Singapore feels like this amazing Asian utopian melting pot, with the meticulous organization (and prices) of a Disney theme park. As one of the main flight hubs in Southeast Asia, I had a stopover at the beginning of my trip and another at the end, so I got about two days in Singapore to explore!
My company has an office in Singapore, which is one of our main Asian hubs. Even though I wasn’t working on this trip, I did stop by the office to meet up with a few coworkers and see the amazing views of Marina Sands! It was so cool to meet up with people that I’ve spent years talking to on Zoom and Slack and email, and they had lots of recommendations for where I should go during my visit.
One of their top recommendations was Gardens by the Bay! It’s this amazing botanical garden, and they have the giant sculptures that look like trees that you’ve probably seen if you’ve seen any picture of Singapore. Or Crazy Rich Asians, which absolutely made Singapore look amazing and was some serious travel inspo. Anyway, every night they do a free light show where they play classical music and then project lights on the tree sculptures, and I thought it was going to be a little cheesy/touristy but it was amazing. I laid out on the grass and watched the sun set and it’s one of my favorite memories of my time in the city.
Singapore is also known for its ethnic neighborhoods! I stayed in Chinatown for my first night, and spent a lot of time wandering the Little India and Kampong Glam areas as well. Honestly, most of what I did during the day was just walk around, and it was such an incredible way to see the city. One of my coworkers told me that if you walked end to end in Singapore, it would be about one marathon of walking.
The other thing that really struck me while I was there was how futuristic it all felt! First of all, the metro was amazing and functional and so easy to use. The malls that I went into were incredibly fancy, like the Marina Sands one that had an actual canal with gondolas inside it? I low key wanted to ride one of the gondolas but they were done by the time I was in the right area.
I also did all the touristy things while I was there, like go to the Raffles Hotel and order a wildly overpriced Singapore Sling, and go take pictures of the Merlion. I ate lunch at a hawker center. As a warning, those do require cash, which was the only time I needed it while in the city. When I left the Gardens by the Bay, I came back out through Marina Sands and found that there was another dancing fountain show happening in front of the skyline. Sometimes it felt Disney, but in a way that just felt functional instead of fake.
I’ve been excited to visit Singapore for a long time, and it lived up to all my expectations! Such a cool city, and a great introduction to Southeast Asia. I’m looking forward to my next visit and will definitely add it to the itinerary on my next visit to the region.