There is something oh so very enticing about Singapore and I’m pretty sure it’s because of the obvious dichotomy between the looming skyscrapers in the city and the more humble shop houses that surround the hustle and bustle.
To some, Singapore presents an idyllic way of life – what’s there not to love about not spending half of the year worrying about the colder months that can sometimes make us feel more sluggish? I’ll admit, when I’m back in the UK, during Autumn, there’s a kind of melancholic atmosphere that almost looms upon us, and not that I don’t enjoy the colder months of the year; I just think there are so many benefits of living in the warmth all year round.
To others, Singapore is almost an alien-like corner of the earth where there are an outrageous number of rules you have to follow, one of my favourites ‘No Durians on Public Transport’. Imagine that, going to the market, buying a durian, only to find out that you actually can’t bring it back home via bus or MRT. Crazy, I know.
Whilst I choose to look beyond the negatives, you can actually have a great time exploring the island purely because there’s so much to discover! Food, culture and heritage; if there’s one place in the world that’s got it all it has to be Singapore. No questions asked.
For those who feast their eyes on art, Singapore takes pride in the vast number of art galleries and exhibitions it has on every year. The Art & Science museum, opened a few years back in 2011, has already hosted some of the most exciting exhibitions to date. Showcasing works from the likes of Annie Leibovitz, Andy Warhol and even Van Gogh. Not to mention the architecture of the Art & Science Museum building is quite possibly a work of art in itself, the building represents a lotus flower and is often referred to as the “Welcoming Hand of Singapore”.
If you want to catch an incredible view of the city’s skyline, there’s only one place to go, but I’m warning you now, it gets windy at night. Marina Bay Sands takes pride in being the world’s ‘Boat Skyscraper’ – you all know which one I’m talking about. Whilst some may prefer going during the day for a panoramic lunch at Sky on 57, I definitely recommend heading up at sunset for a round of cocktails. There’s something a lot more breath taking when standing at the top of Marina Bay Sands at night and overlooking the illuminated skyline, well worth the overpriced cocktails – mind you I only had one as my heart sank once I opened the menu.
Gallivanting through the city is how I spend my days exploring the Lion City; wherever you end up you’re bound to find a quaint café or hawker centre bursting with life. The café culture in Singapore has definitely expanded in the last couple of years creating a new demand for independent, authentic and unique brunch spots in the city. A couple of my favourites being: Common Man Coffee Roasters, Tiong Bahru Bakery and The Lokal. They’re all located in quiet neighbourhoods that are worth exploring after having had your brunch fuel.
However, if you’re on the hunt for the best, cheap, Asian food in town, going to a hawker centre is the only way to go about it. They’re everywhere, but I find the best are those not in the city, Newton Food Centre being my favourite as there are so many food stalls to choose from and all incredibly cheap. At night is when the place really becomes more alive so if you have a night off and want to dive into true Asian cuisine find you a hawker centre.
Singapore can and will get overwhelming if you are yet to visit Asia; whilst there are many expats living here due to it being a past British colony you may well be in for a culture shock. That’s the great thing about this tiny island, there’s no other country that it can be compared to, solely because it is one of a kind. Weird, but definitely unique.
Words by Giulia Bardelli