You must know something about me as a traveller, dear reader: I never have many expectations. I research bare minimum, walk a lot, if the place permits it, read on the spot and take in every bit of experience possible.
This probably makes me a very slow traveller: I pick a spot and explore it as much as possible.
So it was with Singapore: I read up on history, things to see, navigation tips – and went.
Interesting fact #1: Purchase tourist card upon arrival and top it up for the duration of your stay to use the amazingly efficient and convenient metro system throughout the city. Navigation is easy, exits are near all major attractions. It’s really worth the money!
Now, with a light heart and sure mind I can say that Singapore is so far the most awe-inspiring place I have visited in almost 30 years on this Earth.
Land literally lifted from the bottom of the sea, the rapid development this country went through, the raw emotion that is awoken by the Cloud forest and Flower Gardens – it all comes crashing down on you as soon as you land.
Interesting fact #2: If anyone tells you that you can do Singapore in 1 day – they are either lying to you, or they are very bad at travelling and should just stay home. The entire area of Gardens by the Bay takes 1 day to really explore it – during day and night. Singapore zoo – 1 more day, plus night safari. The entire Sentosa area with Aquarium, Marine museum, Universal studios Singapore and more – one more day. Either be ready to see little or strap in for a long experience.
Insane variety of food, people, cultures – all condensed on one small piece of land – makes you want to BE part of this community, to experience it further and see where else it can go, what else it can do.
Interesting fact #3: Hawker culture is a UNESCO protected activity. There are streets and warehouses filled with street food and drink vendors, all specialising in types of food they are serving and some even received Michelin stars for it. If you haven’t tried these, you haven’t been to Singapore. Local lager is also great, especially in constantly hot and humid weather.
There is life and energy, pulsing through the streets of Singapore. There is a heart beating there, a heart of promise and allure for something more grandiose, just around the corner. Streets filled with food, people, business and traffic – all busy, yet organised. One more city I wrote about that has that mysterious, yet yearning beating heart under its many walkways was Istanbul. And it is just a little bit of fate that through Istanbul I arrived to this part of the world.
And just like to Istanbul, I want to return, to stay longer and to feel more of that life. It inspires, reawakens and reinvigorates.
Now, dear reader, if you’ve read me this far, you know I’m not one for grand claims. The fact that this one city pushed me to sing its praises even being aware of its problems can speak for itself. I do not know what the future holds for me. I have trips planned for this year and I don’t know if it will be better or worse.
All I know is – I want more of Singapore.