Though Singapore has several nicknames, my favorite one is “Garden City.” It’s clear why it’s dubbed this name the minute you step foot in the humid country. With a tropical climate that entails short heavy showers and humid climate year-round, flora and fauna thrive in this country. Driving from the world-class Changi airport to your hotel with manicured rose bushes and palm trees bedecking either side of the road is an experience in itself.
However, that’s just a primer for the wonders that await you in the city. Having lived in Singapore for 10 years, here are a couple of the activities and landmarks that you must visit during your time there.
Gardens by the Bay
First up, we have Singapore’s pride and joy: Gardens by the Bay. Search up any Google image on Singapore and blooming fuchsia towers will pop up. These are none other than the “supertrees” that are located in Gardens by the Bay and are certainly a sight to behold. However, you must purchase tickets to see the two main attractions which are Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. These are indoor gardens that have completely different vibes.
Where Flower Dome is dry and sunny, Cloud Forest is wet with many waterfalls and literally seems as if you’re in the clouds. Also, Cloud Forest has many bridges that are very high up and when you look down, your legs will become jelly.
Located in town, this lane is filled with the most vibrant murals that dictate the rich multicultural heritage of Singapore. As you walk down Haji Lane, you will find international cuisine from Turkish to Mexican and no shortage of al fresco dining. A stone’s throw away, you will find Bugis, a bustling shopping area filled with malls and splendid dining options. After walking through Haji Lane, you’ll be thankful to have air conditioning nearby.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village
A sprawling hawker Center located along the beach, East Coast Lagoon Food Village is home to one of the country’s richest spreads of local cuisine. Due to the nature of hawker centers comprising a plethora of stalls that only specialize in one or a few related dishes, you can be sure that every dish you order will be top-notch. These stall ‘aunties and uncles’ have been perfecting their art for years. Go crazy and order a dish from multiple stalls because compared to America, the portions are much smaller and much cheaper in price — which means you can have a variety.
This part of the country — an island resort off Singapore’s Southern coast but still highly accessible — is home to some of Singapore’s wealthiest philanthropists and entrepreneurs. Fittingly, their properties are sequestered in the residential part of the resort behind luscious flora, but many tourists and locals frequent Sentosa for their beaches and adrenaline-inducing attractions. Offering Universal Studios, zip lines, cable cars and trapezes, Sentosa is the place to be if you’re looking for a fun-filled day.
Of course we can’t forget Capella, the hotel which hosted the momentous 2018 North Korea-United States Summit. Unsurprisingly, it’s also located in Sentosa. Staying there will cost a pretty penny, but if you have the chance to stay there, make sure to take pictures.
If you ask anyone where to go shopping in Singapore, they will say Orchard. Orchard is undisputedly the most popular shopping district in town — and, for a good reason. Ngee Ann City, one of the many malls in Orchard and also my personal favorite, is not only a spendthrift paradise but also a foodie paradise. Luxury goods, boutique shops, boba, Instagrammable cafes, Ngee Ann City has it all.
Though I’m biased towards Ngee Ann City as it holds many of my childhood memories, the other malls along Orchard certainly do not pale in comparison. You must also visit Ion Orchard, Somerset 313, Orchard Central, Paragon and Far East Plaza, all of which are next to each other and will spoil you with options on everything.
My list could (and might!) go on when it comes to the things you can do in Singapore. As you travel from place to place, don’t hesitate to experience Singapore’s hyper-efficient public transportation. The fact that children from as young as six years old begin using public transportation alone speaks to Singapore’s unparalleled safety. Compared to the BART, it’s night and day. In Singapore, you hardly have to worry about your safety. It’s safe to go out alone at all hours of the day. Words can’t express how different Singapore is from any other part of the world.
So I urge you, if you ever get the chance to go to Southeast Asia, make a trip to Singapore and go see for yourself. Not all things are too good to be true.