4 Questions to enjoy Singapore the best
Recently I could finally give a face to a city that intrigued me for some time, a city so exotic and mysterious, a city named Singapore. With my visit to this metropolis of the world, I realized one of my travel dreams. But not only: Singapore has left its mark. Someone was surprised that someone like me, in love with wild and out-of-the-world destinations, who had chosen to visit destinations outside the canons, wanted so much to see an ultramodern and sophisticated megalopolis like Singapore. But it always intrigued me. It intrigued me for what other travelers had told me, because so many seemed to adore it and made amazing descriptions. And inside me I knew I liked it already.
Singapore is a metropolis of 5 million inhabitants, but it is not chaotic and there is not all the traffic you would expect (thanks to an ecological policy that heavily tax drivers and incentives to use public transport), it is full of green spaces , is clean and tidy but has very strict rules (forbidden to eat or drink on the subway, the chewing-gum are forbidden to name a few), is rich (it is one of the great financial capitals of the world), very modern (it seems to be catapulted already into the XXII century) and last but not least (the thing that I like absolutely more), is super cosmopolitan.
Being in Singapore is like being in every place in the world at the same time. There is China Town, the Chinese quarter, once a melting pot of opium chimneys and brothels, with its shops, temples, traditional restaurants and its lively and intriguing atmosphere; there is Little India, the Indian quarter, with its perfumed markets, colorful houses, Hindu temples, the vibrant air of Indian music, incense and flowers. A few blocks away is Arab Street, with its mosques, fabric stores, Middle Eastern restaurants and a thousand and one night atmosphere.
The population of Singapore is in fact a fascinating mix of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Europeans, who carry on a peaceful and relaxed coexistence. The official languages are Malay, English, Mandarin Chinese and Tamil.
But now let’s try to answer at 4 useful questions.
How many days?
I stayed there for three days, three very intense days in which I tried to experience the city as much as possible. I quickly found that three days are not too much to discover every corner of the city. In my opinion it would take at least a week. Singapore is big, has a lot to offer and moving around the city can take a long time, even though the transportations are very efficient. In my opinion it takes at least half a day to thoroughly enjoy the atmosphere of China Town or Little India, to visit the Botanic Gardens with calm, a whole day if you want to go to Sentosa, for example. At most you can break the visit to Singapore in several stages: being one of the main airport hubs of Southeast Asia, you could take advantage of a stopover to see the city.
Where to stay?
In Singapore, places to sleep are certainly not lacking, the only advice is to consider the price factor but also that position. It is better to choose to stay in a central area, making sure to have a nearby metro stop to move comfortably. Said that, I suggest to book a room at The Warehouse Hotel. There’s nothing quite like this hotel, a converted colonial-era go down on the waterfront of Singapore’s vibrant Robertson Quay. Its long history starts on 1895, year when it was built as a spice warehouse, to then become a house of ill repute and later a nightclub over ensuing decades.
Opened in January 2017, the meticulous operation of reconversion of the building, curated by the creative studio Asylum, has given life to a design hotel that is mirrored in the waters of the Singapore river and which preserves the ancient charm of the original structure. There are 37 rooms spread over two storeys, each designed with the original layout of the property in mind. Chef Willin Low, famous to be a pioneer of modern Singaporian cuisine, overseen the delicious kitchen of The Warehouse Hotel‘s restaurant, Pó, which serves modern interpretations of traditional regional dishes.
Last but not least, on the rooftop there is an infinity pool overlooking the river and the neighborhood of Robertson Quay as well as bicycles for those who want to explore the garden city and don’t mind getting a little sweaty.
What to see in few days?
Gardens by the Bay
In addition to the ethnic neighborhoods that I have already mentioned (China Town, Little India, Arab Street), a must is the area of Marina Bay (photo on top), the most famous and glitzy face of Singapore, where you can admire its splendid skyline, the Colonial District with its museums and colonial palaces, the Gardens by the Bay with its marvelous Supertree that in the evening light up (go there between 7.45 pm and 8.45 pm when there is a light and music show), the beautiful Emerald Hill Road, with its small colored houses that contrast with the skyscrapers of Orchard Road, the Botanic Gardens with the National Orchid Garden, the largest exhibition in the world of orchids, the Clarke Quay area (even if crowded with tourist restaurants is the ideal place for an evening walk). The evening is also the best time to enjoy a boat ride along the river and to enjoy the show of the city lit by night. And these are just the essential things to do in Singapore.
Is it really expensive?
Yes, it’s expensive, but with some caution you can avoid the bankrupt. A great suggestion I can tell you is, firstly, to buy the Ez-Link card for public transports, and use them to move in the city, they are cheap and perfectly working. And if you get scared when you see the prices in dollars, remember that they are expressed in Singapore dollars (SGD), not Americans, so their value is the half of Euros.