Hear about travel to the island, city, and country of Singapore as the Amateur Traveler talks to Ashley Hall who lives there.
Ashley says of his adopted home, “apparently now It’s the 5th most visited city in the world. Lots of people are interested in it right now. What’s put it at the top of people’s minds, especially in the U.S., is the film out called “Crazy Rich Asians”, the first film out with an all-Asian cast and it’s set in Singapore. It’s by an author who lived here. It’s a great book to read as well. It has got a lot of people interested in the architecture. It’s a super modern city. I fell in love with it. People think of the Marina Bay Sands which is a futuristic hotel in a reclaimed part of the town. It’s a super modern and accessible way to enjoy Asia.”
Singapore is very near to the equator so Ashely describes an itinerary that takes into account that we may not want to be out during the heat of the middle of the day.
He starts us by the Marina Bay Sands at the large indoor gardens of the Gardens by the Bay. Here there are both a large flower garden and a large cloud forest with multiple floors and waterfalls. It has great views of the city. He takes us from there to the tree walks in the artificial trees outside. All of this and the Marina Bay Sands were built since 2008.
We then go to a Hawker Centre which is where you can get food from a number of different food vendors. They are a Singapore tradition. It was the food that attracted Ashley to Singapore. “There’s a saying that if you throw chopsticks in the air it will probably land in something eatable”. Then stay in the area at night to a rooftop bar to watch the laser light show.
The second day he recommends we start with a water taxi from one of the quays of Singapore and then head to Chinatown. In Chinatown, he recommends a stop at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and a stop at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple (Hindu) also in Chinatown. In Chinatown, you can also find a hawker stall, Liao Fan Hawker Chan, which is the cheapest Michelin-star restaurant. “It is exceptional simple food.” In the afternoon Ashley sends us to Little India where we can do some shopping, but there is also great Indian food at the hawker center. A 3rd part of town that he likes is centered around a mosque and is where Middle Eastern traders settled.
You can learn more about the Peranakan culture, and the mixed Singapore culture at the Peranakan Museum. Peranakan food is fusion cuisine.
Early in the morning or late in the afternoon, you should see the botanic gardens which are a UNESCO World Heritage site, one of only 3 gardens in the world to be so honored. Many free concerts are performed in the gardens. There is an orchid garden there we a separate admission.
If you have more time you might consider going to the resort island of Sentosa. There is an aquarium there and a fairly compact Universal Studios theme park. There are also a couple of beach clubs there. The horizon will be filled with ships in the busy shipping lanes.
One of the premier attractions is the Night Safari at the zoo. You can hop on a tour bus and see the animals at night.
We talk about more neighborhoods, the Singapore Grand Prix, and some dishes you should order. Singapore has more to offer even than it did a decade ago. It is an interesting destination and also a destination with great connections to the rest of Southeast Asia. Listen to this episode to see if maybe your trip to the area should start in Singapore.
Crazy Rich Asians
Marina Bay Sands
Gardens by the Bay
Lau Pa Sat Food Hawker Centre
the Quays of Singapore
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Liao Fan Hawker Chan
Little India, Singapore
Night Safari – Wildlife Reserves Singapore
Asian Civilisations Museum
From Third World to First: The Singapore Story – 1965-2000
No Signboard Seafood
Walking tour in Tiong Bahru
Haw Par Villa
Henderson Waves Bridge
Kaya Toast with Half-boiled Eggs
Deep Fried Tower of Egg and Tofu
Singapore Grand Prix
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, Singapore
New Majestic Hotel, Singapore
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