I have just come back from my trip to Singapore, and it’s time to share my experience. A week in Singapore, between urbanization and nature, this city-state is exotic on many points.
FRENCH VERSION HERE
After Hong Kong last July, I continued my Asian “tour” discovering a new city for a week: Singapore.
WHY GOING TO SINGAPORE ?
That’s true, we are entitled to ask the question. Perhaps you asked yourself the question, but it is true that Singapore is not necessarily the first destination we plan to leave, when you go to Asia (me first). We may have a boring picture of this city, as there was nothing to do, but I learnt to reevaluate my opinion, because in reality, Singapore is full of nice little corners and according to the neighborhoods where you go, diversity is in order. Especially when you are browsing between Little India, Chinatown and Garden by the Bay.
It is, incidentally, a bit on a whim I chose to go there. In the last years, Singapore has become a fashionable destination. It surprises for its futuristic side with its atypical design facilities. We must not forget that Singapore is one of the new cities. Fifty years have passed since she became independent.
Singapore is, before all, 6 million people. It is the highest population density in Asia, and the second highest in the world. But believe me, it does not feel at all. Beyond buildings and business, Singapore has still established itself as a must-see tourist destination. I am gonna explain why.
SINGAPORE, BETWEEN MODERNALISM AND ECOLOGY
The first thing you can see in Singapore is the cleanliness of the streets. With our European eye (and those who are living in Lisbon can testify), Singapore is clean, very clean! I was very surprised that a city of 6 million people was so disciplined. It is very pleasant to walk in the streets of Singapore (beyond the weather aspect, where it is always very wet all year).
Second aspect that surprised me, the vegetation. Even without going to Singapore, you may know that the center of the city has a very large 100-hectare garden near Marina Bay Sand, the hotel overlooking Singapore. Garden by the Bay is his name. And outside this huge garden, you have to know that the buildings themselves are covered with vegetation. A good idea that captures pollution and refresh the city. This idea is recent, because now all new building built in Singapore must be dressed with vegetation. (See the pics above, Pickering Street ParkRoyal) But that’s not all, the Singapore airport directly announces the color with the Jewel and its tropical environment. This is a showcase of the country that is displayed in front of you. We will talk about it later.
Third aspect (for geeks): I was able to pay for my subway with Apple Pay! And it was the first time I did that. No need for a ticket or anything else, I just need my phone to pay for my metro with the contactless feature. If you don’t have Apple Pay, you can use the contactless of your credit card. Just place it on the transit terminal by entering and leaving the network. By the way, if you want to take a SIM card, know that there is a 100 GB of data in 4G/LTE offer for 20 €, valid for a week. And believe me, 4G/LTE is everywhere, you will have no connection issue.
Finally, with a very efficient transportation network, know that owning a car in Singapore is a real luxury. Indeed, to avoid traffic jams or pollution, the Singapore government set several taxes to limit the effects of traffic in the city. In total, 25,000 cars are allowed to circulate daily in Singapore. You must have a permit to access the city. Also note that if you want to travel in the city center of Singapore, a tax is imposed in the form of etoll. Large gantries at the entrances of the city, scan a case on the dashboard of your car and charge a few dollars Singaporean, depending on the category of your vehicle and the time slot. It’s the ERP: the Electronic Road Pricing.
Finally, to dissuade you from investing in a car, buying a new car is very expensive, up to 3x the price that the European market prices. Example: a Peugeot 108 around 10000 euros usually, can cost up to 30000 euros in Singapore.
In short, in some aspects, Singapore is far ahead of what can be seen here in Europe
SINGAPORE, THE BEST SPOTS FOR PICTURES
You know, I love photography, and in this article I will tell you what are, for me, the best photo spots to release on your insta ‘. These spots will also be for me to share the must-see of Singapore.
- Jewel of Changi International Airport
Whether you are heading to or coming to Singapore, one of the things to do first is to have a look at the Jewel. It’s a large vortex of rainwater in a continuous circuit. Open to the public six months ago, it impresses with its height. It’s located between the three main terminals of the airport. If you want to enjoy the panoramic walk, you will have to go to the last level, pay $ 12 and admire this huge vegetation.
- Garden by the Bay and SuperTrees
This is the must of Singapore to discover. That’s the best thing about Singapore, this incredible garden and its large 40m tall artificial trees called « SuperTrees ». You will not be able to miss it, this garden is right in front of Marina Bay Sand. In the evening, you can discover a show sound and light very nice!
- the Cloud Forest
A large tropical forest has been restored indoors in a huge greenhouse. It houses the largest indoor waterfall in the world: 35m high. This is one of the must-see sites in Singapore.
- Sentosa Island
Sentosa Island is an island located south of Singapore, and marks the southernmost point geographically of the Asian continent! This beach that you see on the picture above is Palawan Beach. It’s linked to Sentosa Island by a suspension rope bridge. In fact, Sentosa Island is the most entertaining activity area: beach, resort, theme park (Universal Studios Singapore).
- ArtScience Museum
The ArtScience Museum is also located near Marina Bay Sand, and it’s a museum dedicated to art through playful experience with lights. For example, this picture is supposed to show the stars in an infinite universe. It’s led reflected on mirrors. This is the most beautiful effect!
Like any big respectful city, Chinatown is, of course, a must. A street food with diversified dishes, temples and houses very atypical. Feel free to visit the Buddha temple! With Little India, it is one of the neighborhoods that lives the most in Singapore.
There are also other spots to visit, here are some tracks: Little India with the Sri Thendayuthapani temple, Fort Canning Park and the island of Pulau Ubin, which you can browse easily by bike.
SHOPPING IN SINGAPORE
One of the coolest things about Singapore is shopping. Why ? Simply because you can benefit from the Tax Refund, in other words, the refund of taxes (for purchases over $ 100): clothes, electronic equipment is the right place to save money. If you want to buy an iPhone for example, it is better to buy it in Singapore than in Europe: better currency conversion rate, and refund of taxes. Be careful, this does not work for online shopping.
If you want to buy electronic equipment the only place to go is the Funan Mall, a large shopping center that includes all major brands: Bose, Sony, LG, Canon, Nikon …
To do this, simply present your passport to the merchant, so that it records your request. Then, at the end of your trip, all you have to do is apply for a refund at the counter at the airport (GST Refund). This will be credited directly to your credit card.
I do not do longer, I loved Singapore and I invite you to go there if you have the opportunity. For 2019, Singapore represented my last trip. In 2020, I would like to head to South America.
If you want to know a little more about my travels, follow me on instagram, you will see some great stories! If you have any questions or comments to share, feel free to write them just below the article.
Thanks for reading me !
See ya 👋🏻