Initially, we did not plan to visit Singapore during this trip, we decided to include this city at the last-minute. It is not that we did not want to visit Singapore, but since this city is known to be very expensive to visit, we thought that our precious dollars would be better invested in other big city of South East-Asia. To better judge whether a visit to Singapore is worth it, let us tell you about our short stay there.
The Singapore Museum
Let’s start by telling you about a visit to the museum since this visit helped us to understand the uniqueness of this city-state. The exhibitions of the museum were mainly about two things; The history of maritime trade and the different cultures of the ethnic groups that still compose Singapore and lives in harmony. These ethnic groups come from China, Malaysia and India and practice different religions: Muslim, Confucian, Taoist, Christian, Hindu and Sikh. Singapore is located at a strategic commercial location on the southern tip of the Malaysian continent and has been connecting Asia to the rest of the world for centuries. This city has always been a hub for merchandise and seafarers from around the world, which explains its diverse social fabric. Singapore gained its independence from England after the Second World War, first being integrated with Malaysia, then two years later, being rejected from Malaysia. With trade helping, Singapore has grown from a Third World country to a major economic powerhouse in Asia in a single generation, which is remarkable.
Walks in the city
Singapore has nothing to envy to other major cities that we visited during our trip. It blends modernity with the historical character of the city and offers visitors unforgettable urban landscapes. We spent some time in the Little India area as our hostel was located there. Little India was very unique and reminded us a bit of India by its many temples and restaurants, while being much less chaotic. We also spent a lot of time in the Raffles neighborhood, a historic neighborhood that mixes with the modern city center and is home to many historic monuments and buildings. The Raffles is an absolute must see. We also spent a lot of time at the Quays, another area that absolutely need to be visited and which, you guessed it, consists of a great walk along the water’s edge. Finally, we spent some time on Orchard Street which is Singapore’s favorite shopping street. The latter is composed mainly of gigantic ultra-modern shopping centers. We have sincerely not visited any other city where the marriage of the old and the new has done so harmoniously and we could only be impressed by the boldness of this city to stand out not only economically, but artistically.
Gardens by the Bay
Probably the most popular attraction in Singapore, we loved this park so much that we returned the next day. Gardens by the Bay is the famous park with gigantic trees that are illuminated at night and which also has so much to offer by day. Let’s start by talking about the illuminated trees. The 18 super-trees are between 25 and 50 meters high and are composed of vegetation (more than 200 species of plants) and luminous effect. Spectacular by day but even more by night. These trees produce a completely enchanting environment for those who wish to go for a night walk in the park and in addition, each evening a truly unique sound and light show is offered to the spectators. During the day, the park is also worth a visit. The park is beautifully landscaped and offers over a million different plant species to observe, as well as a huge children’s area including an extraordinary water park and a thematic walk that includes gigantic vegetation animal statues. Truly, this was the most beautiful park we have visited in our life.
We also took advantage of our stay in Singapore to reward the children of all the patience they have shown since the beginning
of the trip by visiting more “adult” attractions. We brought them to Universal Studio Singapore! Although Hugo is going to talk about it in a separate post, we can say that it was a very fun day that will remain engraved in the memory of all for a long time.
Finally, we decided to visit the Botanical Garden partly because we had not been in a botanical garden in Asia, but also since this park is the oldest attraction of Singapore, established in 1859. We thought that the vegetation would be incredibly developed after all these years, we were not disappointed. The garden is impeccably landscaped and offers well-designed learning opportunities. One area was particularly interesting, dealing with the evolution of vegetation on earth since its creation. Karine was pleased to get the chance to transmit her passion for botany to the boys. The garden was very mature and it was possible to observe gigantic trees and plant species that we had never seen before.
So, was the detour worth it? After spending a few days there, we can confirm that Singapore is outrageously expensive to visit for lodging and food compared to other cities in Southeast Asia. We can also say that this city has taken over the ranks of our favorite Asian city and made its way in the top 5 of our favorite cities in the world. In addition, since the attractions we visited were completely free (except Universal Studios) this helped to swallow that rather salty bill! We highly recommend a visit to Singapore to anyone who has the chance to spend some time in Southeast Asia. These 5 days will have been for us even more memorable than some countries where we spent a whole month …