Singapore, Lion City

Ahh, Singapore! The country is so many things at once that it feels a little odd, but not in a negative way. In fact, I feel as though I already belong to this city; so many things are familiar and even the aspects that aren’t familiar still seem so normal.

Enough with these vague statements. Let’s get on with what I did in Singapore and hopefully you can better understand what I mean by the end!

Outfit | Food | Sites | Architecture | People | Miscellaneous | Takeaway

The Outfit

The humidity, not necessarily the heat, was my worst enemy in Singapore. There is no nice way to dress when you’re sweating from every inch of your body because of the humidity. I mean there is definitely a way, and most Singaporeans do this beautifully (“you’re wearing nice dress pants AND a crisp long-sleeved dress shirt???), but I did not discover it for myself, as you can see by this ragtag set of #ootds.

ootd

ootd2

The Food

As with every other aspect of Singapore, the food here takes influences from different cultures including Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Western.

My favourite place(s) to eat are the Hawker/Food Centres that are found all over the city. Armed with a couple $2 bills, I made my way to at least one Hawker Centre every day to eat some local cuisine. The food was seriously so delicious, I completely forgot to take pictures of all the times I had food there (except for my very first experience)! Protip: Find the kiosk with the longest line and get in it; there’s nothing more reassuring then when locals love the food!

Another favourite of mine is kaya toast and hot coffee. Though simple, it’s a definite must-try if you ever find yourself in Singapore.

Other then that, Western food runs amok in Singapore, which isn’t a surprise! If you’re not an adventurous eater, there are many internationally recognisable restaurants like McDonald’s, Starbucks, Subway, and Burger King/Hungry Jacks.

Not Western, but definitely Westernised

The Sites

I visited so many sites in Singapore, this is probably gonna be easier in list form!

Merlion Park

After getting off at Raffles Place MRT station, I made my way down the Singapore river and ended up Marlion Park, where the famous merlion statue is situated. Though lions have never existed in Singapore (a fun fact that everyone keeps telling me), the city is nonetheless known as the Lion City and their chosen national personification: an animal that is half lion, half fish.

The statues themselves (there are two!) are beautifully geometric and almost completely white. The taller statue spouts water into the river while the smaller (cub) merlion’s trickle falls into a pool.

Sweet af view of the city from Merlion Park!
Sweet af view of the city from Merlion Park!

mer2

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

I’m not gonna lie, I actually can’t get over how odd this building is. I haven’t even decided if I like it or not. There’s just no reason a building needs to be shaped like that and, frankly, it’s annoying me. It’s definitely iconic, though.

However, the interior of the building is stunning! An atrium runs the full length of the three towers and includes giant glass walls, minimal white stone and light wood finishes, and lots of plants and sunlight!

~dreams~

Gardens by the Bay

The Gardens, located right across from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, is breathtakingly futuristic. From the way the plant garden is set up (kind of like an easily traversed jungle) to the towering “power plants” dotted through the gardens, this part of Singapore definitely stands out!

The Supertree Grove in the center is filled with “power plants”: vertical tree-shaped gardens that help harness the sun’s energy with the use of photovoltaic cells. They are also part of the garden’s cooling systems. Hanging from a few of the Supertrees is a suspended walkway, the OCBC Skyway, which lets you take in the gardens and the city from a cool perspective. FUN STORY: I forgot how truly terrified of heights I am and though the walkway isn’t that far off the ground, the wind did push it around a little, which freaked me tf out. 9.99/10, would recommend doing, though.

The Garden is also home to two conservatories: the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. I didn’t go inside because I’m poor af, but from what I could see and what I read, the conservatories aim to mimic different climates (semi-arid tropical regions in the Flower Dome and tropical mountain regions in the Cloud Forest) complete with the temperatures and flora. Both buildings have futuristic glass and steel exteriors.

Sometimes, Singapore doesn’t look real

Places of Worship

With over 5 million people and a multitude of cultures, there’s no surprise that there are many amazing examples of places of worship in Singapore. It took me hours and bottles upon bottles of water (hydration is KEY), but I walked to all the following places of worship in one day!

  • Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
  • Masjid Abdul Gafoor
  • Kwan Yin Thong Hood Cho Temple
  • Sri Krishnan Temple
  • Masjid Sultan
  • St. Joseph’s Church
  • Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
  • Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator
  • Sri Mariamman Temple
  • St. Andrew’s Cathedral
  • Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Though I was not able to enter most of these temples/churches (and even some of the ones I was able to enter didn’t allow pictures), the exteriors are amazing to see.

At the temples where people were actively worshiping, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe wash over me. The beautiful architecture and sculptures of deities on the inside were already beautiful, but the seeing the acts of worshiping take place completely overwhelmed me; I did not expect to be so moved by it. This was most notable at the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
Masjid Abdul Gafoor
Kwan Yin Thong Hood Cho Temple
Sri Krishnan Temple
Masjid Sultan
St. Joseph’s Church
Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator
Sri Mariamman Temple
St. Andrew’s Cathedral

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Sentosa Island

On my last full day in Singapore, my dad’s cousin took me to Sentosa Island, where we visited the Trick Eye Museum and the S.E.A. Aquarium. If you guys ever have a full day free in Singapore, I would definitely take the time to check out this island!

The Trick Eye Museum

Not expecting too much from this museum (the description in the brochure was vague af), I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had at this museum! Even my dad’s cousin had a great time!

This interactive museum combined classically famous paintings/painters/pieces of art/random scenes with hilariously perspectives that let you insert yourself into them. Honestly, this was such a cool novelty experience, I was almost giddy walking around the museum!

No illusions, I swear
S.E.A. Aquarium

I absolutely love aquariums because they show us parts of the earth that has been left wholly unexplored. The S.E.A. Aquarium also strives to educate visitors about conservation efforts and the importance of keeping our oceans clean and our waters livable.

The Architecture

Though dispersed with old temples and places of worship, the CBD of Singapore is comprised of ultra-modern highrises which, through the course of my exchange in Australia, I have come to appreciate. The skyscrapers are complete with gardens on the upper floors (both enclosed and open-air gardens), which add to the lush and green vibes that this city-state give off.

In fact, it’s astounding how much of the city is comprised of greenery, especially considering how little the island is.

this is such a quality picture… /sarcasm

The People

The people here are wonderful! There’s a huge mix of different asian ethnicities (Chinese, Malay, South Asian, Filipino, etc) and caucasians, namely British and North Americans. I spotted a large number of tourists as well (sporting their casual attire, backpacks, and maps!). The different cultures seem to be thriving and living in cohesion, from what I saw, so I’m stoked to see what the other days bring!

The Miscellaneous

I entered Singapore a selfie n00b (wow, how very 2000s of me) and left it a selfie KWEEN, thanks to #SelfieCoffee.

The Takeaways

  • Singapore is wonderful. There are so many things to do and explore here, despite it being such a small country.
  • The diversity found in Singaporean society is unbelievable. The way different cultures thrive side-by-side — being altered by one another but essentially staying unique — is mindbogglingly beautiful. As a third-culture/multi-culture person, I felt weirdly at home and familiar in a country I have never been to because of this.
  • The humidity in Singapore is no joke. Take care to hydrate yourself and seek AAALLLL THE AIR CONDITIONING. Shopping centres are a great source of cool air, hehe.
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