1. THE EASE OF TRANSPORTATION
Arrive at the airport and boom! You’re already at the MRT, the public train station. The same can be said for almost any location in the city as stations seem to be around every few corners. Such connectivity enabled us to explore many different corners of the city-state.
Fares are reasonably priced and trains arrive every 2-5 minutes! So no running through the stations necessary. Route maps are easy to comprehend (sorry NYC folks), but if you have any questions or need change, there are multiple attendants at each station.
2. FREE THINGS TO DO
Being from the DC area, we’re accustomed to free museum admissions and have to admit that we may have become a bit spoiled. Fortunately for us, Singapore has plenty of things to do that don’t cost a penny! Arguably the most popular and iconic is the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay or the nightly Spectra Light Show at Marina Bay Sands. The Singapore Botanic Gardens are absolutely beautiful and also absolutely free! There are numerous temples and mosques to be explored and miles of waterfront, tree covered trails to be strolled. Oh—and even WiFi is available throughout the city free of charge.
Yes, there are plenty of pay-to-enter exhibits and activities, but the same can be said for most cities. What sets Singapore apart is that they ensure their residents and visitors can all can enjoy themselves…for free!
3. THE CLEANLINESS
This city is clean—like crazy squeaky clean—which could be in part that the city enforces a no chewing gum policy, trash and recycling receptacles are everywhere, or maybe since smoking is banned in almost all public places. Sure those rules and practices help keep this city clean, but what stuck out to us were citizen actions. We felt people took pride in their city and wanted it to be clean. Smokers discarded their butts in provided waste containers (and not in the street gutter). We even witnessed a Good Samaritan (or maybe ordinary Singaporean) chase after a stray candy wrapper blowing in the wind. A major deterrent could also be that Singapore is known for it’s draconian laws to include a harsh littering fine which as we’ve heard account for some 60% of all police-issued fines.
4. THE DIVERSITY
Fun for us tourists, there are cultural communities like Little India, Arab Street, and Chinatown. Rising out of the MRT station at each is like stepping foot in each of those countries, whether it be the scent of curry wafting through the air, a call to prayer over loudspeakers, or streets decorated in red and gold for the Chinese New Year.
5. THE FOOD
OMG the food! (Saved the best one for last!) Singapore is a food lovers paradise. And the best place to get it is at one of the city’s many hawker centers. It’s like a humongous buffet only instead of a food lineup under heat lamps, each dish has it’s very own mini kitchen. Vendors specialize in a few dishes (or even just one) and prepare it fresh to order. These people are masters of their craft, many of which are featured in the Michelin Guide. Craving a special Chinese dish? Try the chee cheong fun hawker stand. Or maybe some to-die for Indian pastry curry puffs? (There are evens stalls that sell just water and beer.) Read our Singapore Food Guide for ideas on what to try.