The little island country of Singapore has many nicknames. “The Lion City”, “Little Red Dot”, “The Fine Country”, but her most famous nickname is “Disneyland with a death penalty”. Chewing gum, spitting littering, homosexual acts between men, jaywalking, and simply leaving the toilet unflushed are all illegal in Singapore. An intimidating place to visit indeed, you might think.
But Singapore has that “Disneyland” in its nickname for a reason. With over one hundred shopping malls, eight nature parks, two integrated resorts, the world’s largest oceanarium, and an entire separate island just for entertainment and leisure in the mere area of seven-hundred square kilometers, “Little Red Dot” does not exaggerate when it says that it has become one of the most popular tourist hubs in the world.
Singapore is a thriving economic hub and has earned itself the reputation of being the financial hub of the Asiatic continent. It has been Southeast Asia’s most modern city for over a century and excels in trade and tourism.
It also happens to be one of the most modern cities in the world. But don’t just assume that Singapore is all work and no play. The younger generation of Singaporeans like to go by this quote “Work hard, play hard.” Let’s start with a few tourist attractions shall we?
Universal Studios Singapore; With the Mummy ride, the exceptionally realistic Transformers 4D ride and the Battlestar Galactica which propels riders fourteen storeys up into the air, this chain amusement park with over 20 attractions is a famous hotspot for all those Sci-fi and thrill- seeking fans out there. Not your thing? Prefer nature? No worries! I know just the place. The Singapore Botanic Gardens. This nature reserve has no admission fee and is filled all different sorts of beautiful plant species. Also located inside the park is the National Orchid Garden which houses over sixty-thousand orchid plants, consisting of four-hundred species and two-thousand hybrids.
Fancy a cool, icy cocktail and just dance into the night? Clarke Quay is the perfect place for you! With approximately seventy bars and restaurants in the vicinity, the former trading centre sits right beside the Singapore River overlooking the acclaimed Marina Bay Sands. Travelling with family? Not a problem. The Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park hold in store many exciting experiences for both children and adults alike! With their latest addition, Kai Kai and Jia Jia the giant pandas from Suzhou, China, people from all over South-East Asia come here to visit these especially endangered animals. Let’s not forget it’s other half, Night Safari. Its doors open from 7P.M. to 12A.M. in the morning, giving everyone a chance to see the exotic animals at both work and play. The tram that travels through this night park takes visitors to explore Asian, African and South American habitats at night, without any visible barriers between them and the wild animals.
Let’s not forget the infamous Sentosa. The name Sentosa means “Peace and Tranquility” in Malay. To the natives, the initials stand for “So. Expensive. Nothing. TO. See. Actually.” Which is completely untrue. The popular island resort includes a two kilometre long beach, two five-star hotels, two golf courses and the Resorts World Sentosa which houses the Universal Studios Singapore. The peninsula offers many different varieties of attractions, museums and other facilities, such as The Zipline, iFLY, Fort Siloso, The Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom and The Merlion Statue, Sentosa is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Singapore. Sentosa is a popular weekend spot for families and people from our neighbouring country, Malaysia. Speaking of Malaysia, our brother country is only a 10 minutes drive over the bridge, with Legoland Malaysia only another 20 minutes drive away.
Oh dear, I almost forgot one of the most important things that Singapore has to offer. Its food. Singapore doesn’t exactly have a culinary or even cultural identity as of yet, being only a young country that’s been around for a little less than half a century. But Singapore offers one of the largest varieties of foods, from Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Western, Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian cuisine. It’s also not uncommon to see expensive cars such as Lamborghinis, Porches and even Ferraris parked outside your local food court or coffee shop, more commonly known as ‘Kopitiam’s by the natives. Nearly one in every six households hold over 1 million dollars in assets, making it the densest population of wealthy households in the world.
Another helpful thing about Singapore is that nearly everyone speaks fluent English, being a former British colony. So don’t worry about seeking help or directions along the way, any local will be more than happy to help out. But one thing to keep in mind is that Singaporeans honestly care little about formal politeness. The local dialect and heavy Chinese influences may make our speech sound weird and rude, but saying “You want coffee or not?” is actually more polite in Chinese than plainly asking if you’d like coffee.
Singaporeans often whine and grumble about how besides shopping, dining and movies, there’s not a lot you can do. Ignore those spoiled comments. The must-see list for a first-timer is unbelievably long that will leave you begging for more time. What are you doing still reading this? Go book your ticket to Singapore now!!