Weekly Drifter: Singapore

“Singapore’s mouthwatering food is the number one drawcard. Pull up a pew at a hawker centre, crack open a Tiger beer and immerse yourself in a munificent range of Asian delights; heavy on the flavour, light on the wallet. Want to splurge? Singapore delivers Southeast Asia’s best shopping and innovative, stylish restaurants, plus a swathe of top-notch hotels. Top of the tree is Raffles, a timeless symbol of colonial opulence.” (Lonely Planet)

Overview: It’s quite rare to find a pure bred Singaporean because most residents are a mixture of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Western cultures. You’ll find English to be the dominant street language followed by Mandarin, Malay, and Hindi. Singapore is exceedingly clean you can eat off the streets. But don’t do that. It’s probably one of the cleanest and safest places in the world because the government cracks the whip on crime and those who break the law. You’re not allowed to spit on the street or chew gum!

Things to Do: For a nice variety of restaurants, pubs, wine bars, hookah bars, live music, lounges and dazzling late night good times go toClarke Quay. You’ll meet many locals, travelers and ex-patriots there. Clarke Quay is situated on the water so you can enjoy a nice dinner by the water, have a few cocktails then walk around and lounge hop. The people are all usually young professionals that have relocated to Singapore from Western nations to work. Check out:Marakesh for amazing hookah, and The Pump Roomfor good live music and hot tunes. There’s also IndoChine, Attica, andThe Clinic. I found The Clinic hilarious because people are actually served in wheelchairs. Have a walk around and choose a spot you’re feeling at the time. Ipanema World Music Baron Orchard Road is a must go for local bands and eclectic music in an indulging atmosphere. Orchard Road is Singapore’s main shopping district, also good for lounges and restaurants. 

The Raffles Hotel is also in Singapore! It’s absolutely beautiful and hella expensive to dine there but dazzling colonial-style architecture. The largest mall is ViVo City, the center of all things especially where ships dock from all over the world- much like the ship I worked on. If you go to ViVo City the best place to eat is Food Republic, huge selection of Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Malay food and fresh fruit smoothies. From ViVo City take a rail ride to Sentosa Island for the beaches and veg out. 

For lunch during the day I HIGHLY recommend visiting Maxwell Food Courtat least ONCE. I was floored by the selection of outdoor covered aisles, loads of authentic Asian food. Even Anthony Bordain (my man obsession from the Travel Channel) recommended eating there to try their version of chicken and rice and asian pancakes (a desert). Also, in Singapore or anywhere in Southeast Asia, you MUST indulge in a mango smoothy, they’re amaaazing. Lastly, walk and get lost in China Town and Little Indiagreat place for photography loads to see. Temples, decorated terraces and street merchants.

One Singaporean dollar is equivalent to about 73 US cents. Yes, their economy is a bit stronger, but what else is new. The best time to visit mainly rests on your time and budget as off-peak seasons may be a bit cheaper. Go and experience the cleanest, safest, and 5th richest country in the world. Singapore. -tnoely