SIngapore. What was once a lush, green rain forest with a rich biodiversity of plants and animals has transformed into a breathtaking, captivating concrete jungle. With almost 8 million residents, Singapore is the third most densely populated city in the world. For European travelers Singapore is often a welcome place to rest for a few days before continuing further east, towards countries like Australia and New Zealand. This was also the primary reason why I spent a few days in Singapore, and boy am I happy I did. This city has so much to offer and can’t possibly be explored in such a short time, but I sure could give it a try.
Because of the arthritis I still have to be a bit careful with doing too many active things, so when I saw Chinatown was located only 10 minutes by foot from my hotel, Klapstar Boutique, I decided to check that area out first. With beautiful temples and a lot of Chinese food stalls (not so much suitable for a vegetarian like me, lol) I enjoyed strolling through this authentic neigborhood. I checked out the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and visited the Sri Mariamman Temple. One of the things that keeps unpleasantly surprising me on my travels in Asia is how many tourists don’t care about respecting the local culture. It is not allowed to walk into a temple if you’re not properly dressed, but still I saw many girls wearing mini skirts and tank tops. They hand out sarongs at the entrance of these temples at no charge, so how hard can it be to put one on?
Gardens by the Bay
The next day I met up with two English friends I met in Australia, and we visited Gardens by the Bay. Wow. I absolutely loved it here! You can stroll through the Supertree Grove, admiring the world’s highest indoor waterfall at Cloud Forest or enjoy the beautiful flowers in the Flower Dome. Not only are the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest places worthy of visiting, they’re also airconditioned spaces which make them a very welcome escape from the Singaporean heat. At night there’s a light show at the Supertree Grove that you really cannot miss. I’m usually not a big fan of light shows, but this one made me feel like I was in Disneyland.
Marina Bay Sands Skypark
If you’ve ever come across some images of Singapore, you will most likely be familiar with Marina Bay Sands. This huge, iconic hotel allows visitors to enjoy the view from it’s sky deck for 23 SGD, so we headed over there an hour before sunset. A beer costs a whooping 14 SGD but the view is priceless. Watching the day turn into night whilst looking out on the Singaporean Skyline really reminded me of New York, one of my favorite cities in the world.
Klapstar Boutique Hotel
During my three days in Singapore I stayed at Klapstar Boutique and I couldn’t have wished for better accommodation. I felt right at home in the spacious 55m2 suite, and as soon as I saw the deep soaking tub I jumped straight in. Ahhh! What a relief after 16+ hours of traveling. The hotel was centrally located, close to a metro station and with a mall nearby. Chinatown was only 10 minutes by foot, and by taking a taxi or Uber I was in Gardens by the Bay within 5 minutes. At the end of the day I relaxed at my private patio and due to the hot hot hot Singapore days I jumped under the rain shower at least two times a day. The people at reception were the sweetest and most helpful people (especially Nurul) I have come across during my stay in Singapore, and I hope one day I will return to this quiet, beautiful hotel.
Some practical info.
– One Singapore Dollar (SGD) equals 0,63 Euro or or 0,72 USD.
– From Changi Airport you can take the taxi, metro or a shuttle bus (9 SGD) to your hotel or hostel.
– A three day metro card costs you 30 SGD. If you return the card when you leave, you get 10 SGD back.
– Singaporeans speak English, or ‘Singlish‘. For my MA English Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam I wrote a paper on Singlish. Should you be interested in reading it then you can find it *here*.
In only a few days, Singapore has surprised me in so many ways possible. You can really tell you’re in South East Asia, but the city is clean, everything is so well organized and the people all speak English fluently. I know for sure that I will be back!
Disclaimer: Klapstar Boutique Hotel sponsored my stay in Singapore, however, all opinions are 100% mine, and I absolutely loved this place.