After two months in the Philippines, I felt like it was time for an injection of first-world (sur)realism. And Singapore delivered spades. I knew that this city was going to be special from the moment I landed at Changi airport. Tasteful decor, gentle classical music piped in from somewhere, immaculately curated inside gardens and water features, uber comfortable lounges. My backpack got dizzy doing laps on the baggage carousel while I dawdled around reading signs and trying out chairs, not wanting the experience to end. Airports normally represent a special kind of hell for me, but I think I could have happily curled up on the carpet in a corner and lodged at Changi for a week.
To think that Singapore is a small tropical island, little different to any of the others in the archipelagos around here. It has no resources, no hinterland, no water, no food bowl. And yet from nothing has sprung a global city set within a garden paradise, and a world leader in so many areas. All because Sir Raffles decided it was fortunately located to exploit the trade routes, dug in his colonial flag, and ear-marked it as a trading post. Singapore is a wonderful example of what a city can be. It’s well planned, well built, well funded, and everything works. It glitters.
My four days in Singapore were busy. I walked for miles and crammed in as much as I could from first light until well after dark. I left exhausted, but don’t feel that I even scratched the surface of what was on offer. I could spend a month in Singapore and still be gawping at the sights, wide-eyed and slack-jawed like a yokel from the sticks. I usually avoid cities, but I could move to this one tomorrow.
The super trees in the Gardens by the Bay. Mesmerizing by day…
..enchanting by night.
The Art-Science Museum. Mind-warping, computer generated flower gardens, wetlands, and waterfalls.
The Cloud Forest, a climate-matched, glass-eggshell biodome. Its man made mountain, waterfall and skywalks look very much like Jurassic Park before things got nasty.
The flower dome. The pigeon pair to the cloud forest and the world’s largest glasshouse. A staggering array of Gondwana plants and trees, as well as eye-popping wood carvings.
Fort Canning. The manicured parkland at the roof of the city. An easy place to get happily lost for hours.
The contrast between old and new is everywhere.
Thanks for the foresight Sir Raffles..