The Lion City: Singapore

By Shereen Shabnam

Singapore was my favorite cosmopolitan city for weekend visits during my nine years in Kuala Lumpur.  As students took the overnight train and ventured the streets for culinary experiences trying hawker food, Indian food, seafood, scrumptious Chinese cuisine and strolled through the lovely hiking trails or enjoy the beaches in the South.

As a working adult, not much has changed when I visit Singapore except that the city now has more world class exhibitions and even more attractions than ever before. With a strong Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, Arab and Western cultures merged into one society, there is plenty of activities to suit every taste.

The strength of the city lies in the melting pot of cultures and the most efficient and widespread public transport systems that makes it easier to explore. I particularly enjoy staying on the Sentosa Island and then use it as a base to go on walking trails, Botanic Gardens and for retail therapy.

My Singaporean friends love Orchard Rd so we generally walk down the street but later head to local neighbourhoods for independent designers, quirky art galleries, Chinatown, vibrant night markets and of course no visit is complete without a visit to the museums and the science centre.

The MacRitchie Reservoir Park is a lush city park with an eight-kilometer treetop hike, bridges suspended high above the forest floor and has flying lemurs, monkeys, squirrels, monitor lizards and owls.

Top of my list is the Singaporean Zoo, the Tiger Balm and the Botanic Gardens, the Marina Bay Sands area, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Pulau Ubin Island, Little India and of course Chinatown to get a sense of Chinese culture within the city and enjoy the craft shops, restaurants and other bargains. If you like architecture, visit the Thian Hock Keng Temple. Enjoy music outdoors as well as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra hosts various free concerts at different venues around the country.

I flew to Singapore directly with Emirates Airlines. It is a great Asian city to visit and you need at least five days to a week to be able to explore all the attractions.

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