I’ll be totally honest with you; it’s going to be hard for me to write this without sounding biased, because I absolutely love Singapore. But hey, is that such a bad thing? Many people only really see Singapore as a stopover point to destinations further afield, but there’s so much more to this island state than that. I thought I’d break the ‘stopover’ stereotype that’s been given to it and share with you a few reasons why I think you’ll fall in love with it too.
If you’ve ever wanted to go travelling or explore wider Asia, but fear that you may find it to be a bit of a culture shock, then Singapore is the perfect place to start. Visiting here is a great way to ease yourself into the Asian way of life, as despite being rich in culture, there’s a familiar western feel to it too. When travelling on Singapore’s underground system, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in the UK, as all signs and announcements are in English for your benefit. The locals speak excellent English too, so there’ll be no language barrier issues either.
Singapore has some extraordinary city structures, but it’s also home to some incredible nature too, with a number of parks and gardens to explore. Right in the heart of the city is the eye-catching Gardens by the Bay. Spanning 250 acres, it’s made up of three tranquil waterfront gardens, designed to enhance the quality of life for all who live in and visit the city. Their iconic ‘Supertrees’ are a recognisable sight; impressive by day and amazing when lit up after dark. But no holiday to Singapore would be complete without visiting the beautiful botanic gardens. An afternoon wandering among stunning landscapes and rare plant species is an afternoon well spent.
Although modern and contemporary, Singapore remains true to its Asian roots and has a fascinating culture to delve into. Hidden among new landmarks and cityscapes, you’ll find traditional temples and buildings that remind you of the island’s past, such as the Thian Hock Keng Temple, otherwise known as the Temple of Heavenly Happiness. Beautiful and charming, there are some amazing areas of the island to explore. The city’s Chinatown is a hive of activity and there are numerous brightly coloured markets selling everything from fruit and vegetables to hand-crafted gifts and souvenirs.
I couldn't talk about Singapore and neglect to mention the mouth-watering dining options you have there. Around every corner you'll find authentic street food stalls; making food to order and showcasing mesmerising cooking methods before wowing you with their unbeatable taste. From Singapore noodles, to satay meat skewers and delicious bowls of Laksa; there's so much for you to try. Head to the city's Chinese quarter and share tables with the locals in the outdoor dining areas. Or head down to the marina and take your pick from the great selection of restaurants that line the glistening waterfront. But, of course, it's not just food. Don't forget to head to the infamous Long Bar* at Raffles Hotel and enjoy your very own glass of the world famous Singapore Sling cocktail. It may be a little pricey, but the taste and experience is worth every penny.
Aside from all that’s been mentioned above, there are so many other things to make time for while in Singapore. One of my favourite places to visit in the whole city was Marina Bay Sands. You can’t help but be drawn to the magnificent structure of this hotel, with its ‘over-hanging’ rooftop. Hop on the lift up there and take in the incredible views of the city from above. Take a cable car or monorail ride over to Sentosa Island; it’s home to a number of excellent theme parks, including Universal Studios Singapore™, and makes for a great day out. Then there’s also Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. I’ve never seen a zoo like it; I was amazed. And the Night Safari felt like something straight out of Jurassic Park; a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
With so much to experience in Singapore, where would you start? Let me know in the comments below or head to Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent this weekend to find out more about this exciting destination and get involved with some Singapore-themed activities. You could even win a holiday to Singapore!