It is not unusual for me to go on a city break to a big city on another continent. Many are amazed at this attitude of mine. For them, on the one hand, it is a city break when they go to a big city for a couple of days on their own continent, and on the other hand, they tell me that if they are already going somewhere so far that they want to be there for a very long time.
I like to travel very often, but I don’t like to be away from home many days. A city break in a city on distant continents is something very attractive to me. I have already been 4 days in Rio de Janeiro, four days in New York, four days in Hong Kong, and four days in Montreal. And now I’m going to Singapore for four days!
Flying business class to Singapore
This time I decided to pamper myself and fly in the Business Class, of an Asian carrier, and to fly one of those companies high ranked on Skytrax. I flew from Frankfurt to Singapore via Seoul on Asiana Airlines, which is one of only ten 5-star airlines on Skytrax. The experience of flying in the Business Class, long haul, an Asian carrier was exceptional!
I was transferring via Seoul Incheon airport, and the transfer experience was also very enjoyable for me. I am a big fan of aviation, so flying itself and the airport experience is an integral part of my trip. For the majority of other people, it is tiring and they can’t wait to finish that part of their journey as soon as possible. However, I enjoy every moment. From entering the departure airport building to exiting the airport building of the city I am coming to.
Upon landing at Singapore’s Changi Airport, I completed customs formalities, and I was already taking the shuttle bus to my hotel. Changi Airport is connected to the center also by subway. Driving towards my hotel, I couldn’t help but marvel at how nicely landscaped and clean the city was. Not a single piece of paper on the street! Endless green areas, it seemed to me as if Singapore was one big park! Then I read somewhere that this city is called Garden City.
Singapore – rich and modern city
Also, I immediately realized that this is a very rich, civilized, developed, modern city and it was quite clear to me that I made a great move by choosing Singapore for my long-haul city break.
As I landed very late in Singapore, I went straight to the hotel and tomorrow I would go sightseeing. I arrived very late at the hotel, around midnight, fell asleep immediately, and had a great night of rest. I woke up fresh, rested, happy, and ready to set out to discover Singapore.
When I went outside in the morning, the first thing I noticed was the extreme heat and humidity. I was in Singapore in August. I knew the temperatures were high. That was good because I didn’t need to have a big suitcase.
My first destination in Singapore was Gardens by the bay. I came by subway which is very clean, extensive, and modern. I got familiarized with Singaporean money, although I used cards all the time. Cards are accepted everywhere, even for the smallest amounts.
Garden City has become the main attraction of Singapore, it was built only recently. The Singapore authorities have developed this neglected part of the city and made it a real attraction. Everything is in the green, and that was the goal of this project. To make the city garden in the garden city, that is how they officially promoted this development project. You also have great views of the Strait of Malacca, the world’s most important waterway.
First I went to the so-called “Supertree grove“. This is a very unusual park. These are metal structures in the shape of trees and on them, there is an incredible promenade, the so-called “Skywalk“. After you buy a ticket, you go up to the Skywalk. From this promenade you have a view of the entire Malacca Strait, but also of the whole of Singapore. This is truly an impressive experience!
In addition, at the foot of these tree-shaped structures, there is a huge green area, a true oasis of greenery and peace, with beautifully landscaped streams, lakes, vegetation, gardens. A little further on, also in the Gardens by the Bay, there are two large domes. One is called “Cloud forest” and the other “Flower dome”. You should definitely visit both!
“Cloud forest” is an enormous dome in which you are introduced to the rainforest. Fog, dense vegetation, a waterfall, streams, a hill, and all that in this covered space! On the hill they built in this dome there is also “Skywalk”, a promenade at the top of the hill, from which you have amazing views downwards. The waterfall they made in this enclosed space is also unbelievable.
In the other dome, which is called the “Flower dome”, everything shines with different colors of flowers. This hall is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest greenhouse on earth! There are flowers and plants from various parts of the world in the Flower Dome.
It’s particularly attractive to come to the Gardens by the Bay in the evening because the park is lit so beautifully at night. The park authorities actually made an entire light show. So don’t be surprised when you see it in the evening, and especially on weekends when thousands and thousands of people come out of the Gardens by the Bay subway station, to enjoy the spectacle of the lights of this park.
You can easily spend the whole day here, there is everything, snack bars, cafes, everything! In addition, it is worth taking a walk to the Malacca Strait, as it is very exciting to watch the anchored tankers, cargo ships, and other ships passing through this strait, and which use the port of Singapore for services. Singapore port is one of the busiest in the whole world. Looking at ships, you only imagine cities, countries, continents where they all are coming from or going to.
Families come with small children to this part of the park, right by the sea, and release kites! Such a beautiful activity, unfortunately completely forgotten in the western world! Who would have thought that the small city-state of Singapore has so many parks and green spaces! No wonder they call their city “Garden City”.
You will need all day to visit the Gardens by the Bay
Night life in Singapore
In the evening I went to the world-famous Singapore huge open-air restaurant, officially called Lau Pa Sat. This was an experience in itself, and anyone who comes to Singapore should come here in the evening. In the evening, when the sun goes down, this street becomes a fenced-off pedestrian zone, and a large number of small restaurants and snack bars set up their tables.
The table area is really huge! All these snack bars have menus that they offer to countless tourists, but also to the locals, with their specialties. Namely, every diner tries to attract guests, the competition is big because there are simply a lot of these small diners.
The most famous specialty everyone who comes to Singapore tries without exception is Singapore satay. These are marinated chicken, beef, or pork grilles skewers.
By the way, Singapore is quite simply put a gourmet’s paradise. There is nothing missing from world cuisine, but the focus is on Asian cuisines. As Singapore’s population is made up of Chinese, Malays, and Indians, we can only imagine what a wealth of flavors and aromas this city offers. This market turned into a huge night restaurant, offers us a glimpse.
