Singapore is a wonderful, first-world oasis in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia has many exotic charms. There are a myriad of devleping countries filled with ancient temples which rise from steamy jungles, exotic warm-water dive locales, and many diverse cultures and peoples and everything is extremely affordable by western standards. It’s an adventurers paradise. But those exotic locales come with a price… traffic, pollution, tainted food and water, humid hotel rooms with damp sheets, beggars and the never ending parade of hawkers to name but a few. And then there is Singapore.
Having lived in Indonesia for a few years and having travelled a lot around southern Asia , my wife and I found a weekend Singapore to be a rejuvinating respite away from all of the things listed above. In Singapore, daily life is safe, clean and orderly. The tap water is potable. There is little traffic and the public tranportation is excellent. The medical facilities are top notch by any standards. The air is clean and sitting in a sidewalk cafe sipping a latte from Starbucks feels pretty normal there. There are abundant first-rate shopping malls, hotels and restaraunts. The locals are stylish, affluent and friendly.
One can find great nightlife, especially down by the quay and several pubs selling local micro-brews. Add the world-famous Singapore Zoo, sightseeing boat trips and some great hiking opportuniies and the Singapore package is complete. Granted, everything in Singapore is much more expensive that most of Asia but the quality comes with the price.
If you’re looking for an adventurous back-packers, youth-hostel, on-the-cheap type of trip. This isn’t it. If you’re looking to see Southeast Asia but still want the first-world comforts of home, with great shopping and dining, featherbeds, Mercerdes and coffee shops… Singapore is just the place!
The Hague, The Netherlands