While Singapore might look like a small island country nestled quietly near the equator, it has a booming population of 5.3 million people and is abound with a mixing pot of culture, heritage, architecture, food, and religion. From the restless rush of neon in the city centre to the quiet, contemplative temples just beyond, there is much to take in. While cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong are more well-known to the western lexicon, Singapore is the vacation spot in Asia.
Gone are the days of the travel agent; luckily, in the age of globalization, there are many options for places to stay and explore in Singapore at the tips of your fingers. Newer companies looking to take advantage of young travellers like Airbnb or Hostelworld are always options, or there are an abundance of lovely 4 and 5-star hotels that are as affordable as a homestay or hostel, and often offer cash rewards and reimbursements for frequent customers. Many of them have English websites and are very accommodating towards westerners by employing English-speaking staff. However, there are perks to both sides. In staying in an Airbnb, for example, there is the opportunity to live like a local– in an apartment building, perhaps less centrally located. This gives a traveller the unique opportunity to wander through residential areas, collect groceries from local stalls and cook delicious Singaporean food. Hostels offer a unique opportunity to meet and mingle with fellow travellers if space or crowding is not an issue for you. Hotels, however, offer the safest and secure stay during your trip, and with that considered is by far the best value. The ability to have complete privacy is a factor, as well. Plus, there’s always the option of ordering room service!
Singapore is alive with many things for a traveller to explore. The wet markets are a must-see, and offer you an opportunity to witness the colourful offerings of street vendors, fruit and vegetable stalls, as well as meat, seafood, more exciting offerings (bullfrogs are a must see!), as well as gifts and clothing. Once you have seen and bought your fill of snacks and jewellery, take a stroll through the local temples, like the ornately decorated Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest temple in Singapore.
There are also a number of green spaces in the city, including the Singapore Botanical Gardens, boasting an orchid garden and primaeval rain forest. There is also the “Gardens by the Bay”, an old fixture of the Colonial District. Once you have taken in the city, the architecture, the temples, and the markets make time for some adventure. There are many day excursions available, such as ziplining on Sentosa Island. If all of that doesn’t interest you, then perhaps the thriving nightlife will; from ritzy cocktail bars, quiet wine bars, and glamorous dance clubs atop skyscrapers, whatever the speed you’re looking for, you’ll find in Singapore.
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