Singapore: The Rise Of Asia’s Latest Bucket List Destination

Looking for a new destination to explore with all the comforts and conveniences of modern vacations but a whole new spin on it? Singapore is a destination on the bucket list of many a traveler, but it stills often goes overlooked in the greater scheme of vacation goers. Here, we’re going to look at just why the South Asian island city paradise. Few places have undergone a transformation quite like Singapore, but why exactly should you be planning your trip there?

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Skylines that can’t be denied

There’s one sight that you have to experience when visiting any major city and that’s a bird’s eye view across all it has to offer. Singapore has perhaps the best skyline of any modern city and it’s well aware of it. There are plenty of places open to the public to take advantage of the views (admittedly often with a fee attached.) The best of them all, however, might be the Marina Bay Sand Skypark. It’s one of the items available on the Singapore CityPass. One side of this huge lounging area, 57 levels above the city streets, even offers an open-air swimming pool, so you can relax with a cold drink in the warm water and take in the sights.

A garden for the modern age

One of the biggest misconceptions you might hear around Singapore is that it doesn’t have enough “unique” attractions for most tourists. If there’s one example that can immediately prove that assumption wrong, it’s the Gardens by the Bay. Located just by the Skypark, it’s but one of the many sprawling parks and gardens kept immaculately clean, but its Supertree Grove also hosts light shows with atmospheric sounds every night, seemingly transporting you into a completely different world. Seeing the lights dance up the twenty-five to fifty-meter-tall constructions of literally hundreds of different species couldn’t be any more of a delight for the senses. The park has much more to offer, besides, including a gorgeously tranquil dragonfly lake.

Luxury lodgings of all sizes

Singapore’s rise to a world-class city of luxuries and stunning public projects is a very recent story. Wealth began to flood into the city in 1971 when it became the center for foreign exchange in the region. Since then, it’s only continued to grow, develop, and grasp the world’s attention. As one of the most desirable locations by the continent, it attracts high-flying tourists with a range of luxury accommodation. If you prefer something a little more personal and peaceful than a hotel, there are lots of options for short term house rental in Singapore, too. The city has no problem welcoming travelers all across the globe with spaces to suit every budget. While it’s known to be expensive, renting out a smaller space instead of staying one of the premier hotels can make it much more affordable.

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A living heritage

As rapid as Singapore’s development has been, it would be easy to assume that there isn’t much left in terms of local flavor or that it’s all been scrubbed away for international appeal. The city has an interesting mix of cultures that makes the narrative a little shaky, to begin with. However, that doesn’t mean it’s lacking its own distinct cultural landmarks and traditions. One play to see the Singapore spirit in full display is the gorgeous Thian Hock Keng Temple. It’s the oldest temple on the island of its Hokkien people, built in honor of the local sea goddess. Besides still being a place of worship, it regularly hosts events tying together with some of the island’s most important traditional holidays.

Blends like nowhere

It’s hard to pin down Singapore’s cultural identity. Peoples from all over the globe have settled over the centuries. There’s a lot of influence from the Malay, Chinese, Tamil, and even Europeans. English is the most broadly spoken language since the colonization of the island, meaning that there’s not as much of a language barrier as a traveler might expect. The blend of traditions and histories is just as easily seen in the architecture, too. Between the Hokkien temples and modern skyscrapers, you can just as easily find spots like Saint Andrew’s Cathedral and the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, bringing touches of turn-of-the-century 1900s England to the island.

A feast prepared by the whole world

If you’re a foodie, then the idea of such a multicultural city probably has your mouth watering at the idea of all the different foods you can try in one visit alone. Singapore is one of the cleanest destinations you will ever find and it’s not difficult at all to find cuisines of all kinds prepared to the highest possible standards. Orchard Road and Marina Bay are home to some of the priciest and most award-laden restaurants on the island, but that’s not to say that the more budget-friendly options in Chinatown or Little India are any less worth the trip. The seafood of the island, like this chili crab omelet with grilled shimeji mushroom, is particularly worth trying. Like any island destination, you won’t have any trouble finding places serving the freshest possible catches.

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Souvenir hunting

Similarly, there are places to shop for just about any budget in the city, too. As with the food, Orchard Road is home to all of the freshest items off the runway and the world’s most recognizable brands. However, if you’re opting for something a little more affordable, then it’s Chinatown you want to head to. If you want a completely unique shopping experience, then you need to head to any of the island’s bustling markets. Bugis Market is a particularly lively spot. A lot of the wares here are particularly cheap, but it can make a great place to pick up souvenirs you’re not likely to see anywhere else.

A safari like none other

Speaking of unique attractions, it would be remiss to neglect one of the most enthralling of them all. Despite being an island, Singapore has its own safari. The difference between this and other safari spots is that it’s all completely in the dark. There’s enough lighting to keep you on the path and to help you see all the stars of the show, such as elephants, pangolins, Clouded leopards and more. However, flash photography and flashlights are entirely prohibited. It can feel a little atmospheric and even spooky, but it’s entirely safe. It’s not simply another attraction in the daytime zoo, either. It’s a completely different destination located next to the zoo, built to perfectly showcase some of the world’s most enchanting nocturnal creatures.

Hitting the coasts

The safari, like most of the gardens parks, is particularly developed, nestled in the heart of the city so it never feels like you’re experiencing true natural beauty. If you want that feeling, then you want to take a closer look at the coasts, instead. Singapore has no shortage of gorgeous beaches, that’s for certain. Top amongst them is Palawan Beach on the island of Sentosa just off the southern coast. It’s one of the most tourist-friendly coasts you can find, with lots of events regularly happening and boat rides that can really help give you that sense of adventure most tend to crave from a South Asian vacation destination.

Singapore should be a no-brainer for any traveler. With a cultural, aesthetic, and culinary diversity the likes of which is hard to find elsewhere, some of the most ambitious and gorgeous man-made sights in Asia and carefully cultivated natural beauty, it’s well worth the expense.

 

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About

Hello! My name is Martin. I’m a food & travel writer based in Perth, Western Australia. Morsels is where I explore my loves of good food, bad food, travel and photography.

See more of my work at martineade.com

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