Singapore. The image that springs to mind when thinking of this financial hub of a country is one of highrise buildings, an unecessary, sterile stopover and businesspeople crowding on the underground to rush to work. In fact, Singapore is home to colourful pockets of culture and surprise; views of golden beaches and captivating skylines, fused with spiced aromas and perfumed scents that transport you to exotic locations. Guide books may tell a visitor to Singapore to watch out for how expensive it is, or how to get to the obvious tourist traps such as Universal Studios or the Hard Rock Cafe, but here are my top 6 things to know about Singapore, before visiting, that you may not already know.
1- You will never, ever travel on so many escalators in your life
From escalators to take you up to Fort Canning Park, to numerous escalators taking you to various SMRT (Singapore’s Underground) levels, there are just thousands upon thousands of escalators all over the city. Not only this, but travelators too! The only thing is, that Singaporeans tend to just stand on them, which is actually much slower than just walking.
2- Every single person in Singapore is genuinely lovely
No matter where you go, from Hawker Centres to shops, from hostels to hotels, every individual in Singapore is really friendly and polite. I was asked many times by a smiling face where I was from, and if I was enjoying Singapore. I even checked into a hotel and the owner was celebrating a birthday and offered me a piece of cake with her family. Singapore is a country, literally, full of smiling faces and happy people.
3- It’s not as expensive as many guide books make out
A recent report named Singapore as the most expensive city in the world to live in, yet on many days I ate for as little as £2. There are two ways of living your life in Singapore; the luxurious rooftop infinity pools of the Marina Bay Sands and the 26 dollar Singapore Slings in the Raffles Hotel, to the 2 dollar food stalls in Little India and the backpacker bars that do cheaper drinks than most. Depending on what type of life you prefer to lead, definitely depends on how expensive Singapore becomes. Rather than spending 40 dollars on half a pint of beer in a Clarke Quay bar, why not sneak some 4 dollar beers in from 7Eleven and sit on the waterfront?
4- You will never look attractive
Singapore is located slap-bang on the equator. Not only this, but the humidity sometimes reaches 98% and the clamminess takes over. It is almost impossible to feel attractive; having a shower fails to relieve you from the sweaty, sticky outdoors. Jumping in a deep pool is the best bet, although once you get in, you may never want to get out!
5- It is, possibly, one of the most romantic places on Earth
Singapore? The city of Skyscrapers? Romantic? Yes!
Singapore has some of the most beautiful views, restaurants and hotels you could probably only ever dream of. The highest infinity pool in the world is only the start; the southernmost point of Continental Asia is surrounded by palm trees and, although many tourists visit, there are hidden spots at the final point of the island where it is possible to see for miles over the South Asian Sea, the sun glistening on the waters whilst setting.
Many restaurants in large shopping centres may not seem appealing from the outside, but inside a certain few there are wonders to be eaten. Bali Thai, in Nex Shopping Centre in Serangoon, is home to ‘make-your-own’ noodles, where you can ask for almost anything in the wok; the dimly lit restaurant giving a sophisticated and sensual atmosphere.
6- Eating out is cheaper than eating in
Supermarkets such as Fair Price or NTUC can be quite expensive for certain products, compared to the prices you may be used to at home. A branded shampoo, for example, can cost around 10 dollars (5 British Pounds) or fruit can be very costly compared to the fresh market stalls you can find in many Hawker Centres. Depending on which area you stay, or which Hawker you visit, depends on how much you may spend on eating out but generally, for larger meals, eating out is the way to go.
For more detailed information regarding Singapore Do’s and Don’ts, visit the Singapore Tourist website @ Your Singapore