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 good.
And for a lot of visitors, it’s this lifestyle that’s the main draw. Singapore life is clean, modern and super stylish, but you just 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 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.
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.
So, 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 all 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, and the first of its kind anywhere. Now the nocturnal animals can come out to play too.
Islands across the bay
Singapore’s 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 thrills unlimited at Universal Studios Singapore, which you can access by buying a day pass.
And Pulau Ubin, a small and fascinating island that’s a 15-minute ferry ride away, is one of only two authentic kampongs remaining in Singapore. Enjoy the wildlife and rural location of this island with just a hundred residents living in the traditional way. It’s just one more fascinating place you can visit in the world of colour and contrast that is Singapore.