After my first twenty four hours in Singapore, I knew I had to come back. At first glimpse this city-country is very similar to Hong Kong. It’s urban nature filled with glitzy shopping malls and it’s waterfront skyline made me feel like I was barely in Asia. The difference with Hong Kong and Singapore is its culture – Singapore has more diversity and contains them in their specific areas such as Chinatown and Little India.
It’s also very simple to navigate since English is widely spoken and there is a very well connected MRT system.
Singlish as it’s popularly known was difficult for me to understand due to the Chinese annotations in they way they speak it. I found myself repeatedly saying ‘huh?’ and wondering why I couldn’t understand even though they are speaking the same language as me. The ever popular slang is also adding ‘lah’ to the end of each sentence, much like in Malaysia where they also add ‘yah’ to the end.
I couch surfed with an excellent host originally from south India, as were his housemates who were all helpful in helping me understand the culture and structure of the city. For Asian standards, Singapore is on top. One Singapore dollar is at almost par with the Canadian dollar and Singapore life is comparable to western standards. The city is clean, the air is fresh and everything feels well organized which is very hard to find in an Asian city.
I started my day by hitting up Orchard Road, infamous for its shopping. Currently the Singapore sale is taking place which means a lot of shops have no taxes on their items. It is indeed a shopaholic’s heaven! Price wise tho, it’s not Thailand.. but compared to Korea the selection is beautiful!
The strict rules of the country don’t apply in Little India where it really does feel like you are in Chennai. People cross the street at any given time, the billboards are written in Tamil and the cheapest shopping takes place right here. It’s a different world to the rest of the country.
After a much needed Indian lunch I hit tourist central, by the waterfront where Singapore’s iconic Merlion sits spitting water. The waterfront is being reconstructed at the moment with a brand new casino and it’s clearly the hot spot sporting trendy cafes, along with the well-known Esplanade building where performing arts take place. The Esplanade building was first criticized for being hideous,but over the years it has come to another icon for the city since it looks like a durian fruit due to protruding spikes.
It’s wonderful to be in a small city because it makes navigating much easier. Also, jumping in cabs in the intense heat is a viable option.
Changi airport is at the east end of the city, where one of the subway lines end. It’s easy to get to and even spend a day if you have to because there is free wi-fi, and the airport is one of the best in the world – completely lush!
Singapore could quite easily be the city of the future.