Singapore was my (Dirk) home town and country for about 15 years. Few years after Linda and myself became a couple, I moved back to Belgium but Singapore stayed one of my favorite cities. It's diverse culture and efficient public infrastructure is just overwhelming. The extremely low crime rates also give you that extra relaxed feeling when visiting or living there.
Main language is english, the local slang is called Singlish and this will include certain words or expressions borrowed from Hokkien (Chinese language) and Malay. Westerners may be referred to as guailo or ang moh (originally not really nice words but now not carrying a derogatory meaning), Singaporeans are sometimes kiasu (fear of missing out) and whenever you want to emphasize someting or just want to end a sentence like a local, you say "lah".
I have to say that Singapore became very expensive and the time that it was a shopping destination is definitely over. For everything which remotely smells like luxury or non-essential to stay alive, you are much better of buying it elsewhere.
(The cameralens for Linda's camera was nearly 20% cheaper in Belgium than the net (tax refunded) price in Singapore)
But, don't forget that while there are a lot of wealthy, high earning people in Singapore, there is still the majority with a much lower income, just like all the domestic helpers with a monthly income of abt 600 euro.
While a coffee at a Starbucks cafe will cost you the same or more than in the big European cities, you can also find a good local coffee around the corner in a local coffeeshop at a fraction of the price.
In most shopping centers (everywhere in Singapore), you will find eateries in the basement with OK prices.
A local breakfast at Ya Kun will cost you around EUR 4 and includes toasts with Kaya, 2 eggs and a coffee. If you're going to a local coffeeshop in the suburbs, it will again even be cheaper.
When visiting Singapore, remember that the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) metrolines are the easiest way of getting you to all sides of the city and island. Hotels outside the city centre will be cheaper and easily to get to when taking the MRT.
Pictures shown as a paper photo are from previous trips, sometimes a very long time ago.
The Marina Bay Sands & Gardens by the Bay
The Marina Bay Sands is an integrated resort, featuring 3 towers and a sky park. It includes a casino, shopping mall, entertainment venues and a hotel. It was officially opened in 2010.
Both photo's were taken from the restaurant on the 70th floor of the Swissotel The Stamford. Top photo now in 2023, the photo on the right in 2006 when the works for the Marina Bay Sands and the new financial district (Buildings on the right of Marina Bay) still had to start.
The 2 rounded glass domes are the Esplanade, the performing arts centre of Singapore. Locals have dubbed it "the Durian" as it resembles the spiky and smelly tropical fruit that is well loved in this part of Asia.
Back to 2006
From the Sands Skypark Observation deck on the 56th floor, you have a nice 360 degrees view over the city and surroundings, including parts of the F1 circuit, the Gardens by the Bay and all the ships waiting to enter the 2nd busiest port in the world.
Just next to the Marina Bay Sands are the Gardens by the Bay, These gardens are just like the Sands on reclaimed land (from the sea) and are a mixture of nature and art. While access to the park is free, you need to pay (a lot) for visiting the 2 glass domes with plants of all over the world and the Supertree observatory.
The above picture with the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple represents everything there is to say about Singapore's Chinatown area.
It has a variety of temples, original and typical shophouses and restored historical buildings really worth visiting. On the other side, the centre of Chinatown also became a typical tourist trap with cheap souvenirs.
Back to 2006
Back to 2006
Back to 2006
While it's certainly worth a visit, we would recommend to also stroll around the Peoples park complex and the Tanjong Pagar neighbourhoud with it's restored shophouses.
Chinatown also houses the oldest Hindu Temple in Singapore, the Sri Mariamman Temple.
By far, for me the most favorite and authentic area of Singapore.
This is the place where time stood still and you can still feel the real vibes of old Singapore.