28 Jun Best things to do and places to visit in Singapore
Taking a trip to Singapore is a must when traveling to Asia. Situated in the southern part of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore is a state-city that boasts diverse heritages creating a unique cultural experience.
Manon H. shares her insightful experiences in Southeast Asia’s merlion city, Singapore
Taking a trip to Singapore is a must when traveling to Asia. Situated in the southern part of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore is a state-city that boasts diverse heritages creating a unique cultural experience. I have always dreamed of visiting Singapore, and I wasn’t disappointed when I did. I will never forget the journey from the airport to the town center: colorful flowers, green areas and ancient trees surrounded the road, a surprising difference after flying in from the Dubai desert.
I was in Singapore for a total of five days, and I realized once I got there that I needed to plan another trip to visit everything I had on my list. From the start, the “vibe” of this city was incredible: the people were warm, the air smelt good and the parks around the city provided a natural and refreshing feel to it. As I was exploring the city center, I noticed the wide range of cultural influences, mainly through the unique – yet very different – building features. The financial center neighbors an ancient Buddhist temple and the famous Raffles Hotel – built during the British colonization – stands between the old town and the newly built modern hotel chains. I was amazed by the way these diverse influences naturally blended together within the Singaporean heritage; from Indian to Chinese and colonial British to contemporary Western.
The other aspect of Singapore that I really enjoyed, were the small shops, present in most of the streets around the city. They all sold similar items, such as medicinal herbs and dried reptiles, famous for their therapeutic properties.
After interacting with native Singaporeans, my first impression was that they are very proud of their country, yet they were all down to earth and warm towards tourists, creating the most memorable encounters.
Capital City: Singapore
Language: English, Malay, Standard Mandarin, Tamil
Local Cuisine: Like the architecture, the blend of cultures is also noticeable in the local cuisine. Chinese dishes are the most common in restaurants across the city, but Indian, Western and Malaysian cuisine were easy to find. Singapore is situated on the coast, so seafood is the country’s specialty. The one dish that was new to me was shark’s fin soup. It is said to be a Chinese delicacy, and as I don’t recall seeing it on menus elsewhere, I thought it would be the perfect time to try. The other signature dish from Singapore is the Singapore-Style Chili Crab, cooked in a rich spicy sauce.
– Singapore is one of the three capital-cities in the world, sharing this title with the Vatican & Monaco. It is one of the smallest countries in the world with a total land area of 682.7 square kilometres.
– Don’t think about chewing gum in Singapore, or trading it, as it has been banned, and fines can reach up to $1,000. This is part of the plan to maintain the impeccable cleanliness of the city.
– The symbol of Singapore is the Merlion. Representations and statues in different sizes can be found all around the city and in all souvenir shops. The Merlion is half-lion – the ‘Singa’ – and half-fish signifying a tribute to Singapore’s history as the ancient sea town called ‘Temasek’.
– The National flag contains strong and meaningful symbolism: the red colour represents equality of man and universal brotherhood, the white symbolises everlasting purity and virtue, the crescent moon shows a young rising nation and the five stars arranged in a circle follow the values of peace, democracy, progress, justice and equality.