If you’re looking for a unique travel destination that can provide all the excitement of a popular tourist spot without the overplayed fanfare, we suggest Singapore makes your short list. This country will pack a punch on any traveler’s to-do list, with urban metropolis and idyllic landscape options, there is no shortage of things to see and do. Gorgeous scenery, tropical weather, cultural landmarks, and modern amenities are on offer on this island paradise.
A little background
Singapore gained its independence from Malaysia in 1965 and has since become a financial hub with multicultural influence. It is known for its cleanliness and incredibly low crime rate, and there are strict laws in place to keep it that way. So if you are seriously considering visiting, you will want to know the do’s and don’ts before you go (like their law banning chewing gum). Just be aware and tread carefully, as the urban areas are known to impose hefty fines for violations.
Shopping at its best
Singapore relies on its diverse cultural aspect, and malls have been popping up everywhere, allowing tourists and locals alike to take home a piece of the island. In fact, it has more shopping malls per capita than any other Asian country. The Great Singapore Sale occurs annually and is a tourist attraction like no other; it is one of the most well-known shopping festivals in the world. If you can’t go during the Sale, there are still plenty of amazing shopping options. Orchard Road has high-end fashion stores and boutique shops, along with sidewalk performers. Marina Bay is another must-see; there’s a canal running through the middle of the mall, complete with boat rides and a gondolier-type rower.
Big appetites welcome
Because of its status as a multicultural gathering point, Singapore’s food scene is phenomenal and diverse. Whether you’re hoping for fine dining, authentic street food, or want to try it all on a food tour of the city, your taste buds will be satisfied here. Alma by Juan Amador is a Michelin-starred fusion restaurant, with a menu representing the combination of cultures in Singapore. This restaurant provides divine upscale dining (at an upscale price). If that’s not your style, the island offers more traditional options. Since the 1970s, street food stands have been kicked to the curb (or in this case, inside a bustling building) and now sellers congregate within hawker centers. Bukit Timah Market & Hawker Centre is one of the most popular, and even with around 84 stalls it is actually one of the smallest.
Gardens by the Bay
The island boasts many beautiful gardens, but the Gardens by the Bay cannot be missed. You can take a tour and experience the history of Singapore, in an area of 101 hectares. These waterfront gardens offer flowers, light displays, art installations, and a small water park for children. Thick with growth, once within the garden you will feel completely removed from the metropolis just outside the trees. One of the most popular destinations in Singapore can be found in the Gardens; the Supertrees, measuring up to 164 feet, are technical marvels. The trunks are made of steel, but nature has infused itself and now plants grow up the trees. At night, they mesmerize guests with a light show.
Night life in the city
If you’re considering hitting the town for some drinks after the sun sets, be prepared to pay the price. Remember that detail we mentioned about the cleanliness and low crime rate? Well, another way they keep that going is the high price of alcohol. But if you have your heart set on it, cocktail bars are aplenty. Unique flavors and memorable experiences can be found throughout many of the bars, but at The Spiffy Dapper you can have a custom drink made based on your tastes. Just tell the mixologist what you like and they’ll create a cocktail for you on the spot. Looking for a more traditional fix? The Ah Sam Cold Drink Store stays true to local roots, skipping the fuss of a fancy bar and focusing on innovative drinks with Singaporean twists.
While Singapore may not be the most budget-friendly destination, it is worth loosening your pursestrings a little for the experience it provides. The culture, sights, and experiences on this small island are like no other in the world.