‘Make your own Singapore’

Chinatown. Arab Street. Little India. Yes, ladies & gentlemen, the place is none other than the melting pot of diverse cultures, the city-state of Singapore. Located on the banks of the historic Singapore river, this island city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South East Asia. Apart from the beautiful locales, great shopping options and a wonderful nightlife, what makes Singapore a unique place is the multi-cultural experience that it offers due to its diverse makeup. Singapore comprises, primarily of Chinese, Indians and the Malays and therefore has a very cosmopolitan feel to it.

In terms of infrastructure and amenities, Singapore is a very well developed city. It has a strong public transport system and cabs are also affordable. There are many cheap and comfortable living options available. Further, it is quite safe, particularly for women and one can comfortably roam around streets even in the wee hours of the morning. As far as climate is concerned, it is generally neither very hot nor very cold in Singapore except it tends to be quite humid. Also, it rains quite frequently, often without any warning. So, as a tip, one must keep an umbrella handy.

The best thing about Singapore is that it has a lot of variety that provides one with a lot of options to choose from. So for those who love art and history, there are many museums to choose from like National Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore Philatelic Museum etc. The durian-shaped Esplanade is a performing arts centre, which provides a wide range of programmes from concerts to ballets to theatre performances, which provides an opportunity to engage with local arts and culture. Nature lovers can explore the Jurong Bird Park – which has about 4600 birds from more than three hundred different species. Apart from that there is the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari where animals are kept in a natural environment without any man-made barriers. To get a truly oriental experience, one could visit “ethnic neighborhoods” like Arab Street, China Town, Little India which stand as testimonials to the lives and cultures of different ethnic groups in Singapore and are ideal to get a taste of their authentic cuisine.

Shoppers can choose from Orchard Road that houses most of the major international brands orBugis Street that is ideal for street shopping or shopping centres all across the city. Shoppoholics should definitely not miss VivoCity which is the largest shopping centre in the city or the 24-hour Mustafa Shopping Centre in Little India.  Apart from normal shopping tourists can also pick up affordable mementos that are available almost all over the city.

The island city that it is, Singapore also offers short river cruises across the three main quays – Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and the Robertson Quay. Boat Quay and Clarke Quay also have some of the best pubs and clubs of Singapore, which make them very happening nightspots.

For those who would like to have a bird’s eye view of the Singaporean skyline, Singapore flyer (similar to the London Eye) and the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark would be ideal explorations.

And finally, no matter what one’s interests are, no tourist can afford to return from Singapore without visiting the ultimate tourist attraction – the Sentosa Island. Sentosa again has several options that one can explore depending on ones likes or dislikes, but some mustvisit places include the three beaches – Palawan, Siloso,Tanjong. Apart from the beaches one can visit Underwater World – an underwater aquarium, Tiger Sky Tower – Singapore’s tallest observatory tower, Fort Siloso- a restored coastal artillery fort and the much-acclaimed Universal Studios. Interestingly, Palawan Beach is located at the southern most point of continent Asia that totally makes it worth a visit.

As far as the cuisine is concerned, it is truly reflective of the cultural diversity as different options are easily available in food courts and hawker centres. One has to have the sea food- the prawns, crabs, squids, octopuses and the many other delicious options. Indian, halal or any other taste specific food is also not hard to find. Singapore also houses most of the international fast food chains like KFC, McDonalds etc.

In my opinion because of the diverse experiences that Singapore can provide, the SingaporeTourism Board has rightly called upon tourists to make their own Singapore’.

Sarah Zia