After an 18-hour flight across the Pacific Ocean and back in the USA, I can recap on Singapore. Gladly. Singapore is paradise for someone like me.
A bustling, industrial, and dense city of 5.3 million people, Singapore celebrates its 50th anniversary since it split up from the Federation of Malaysia on August 9, 1965. During World War II, it was occupied by the Japanese, then became independent from Britain in 1963 and was united with the Federation of Malaysia, however, this was short-lived, and it separated just two years later. Singapore is widely considered to be one of the best places to do business, and has two of Asia's "most desired brands", being Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines, Singapore Airlines being considered to be one of the best airlines in the world. Changi Airport I'll get into later.
Singapore is a very small place, approximately 700 square kilometers. So unlike Australia or the USA, everything is about 30 minutes away.
As for its laws, Singapore bans the ownership of firearms (THANK GOD), and also does not allow gum, which I'm fine with. And thanks to being secured by a community that does not want to hurt anyone (I think that is the case), crime here is non-existent. Singapore is one of the safest places in the world to live in, along with Norway.
You also need to know that Singapore is a melting pot of Chinese, Malaysians, Indians, and Singaporeans, where all of their cultures are admired everywhere in the city.
You better be resistant to heat if you want to enjoy Singapore. Singapore has no such thing as fall, winter, or spring. You only have summer, and Singapore is EXTREMELY close to the equator, and average temperatures here are 32 degrees Centigrade. But unlike other places in the world, where the heat is dry, Singapore is extremely humid. It won't be like Death Valley or Palm Springs here. You will sweat like mad here. So prepare for that!
Singapore is one of the most expensive, if not THE most expensive place to live in in the world. If you don't have money here, you will not survive. Food prices aren't as expensive as those in European cities. In fact, they're okay. But I find the most astonishing here are the cars. The cars prices here are, for the lack of a better word, RIDICULOUS. The base car prices here are decent, like any other city. HOWEVER, in order to drive a car here in Singapore, you will need to purchase a Certificate of Entitlement (COE) which on average, costs twice as much as the car itself. And the COE only gets more expensive the more high-end your car is. My dad's friend, who lives here, drives a Honda Civic, and that car, along with the COE, costs $80,000. And that's not an error. 80,000 dollars. Also, upon purchasing the COE, it will expire after 10 years, and once it expires, you have to pay another COE in order to drive your car for another 10 years. If you don't pay up, your car will be confiscated by the government and they'll only give you a third of the money you spent on your car.
So a Volkswagen Beetle (we all know what that is) costs around 110,000 dollars. If you want a Ferrari or a Lamborghini or a Koenigsegg, then you might want to look elsewhere in order to buy a car of that caliber. Because they'll be three times more expensive than if you bought the car in Italy (for the Ferrari and the Lambo) and Sweden for the Koenigsegg.
Undoubtedly the MAIN reason you should come to Singapore is the food. If you're a foodie like me, Singapore is paradise. I recommend (and the locals do too) that when you come to Singapore, you should try to eat as much food as humanly possible. The worst thing that can happen to you in Singapore is receiving a mediocre meal. And even that is very unlikely.
The local food in Singapore (and the most bang for your buck food) is located around Singapore's many hawker centers scattered all across the city. Hawker centers are basically a multitude of food stalls in a row, and you go around and choose what food you like, similar to the food trucks I have in the States. But they're all under one roof, and they're all connected to each other. And here, you can get the best local food for around three to eight bucks. And considering the caliber of food you can get here, that is a win-win, and those stalls will certainly leave you satisfied.
Here's a few:
And while you're trying to cool down, be sure to order Sugar Cane juice at a hawker stall. Sugar Cane juice in Singapore is a classic, and made fresh right on order. Upon placing your order, the person running the stall will grab a few sugar canes and start up a pressing machine. He/she will place the sugar cane directly under the crusher and juice from the shattered sugar cane will spill out into a cup that is placed directly under the machine. After enough juice is pressed, the vendor will pour the fresh sugar cane into a cup and it's yours to savour and drink. It's quite hard to find a stall that sells great sugar cane, but one thing's for sure: it is extremely fresh, tasty, healthy, and refreshing. You can have your sugar cane served with lemon or sour plum, but I highly would suggest against adding any of those to your sugar cane, as these will compromise the taste of your sugar cane. Drink it fresh as it is. You will be coming back for more.
The process of creating sugar cane juice can be seen here.
Attractions you should Visit
Singapore really is all about the food, but there are attractions that you should visit, and my family at a lot of fun at these locations.
Be sure to visit Sentosa. Sentosa is actually built on reclaimed land (any Singaporean reading this, please correct me if I'm wrong), and features a lot of things you would want to visit. Great hotels and attractions lie there. At sunset, by the beach at Sentosa, there really is no better view to view the sunset. There's also a Universal Studios amusement park there, which I highly recommend you visit if you're into that sort of thing.
If you aren't afraid of heights and want to take a comfortable, 30-minute view of the city, be sure to visit the Singapore Flyer. The Singapore Flyer was the world's tallest Ferris Wheel from 2008 to 2014, being overtaken by the High Roller on the Las Vegas Strip, only a mere 9 ft (2.6 meters) taller than the flyer. Still, the Singapore flyer is still an impressive 42 storeys high and is 541 feet (165 meters) tall, and has 28 air-conditioned capsules, each capsule being able to hold 28 passengers. It's actually 30 meters taller than the London Eye. Be sure to check out this attraction - if you're up for an almost completely see-through cabin.
If you want to camp, bike, have a barbecue, or just relax at sunset, be sure to head to East Coast Park. They have many bike rental spots there, you can set up camp, and you can have a grill on the many barbecue grills they have there.
There are plenty others as well, but look at a professional Singapore travel guide for that :P
Singapore's public transport system is extremely efficient. If you want to take a cheap, fast, but viewless way to get around Singapore, take the MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) which is basically their underground system. The trains are extremely clean and are very fast, and you always have an automated voice calling out the next station, and there are maps to help you know when you have to get off for your stop.
If you want to see Singapore from the top of a double-decker bus, be sure to book tickets for that. Unfortunately I don't know the name of it, but here is a website.
Luckily, public transport into the city is pretty cheap. If you want to take the bus from the airport into the city, there's the number 36 bus, with fares being very reasonable. If you want to take a cab, it will vary from what model cab you ride. If you ride just a normal cab, it'll probably be around $15-$24. If you want to take a bigger taxi, fares will be around $20-30. If you ride one of their high-end taxis, like a Mercedes E-Class or a Chrysler, it'll be around $25-40.
Did I enjoy Singapore?
Yes! Most certainly. Singapore is my kind of place, and my family also really enjoyed it. There's a lot to see and do here in Singapore. The food variety they have here is great, and overall it's a nice city, even if you're not that much of a foodie.
I highly recommend you check out Singapore.