The Republic of Singapore or ‘The Lion City’ is the worlds’ only island city-state globally recognized as one of the most prosperous and highly developed economies in South East Asia…but it is so much more than just a shining economic jewel boasting standards of living and education that are up there with the Best in the World, in some areas it is the epitome of technological innovation and advancement.
The story of this futuristic city-state is unique when compared to other developing economies in South East Asia region. And that is a story that includes reaching Incredible Heights of Economic Success in just 50 years after achieving its Independence from the British in 1963, and of course, neighboring Malaysia.
Singapore is a country renowned for its public infrastructure and public transportation system which is efficient, clean, environmentally friendly and cost effective.
How did Singapore maintain such a prestigious reputation on a Global Scale? Simple… Care, Detail and proper Planning. Where it needs to be strict, it has been, but only to maintain an environment of relaxation for everyone in Singapore, Tourist or otherwise.
There are ample options to dispose of litter, for example, supported by super-efficient City Services, and these help keep drinking or eating in metro stations and other public areas in check, as a result, that leads to an incredible sense of cleanliness across the entire Island.
Being totally Cosmopolitan, Tourists should find it very easy to get around with just English, but by also having a National population that is 77% Chinese, it can never hurt to know a little Mandarin, Hokkien or Cantonese as well.
So, here are the 10 Things I love about Singapore which you have to make a point to see if you do manage to get to this wonderful City:
1. Sky-high rooftop bars …What better way to enjoy the Skyline of the city than from within it? There are some amazing views, from a number of Bars like the stunning 1-Altitude, New Asia Bar or Sky on 57, all of them are bustling with activity and are open all year round, each with a unique identity, great ambiance and weekday happy hour offers.
But the Sky Bars aren’t the only bars either….You can enjoy any type of drink, from an Ice Cold Beer, to hand-made one of a kind cocktails curated by award-winning mixologists at Marina Bay, Raffles Place and in the Central Business District (CBD) area.
2. Food, Glorious Food …if it’s Food you’re looking for, Singapore’s multicultural heritage means you can try a large variety of authentic cuisines and traditional eating establishments: be it at Chinese hawker centres, Malaysian makan places (transl. food centres) Indian mamaks (an Indian-Malaysian cuisine mix) or just coffee shops and bistros for Western Fare, you can bet you will find the Best of All somewhere in Singapore.
Singapore also claims the honour of housing a huge concentration of internationally renowned French, Australian or British acclaimed Michelin Star restaurants that have been given the Nod by the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Wolfgang Puck… Some of these bars are bristling with Russian oysters, French champagne caviar and Argentine steaks, creating the Premier Level of Fine dining in the City.
3. Eco-Friendly conservation and greening efforts have given a distinct identity to Singapore, and turned the City into one of the most progressive and environmentally friendly societies in the world.
Singapore’s Botanic Garden is the only tropical garden to be inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, one that had a pivotal role in region’s rubber cultivation and trade expansion in the 1920’s, with an extraction technique of great economic importance across the entire South East Asia region.
With more than 10,000 species of flora spread over an 82-hectares area, the Garden is housing today the largest orchid collection in the world. A national symbolic flower and centrepiece of the “orchid diplomacy”, the Garden has honoured the visit of royal families, heads of states and celebrities by naming its finest hybrids after them. Notable ones include Dendrobium Memoria Princess Diana, Dendrobium Margaret Thatcher, Dendrobium Elizabeth II, Sealara Nelson Mandela.
The solar-powered Supertrees structures lying in splendour at the Gardens by the Bay, stand up to 50m high, featuring intricate vertical gardens, that actually act as Organic ‘Batteries’ by harvesting solar energy all year-round.
Close by, you can step inside the world’s largest greenhouse flower dome, where thousands of species of plants and trees gathered from around the world are co-habiting under a custom built giant glass roof.
A second glass dome next door is Home to a self-sustainable man-made rain forest which has at its centre the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.
