Having shared my overseas travel experiences since September 2009, I thought it may be a good idea to start sharing with readers out there what my homeland, Singapore has in store for visitors too. Afterall, tourism forms a large part of our economy, with a record high of 15.6 million international visitor arrivals in 2013.
Do you know where exactly is Singapore on the map? Is it a country, city or town?
We are a sovereign city-state and island country in Southeast Asia, located off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula and is 137 km north of the equator. Formerly a British colony for more than a century, we became a part of Malaysia in 1963 but were expelled 2 years later through an unanimous act of parliament. Thus on 9 August 1965, Singapore gained independence as the Republic of Singapore.
How is the weather?
Being relatively near to the equator means that we enjoy (or maybe some do not enjoy) summer all year round. That means you will never get to see snow (oops, never say never, with global warming, who knows?) regardless when you visit Singapore, so save your winter clothing for somewhere else. Perhaps it is better to bring along your cool swimwear to flaunt on our sunny beaches! 😉
What is the official language?
We are a highly urbanised and cosmopolitan society with 4 official languages, English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. English is a compulsory subject in school as our first language so it is the common language for all in this country.
What can I see or do in Singapore?
Although just a “little red dot” on the world map, Singapore has developed rapidly since independence, and is now one of the world’s major commercial hubs, with the fourth biggest financial centre and one of the 5 busiest ports. To attract more tourists, the government legalised gambling in 2005 and allowed 2 casino resorts (called Integrated Resorts, IR for short) to be developed.
The first IR, Resorts World Sentosa was opened in January 2010 while the second IR, Marina Bay Sands Singapore was opened in June 2010. Since then, there have been more attractions opening up such as the Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay, River Safari etc, just to name some, to add to the evergreen tourist spots such as Botanic Gardens, Night Safari and Orchard Road. Furthermore, a lot more international brands, restaurants by top chefs around the world have also set up branches in Singapore. Even without the Michelin-starred restaurants, we are also known for a multifarious offering of food – from Peranakan to Chinese, Indian to Malay, fusion and more. In recent years, the cafe culture seems to have caught on in this modern and vibrant city-state as well.
With just a total land area of 716.1 km², it seems quite amazing that the list to explore over here is pretty long. So I will share with you my experience as and when I get to be a “local tourist” in my own homeland. 🙂
- Kampong Glam – where cool cafes blend well into the rich Malay heritage (published 26 August 2014)
- Fort Canning Park – an iconic hilltop landmark in downtown Singapore (published 31 March 2015)
- Toa Payoh – from swampland to the quintessential Singapore new town (published on 23 April 2015, updated on 7 June 2015)
- Singapore Botanic Gardens – the first and only tropical botanic garden on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List (published on 11 July 2015)
- Chestnut Nature Park – Singapore’s Largest Nature Park With Separate Bike Trail (published on 22 September 2017)
- Singapore Zoo – an enriching sleep-with-the-beasts staycation in a rainforest zoo (published on 24 September 2015)
- Yishun – from farms & kampongs to a new town with many firsts in Singapore (published on 29 August 2016)
- From Kampong Lorong Buangkok to Coney Island in North East Singapore (published on 10 February 2016)
- Bukit Timah Nature Reserve – Singapore’s only hill dipterocarp forest (published 18 August 2014)
- Resorts World Sentosa – where one could have an overseas trip without bringing the passport (published 23 June 2014)
- Sisters’ Island Marine Park – A Rich Marine Trove South Of Urban Singapore (published on 26 November 2016)
- St John’s Island – Tour Singapore’s former penal settlement leading to Lazarus Island’s dreamy beach (published on 6 October 2017)