When a group of us booked our Thanksgiving trip to Singapore, I had little idea of what to expect. I had heard a few things about the city, though. For example, I’d heard that it’s expensive, that it’s illegal to chew gum and that caning is still a legal form of punishment. Come to find out, all of these are true.
But, there’s much more to Singapore than just a few, somewhat questionable, rules and regulations. Let’s start at the beginning. When we got off the plane in Singapore, it was immediately apparent that people were just more friendly. Not only that, but every square inch of the airport was immaculate. Even The employees at immigration had smiles on their faces and bowls of candy for while we were waiting. Come to find out, Singapore’s airport is rated the best in the world. I absolutely understand why.
Once we got settled into our hotel and had a chance to explore the city, we were immediately in awe of the sheer quantity of plants and greenery scattered throughout the city. Massive apartment and offi ce buildings found ways to incorporate gardens through hanging pots or patio spaces and public walkways were lined with flowers.
After doing a little research, it seems that Singapore has, well, an obsession, with gardening. They have National Tree Planting Day on the 7th of November. It’s common to plant or name trees as a gift for birthdays or holidays. The government also created, what is now known as the ‘Gardens at the Bay,’ which have man-made solar-powered trees 50 meters in the sky. Next to the gardens, you’ll find the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. We had the opportunity to walk through the parks as well as from the Singapore Flyer, the tallest observation wheel in the world.
Not only is the city full of lush greenery, it also boasts the island of Sentosa, located just off the coast. The island lets tourists live out their beach and vacation fantasies, only a 30-minute drive away. Not only that, there’s also a massive waterpark, fancy resorts and beautiful coastal scenery for those looking to escape the city.
Food-wise, on average two new restaurants open up every day in Singapore. Considering the size of this city-state, that’s quite an accomplishment. Not only are there unlimited food options, it’s also amazingly delicious. It seems silly, but I’ve had hands-down the best nachos of my life in Singapore. I got to explore the world of soup dumplings, check out a Michelin-rated food stall and indulge my inner cheese-lover with a night of raclette.
So, the city’s beautiful and the food’s amazing. In case you need another reason to love Singapore, you’ll appreciate the fact that they’re also some of the most friendly, welcoming and helpful people you’ll ever encounter. On a legal and political level, they’re the least corrupt country in Asia and 5th least corrupt in the world. On a person level, parents instill the importance of manners in their kids, and they started the National Courtesy Campaign back in 1979 to reinforce its importance to the community as a whole.
Morale of the story: If you have the opportunity to check out Singapore, I highly suggest it. If you’re looking to splurge, try to get a room at the Marina Bay Sands to have the full Singaporean experience from the internationally renowned rooftop infinity pool that looks out over the city.