1. Food and Drink
The city’s hawker centers are world renowned for a damn good reason - food here is delicious. I’m no expert on cuisines or which foods descend from which traditions, but I am an expert in stuffing my face to the brink of explosion, and Singapore was great for that. Food is cheap, hygiene is extremely important, and you’re never far away from a delicious meal. Staying in Chinatown, we were a five minute walk from the Maxwell Food Centre, right across the street from the Chinatown Complex Smith Street Food Centre, and the Chinatown Food Street was just down the block. Let’s just say we didn’t go hungry and, after 6 months of relatively familiar food, it was a bonanza of firsts with all the amazing new dishes we tried (see our next post for what we ate in Singapore).
2. Marina Bay
The development around the whole bay has created a spectacle quite unlike anything we’d seen before, or since. We spent one night walking around the entire length of the bay, snapping photos every which way and enjoying a light festival that was being put on to promote local artisans. Between the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the nearby Gardens by the Bay, the Merlion and The Helix bridge, and continuing past the countless high-rise buildings, it makes for a very impressive and grand tourist district that only has more to come.
Photos from the i Light Marina Bay 2014 Light Festival (below)
3. Three Neighborhoods
Singapore has three very unique neighborhoods that are home to the largest immigrant populations that make up the city: Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam. Representing the Chinese, Indian, and Muslim communities, these sectors maintain distinct styles in architecture and culture that provide a glimpse into the lifestyles of the different communities they represent. Looking for delicious biryani? Head to Little India. Interested in checking out the history of Singapore’s shophouses? Head to Chinatown. Interested in one of the more artistic, offbeat streets in the city populated with boutique clothes? Head to Haji Lane in Kampong Glam. All easily accessible via the MRT, you can also walk between all three as we did if you feel the need to get some exercise.
4. Singapore City Gallery
This museum provides an incredibly detailed and vivid picture into the once and future development of Singapore as an island nation. The massive scale model of all the current buildings on the island is a sight to see and worth a visit alone. For me, the best part was seeing the history of how Singapore grew, how land has been reclaimed, and how the government has planned for the future. With real estate at a premium, the engineers in Singapore have come up with incredible ideas to keep the city clean, green, and an even better place to live. I can’t wait to visit in 30 or 40 years and see how these plans come to fruition.
5. MacRitchie Reservoir
When I used to think of Singapore, I thought of a tiny island filled with high rises. While that certainly describes the southwest part of the island, there are huge tracts of land devoted as parks. The area around MacRitchie Reservoir is one of those areas and our day there was awesome. Starting on a tree-lined path that took us past our first wild monkeys, on to a bridge spanning across the tree tops, down to a path that skirted past a golf-course and around the beautiful reservoir, the area was a testament to the foresight that urban developers have in Singapore. In fact, the Singapore City Gallery had a panel describing current plans to reclaim old roadways and pathways to create a massive pedestrian system that links all of the major parks in Singapore to one another.