These are Supertrees. Each of these purple skeletal structures towers over 100-ft-tall, and is literally a vertical garden for a variety of orchids, ferns, and other plants. DSC_4380Personally, I though their large trunks and leafless branches reminded me of the giant baobab trees in Africa, also known as, the “Tree of Life”.DSC_4183 This seems fitting too, considering these supertrees, like baobab trees, also collect and irrigate rainwater for the park.SCAY0783Additionally, some of the supertrees are equipped with solar panels, which helps run their nightly light show. How efficient! 💙DSC_4167Personally, I loved the gardens so much, I went two days in a row. ❤DSC_4362 DSC_4213Gardens of the Bay actually consists of three waterfront gardens that you can wander around for free, and all the walkways are both tranquil and easy to navigate. DSC_4361DSC_4351DSC_4369By far though, Bay South has the most attractions out of all three gardens.DSC_4164For example, it has a flower dome, cloud forest, and lots of interesting sculptures.DSC_4163DSC_4350DSC_4165DSC_4359DSC_4384There was also a school group on a field trip at the gardens when I visited. The kids had to work in groups and design their own vertical garden. The students seemed very well-mannered and environmentally conscious. This seems fitting too, considering Singapore has one of the best education systems, which focuses heavily on science and technology. They also have a National Tree Planting Day here each year to ensure a green and clean future for this country. 🌲
IMG_8282Anyway, the Gardens by the Bay is actually connected to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. You can easily access the site by entering their hotel and taking a bridge over to the garden.

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Marina Bay Sands Hotel lobby
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bridge to the hotel

In fact, my favorite view of the gardens was from here, at the entrance to the escalator from the hotel. 😍DSC_4335You have an unobstructed view of both the Supertrees and the Flower Dome. 
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Side note: I first had this Chinese guy take my photo there, but he insisted I do these very interesting poses for the picture. Hah! 😛

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I feel like a sailor signaling my captain. Aye aye, sir! Hah! 😜

Anyway, on the other side of the hotel there is a bridge leading to The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.
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This fancy mall had all the top designer labels, and chef-owned restaurants. This seems like the perfect place to drop a lot of cash and pamper yourself in style. 💸

DSC_4133DSC_4155From the shopping mall, you can exit onto the Marina Bay Promenade, where you have a beautiful view of the city skyscrapers and a few other iconic structures in Singapore. DSC_4148

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ArtScience Museum
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the first Louis Vuitton built on the water
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Helix Bridge resembling a strand of DNA
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the national icon of Singapore is the Merlion, half-fish and half-lion

Now as you can imagine, things get even prettier here around sunset. 💜DSC_4254DSC_4255

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the Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel

Every night they have a free light and water show along the promenade. They also have a free light show at the gardens.

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The Supertree Light Show is called “Garden Rhapsody” and happens every night at 7:45 and 8:45 pm.

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When I arrived, I laid down on the pavement and stared up in amazement at the beautiful lights twinkling above my head.

DSC_4269DSC_4270DSC_4281Here’s a short video of the grand finale. Absolutely incredible!

Now the Light and Water Show is called “Spectra.” It’s held at 8, 9, and 10 pm along the promenade.
DSC_4290DSC_4291While I waited, I met a nice Canadian guy who had just quit his job in Vancouver and was moving back to Eastern Canada after 10 years away from home. He spent the past 7 weeks traveling around Asia as a nice way to break up the move. His flight back home was actually at midnight that evening, so he spent most of his time sitting there writing postcards, but he was still nice for chatting. Anyway, each of these shows lasts for 15 minutes, and this one included a colorful projection of geometric shapes and nature scenes. DSC_4295 Here’s a few video clips of the colorful projections and the grand finale.

Food and Drink

Now, food and drinks can be quite expensive here if you’re not careful. Most cheap meals seem to be at least 7-8 USD, and even ‘happy hour’ beers are at least 8 USD.

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restaurants in Singapore
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‘Happy Hour’ back home consisted of dollar drinks. “Toto, we’re not in Wisconsin anymore!” Hah!

I did notice the McDonald’s here had some unique menu items. The salmon burger and seafood fries looked pretty tasty! Yum! 🤤mdceHave no fear though, Singapore is pretty much like the birthplace of food courts. They have these open-air food centers, where you can find reasonably-priced local entrees, like this fried noodle dish with cabbage and fish meatballs. Just perfect! DSC_43221710161_bng0e8KTDaZwxgMdnvqUs4G8X09GGrsaSs13OT3_wb8Aside from eating out, I stuck with the local grocery store Sheng Siong, which had lots of fresh fruits, Western items and ready-made meals. IMG_8379Accommodation: While in Singapore, I stayed at Footprints Hostel. The guests were mainly older Chinese and Indian families, but they did had free complimentary breakfast (cereal, toast, and coffee), free WiFi, and air conditioned rooms for about 12 USD/ night, which is very cheap for hostels here! Score!Footprints-Hostel-Little-India-Singapore

Getting there:

To get to Singapore, I flew with Air Asia from Penang. The flight took an hour and cost about 30 USD.

Fun fact: the Changi Airport in Singapore is one of the best airport’s in the world. I thought their bathrooms were super glitzy, everything operated super efficiently, and all the staff was incredibly helpful! Above and beyond what I’ve seen anywhere else! 😀unnamed (2)unnamed (1)To get to the city from the airport, I took the metro, which cost about 1.50 USD and took about an hour. IMG_8238

Anyway, that wraps up my time in Singapore. It’s definitely a glitzy and glamorous city that I’d like to return to someday when I’m not on budget. In the meantime though, I really enjoyed at least admiring all the beautiful architecture, and exploring all the greenery it had to offer. Anyway, up next I’m exploring Sumatra in Indonesia. Stay tuned to hear all about it. Until then! 😀

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