Located to the south of Malaysia, Singapore is known for its glitz and glamour. Often described as one of the cleanest and most orderly cities in the world, the island city-state is also undoubtedly one of the world’s most popular visitor destinations. From shopping frenzy, delectable culinary delights, awe-inspiring museums, adventurous theme parks, exotic gardens – Singapore has something for everyone.
This is all thanks to the efforts of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), who have championed tourism as a key economic driver for the country and positions it as a must-visit destination, offering enriching experiences through the “Your Singapore” brand and the support from 800 industry partners. But apart from the constant support of STB, what are the reasons behind Singapore’s unparalleled success? What sets it apart from other tourist destinations? Here, we have some explanations:
Singapore is considered relatively safer than most countries because of its good public order and its enhanced security. There are few to no locals running tourist scams and adding to that, the crime rate is extremely low in Singapore.
Most expatriates will tell you that it has no religious or racial tensions courtesy of its strict laws, multilingualism, and security. For example, according to Singapore’s Arms Offences Act, unlawful possession or carrying of firearms is punishable with imprisonment and caning. Using or attempting to use arms when committing a scheduled offence is punishable with death.
A Food Haven
Singapore is a paradise for foodies! The food here is cheap, delicious and with a plethora of variety. It is full of wonderful places to eat. There are restaurants, cafes, food courts, and hawker centers full of food stalls everywhere. So, one can simply embark on a culinary adventure as you hop from hawker centers to fine dining restaurants.
Don’t underestimate the hawker centres by the way. It is the first place in the world to receive recognition for its street food stalls from the Michelin restaurant guide. The cheapest Michelin-starred eatery in the world is found here in hawker centres—called Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle.
Singapore has realized the importance of tourism to its wellbeing. It devotes attention to ensure that it stays attractive to the tourists. Therefore you can see its well-designed infrastructure for tourism. Did you know, Sentosa alone is one tourism island? This future-minded metropolis rooted in tradition is an architecture lover’s dream. It shows the evolution from colony to cosmopolitan city with the transformation of colonial-era structures or architectural marvels like the Gardens by the Bay, the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.
Besides the stunning architecture that makes up its iconic skyline, the city-state is home to museums that boast a range of collections, colourful street murals, and public art installations.
Singapore is one of the cleanest cities in the world. Thanks to rules about spitting and littering, Singapore is free of unpleasant smells or unsightly litter. Also, tap water is potable here. So, one can drink without worrying about getting sick in a foreign land.
Singapore is one of the few destinations in the world which allows visitors of all ages to experience Southeast Asia in the region’s safest environment. Start with as Sentosa, where their adrenaline levels will hit the rook with kid-friendly attractions such as iFly Singapore, Universal Studios Singapore, and the Skyline Luge.
Pack swimsuits and take the little ones to many free water parks, like the Far East Organization Children’s Garden and the Marina Barrage Water Playground for some water FUN! Take them a series of world-class zoos showcasing animals from all over the world in “cageless” environments: the open-air Singapore Zoo, the nocturnal Night Safari, and “Asia’s largest bird park”, the Jurong Bird Park. There’s another famous kid-attraction called KidZania which is a pretend playground. It lets the children be a policeman, firefighter, chef or doctor, among other professions, for a day.
Accessible Public Transport
Singapore’s transport system of well-developed road networks and public transportation systems allows visitors to access attractions conveniently and quickly. The Transport in Singapore exhaustively covers most, if not all public venues in Singapore, which increases convenience for tourists. Being a major air hub, Singapore serves plenty of air routes as well as a cruise centre. The well-known Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system and the local bus network is spread out to all four corners of the island.
The transport arrangement also has well-created street systems in traditional neighbourhoods which are made for walking. It’s thanks to the ‘five-foot ways’, the pedestrian corridors that run alongside shop houses, parallel to the road and make it easy to be urban explorers and take in the sights, sounds and smells of these heritage precincts.
At Singapore, you’ll experience the perfect harmony of old and the New. You can see the blend of modern skyscrapers with heritage buildings all around the island-city state that shows Singapore’s unique cosmopolitan culture. These historical structures include landmarks and memorials such as CHIJMES, Dalhousie Obelisk, Merlion Park, Old Parliament House, National Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum and WWII sites like Battle Box, Changi Chapel and Museum, Fort Siloso and Kranji War Memorial.
There are also many historic structures which have been transformed into new modern-day architectural gems. One of the finest examples of such structures can be the colonial-era Raffles Hotel that opened in 1887 and is still serving benefactors in the equivalent Long Bar that once served Somerset Maugham and Charlie Chaplin.
Culture and Tradition
With thoroughly packed exciting- activity-happenings all across the country, Singapore knits an unrivalled bond with all the vibrant cultures of the world, thus being successful enough in drawing more visitors from all around the world. This melting pot of cultures has four official languages; English, Tamil, Malay and Mandarin and it also celebrates the national holidays of many different religions. Visitors can enjoy culinary experiences from different countries as well as visiting many different places of worship.
The cultural tapestry of this island state like its culinary scene is much like a patchwork quilt. The multiculturalism here can be seen with the different ethnic enclaves living side-by-side in Singapore. You can see the proof of this cultural harmony in Hindu temples, Buddhist temples, and synagogues side-by-side, like on Waterloo Street. It’s also not uncommon to find devotees from one place of worship paying their respects at another. To discover the three major ethnic communities in Singapore—the Chinese, Indians, and Malays—check out Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam, respectively.
A Green Destination
It’s tough to imagine that is the “Garden City” as it is so often called, considering the towering, iconic skylines of Marina Bay and the Civic District. Leave the concrete jungle behind, and you’ll find a network of parks that spans the island, adding to a green cover that makes up about 46 percent of the country. The island swathed in green offers unspoiled nature reserves to urban parks to the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Nature-lovers will have a “field day” here at Singapore as they can wander the hiking trails and encounter over 500 species of fauna, tons of monkeys and the last remnants of Singapore’s old-growth forests in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. As for transport, you’ll love the “green matrix” of park connectors which will make cycling on the island a breeze. These Park Connectors link Singapore’s parks and nature reserves all across the island.
You’ll be truly tempted to go on a shopping rampage here. It can be known as a Shopaholic’s Haven with malls at every corner of the country. Roam along the iconic shopping district of Orchard Road, bargain for affordable fashion statements at Bugis Street, or explore quirky boutique stores of Haji Lane. Visit the annual Great Singapore Sale that slashes prices to bargain levels island-wide! Visit mid-year to enjoy this MEGA island-wide sale.
While credit cards are widely accepted everywhere, it will be better to read about the currency and then go shopping.
The Locals Speak English
With English spoken as one of the country’s four official languages, mostly all Singaporeans can converse in English. So it easy to communicate and get directions even if you’re lost. Or it can also be of great help while shopping!
Have you been to Singapore? If so be sure to share your experiences in the comments below.