- I was here: 2 days in January 2006, 2 in February 2012, 3 in March 2012 and 3 and a half days in February 2016.
- Recommended number of days: 2.
- My score: 5/5, but I admit debate about it.
Every year for my birthday I usually gift myself writing about a place that I love. Already last year when I wrote about Sydney, I commented that mine with that city could not be explained, as with others that objectively may not deserve 5/5, but that I personally love. It is not surprising, then, that the first one that has come to mind is this country-city that has gradually gone from being a mere stopover on transoceanic flights to gaining a place in the travel lists along the globe. My first time in Singapore was also a stopover, specifically on my way to New Zealand in 2004, and not only did I not get off the plane there, but at that time I didn’t even know where it was on the map. Next year it was Australia‘s turn, and since my ticket allowed the stop-over in Singapore with no time limit, it seemed an insult not to spend a few days and make my first visit to Asia. I found the most diverse and at the same time modern, simple and complex city that I had seen:
- Here I witnessed my first Chinese New Year in 2005, in a very respectable colonial architecture Chinatown, with its temples and shops.
- It continued, both on the surface and underground commercial galleries, with a financial district full of glass skyscrapers.
- At the same time it continues with seventies-style skyscrapers interspersed between British colonial buildings of the late nineteenth century, where we will find the Merlion, a lion’s head with a fish body, the symbol of the country. The old docks (quays) have been converted into leisure and dining areas, and durian architecture of Theaters by the Bay attracts attention.
- In north direction begins Orchard Road, the street with more shopping centers than you can imagine, some next to each other. Where it ends we will find an excellent Botanical Garden.
- And something more to the northeast, Little India, a most authentic Hindu neighborhood, especially at night.
- I was also forced to visit some museums on a day of heavy rain, specifically that of Asian Civilizations and Science.
That time I felt that Singapore had conquered me because of all the unexpected things I found in it, and although I used to describe the city as “just a fine modern city” to those who asked me, I knew I wanted to go back for more:
- So in 2012 I found the newly opened Marina Bay Sands, the hotel + shopping center with the most impressive infinity pool in the world, truly responsible for setting Singapore on the map for travelers everywhere.
- I was able to re-explore part of what I had already seen and give Sentonsa a chance, one of the most prominent artificial islands built with the sole purpose of having a good time.
On my third visit, in addition to touring downtown, Orchard or Chinatown:
- I decided to go to the zoo, famous and considered one of the best in the world, which boasts its collection of albino animals.
- There were already the impressive Gardens by the Bay, a second botanical garden with futuristic constructions of enormous size.
- But above all, I had to enjoy that pool even for 24 hours, and it was worth it.
Other things in favor of Singapore:
- It is extremely clean. You could eat on the ground of most of the streets of this city, where it is forbidden to smoke in the street, chew gum, or throw the least waste under penalty of very severe fines.
- It is one of the first countries in the world in terms of citizen security. You have to be very unlucky to be robbed in Singapore, and even less likely is to get sick or suffer an accident (except as a result of the rain).
- Being a small and overdeveloped country, organizing a visit is simple. Transports are efficient and easy to use.
However, this city – country will not be liked by many travelers, because it has important drawbacks:
- It is one of the most expensive countries in the world, with costs similar to those of Denmark, Luxembourg or Japan. Hotels and restaurants will take most of our budget, and the truth, although you can find all kinds of food, is not that the usual portions are precisely large.
- Being the city located in the middle of the equator, its climate is very predictable but not therefore desirable: 12 hours of light, maximum temperatures of 30ºC, minimum of 24ºC, torrential rains almost every afternoon and 100% perennial humidity cause a continuous muggy sensation. I can not explain how people can go running in the parks without passing out.
- Given its size and development, it has hardly any real nature, but there are very large parks and other green areas, including the Bukit Timah Reserve, which can make us forget that it is indeed a park, since it looks like jungle.
But above all, what leads to widely held opinions is its degree of urbanism: about whether the city is a wonder or just another modern city with little interest has been much discussed and written. For those who are not sure if it is worth a visit or not, my advice is simple: do not go expressly, but if on a trip to another destination you have a stopover in Singapore, it would be a waste not to stop one or two days to visit it and form your own opinion. Personally I am not a fan of modern cities, but this one in particular has something that appeals to me, and I’m looking forward to see what surprises holds for me in the next visit.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN SINGAPORE
- ITINERARY: THE BEST OF SINGAPORE IN 24 HOURS: CHINATOWN, DOWNTOWN, ORCHARD ROAD AND LITTLE INDIA
- MARINA BAY SANDS AND GARDENS BY THE BAY
- THE ZOO AND THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF SINGAPORE
- BEST MUSEUMS IN SINGAPORE
- THE BEST TEMPLES IN SINGAPORE
- SENTOSA ISLAND
- WHEN TO GO AND CLIMATE
- SINGAPORE CHANGI AIRPORT
- HOW TO MOVE AROUND IN THE CITY
- WHERE TO EAT, STAY AND GO SHOPPING
- DANGERS AND PROBLEMS
∇ Destinations / ∇ Asia / ∇ Southeast Asia