In a city where sky high shopping centres and super chic hotels line the streets, it’s easy to forget what world class city you’re in. It all sets in when your eyes fixate on the tiny food stalls squished in between. In Singapore the Western and Asian cultures are both so evident that it creates this wonderful experience of comfort and curiosity. It’s almost as though Singapore decided to pick out the best things of both cultures and create a way that they can both thrive and grow together. Due to its amazing diversity, it’s no wonder Singapore has developed a worldwide reputation for its food, shopping and zoos.
The food! Where to begin? In Singapore, visiting a certain neighbourhood depends on what type of food you’re craving, each with their own specialties and cultural flare. You can choose to visit Little India, China Town, Arab Street or any of their famous hawker stalls, which are food court style where you can mix and match between different restaurants. The food is cheap, delicious and can be found anywhere! But if you feel like treating yourself with a cold glass of white wine head down to Clark Quay at Happy Hour where high end restaurants and bars along the quay offer great deals between 3-7pm. Around 10pm Clark Quay is buzzing with excitement, as people dress to impress, walking down the pedestrian only streets checking out all the patios and drink specials.
Taking a stroll down Nathan Rd., which is blocks and blocks of shopping malls, is one of the most overwhelmingly chaotic yet orderly experiences ever. The sidewalks are extremely wide and the harsh laws against jay walking prevent anyone from getting into traffic. Singapore is also one of the only cities in Asia that carries stores like Zara, H & M, MAC and Top Shop, and at lower prices than in Canada. There isn’t any lack of shopping centres no matter what you are into, Indian, Chinese or western styles.
The Singapore Zoo and Night Safari are two of the most authentic zoos in the world and must not be missed while in Singapore. The animals seem cared for and happy maybe because of their large area to run around in. Instead of being caged up behind a wire fence they’re kept in behind a moat, creek or ditch filled with water and other animals. Every evening after the Zoo is closed, the Night Safari opens it’s gates to the most eager and anticipated guests. Since 70% of all jungle animals are nocturnal, this is the time to see the wild cats roam and birds fly with just a soft light shining down on them, which resembles the moon.
After backpacking throughout Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Borneo, Singapore was a wonderful way to end a very chaotic trip. I loved Singapore and would head back over there if I ever get the chance!
Post contributed by travel enthusiast, Aleyna Golinsky
Suggestions while in Singapore
Food – Long Beach at the East Coast Seafood Center for delicious chilli crab (Singapore’s specialty) and salt & pepper calamari, Komala Villas for cheap Indian vegetarian food, and curries served on banana leaves, Cafe le Caire on Haji Lane for Middle Eastern Food and falafel – great for a relaxed meal after shopping. Newton Circus Hawker Stall for cheap Asian cuisine, Sri Kamala Vilas Restaurants, Northern Thai Restaurant, Wine Garage, Indochine Waterfront Restaurant, Absinthe, The Line
Shopping – Haji Lane for boutiques and independent shops with one-off pieces from small brands (including Soon Lee and Victoria Jomo), DFS Galleria, ION Orchard, Paragon, Palais Renaissance, Ngee Ann City, Orchard Road for beautiful shops, Chinatown for cheap trinkets
Zoo – Zoo & Night Safari
More sights – Raffles hotel. Treat yourself to an original Singapore Sling or go on a tour of the establishment.
Do you have more suggestions? Leave them in the comments.
Image sources: Aleyna Golinsky, josh.ev9 at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jevnin/ and Nate Robert at http://www.flickr.com/photos/naterobert/