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The Land Of Contrasts

Singapore; the land of contrasts and the home to some of the friendliest people on the planet. Every turn brings a surprise; every day something awe-inspiring. Wandering the streets and being stunned by the vision of high-rise offices, gleaming in the light of the equatorial sun.

Singapore pleases every travellers’ tastes. From the wafting aromas and vivid flower garlands that can be found in Little India, hanging from every street stall and shop front transporting o  ne to the country itself, to the candy-filled child paradise and golden stretches of sandy beach in Sentosa Island; Singapore holds much more than just the financial epicentre of various large corporations.

Although Singapore has recently been voted one of the most expensive cities in the world, life there, and vacations, can actually be very affordable. Rents are notoriously sky-high, but as a visitor, this expense is unknown and unimportant. The beauty that blinds you in the architecture and diversity is what’s important; listening to the melodic ‘Singlish’ and eating your way round every areas’ Hawker Centre is what you came here for.

Exiting the airport and driving over the strategically built flyover; displaying the overwhelming Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the eco-trees of the Gardens at the Bay, sends one’s excitement into overdrive at being in such a futuristic yet culturally influential city-country. The Marina Bay Sands is home to the highest infinity swimming pool in the world; at a length of 150 metres and set on top of the world’s largest public cantilevered platform, overhanging by a staggering 67 metres. It takes your breath away, no matter how many times it catches your eye. Positioned directly opposite is the mascot of Singapore; the Merlion. Half fish and half lion, it represents the old and the new; the traditional and the present. It personifies the fishing village that Singapore historically was, and shows the drastic change to a wealthy, and powerful haven. The countrys’ original name, meaning ‘Lion- City’, seeming appropriate as it has only been independent for just 50 years, yet has clearly grown enormously and deservedly earned a name for itself as one of the must-see places in the world.

Aside from the glamour of Raffles Place and the downtown district, the buildings become almost European in design; two-storey houses with a rainbow effect of colourful shutters on each window in an area such as Chinatown, which is located almost parallel to the avenue of overpowering buildings, giving explorers a release from the shaded streets and daring to face the scorching yet humid sun. Tourists galore flock to the area to buy one of many Chinese souvenirs; items one never knew they needed until seeing it in passing. The difference between tourist prices in the heart of areas such as Arab Street and Little India is clear; one could pay almost triple the price just to sit in an area where the only difference is the style of chair. Hawker Centres provide a cheap and easy way to eat; usually with one in every community. These are places that have a sort of street food feel to them, being able to buy food and drinks from numerous places and sitting in a covered, communal dining area. Perfect for a quick-lunch, and a chance to escape from the hot, damp air outside.

Singapore can easily capture one’s heart; the way in which cultures fuse and traditions blend sets an example to the rest of the world- no other country is quite like it. Mosques, temples and churches all within one area; respect and acceptance is clear upon wandering and speaking to locals. A visitor can feel safe walking the streets at any time of the day, and without fear of getting lost in this small, yet powerful country. Singapore is a fascinating fusion of a place, which will only continue to grow and attract more and more visitors over time; visitors that will be lucky to experience this eclectic, melting pot of a country.

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