In honesty, there’s monumental artistry in architecture everywhere you look around the City, from tree-shaped buildings and floral inspired museums to spiky twin-dome concert halls and self-sustainable green hotels like The Park Royal on Pickering. Most recently built projects contain plant-inspired and organic architectural elements, which promote harmony between human habitation and the Natural World.
4. The Singapore Zoo was ranked as the second best Zoo in the World after the Henry Doorly Zoo in America and ahead of the World famous San Diego Zoo…it is 100% Cage Free, thanks to brilliantly designed Moats and Natural barriers, a place where animals roam freely in open natural habitats.
Over 2,800 species live together in a 26-hectare wildlife park that offers you opportunities everywhere: Giraffe feeding, a jungle breakfast in the wild, a night safari in the world’s first nocturnal safari park…it’s all unmissable.
5. Sentosa Island is a real Treasure. Singapore’s man-made island, complete with white sandy beaches, Bars, Cafes and Resorts, also comes with Adventure parks like Universal Studios, a Marine Life Park, its own Marina which is circled by yacht and beach clubs, like the popular Tanjong Beach Club.
You can get there by car, metro, footbridge or even cable car! It was built for Relaxation, and during the weekends it is a thriving hub of Fun in the Sun, with Watersports and Beach sports for everyone and anyone.
6. Visit the ArtScience Museum located at Marina Bay Waterfront, which like many great buildings in Singapore, was built around a Theme, in this case, inspired by a lotus flower. It offers visitors a large variety of exhibitions and is a melting pot of technology, design and science, and where all 3 crossover into Art itself.
7. Singapore hosts the only F1 Grand Prix night race at the Marina Bay street circuit…and in the elite Championship, it stands apart from being held at that Time. The Race Track is illuminated like no other track in History, with Lights replicating the strength of Daylight for the Racers, while the Fans get to enjoy themselves trackside in a frenzy of parties that go on through the Night.
Top international Musicians and Artists are on hand during a 3-day event which takes place right in the heart of the city, attracting millions of tourists every year in the month of September. And it is taking place only during that Month, so plan well and be ready in every department: Accommodation, Flights and Expenses. If you do: You will have THE Time of your Life.
8. If you’re in Singapore for more than a couple of days you should not miss the places that lavish in character and authenticity like Chinatown, Little India or Arab Street. Each one has its own Delicacies, Culture and History, and serve as meeting places for the Residents of Singapore, but also show how progressive the City is in terms of its multiculturalism and inter-ethnic homogeneity.
9. Orchard Road…Shopping in Singapore can only be described as a full 360 experience. Almost all international brands are on offer in numbers and at prices you want to see… Shopping malls stretch for kilometres and none more so than around the main commercial area of Orchard Road.
There is a vast array of underpasses, overpasses and shops between the commercial centres and the subway stations (MRT). Rain or shine you will never miss the bargains.
There are certain times when shopping for bargains can be even more attractive, between May to July when the Great Singapore Sales take place and during the main festive Holidays of Christmas, Chinese New Year or Hari Raya Puasa. Those are the times when brands offer great in-store discounts so look out for them!
10. World’s largest rooftop pool at Marina Bay Sands This is truly magnificent, as you can see from the pictures… I was in seventh Heaven in this Pool so I had to go back time and time again …whether daytime or night, it is simply outstanding.
As a hotel guest you can enjoy the infinity pool from the edge of which you can gaze down on the city-skyline from 57 levels up. If you are a visitor you can capture the moment of a lifetime with stunning views of the CBD area from the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck.
MBS also has its own selection of exquisite bars with exceptional city views. If I were you? I’d go sit at one of the most popular rooftop bars Flight Bar & Lounge, CÉ LA VIE Sky Bar or Spago and admire one of the world’s most breathtaking skylines while sipping from a famous historical cocktail created back in 1915, the Singapore Sling.
I love Singapore for its urban, beating Heart and its mesmerizing mix of Culture, each bringing out the best of the other, as they all build uniformly towards a bigger and brighter Future for all of its citizens and visitors. Singapore is either relaxed or busy, traditional or modern, authentic or inspiring, exuberant or humble. It’s all up to YOU, and whichever you pick, the City will deliver.