A few weeks ago I had the chance to visit a place I’ve dreamed about seeing for years — Singapore. I loved every minute of it (despite the crazy humidity) and can’t wait to go back.
I must confess that I didn’t really know where Singapore was except for the fact that it was really close to Malaysia. I also didn’t really know where Malaysia was so I consulted a map. This lead to the startling realization that Thailand (which is above Malaysia) is not an island. I’m slowly becoming an expert on Asian geography.
My flight was supposed to be leave from Nashville to Chicago and then to Singapore with a brief stop in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, I missed that flight due to bad weather. Instead I got routed through Frankfurt (with a 12 hour layover) and then on to Singapore. I definitely don’t recommend going that direction. The only positive is that the individual flight times were shorter.
The Singapore airport is highly efficient and you’ll notice that in several places they have little touch-screen computers with smiley faces where you rate your customer service experience. Once outside the airport you can’t help but notice how lush and green the city is. Singapore is “The Garden City” and it’s very clear why.
For this trip I stayed at the Park Royal on Beach Road. It was a very decent hotel and I have no complaints besides the hallways being smelly. Unfortunately this is really common occurrence in tropical locations, so I didn’t really mind. Plus, my room was fine and that’s all that really mattered. The hotel was located extremely close to the office (a fact we discovered after a comically short cab ride) so I’ll definitely stay there again if I find myself in Singapore for work.
No matter how picky an eater you are, I guarantee that you will find something you like in Singapore. Here are a few places I enjoyed while there.
– Jumbo Seafood – Several locations in Singapore selling a variation of the famous Singapore Chilli Crab
– Fika Cafe – Swedish restaurant in the Arab district
– Sushi Airways – Really cool airplane themed sushi restaurant
– Osteria Mozza – An exceptional Italian restaurant. The gnocchi was amazing.
Clarke Quay was the entertainment district we found ourselves in several times throughout the week. It’s teeming with all sorts of bars and clubs and you’ll find a place that suit your personality. I found it quite lively during the week and crazy packed on Friday night. You really can’t go wrong here.
I really, really tried not to buy anything while in Singapore. One reason is because almost everything in Singapore is obscenely expensive. However, unless you have an ironclad will you will get swept up in endless variety of stores. Luxury shops are not in my budget, but if I were a rich man, I would not be disappointed. I think they have at least three locations of every luxury brand you think of. The Marina Bay Shoppes is a good one shop stop for a lot of stores. Orchard Road has even more variety including a mall that had a Zara, Muji, and Uniqlo.
The highlight of the trip for me was the Gardens by the Bay. It’s an absolutely incredible park complete with a scenic catwalk among giant “trees” and two massive climate controlled domes. One contains a replica of a cloud forest and other a massive collection of flowers and plants from around the world. This was one of the most impressive places I have ever visited in my life.
Singapore is one of the most fun places I’ve ever visited. I know they have a spotty human rights record and much of what makes the place so impressive is the direct result of the “benevolent dictatorship” that the country is under. However, despite some of the questionable actions the government takes, you can’t help but be impressed by the results.