Singapore made me realise that I have an opinion about how effective a government should be. It should be effective enough to make jaywalking unnecessary, but not enough to care to enforce an anti-jaywalking rule, and that’s all I have to say about that.
On the first night I went to an area near my hostel that looked pretty nice in search of food. I opened one of the menus, laughed at the price, the price laughed back at me, and I went in search of the cheapest street food I could find.
I spent the rest of my time here fleeing at the sight of Michelin stars and making the most of the all day free toast my hostel offered.
Like the game I had played back in the Balkans, where I tried to find a place that would take my Romanian money, I had been trying to change my Bhutanese money for a while and finally met with success in Singapore. The money changer happily gave me a terrible rate, correctly assuming that I was tired of looking.
When I arrived in Singapore, I dropped my stuff at my hostel and immediately went looking for a cafe. I ended up at Punch cafe, where the staff were awesome. I immediately became friends with a guy named Ayie who offered to take me around the next day after he finished work.
While waiting for Ayie to be free, and after making the clever observation that the subway both cost money and was underground, I decided to walk around the city myself.
I did a circuit of the city that inevitably brought me to the Helix Bridge and Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
Singapore was a very cool, expensive, and safe city to visit.
One thing I loved about Singapore was how well nature is incorporated into the city. Even in front if this mega hotel you can find water lilies.
Having seen a good amount, and having walked more than I intended, I went back to my hostel to let the sweat dry before heading out again.
I went to the cafe just before 6 to meet Ayie, and we went to a part of town I hadn’t already seen for dinner.
We then went to the bay area to see the lights of the city at night, and because I hadn’t yet seen the Merlion, which is the symbol of Singapore. (Singapura = Lion City).
The whole hotel complex across the bay is actually Singapore’s contribution to global defence. The building that looks like a catcher’s glove is to protect the earth from another meteorite providing it lands in that exact spot, and the hotel comes fully equipped with lasers.
Thank you, Singapore.
With a new friend and a lot to explore, Singapore was already going quite well. Ayie was also a big fan of coffee, so we had a lot to talk about.
The next day I checked out the Asian Civilizations Museum, which had the contents of a shipwreck on display.
If you are looking for neat ways to furnish your opium den, then look no further than this beautiful Chinese opium bed, 1875 edition.
When I was very young my mom got me an Indonesian shadow puppet, and I have no idea why. There were some in the museum, and I must say it was nice to get reacquainted with my childhood nightmares.
Cool museum though.
In the Chinatown district there is a Buddhist temple that houses a tooth relic of the Buddha. It is aptly named the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It was a short walk from my hostel, past a Hindu temple and a mosque.
From here I took the metro to the Botanic Gardens.
There was a nice rainforest section with some giant trees and a bunch of squirrels jumping wildly between them.
There was an orchid garden as well, but at this point my legs hurt way too much and I was ready to call it a day.
There was one more place in Singapore that I absolutely had to visit before I left, and that was the Gardens by the Bay.
If gold really does grow naturally in tree form here then I understand how people can afford to live in Singapore.
From the metro station I approached the gardens starting at the Supertree Grove.
The supertrees are vertical gardens that both collect rainwater and harness solar power. Beyond them is the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.
The Flower Dome had both an autumn display and a wooden dragon, so I felt that all of my needs were met.
I was very curious about my final stop, the Cloud Forest. When you walk in you are immediately faced with a waterfall from the central Cloud Mountain.
It felt like a tropical rainforest inside, and there were messages about conservation and the importance of real cloud forests in the world. There was also a LEGO model.
After taking an elevator up the mountain, I was able to meander down the path with a view of the sunset over the city.
I wasn’t particularly amazed by the Flower Dome, but I liked the Cloud Forest and would very much recommend going up for sunset, it was beautiful.
I decided to walk back to my hostel by way of the Helix Bridge. It was a beautiful evening.
Earlier that day I suddenly decided that I had gone too long without playing piano, so I went on a mission to find a public one. I found one under a pedestrian bridge and happily played for a while. A Dutch girl then approached me and asked if I could play anything for her to sing to. We ended up playing some Adele and Riptide by Vance Joy. It was a fun afternoon!
The only draw back with the piano is that for some reason the decision was made to put two pianos side by side. There’s no better way to get shamed off your piano than if you are playing pop and someone waltzes up to the piano next to you and starts playing Rachmaninoff.
On my final day I tried to take it easy, by which I mean I drank more coffee but somehow walked the same amount.
When I was having dinner, a bartender gave me a free vodka sour because we had gotten talking about Canada and he didn’t seem to be busy. I realised then that Singapore is indeed affordable when you get things for free.
I spent my final afternoon in the famous Singapore Changi Airport trying to defeat my sister in Boggle, and trying to spend my $4 in leftover coins unsuccessfully before flying to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Being just a few degrees above, Singapore is the closest I’ve been to the Equator as I’ve never crossed it before. After months of perpetual summer I’ve come to realise that I prefer the colder weather. Not Canada cold, but cold.
I was surprised that after almost a week here there was still more I wanted to do and see. Singapore was certainly worth the visit.