Singapore is a small but prosperous island nation off the southern tip of Malaysia in Southeast Asia. If you’re confused as to whether it’s a city, an island or a country, the answer is, it’s all three. It’s currently the only independent island-city in the world, trumping Hong Kong, which officially remains part of China. It has one of the world’s highest GDPs and the quality of life is ranked as one of the best in Asia.
And for a lot of visitors, the lifestyle is the main draw. Singapore life is clean, modern and super stylish, but you have to see and experience it for yourself. From an entertainment plaza that straddles the top of three hotel towers, 57 floors up, to a museum shaped like a lotus flower, Singapore has clean and modern buildings made of glass and steel wherever you look, with an attention to detail that will take your breath away. But although it’s a modern city, the environment is fresh, natural and leafy green.
Things to do
The National Parks Board in Singapore has pledged to turn the island into a “city in a garden”, and one of the first things you’ll notice about Singapore is that they’re succeeding. Green spaces are everywhere and growing. They’re also largely free to enter.
While you’re in the city, make time to visit Gardens by the Bay, a multi-award-winning complex of greenhouse domes, walkways and garden landscapes overlooking Marina Bay. Or East Coast Park, two square kilometres of reclaimed land that’s best seen on wheels, thanks to its dedicated cycle and skate lane. Or MacRitchie Reservoir, where you can hike the trails while nature surrounds you.
And if you’re travelling with little ones, you’ll love the incredible range of wildlife you can get up close to in Singapore. The zoo has all the creatures you’d expect, from ants to antelopes, plus the Zoo-rassic Park exhibit featuring animatronic dinosaurs. And the Night Safari is like nothing else you’ve ever seen, not to mention the first of its kind anywhere. Now the nocturnal animals can come out to play too.
Its main island is just one of 63 in Singapore, and some of the others are close by. You can walk to Sentosa in under 15 minutes across the boardwalk. Here you’ll find a number of white sandy beaches, as well as unlimited thrills at Universal Studios Singapore, which you can access by buying a day pass.
Pulau Ubin is a 15-minute ferry ride away, and is one of only two authentic kampongs (traditional villages) remaining in Singapore.'With just a hundred residents living there, the surrounding wildlife has remained mostly as nature intended. This rural outpost is one of the many surprising places you can visit in Singapore, a state with a world of colours and contrasts.