Similar to Hong Kong, we had no intention of making our way to Singapore when we first embarked on our adventure. In fact, it wasn’t until a conversation we had with some travelers about a month or two into our travels that the idea of traveling to Singapore sparked our interest. Having recently visited Singapore, one of the German girls we were chatting with in Laos described her experience to us, in particular some of their unusual laws, and I remember my mouth dropping in complete shock. “This is a place we need to experience for ourselves,” I thought.
Can you imagine a country where laws are in place to prevent gum chewing from occurring anywhere or where the concept of eating on the go, as we Americans know and love, is virtually non-existent due to heavy fines associated with eating or drinking while taking public transportation (taxi, train, bus)? As a chronic gum chewer and on the go snack lover, I honestly couldn’t envision such a place! It was at that point that we decided if we could work Singapore into our travel plans, we would go. Lucky for us, all the stars aligned as we found ridiculously cheap flights from Singapore to Sydney and we were able to line up a Coachsurfing host through friends. It was at that point, it became a done deal!
Singapore sometimes gets a bad rap from locals and tourists alike for being a bit boring. However, we had the time of our lives! In fact, we left Singapore absolutely exhausted from our four day stay.
Gibbons, Polar Bears and White Tigers – Oh my!
We had heard from multiple people that the Singapore Zoo was not to be missed and boy were they right! We spent the afternoon admiring some of the neatest creatures! We even got to follow the zoo’s staff around as they fed the animals which was incredible!
During our time in Laos, we spent one night in a treehouse in the jungle as part of the Gibbon Experience. While we thought we heard gibbons, we never spotted any. It goes without saying that we were beyond excited to see white handed gibbon swinging from branches while we were at the zoo!
An Impromptu Birthday Party
In the words of the lyrical genius, 50 Cent, “We gonna party like it’s your birthday” and party is just what we did our first night in Singapore. I am forever grateful to our sweet and thoughtful Coachsurfing host, Dhiems, who put together a surprise birthday celebration completely unbeknownst to me. Traveling is obviously all about meeting new people and so it was only appropriate that I celebrated my birthday with people I had only known for a few short hours (other than Brian, of course)!
The party was complete with birthday hats, streamers, candles, birthday tunes and new friends! After dinner and a dance party at Dhiem’s apartment, we continued the celebrations with a night out on the town. Conveniently, it just so happened to be a national holiday the following day (on my birthday) so everyone was ready to celebrate and let the good times roll well into the early hours the next morning…
Spectacular Skyline + Marina Bay Sands
One of the fascinating observations we made while in Singapore is that Singaporeans have perfected the art of man-made beauty. I am no architectural guru but the skyscrapers and buildings are absolutely one of a kind! However, a potential downside, in my opinion, is that everything is so perfectly constructed that it appears almost cookie cutter. Even so, Brian and I couldn’t stop admiring everything within Central Business District. Had we had more time, we would have made our way to Sentosa Island for a day which is actually a man-made island. Sentosa is home to long stretches of beach, golf courses and Universal Studios Singapore.
Chinatown, Little India, or the Arab District?
You take your pick! Singapore certainly celebrates its many cultural influences. We toured a temple in Chinatown, ate lunch at a hawker center (inexpensive outdoor food stands) in Little India and grabbed a drink in the Arab District with a friend we met during our Halong Bay cruise who currently lives in Singapore. It’s incredible how you are literally transformed, in a sense, from one country or culture to another, within a few minutes by foot! Singapore does an excellent job of highlighting the cultures and cuisine of other countries within its borders.
Singapore only gained its independence from Malaysia less than 50 years ago. After winning its independence, the government made huge strides in terms of development and has truly transformed Singapore into a thriving country as its presence is certainly known within the international financial scene!
From our perspective, Singapore has many unique qualities to boast about! You can’t beat Singapore’s picture perfect skyline or the fact that Singapore is a great launching point for travel in Asia (in particular, Indonesia). The pristine public transportation systems make it easy to get just about anywhere in Singapore within an hour and the mild climate makes it desirable year around. In case it’s not obvious, we are definitely sold on Singapore.