We had Singapore satay that evening, but also many other delicacies, including Indian specialties.
The evening out in Singapore got deep into the night. Then went back to my hotel. Tomorrow is the further discovery of Singapore. Everything I experienced and saw today was great. I’m really excited about this city.
Marina Bay Sands is a story unto itself. It is a very expensive hotel with over 2000 rooms, but it is also a large shopping center with canals inside the shopping center where you can sail in gondolas. For me, neither the hotel nor the shopping center was as interesting as going to the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, which offers the best views of the entire city and the Malacca Strait.
The swimming pool located on the roof is yet another story in itself. It is expensive to swim in that swimming pool with just amazing views of the city, but you can see the swimming pool for free, over the fence.
Marina Bay Sands is located in the Marina Bay area, a major urban project of Singapore from the early twenty-first century. With this project, the city-state of Singapore decided to get a much larger area, by reclaiming land. They envisioned it as a new city center. So everything looks kind of sterile, but by no means boring. This part of the city, where the financial center is located today, is very attractive.
Merlion – symbol of Singapore
There is also the famous statue of Merlion here. It is a mythical creature, half fish, half-lion, and has become a symbol of Singapore and Singaporeans. Nothing is very old in Singapore, nor is this mascot. It was not until the late twentieth century that it became a hallmark of Singapore. The Singaporeans opted for the lion, although they are known to us as one of the Asian tigers. So I remember we learned in school, Asian countries that did wonders in their rapid development after World War II. One of those countries is Singapore.
Coming to Marina Bay is a pure pleasure. You cannot but feel civilized and comfortable. Everything is clean, very well organized, at the same time quiet, and there are a lot of people. Everywhere in Marina Bay, there are restaurants and cafes, there are places to sit. Everything is easily accessible, very well connected. The promenade around the entire bay between Marina Bay and Marina Bay Sands is exceptional, the views are spectacular.
Walking the way from Marina Bay to Marina Sands Bay, the city administration set up a sign that they had hoped would become a sign of recognition of Singapore, but I don’t think they succeeded in it. It is about the sign “Dream“. Still, it’s really nice to get to this sign and take a photo. The views are of the entire Marina Bay.
Going out in the evenings is great in Singapore, and one thing I especially like in big cities are the roof-top cafes and restaurant. So in Singapore in the evening I went to the rooftop bar, directly opposite the parliament building of this city-state. The view of the parliament located on a small lake is very beautiful. The evenings are very pleasant because it is no longer as hot as during the day.
Singapore has its Chinatown although I was surprised by that because 70% of Singapore’s population are Chinese anyway. But that’s what they call this neighborhood. Chinatown is very interesting to foreigners, and to the locals alike, who come here for cheap things. In fact, Chinatown is like one big market with many Chinese restaurants.
As a big fan of the sitcom Friends, I was surprised when I came across the cafe “Central Perk” in Singapore. An exact replica of the cult cafe in Friends, with all the details. Of course, I went to that coffee shop. I recommend to all fans of Friends who happen to be in Singapore to definitely go to this cafe. Just hope that the couch will be free.
I have already mentioned that this city is a very interesting mix of different cultures, living in such one harmony that we would immediately wish it for the whole world. This mix is also reflected in the culinary richness, and if you went out to another restaurant for dinner in Singapore every day, you would not even remotely discover all the richness of gourmet delights in this city.
I ran into one Korean restaurant, and as I really like Korean barbecue, I couldn’t resist, so I had dinner there.
The population of Singapore is made up of 70% Chinese, 20% Malays and 10% Indians. To this must be added a very large number of guest-workers from all over Asia who live and work here, but also a very large number of Europeans, and possibly Australians living in Singapore.
A global city
Indeed, Singapore has become one of the most important financial centers in the world. In addition to being one of the most important financial centers, Singapore has taken advantage of its maritime geographical position and developed the busiest cargo ship port in the world. When we add that the city has built one of the busiest and most impressive airports in the world, Changi, it is not surprising that this is one of the most global cities in the world.
We saw breathtaking scenes of the Malacca Strait. So many cargo ships, tankers, are either anchored or passing through the bay. When you come to Singapore and see this scene, it is suddenly quite clear to you why every other seaman has a boarding or disembarking his ship right in Singapore!
Changi Airport is to be desired! It is so great that no matter how many hours you have to spend in it, you never have enough of it! So many amenities, facilities that it’s very hard to believe. For example, I flew to Singapore with a transfer to Incheon in Seoul, but Incheon can’t even come close to being compared to Changi. Not just Incheon. I don’t know if any other airport can compare to Changi.
First of all, Changi is not only an airport but also a shopping mall. That shopping center is part of the airport, but once you pass the security check, you can no longer return to the shopping center. From Changi to downtown Singapore they built an entire promenade! Before you go to security and passport control, you will also see the famous “Jewel”. The waterfall inside the airport building itself is located in a rainforest setting, and the waterfall changes color. A real show!
Once you pass through the security check and passport control, new surprises await you. So much luxury, not only shops, restaurants, cafes, lounges, but also interior design! Changi Airport has magical corners of greenery, real little oases! My advice to you is to put aside many hours to enjoy this airport which is so much more than just an airport!
I flew with Asiana Airlines, a very good airline from South Korea. That means that I transferred in Seoul. Below are pictures from that memorable return. Let me repeat, for the first time I flew in the business class of an Asian carrier, on long-haul flights. An amazing experience! Also, to summarize: this four-day city break was a really good decision for me, and it only strengthened my love for city breaks in the big cities of other continents even more. I will absolutely go on trips like this again if I have the chance!