To extend our time in Indonesia, we did a visa jump and spent a weekend in Singapore! After being in Bali for 2 months, Singapore felt like THE FUTURE. It's so clean and efficient. It felt wild to ride in squeaky clean public transportation, see people in suits and ties and be amongst massive sky scrapers. It was like we were on another planet.
We booked a hotel in the Joo Chiat district in East Singapore. It's known as a multi-cultural area, with Chinese, Indian and Malay roots. It's full of colorful, pre-war shophouses and quaint eateries... a stark contrast from the uber-modern downtown Singapore. Our favorite meal was at an old school coffee shop called Chin Mee Chin Confectionary where we ate sugary coffee and cakes and slurped very soft boiled eggs.
We rented bikes and rode all through the parks and gardens, stopping at the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome which was reminiscent of Pauly Shore's 1996 film "Bio-Dome". There's a 114 foot mountain and the worlds largest indoor waterfall. It was insane.
The Supertree Grove has man-made trees that harvest solar energy during the day to use at night for light shows. The light shows are choreographed to music from movies like "Aladdin" and "Star Wars" which I know sounds super cheeseball but was actually kind of magical.
We were surprised by how tame and quiet it was at 11 PM on a Saturday night in Singapore, but we eventually found the lively area: Haji Lane. During the day, it was filled with hipster boutiques but at night the bars fill up and the crowd pours out onto the street, with tipsy drinkers twirling around to live bands.
Singapore was a fascinating island city-state to visit.
It's main principles are meritocracy, multiculturalism and secularism and apparently it has outstanding social policies. It's a secular immigrant nation that emphasizes living harmoniously with others. The city's attitude is to be "neat and clean and responsible for ones actions", which makes for extremely pleasant subway ride. There's adorable cartoon character signs all over the city reminding you of that... just to be considerate of those around you. It almost feels like an imaginary place a budding city-planner would design for a thesis project, it doesn't seem entirely real. Even when you're standing smack in the middle of it. In fact, Singapore was developed so aggressively as a business and finance hub that it's often criticized for forgetting to grow a soul in the process. And there's a weird truth in that.
One thing Singapore definitely does have though: super sick malls. Malls that are glorious, air conditioned and luxurious retail meccas. I tried on about 15 winter coats that I have absolutely no need for.