To live or to travel in the lion city of Singapura?

Singapore. I was never too excited about travelling in Singapore. I never really read much about it. I never anticipated that I could have thought twice about it. I assumed it was like any other city. Busy. Clean in some places. Dirty in others. Safe in some places. Less safe in others. Traffic in some places. Less traffic in others. Admittedly, I was quite ignorant. I knew not of its’ history. Origins. Language. Strategic significance in global matters… I suppose, I still don’t. The only ‘change’ in me is my new found awareness of my own ignorance.

Singapore

Singapore

 

Nonetheless, Singapore is rubbish for travellers. It’s developed. Expensive. The system of things is quite similar to the West. Therefore, there is less scope for ‘travel’ – exploration – in the conventional, backpacker sense.

English is the national language, so communication is quite easy. There is no scope for learning tarima kasih and then sharing thanks in the local language… or saying, sampai jumpa to bid farewell to new friends… or apa kabar? to enquire how one is… it’s as it is… or, rather, how I’m used to in London… thank you… see you… how are you.

‘Singapura’ (which, in Sanskrit – means ‘lion city’) does, however, have potential.

If you live here… on a whim, at 04am in the morning… you can decide to go shopping… and visit one of the many 24 hours shopping malls, like the Mustafa Centre… in Little India, for example…

24 hour Shopping Mustafa Centre, Little India, Singapore

24 hour Shopping Mustafa Centre, Little India, Singapore

…Or, as the transport hub of Asia… you can use any of the budget airlines like Jetstar or Garuda… and take a cheap weekend flight to Vientienne… or, Rangoon… or Hanoi… or, Shanghai…you can visit Australia or New Zealand for a week’s holiday… or you can visit Mumbai instead….

Singapore Airport as budget travel hub to everywhere in Asia

Singapore Airport as budget travel hub to everywhere in Asia

…you can never bore of eating with the hundreds of food courts and hawker centres around town… from chicken biryani (see below)… to hot & spicy Korean Ramen… to Japanese sushimi… to Malayan chicken rice balls… to Indonesian Mie Goreng Ayam…. you can eat like a King and Queen with the world as your king/queendom….(very cheaply).

Eating a chicken briyani at a hawker centre

Eating a chicken briyani at a hawker centre

Selection of Ramen noodle dishes in Singaporean Food Court Stall

Selection of Ramen noodle dishes in Singaporean Food Court Stall

…or maybe you’re bored of Singapore’s favourite: the cool and comfortable ‘flippity-floppetties’… and you’d like to go shopping for one of these colourful pairs of plastic, Indian sandals from Little India…

Cheap sandals wholesale in a shop in Little India, Singapore

Cheap sandals wholesale in a shop in Little India, Singapore

…maybe you enjoy and celebrate Christmas… but you’re also motivated by all things green and sustainable and would therefore get a fair bit of enjoyment pedalling for your Christmas tree lights… you can pedal for electricity at Singapore’s first ever eco-mall, City Town Mall.

Have an 'eco-Christmas': pedal for Christmas lights!

Have an 'eco-Christmas': pedal for Christmas lights!

…maybe you’re bored of the rigidity of food hygiene regulations in Europe… and would like to visit and shop from the freshest possible open Chinese meat and fish market instead?…

…after tiring oneself from the international rates of Singapore’s modern, plentiful and stylish shopping malls… maybe bargain-shopping at Singapore’s Chinatown seems like a more appealing way to spend a Saturday afternoon…

Bargain shopping in the markets of Chinatown, Singapore

Bargain shopping in the markets of Chinatown, Singapore

… Having been lucky enough to have tasted meat snacks from Hong Kong (courtesy of Jude who brought some for me when she visited there)… in Singapore, you can even buy these meet snack by the kilo…

Chinese meat snacks in Chinatown, Singapore

Chinese meat snacks in Chinatown, Singapore

… if you’re feeling a bit homesick… and want to see something a little more like home… visit the Civic District… and wander around colonial architecture like the Fullerton Building and Raffles Place…

The Fullerton Building, Singapore

The Fullerton Building, Singapore

… maybe you’re not fully aware of the historical significance of Singapore to Britain… and, thereafter, to Japan during WWII… you could even visit Fort Siloso and enjoy your solitude in a tourist tour…

Bus tour in Fort Siloso, Sentosa Island, Singapore

Bus tour in Fort Siloso, Sentosa Island, Singapore

…or maybe frozen fish sticks aren’t quite inspiring you anymore… watch your dinner (whether that be jackfish, prawn or lobster) ‘get caught’ right before it is served on your plate… mmmm… creme de la creme of freshnesss!

Particularly fresh seafood at Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, Singapore

Particularly fresh seafood at Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, Singapore

…or maybe you would like to be kept up-to-date with cultural happenings and mishappenings… listen to a poetry reading… go to temporary art exhibitions from around the world… or maybe you’re not the snooty (or pseudo-snooty) (or genuinely-interested-in-culture-person) and would like to go jogging by the Esplanade instead…

Cultural centre - the Esplanade - in Singapore

Cultural centre - the Esplanade - in Singapore

…ferris wheels make everyone happy… what about having access to the tallest ferris wheel in the world?

