I have already explained the reasons for such a delay in my travel guide to Singapore: this trip was my personal birthday gift two years ago and I had the chance to share it with a friend who spent many years in Asia and who knew the country quite well. It was also my first time in Asia, let’s say a first door to this continent that I would love to visit more soon.
That said, I think that for a first visit to Asia Singapore is the perfect place! It feels like visiting the world but staying in the same place: Chinese, Indian, Arab cultures are mixed up in an amazing melting pot and you can easily leave an Hindu temple to enter a Buddhist one a few steps away and then see a Mosque just around the corner. At the same time you can eat Thai, Chinese, Indian, European, American almost everywhere and believe me, it is one of the places that I loved more for the variety and quality of food, especially in the small restaurants or in the markets’ stalls that you can find almost everywhere in town.
All these traditions coming from different parts of the world are mixed up with an amazing skyline with incredible modern skyscrapers reflecting on the sea and luxurious hotels and malls where you can easily get lost or find a network of canals recreating the Venice atmosphere while you shop at Louis Vuitton or Dior!
If it’s not enough, you can find the paradise on earth in the Botanical Gardens where you can get lost in a green paradise full of rare orchids and beautiful swans.
If you visit Singapore you cannot miss the Colonial District with the biggest museums and malls that I’ve ever seen; if you walk down the Singapore river you will join the Quays, full of lights, bars and restaurant. On the other side Marina Bay, with one of the greatest skylines ever especially at night. If you want to admire a wonderful view from the top of a “tree” you must try the bar or restaurant Gardens by the Bay, the last futuristic idea in town. It may seem a bit kitsch but the breathtaking view is totally worth the experience! Speaking of kitsch experience don’t miss a visit at the Marina Bay sands mall…you won’t buy anything but you can see the first Louis Vuitton floating shop and other strange things that I won’t tell you here!
Speaking of shopping Orchard Road is the main shopping street of Singapore, full of people and shopping centers but instead of getting lost in shopping centers make sure that you visit Emerald Road Hill with the loveliest colored buildings in Singapore. The only shop that you may visit in Orchard road if you are a tea lover is TWG with the best teas from all over the world: I bought Singapore breakfast tea and it’s still one of my favorite teas ever!
But what I liked most of my Singapore experience was getting lost in Chinatown and Little India.
In Chinatown you don’t go to visit something special, you just go to feel the atmosphere, to get lost in their food markets, bazars, temples. After a delicious breakfast at the traditional Ya Kun Kaya Toast you can visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre, walk down Pagoda Street and visit the beautiful Hindu temple Sri Mariammam. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is also in this area and it will take your breath away. This is also a perfect place to taste delicious food for a few dollars in one of the food markets in the area.
Little India is a world apart inside the town: beautiful colored houses, Indian food shops and markets selling beautiful Indian saris and colored textiles, smell of curry everywhere. You can admire here amazing Hindu temples like the Sri Veeramakaliamman or the Sri Srinivasa Perumal. Don’t forget to visit the colored and crowded Bugis Street Market and to have a look at the lovely bars and shops on Haji Lane.
Not far from here is the lovely Kampong Glam and the beautiful Arab Street with the Sultan Mosque and the arab shops where you can easily find interesting bargains (especially electronics). If you want to taste delicious Indian food you can just visit the Tekka Centre, just to name one of the many food markets in the area.
If you have time for the beach just head to Sentosa, an Ibizan style crowded beach on an island famous for the Universal Studios and as a huge playground! This is not exactly what I like but if you’re curious…
Just a last tip for yoga lovers like me: in the Sri Muneeswaran Hindu Temple you can practice yoga for free a couple days a week. Just check their schedule to live a very exciting experience!