[Peek abroad] Singapore

I can’t wait to go back to Singapore.

The first, and so far only, time I visited the city-state, which is located in South Asia off southern Malaysia, was in November 2017 at the start of a three-week tour that would take in Singapore, Sydney and a fair amount of New Zealand.

My strongest memories are experiencing the build-up to Christmas in a hot climate, beautiful flowers in the Singapore Botanic Gardens and simply on the street, and friendly locals who clearly love their country.

Pink flowers in Singapore
Flowers spotted on a street in Singapore, 2017.

A short and sweet trip to Singapore of just three days and three nights, my mum and I tried to pack in as much as we could.

Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the National Orchid Garden, was a very pleasant way to while away a few hours, enjoying the beautiful flora as well as coming across a few heritage trees and the odd Monitor Lizard.

One evening we also went to the popular Gardens by the Bay. While slightly disappointed by the one conservatory, the second, ‘Cloud Forest’, which features the largest indoor waterfall in the world at 30m, was atmospheric with lush vegetation.

The Supertree Grove, which is free to look around, is impressive, and the sound and light show, seasonally-themed with Christmas music when we visited, was very special.

Singapore Clarke Quay
Old meets new along Singapore River.

Joining a river cruise was an excellent way to see the city, taking in such sights as the Merlion and the Marina Bay Sands. Along the river you can see a sculpture of children jumping into the water, ‘First Generation’ by Singaporean sculptor Chong Fah Cheong, gives a playful nod to days gone by.

Chinatown was a highlight of the trip with the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, built in 2007, giving a glimpse into Buddhist culture. The brightly-coloured streets surrounding the temple have a variety of shops and restaurants; the famous Durian fruit is available to sample, if your senses can take it!

Christmas in Singapore
Christmas, Singaporean-style.

Visiting Singapore was the first time that I had experienced the build-up to Christmas in a different country. Though we arrived on 12 November, the preparations were in full swing, with Orchard Road bedecked with baubles hanging from tropical trees, a Father Christmas from outer space and Stormtroopers lining department store entrances (Star Wars: The Last Jedi was about to be released).

Leaving Singapore to travel on to Sydney, we flew from the wonderful Changi Airport, which has its own butterfly park to help travellers relax; another little way that Singapore delights.

  • An excellent view can be found if you take a lift up The Pinnacle @ Duxton, a residential complex with a great skybridge (small fee applies)
  • Buses are a very easy and cheap way of getting around, especially if your accommodation provides you with a Handy smartphone
  • Don’t miss visiting the Singapore Botanic Gardens as well as the more Instagram-famous Gardens by the Bay; both are a paradise for horticultural fans

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