World's Tallest Ferris Wheel - The Singapore Flyer - in ....well, Singapore

World's Tallest Ferris Wheel - The Singapore Flyer - in ....well, Singapore

…. maybe mosques and churches don’t satisfy your spiritual desires and curiosity… scattered around Little India are dozens of quaint Hindu temples that can leave you dazzled.

Hindu temple in Little India, Singapore

Hindu temple in Little India, Singapore

… after having played 4-a-side football every Tuesday for over 30 weeks in London… I could rightly say I think all of us would enjoy inviting a few more people to play 9-a-side on this wonderful floating football pitch with a view of Marina Bay Sands and all of the skyscrapers that Singapore is so famous for.

Floating 9-a-side, outdoor football pitch near Marina Bay in Singapore

Floating 9-a-side, outdoor football pitch near Marina Bay in Singapore

….maybe you could find a solitary space and marvel at this unique and wacky architectural masterpiece… pull out your diary, look, contemplate and write…

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

…maybe you can watch one of your favourite musicals… for example, Wicked – our favourite Broadway show.

Wicked - the famous Broadway and London musical - now playing in Singapore

Wicked - the famous Broadway and London musical - now playing in Singapore

… we could go Indoor Skydiving on Sentosa Island…

Indoor skydiving on Sentosa Island, Singapore

Indoor skydiving on Sentosa Island, Singapore

…we could pose for photographs on the Skypark at Marina Bay Sands with a view of all of Singapore…

Lina at Skypark on Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

Lina at Skypark on Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

…we could listen to Latino music in an open-air ampitheatre with a grand view of skyscrapers, the Esplanade, the river and Marina Bay Sands…

Latino music sound rehearsal in open-air theatre in Singapore

Latino music sound rehearsal in open-air theatre in Singapore

… we can join hundreds of thousands of others and make a New Year’s wish in preparation for Singapore’s 2012 New Year’s celebration…

New Year's wishes in preparation for 2012 New Year's celebration in Singapore

New Year's wishes in preparation for 2012 New Year's celebration in Singapore

… we could visit the southernmost tip of continental Asia any day of the week we’d like….

Southernmost Tip of Continental Asia

Southernmost Tip of Continental Asia

… we can take the MRT (Mass Rapid Transport system) to any part of Singapore for as low at S$0.70 each way… it’s easy to navigate; clean; and not too crowded… a stark contrast of my memories of the Underground in London and of the Parisian Metro.

Singaporean MRT - Mass Rapid Transport - route

Singaporean MRT - Mass Rapid Transport - route

Spacious, clean, empty Singaporean MRT - so different from what I remember in London

Spacious, clean, empty Singaporean MRT - so different from what I remember in London

… we can work out in an outdoor fitness gym…

Outdoor fitness gym in Singapore

Outdoor fitness gym in Singapore

… with warm, sunny weather year-round… we can go swimming on the beach every day when we would like to cool off… and we can even go sailing, catamaram-ing or wind-surfing!

Beach in Sentosa, Singapore

Beach in Sentosa, Singapore

…cycling trails are everywhere…

Cycle trail in Singapore

Cycle trail in Singapore

Without a doubt, there are hundreds of things to do and see in Singapore… many things that can be solely enjoyed when living there… it seems there is countless opportunity for having a good time with fine dining, wineries, tea-houses, food courts, karaoke bars galore. With a fusion of cultures – Eurasians, Malays, Indians, Chinese and Europeans – all living in one country-city, there is no doubt that living in Singapore could be a very enriching and fulfilling experience.

Who knows? The ‘lion city’ of Singapore could very well become the city I would next like to live in…… the story continues. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “To live or to travel in the lion city of Singapura?

  1. Looks like an unbelievable place. I definitley want to learn more about it now. The photos were amazing. If you took them all (less the one of you), then you’re amazing too!

    • 🙂 They’re alrriiiight… I’m getting loads of practice. Nico’s taught me a few tricks… tell me if you notice what they are in future blog posts! 🙂

  2. Wow – I actually read to the end of that one! Maybe selfishly as I was getting ideas for my upcoming trip – but it sounds amazing!
    So … what are the chances of meeting up to hear more about it in KL?!?!?
    xxx

    • Miss McGee! 🙂 You’re so funny! I’m pleased. And – indeed – we most certainly can talk about it in KL. Haven’t booked accommodation for KL yet – still feels so far away! I have between 2-4 trips I might make before KL. Haven’t decided what I’m doing yet, but will be with you either the 19th or the 20th… and, if you’ll have me, might wander with you guys until you move on to the next leg of your wonderful and very exciting trip! 🙂 I just need to make a decision – thus I’m likely to change my plans all over again anyway! hehe

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