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First Impressions of Singapore … As We Saw It

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After spending a weekend in the country, here are our first impressions of Singapore.

The People

Singapore is, hands down, the most cosmopolitan city we have ever been to. Every shade of skin and shape of eye can be seen on the streets. The three largest ethnic groups are Malay, Chinese and Indian, and we enjoyed seeing the different clothing styles and shops in their respective Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu neighborhoods. And speaking English is no problem!

The Country

Oh, my goodness, can you say clean? Especially in contrast to litter-strewn Bali, where we'd just been, this place is pristine! People get fined for littering … and with all the eco-consciousness in the world, what's wrong with that?

High-rise glass buildings and traditional buildings share real estate in this city-state, each neighborhood with its distinctive architecture, restaurants and aromas.

Its infrastructure is newer and therefore better than what we had in the States. Dan was impressed by how easy it is to find any the state-of-the-art technology one could want andlater regretted that we decided not to buy an amazing camera that we saw. Singapore is actually a collection of islands, some more inhabited than others, so if big city life doesn't appeal to you, there still are plenty of spots where you can be happy. Looking at the map, I'm shocked at how many parks there are!

The Food

With such a melange of cultures it's no surprise that Singapore has so many different cuisines. The first night we arrived in Singapore we ate at an Indian vegetarian restaurant with food so flavorful that we never missed the meat. The next day we walked through Chinatown and were amazed by the selection in the grocery store (bird's nests, anyone?). You name it, it's probably for sale somewhere in the city. (Except for chewing gum, but we won't go there.)

What we loved

  • They speak English.
  • The booming economy.
  • It's really, really clean.
  • The mix of people and cultures.
  • It's pretty and has lots of green space.
  • The state-of-the-art infrastructure.
  • It's a hub for getting to other Asian destinations easily.
  • Little India.
  • Sharing a huge meal with friends at the vegetarian restaurant.
  • Chinatown.
  • Taking a cruise on the river.
  • Riding the Singapore Flyer.
  • Taking a Hop On-Hop Off bus tour.
  • Orchard Road.
  • Getting a pedicure from the doctor fish.
  • Police actually take their jobs seriously.
  • There's lots to do.
  • Malls dedicated to electronics.
  • Singapore has the newest gadgets.

What we didn't like

  • Bring your wallet, it's expensive.
  • You need a passport to drive very far. Because, if you drive far in such a small country, you'll end up in Malaysia!
  • They don't sell chewing gum. (Kidding. Bet you didn't know that Kinder Eggs aren't allowed in the U.S.)

What we wish we could have seen

  • Sentosa Island.
  • Sultan Mosque.
  • Singapore Botanic Gardens.
  • Singapore Zoo.
  • Singapore Night Safari.
  • Chinatown Heritage Center.
  • Raffles Hotel and sat at its bar to enjoy a Singapore Sling at its birthplace.
  • The downtown's residential suburbs.
  • And did we say Sentosa Island?

Worth a visit

Without a doubt, for so many reasons. See above.

Could we live there?

Definitely. On our livability scale of 0 to 5, we'd give it a 5.

Thoughts

Techies will think they've died and gone to heaven.

Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages has inspired her to create As We Saw It with her husband Dan, a professional photographer. Her goal is to make travel easier for others and to offer a brief escape to another land.

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