A country and a city in one, Singapore is a melting pot of people. With a huge population of Chinese, but also a lot of Malay, Indian, Indonesian and European people, this place is influenced by so many cultures. This translates in the architecture, the food, the way people dress and the way people treat each other.
With so many ancient cultures fading in, it’s amazing to see how futuristic this city is as well. Public transport is incredibly well arranged, the buildings and skyscrapers are true pieces of art, the city is clean and the people are absurdly friendly. Singapore could easily entertain you for a week, but even if you’re just flying through to other destinations it’s worth to spend a few days in this bustling city. So tag along with us through the different neighborhoods and their different characters.
Although maybe not as known as all the other neighborhoods of Singapore, this part is definitely a must see or the ideal place to stay in the city. Right in between the airport and downtown this part of Singapore is scattered with nice restaurants and bars. The neighborhood is well known for its beautiful typical Peranakan shophouses which you can find all around Koon Seng Road. If you’re looking for a typical bite to eat, stop by at Katong Laksa. It’s quite straight forward, so only one choice of Laksa with shrimps (wouldn’t want it any other way) and about three choices of bao’s. Take a plastic seat on the pavement, enjoy your meal and watch all sorts of locals passing by.
Hotel Indigo Katong
If you’re looking for a place to stay, I can highly recommend Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong. It’s a beautiful boutique style hotel with all the facilities you can wish for. Nice big and bright rooms full of color and a bathroom with quite the view. However, their rooftop pool and gym are the absolute winner here. I don’t know about you guys, but I seriously had to get adjusted to this 34 degrees all day every day. Lounging at that pool with those incredible views was the perfect treat after a day strolling around the city.
The moment you enter Little India you’ll notice it. The smells, the sounds, the sights. It smells like curries everywhere, Bollywood songs play out of every single shop and the streets are filled with color. Little India is covered with beautiful Hindu temples that you can visit as long as you conform to the dressing standards (always carry a scarf with you, comes in very handy here!). Just walk around in the area and you’ll stumble upon quite a few colorful treasures. You’ll probably come across a lot of cool street art as well. Local artists have made plenty of murals influenced by their Indian roots. It really is a feast to walk around here with so much going on.
When visiting the Arab Quarter you gotta go to Haji Lane. This street (and the surrounding streets) is covered with street art while cute little cafes and shops fill the area. The contrast between the skyscrapers, the mosques and the busy little streets in the Arab Quarter is pretty cool and so typical for Singapore.
Normally I’m not a huge fan of all the China Towns in the world, but this one is definitely a must see. Go straight to Food Street and spend hours here just trying everything out. At the end of Food St. there’s the well known Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle “hawker”. Although not really a hawker anymore, this one star Michelin restaurant serves you $3 meals that will make you drool. If you’re done with eating, have a walk around and visit the beautiful Buddha tooth relic temple or stroll around the market selling a lot of doubtful curios.
Downtown Singapore is a city on its own. The immense skyscrapers with the most original architecture will blow your mind. One of the masterpieces is the ION Orchid shopping mall. The entrance alone is impressive enough to pay this mall a visit. If you do wanna shop in Singapore this whole area is your mecca. Any brand you can think of has it’s shop here.
Marina Bay Sands might be one of the most well known landmarks of Singapore and not without reason. Not only is the hotel recognizable from almost any corner of the city due to its unique architecture, also the swimming pool is a one of a kind. Unfortunately this is only for hotel guests who happen to pay a minimum of a 285 bucks, but thanks to the hotel the “commoners” can have a taste of those stunning views as well. For only 20SGD including a drink you can visit the bar on the roof and enjoy the incredible 360 views of Singapore. If the weather is nice, do this during sunset. I promise you it will blow you away!
One of a kind Singapore
There are not many cities like Singapore. I absolutely loved all the different influences from so many cultures around the world, blending in so perfectly. The kindness of people here was noteworthy, and so was the greenness of the city. Do expect to pay European prices or more, cause Singapore isn’t cheap like the other South East Asian countries. But even taken this into account, I gotta say, Singapore is a city you gotta visit at least once in your life. Be inspired and prepare for eating lots and lots of food!
Photos by: M. Barends & J. Roeland©