Singapore: You have simultaneously satisfied and shocked both my senses and expectations. You are the ultimate city, catering to the crowded masses that populate your streets, never faultering in your readily available consumer services. You are overwhelming, crowded, hectic, alive: and I love you…
I never had any interest in going to Singapore- it simply seemed to me a smog filled, over populated, consumerist society with business on the go and money on the brain. Well… I was right! But that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable! I had a really fun and surprisingly cheap couple of days in Singapore and I think everyone can have the same experience…
I began my trip by scouring the internet to find the cheapest hostel…and came upon Fernloft Little India as one of the more inexpensive yet still commendable hostels- at $13 a night, in an 18 bed dorm, I was not disappointed. The hostel was lovely, with great facilities, helpful staff, and boasts an actual coffee machine that makes your drink of choice for you! And Peanut Butter! I tell you every morning here got off to a good start!
My first day in Singapore (really an evening as I arrived at 5pm) consisted of a shopping mall, Starbucks, and the cinema. A really nice night! The shopping mall kept me entertained with its shops for a couple hours (and I got a top I’m in love with- for only $33), starbucks was…well…starbucks (aka writing time) and I went to see Argo, directed by Ben Afleck (great film) for the very reasonable price of $6! See! Singapore so far: not as expensive as I feared…
The next day I headed to the area surrounding my accommodation area: Little India.
I followed the recommended route in my map and ended up really enjoying myself! The highlight was definitely Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, in which I arrived mid-service, took part in the blessings, got some great pictures, and admired the interesting religious monuments.
I truly felt like I was in India! Definitely worth a visit! I then began the long walk down to the waterfront, heading for the Theatres on the Bay, in the hopes of booking a ticket to a show that night. The walk was somewhat long but totally feasible (especially if you love walking like me) and I was really able to immerse myself into the city, take the opportunity to really study my surroundings, and, most of all, appreciate its architecture.
(Raffles Hotel, where the Singapore Sling was invented!)
Singapore’s architecture blew me away. Every building is seemingly custom designed to the service that it provides. I stumbled upon the Arts College and was captivated by it! Wouldn’t you love to go to a school like this!?
And when I finally got down to the waterfront check out this beautiful scene surrounding me!
I ambled through a couple shopping malls along the way (There are hardly any shops on the streets in Singapore, apart from Orchard Road which is littered with expensive brands like LV, Armani and Gucci), and found even the shopping malls to be a work of art, complete with skating rinks, and low and behold, a Theatre!
I didn’t end up seeing Jersey Boys (MUCH as I wanted to the tickets were just too expensive) but I did find Theatres on the Bay and booked a ticket to see The Ramayana that night, which was playing as part of the Indian Festival of the Arts. Fabulous show!
My second day in Singapore started off with a trip to the post office to unload some of the (too) many clothes I packed! I was expecting the worst…even with choosing the slowest form of transport (sea mail) but the total cost ended up being only $15!! I couldn’t believe it! Singapore was continuing to surprise me!
I then headed to Orchard Road (mentioned before) to check out the glitzy and glamorous shopping that Singapore is famous for. It was intended purely as a window shopping excursion but I ended up finding some of my usual haunts (H&M, Zara, Topshop, Forever 21, New Look, Pull and Bear) and even ended up doing a little purchasing! FYI- Singapore definitely has low-mid range shopping options as well as top of the line. You can eat quite cheaply as well- I stuck mainly to Subway and food courts throughout my three days and spent an average of $4 a meal. Not a bad budget for one of the most expensive countries in the world!
I did honestly feel however that I was in The Capital (Hunger Games fans will appreciate!) and that I was some lowly District 12 wanderer (ok maybe not quite District 12…lets say District 6…) who didn’t belong. The skyline of the city was so structured and modern, the people were robotic in their crowded maneuvers, and the juxtaposition of coming from poorer countries in South East Asia, like Cambodia or Vietnam, to Singapore was drastic. I also got caught in the most violent and impressive storm i have ever witnessed in person. The rain suddenly came POUNDING down on the pavement and the lighting and thunder seemed to be vying each other for top spot. I was afraid I might get struck! The whole thing seemed to be a cruel joke on the part of Seneca Crane.
I had a strange feeling the whole time I was in Singapore, as if I was constantly being watched. It was like being in a slightly futuristic world (The ATM’s were touch screen and the Metro had light up maps), where appearances and bank accounts count for everything. Money seems to be the main interest for Singaporeans, and shopping simultaneously goes with this, thus you are constantly surrounded by glamour Kings and Queens. Check out some of these locals I snapped:
( This could be a scene out of Asian Mean Girls!)
That said Singapore is a dynamic, multi-racial, culture filled country that offers anything you desire in terms of food, shopping, entertainment, culture, education, transport and, of course, shopping. It is clean, safe, easy to get around, breathtaking in many ways, and certainly never dull. I had a great time and would love to go back someday- AFTER I’ve made my millions!