Safe, clean and modern are some of the words that I can use to describe Singapore after my three-day visit to this South East Asian nation. Although I have not travelled widely, Singapore is one of the best destinations I have been to so far. While I had previously met people who insinuated that Singapore has nothing much to offer, I truly had a wonderful time there that I even wished I could extend my stay on the international island.
I arrived in Singapore in the afternoon after about thirteen hours of being air bound. I did not know anyone in Singapore and I had not made any arrangements for a guide because of my love for adventure. Besides, I had researched on just about everything on the internet. Although I was somewhat jet-lagged, I was so eager to explore the city so I checked into my hotel room at the Residence Hotel that is within the Singapore recreation Club. I particularly loved the location of this hotel as it is conveniently close to the business district. The next best move was taking a shower before officially setting out to check out the city for the remainder of the day.
I first went to the Harborfront that is sought of crowded with all manner of restaurants and shopping malls even though it is the skyscrapers that sound out the most. The one thing that caught my attention as I settled down at Harborfront’s Serene Restaurant for a local dish was the Singapore Flyer that is arguably the biggest observation wheel in the world. I placed an order for Peranakan from the menu that is also Singapore’s national cuisine. Although I was eating it for the first time, I enjoyed the tasty meal that was a combination of Malay and Chinese influences. The waiter who served me at this hotel were so professional and as I walked away I wished I could leave a tip for her unfortunately my budget was tight.
With a full stomach and much time left before calling it a day, I took a taxi from Harborfront to the Singapore flyer for SGD $18. There was no traffic so it took us about an hour to get there. This is one of the places that you must visit in Singapore, as you will get the privilege of having 360-degree panoramic views of the Island city, Marina bay and more that will blow you away. Apart from the breathtaking views at 165m off the ground, I also stepped in the Journey of Dreams that is a multimedia showcase that left me with much appreciation for Singapore.
It is at the Singapore Flyer that I also went for a 30 minute Ultimate Drive on one of the tracks that is usually used for the Singapore Grand Prix Formula One Night Race. I can only describe the experience with one word; epic. This was followed by a quiet dinner at Seafood Paradise as it was already 7pm. This restaurant lived up to its name and I would recommend it to any seafood lover. The Chilli Crab that was prepared in the Singapore style was such a delicacy. Although I wanted to pop into Shake entertainment (a chill out joint that mostly targets partygoers), I was tired to the bone so I got a taxi back to my hotel. My first few hours in Singapore were already rewarding and the only thing on my mind was getting a good rest.
The next day was just as adventurous as the previous day. I first had my breakfast at my hotel as it was part of the accommodation package. The air was humid but this did not deter me from getting around this beautiful nation. It is on this second day that I noticed quite a number of colonial buildings that are scattered in the city and blending into the malls that outnumber them. Some of the notable colonial buildings that are worth checking out include the Raffles Hotel, Saint Andrew Cathedral and Fullerton Hotel. These buildings are a reminder of the colonial era that breaks the monotony of modernity in the city.
I first visited the Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple in China Town that is considered the oldest in Singapore as well as the Buddhist Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Some of the striking features of the Buddhist Buddha Tooth Relic Temple that attract people from all walks of life include the rooftop garden and the Buddhist culture museum that is dedicated to Buddhism. If you are driving you can also find a place to park your car. How can I forget to mention the tearoom and the theatre that showcases cultural performances, films as well as talks.
From the temples, my next stop was the Chinatown Heritage Centre. Some of the things that I noticed on my way there were the souvenir sellers as well as the colorful shop houses. At the heritage centre, I had a moment in history where I learnt all there is to know about immigration from China to Malay and how it was like settling in Singapore within the twentieth century. This is well captured by the shop houses that demonstrate how people used to live a feature that will definitely tweak your imagination a little.
Late in the afternoon, my love for shopping kept me on Haji Lane that is home to numerous emporia. I opted for this street as opposed to the well-known areas because a friend of mine had intimated to me that this is the place to get vintage clothing, footwear and other accessories from independent designers. Hence, most of items purchased here are unique yet the prices are truly pocket friendly. I could not end the day without going to the Hawker centre that has numerous food courts that offer savory servings. Although the place was noisy and the air thereof mixed with various scents I proceeded on. Since I had not eaten lunch, I ate popiah, a spring roll whose fillings include tofu, turnip, vegetables, bean sprouts and peanuts. This meal did not disappoint as I enjoyed every bit of it. One of the reasons why you need to visit this centre is because you will find a lot of Singaporean dishes at a good price. From here, my next stop was my hotel room as I was tired.
On my final day in Singapore, my itinerary was packed with places that I hoped to visit luckily I made it to all of them by the end of the day. On this particular day, I began by going to the Zoo where I got to see exotic animals like polar bears, tigers as well as Asian elephants. However, I learnt that the Singapore Night Safari offered at the zoo is the real deal. Unfortunately time could not allow so you can include it in your itinerary when travelling here. From the Zoo, I went to the Jurong Bird Park, because I naturally love nature. Besides, it offers a good break from the skyscrapers and malls that are all over the city. While I was not able to see all the bird species that are estimated to be over 600, I can guarantee you that the trip to the park was therapeutic. I could not complete my trip without going to the famed island of Sentosa where I spent the better part of the afternoon. I first had a sumptuous meal at The Garden Restaurant before going to the Underwater World where I got a rare chance to see different sea creatures. Later, I went o the beach for the rest of the afternoon since I had packed all my bags. As evening approached, I went to my hotel room and changed into my travel gear before settling at the restaurant for a quick snack before leaving for the airport. All in all, I had a lovely time in Singapore and hope to go back when I have more time and more money to spend. In the meantime, I still treasure the memories of the three days.