Before jumping from Peninsular Malaysia to Borneo, we had a brief 48 hour interlude in the city state of Singapore. Similar to our transition from South America to Copenhagen, moving from the third world of Southeast Asia into the ultra modern, high tech, and forward-thinking Singapore was a nice change of pace.
One of the most pleasing aspects of Singapore is its architecture. Despite being a large city with plenty of skyscrapers, the city feels remarkably open, sunny, and livable. We visited the Singapore City Gallery to learn more. The exhibit details how the city has evolved over the years and what their extensive urban planning has in store for the future. One of the interesting things we learned is that a large portion of Singapore is on reclaimed land; in fact, the city-state has increased its landmass by 22% since 1965 and plans to expand another 7-8% by 2030!
After learning about the city in theory, we wanted to get a feel for it on foot so we set out to explore the various neighborhoods. Some of the highlights were the skyline from the riverfront, walking along the Helix Bridge, eating the least expensive Michelin-starred meal in the world, viewing the nighttime light-art installations around Marina Bay, and finding local beer among the Chinatown hawker stalls. Probably the coolest of them all, however, were the bio-dome and botanical Gardens by the Bay. These two massive glass-domed conservatories (the Flower Dome is the largest in the world) are spectacular to walk around, filled with a huge plethora of plants and the world’s largest indoor waterfall. If that were not enough, we timed our visit with sunset so we could catch the nightly light-and-music show under the Supertree grove nearby.
While we found Singapore to be nice and clean during our 48 hours, we met some locals who felt it was too sterile and impersonal. Either way, we would have loved to stay longer, but it has a steep pricetag. Next time!