Singapore is one of those cities that stays with me long after I bid my adieu. It is one of the most well planned and well organized cities in the world with an efficient government – leading by example. By definition, it is THE ideal city. Also, everywhere you go, the road is lined up with trees on both sides – it’s easy to connect why Singapore is called the Garden city. All thanks to Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who mooted the development of the garden city. Additionally, a colossal S$10,000 is fined on anyone who accidentally or not, cuts down trees for personal or commercial purposes.
With a 5 million population in around 720 square km, almost just as big as Bangalore city, barely crowded roads surprised me. Unlike a lot of highly populated cities, it was possible to enjoy driving within city limits. Lesser number of cars on road attributes to the fact that buying a car is considered a luxury, one of my relative who stays in Singapore said. A steep entitlement fee is paid to the government alone that costs as much as the car, he added. No wonder Singapore is one of the most expensive places to live in! On the other hand, they have a very efficient public transport system, be it Metro or buses which is the lifeline of Singapore’s economy class.
Did you know?
English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil are the official languages of Singapore – rightly emphasising a blend of different cultures in Singapore.
Singapore relies heavily on overseas imports for everyday necessities – including diary since land area is not adequate to practice agriculture.
While Singapore is not blessed with natural landscapes, the advent of cutting edge technologies has made it one of the top tourist destinations in the world. And Marina Bay Sands as one of the most photographed buildings in the world.
Furthermore, I didn’t have the nagging feeling that I’m being dwindled – which usually happens when I’m in a strange city. Singapore is safe and hassle free that way. Also, from the time of conceptualizing the idea, it hardly takes a week’s time to literally start working on your own business here which is ideal for startups.
5 days in Singapore – Trip Itinerary
- National Museum Singapore – Great place to learn the history of Singapore.
- Singapore Botanical garden – A huge, 150+ year old garden. Only tropical garden to be honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Night safari at Singapore Zoo – It is a unique experience with a show and the tram ride in moonlight setting.
Although, I was not able to cover Singapore Botanical garden and National Museum while in Singapore due to a time-constraint, I’m surely going to do it the next time.
- Jurong bird Park – For ardent bird lovers, this one is a must stopover. There is a high flyers show which pulls in a lot of crowd. This includes and not limited to parrots, hornbills, macaws, yellow-naped amazon and flamingos.
- Visit to Gardens by the bay, park spanning 101 hectares, is nothing short of fantastic. It’s best to visit during night. It is an integral part of a strategy by the Singapore government to transform Singapore from a Garden City to a City in a Garden. It transcends you to a different dimension with the Cloud forests and flower domes. The resplendant man made trees offers a feast to the eyes. Additionally, the park has proven extremely popular among event planners. I happened to witness a very extravagant reception happening in one of the halls there.
- Day at Sentosa Island – Sentosa Island has a casino with a free entry for foreigners, while it costs S$100 for Singaporeans. Check it out when you are there. Highlights at Sentosa Island – Underwater world and Dolphin lagoon, Sentosa SEA aquarium, adventure cove water park and Wings of time.
- Marina bay sands Sky Park – Marina bay sands Sky Park offers a mind blowing view of Singapore skyline from the 57th floor. Be it Singapore flyer or Gardens by the bay or Fullerton hotel, or just the commercial district of Singapore, this one is not to be missed. Preferably, visit during the night.
Did you know? The iconic structure of Marina Bay Sands was actually built on reclaimed land.
- Day at Universal studios. – Lot of awesome rides – Transformer’s ride, Revenge of the Mummy, Dinosaur’s ride and shows like Steven Spielberg movie production and Water world show. If you are looking for adventure, don’t miss out on the Battlestar Galactica which is high on adrenaline. The whole place gives off a very spirited vibe! Ah! How I wish to go back there again!
- Merlion Park – A trip to Singapore is never complete without a picture by the Merlion statue. Also, it offers another photo opportunity to capture the majestic Marina Bay Sands. Best to visit during night.
- Clark Quay – Clark Quay(pronounced as Clark Qi) is famous for it’s night life. Splashy lights and Karaoke nights by the river side with people gaily relishing themselves, it was easy to fathom why this is a favorite spot among tourists and natives alike.
Shopping in Singapore
- City tour around Singapore – Drive along the Orchard street, Anson Road, Robinson Road, Raffles place. Orchard street is well known shopping destination famous for luxury brands. Also, try out the ice cream sandwich in Orchard street.
- China town – If you are looking for budget friendly souvenirs, look no further. This is a perfect shopping place for tourists. Also, there are chinese temples around – colorful and vibrant. Do visit, if time permits. For a taste of authentic chinese cuisine, there are ample of eateries around.
- Little India – Mustafa Center is a well known shopping district located in Little India, offers everything under one roof – be it groceries, electronics, apparels, footwear, or jewelry. Most of all, it is popular among tourists for offering cheap electronic goods. Although, I found it more or less the same. It’s a 24-hour shopping complex – so this can be squeezed in during the night. Walking along this street, you realize that you are right back in India – with bustling streets, bollywood music and tons of Indian restaurants.
Finally, after days of packed and eventful schedule, it was time to bid farewell to the wonderful city which had made me richer by experience!
Visa on Arrival is not available for Indians. The online tourist visa application is hassle free and usually takes maximum of 5 days to process. Another option is to have either relatives or friends in Singapore with a PR or citizenship fill in the letter of introduction for a visa application. Find more information here
Singapore Changi Airport.
Taxis, metro or buses. Taxis are easily available and the price is fixed. Metro is convenient and well connected. Also, there are hop on-hop off buses for a day or two for tourists which covers a lot of places. If you are not sure of the itinerary, probably you can go for it.
Singapore dollars. S$100-200 per person per day on an average including stay and moderate number of activities on a budget.
How to save money on activities? My relative suggested me to checkout this site to book activities at discounted prices online. Sentosa island, Universal studios, Gardens by the bay and so on can be booked through this site. Found it pretty legit and it saved us a good amount of money by booking online. Also, saved time from standing in queues. They usually have an option of delivering to a given address or to collect it at their stores.
Singapore is hot and humid mostly throughout the year. July – September is usually the ideal time to visit and Great Singapore sale and food festival happens during that time. Feb – April is also a good time to visit Singapore.