The first thing you notice when you step onto the streets of Singapore is the mix of cultures. Chinese and Indian cultures collide here and mingle with Thai, Malaysian, and many other ethnicities. And with your arrival, you add to the melting pot. The entire atmosphere is welcoming and inclusive, making you feel right at home even when you are thousands of kilo-meters away.
The city itself is extremely clean, and while police are not overly present, there are many unusual laws and customs to be abided by. For example, chewing gum is not allowed, and littering can garner you a considerable fine. Singapore goes to great lengths to keep itself free of rubbish it is unusual to see empty soda cans or food wrappers lying on the ground. Cleanliness is favoured by all in the city. Health is as well, with most unhealthy items (cigarettes, alcohol, junk food) carrying pretty heavy taxes. But with such a huge selection of restaurant’s to dine at, you probably won’t be buying many of these things anyway.
Speaking of food, Singapore’s cultural diversity makes for a highly customizable dining experience that everybody will want to take advantage of, even the pickiest of eaters. All kinds of cuisine are present here, from your standard chain restaurants and snack kiosks to high-end international fine dining.
What you’ll really want to check out, though, are the traditional Singaporean dishes. Chilli crab, for instance, is just one of many odd-sounding but utterly delicious national staples – a well-cooked crab drenched in a tomato-chilli sauce that inevitably makes a huge mess but is nothing short of delectable. Seafood is found in most dishes, so those with allergies have considerably less to choose from than fish fanatics, but there are still many options available. Kaya toast is wonderful on its own or as a side at any meal. It is warm bread covered with a creamy coconut jam, often served for breakfast with coffee and eggs. Other foods to try are Singaporean variations on old favourites, such as ice kachang (shaved ice with hidden treats like beans and seeds) and roti prata (flat bread usually served with curry and topped with a multitude of delicacies).
Most visitors to Singapore will stay within the city and the traditional tourist spots and shopping malls, but for the more adventurous travellers, there are many wonderful spots to see if you just venture off the beaten path. The Haw Par Villa, or Tiger Balm Gardens, are a hidden favourite. The gardens offer free admission to their collection of Chinese statues and monuments. There are also several exhibits that go deeper into explanations of reincarnation and other topics; these can be accessed very inexpensively. And make a day trip to Changi Beach and Village which is away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this laid back area demands a walk-through. Watch boats drift through the bay and enjoy the sunset from one of the many boardwalks along the beach. There are also many vending stalls run by locals, featuring food, crafts, and souvenirs.
The longer you stay in Singapore, the more you will be able to see and do, but even just a week is enough to get a taste of this incredible region, its people, and the many treats it has to offer.
Author: Louise Mitchell is an expert in relationship advice and has helped singles successfully meet and find love. Louise has experience for a number of how dating agencies work and currently works for Lovestruck.com a dating site that specialises in finding true love, especially for busy people looking for professional dating help in Singapore.