After some time in Southeast Asia, I was excited to visit Singapore to reap all of its modern amenities. I found the architecture of the skyscrapers throughout the city to be fascinating. Despite the stringent government regulations, I couldn’t help but awe at the transformation that the city has undergone over the past few decades. Along with the incredible buildings, the city is immaculately clean and clearly has an eco-friendly focus. Also, as a traveler out and about for most of the day, I loved that there are malls on every few blocks with super clean, nice public bathrooms.
Of course the city has some beautiful, modern sights mixed with some historical quarters. So I made my best effort to visit as many places as I could in my short period of time in the city-state.
The half-lion half-fish white sculpture spitting out water in the Marina Bay is a main tourist site. In fact, it was very crowded each time I visited the area. The Merlion Statue is somewhat of a mascot for Singapore and has a nationalistic pride associate with it. I seeing it with the beautiful backdrop of the Marina Bay.
Gardens by the Bay
Located across the bay from the Merlion Statue is the Gardens by the Bay. The gardens are a huge natural park with various exhibits. I found the interweaving of nature with artistic structures to be the highlight of the gardens. I can definitely see the gardens contributing to Singapore’s eco-friendly goals and ultimate goal to become a “City in a Garden.”
The bay itself is an easy place to spend hours at. The views from every angle are stunning, and I enjoyed seeing the city change from day to night. Especially since while I was visiting, there was an art exhibition going on along the bay called iLight Marina Bay. There were various interactive art structures covered with lights throughout the boardwalk of the bay. People gathered to enjoy the art and take some photos.
This is the world’s highest craft brewery, and it offers views of the bay from a balcony. I enjoyed an IPA and Stout (for the first time in a while), while soaking in the sunset views.
The Chinatown in Singapore is very clean, of course. The streets are lined with tiny shops and restaurants. I spent most of my time in a Hawker Center where I ordered some durian and Laksa and enjoyed a beer from a craft brewery. The brewery has a tap at a hawker stall, which is pretty unsuspecting.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
This temple is also a museum, and it’s ornately decorated. Allegedly Buddha’s tooth is housed in the temple and was taken from a collapsed pagoda in 1980 in Myanmar.
Fort Canning Bunker and Hill–The Battle Box
If you’re a history nerd, then you’ll love the Fort Canning Bunker tour. It was one of the highlights of my time in Singapore because I got to see the bunker and room where the British had surrender to the Japanese during WWII. The tour was very good and imagining life inside the bunker during WWII was a pretty surreal experience. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed in the bunker. Surrounding the bunker is the Fort Canning Hill, which still has some of the walls and cannons built and used during WWII.
Haw Par Villa
This is a “theme park” with over 1,000 statues indicated various aspects of Chinese mythology. The park was built by two Burmese-Chinese brothers who moved from Yangon to Singapore in 1937. They built the park to teach of Chinese history and Confucianism. The parks houses the Ten Courts of Hell, which are depictions of hell from Chinese mythology. The depictions are fairly graphic, but truly interesting. Especially the things deemed worthy of punishment in hell.
Singapore City Gallery
This is a free museum that shows images and tells stories of Singapore’s past and gives insight into its rapid modernization. It details the city’s plans to expand above and below ground and to continue to become more eco-friendly with tons of greenery. It has a 3D depiction of the city, as well. I really enjoyed it.
Little India seems to be fairly sprawling, but the buildings tend to be smaller, two-story buildings. There’s some Hindu temples and Muslim mosques and tons of Indian restaurants.
One of my favorite things to do while I was in Singapore was to just wander the streets and admire the architecture. I loved how many buildings were designed to incorporate plants growing around them. The architecture really makes this city feel like it’s from the future.