Rendezvous with the Lion City
Singapore, also called The Lion City, is known for its greenery and exceptional cleanliness. It is an exemplary city, thronged by people from different ethnicities and cultures. After having heard so much about Singapore’s vibrant and multifarious culture, our group of four friends finally set off for a trip to the Lion City.
We had our expectations high before beginning our journey. It is quite rare that your expectations get fulfilled, especially when they are really high. Despite our high expectations from this trip, we were caught off-guard by Singapore’s multi-faceted culture and glistening beauty.
I would love to share some of our beautiful memories from the trip. Some of the best aspects of Singapore that we unraveled on this trip are:
Singapore has a multi-faceted culture, traces of which can be seen in its every aspect.
1. Food: When we tasted the food, we could not really identify where it originated from. It was a delicious mix of so many different cuisines. On a visit to a popular restaurant in Singapore, we encountered an Indian chef working on the noodles while the Chinese chef prepared the curries. The Singaporean food is a live example of this multi-cultural mix. Some of the delicious Singaporean specialties we could lay our hands upon were Chilli crab, chicken rice, Ayam buah Keluak and drunken prawns. We also enjoyed our visit to the Food Republic Beer Garden. There were 18 push-carts there which offered so many lip-smacking delicacies. Unfortunately I do not recall the names of all those sumptuous treats.
2. Language: Most people in Singapore speak English quite fluently. You can however observe traces of different terms such as ‘Atas’, ‘leh’, ‘meh’ and many more such terms in their conversations. These terms and their aberrant English dialect is also a result of this diverse intermixing. The local Singaporeans also used a lot of puzzling acronyms while conversing.
3. Religion: I was astonished to see people following different religions staying together cheek-by-jowl. It is a secular multi-religious country and it was a delightful experience to see them all together. It is a rare spectacle now days, to see so many different people peacefully co-exist.
This isn’t the specialty of Singapore, but a joint achievement of our shoe-string budget. I believe we should be given some credit for this marvelous achievement. Hours of careful research and meticulous planning helped us enjoy so much with a limited budget.
Some thrifty tips that worked in our favor were:
1. Couch-surfing: We had often heard of this practice, and we went on to search websites. Finally we zeroed down on one friendly host Yuang, who gave us some more travel tips. He let us share his three bedroom apartment for free. All he wanted in return was a lively chat session and some help with his household chores. It was a delight to be with him, and all four of us are still quite grateful to him for his benevolence.
2. Happy hour Drinking: We always knew that drinking would be quite expensive in Singapore. We had planned to skip our booze parties but on Yuang’s insistence, we went to Chinatown for some drinks. We also had a good time in Clark Quay, where we were more than happy to enjoy the 50% discounts on alcohol.
3. Public Transport: The efficient public transport system in Singapore helped us save quite a lot of money.
I have a weakness for vacillating individuals, who are dynamic and enthusiastic. It was hence, an exhilarating experience to see an entire city possess this attribute. Singapore is a volatile and vibrant city, which suddenly transforms from a commercial hotspot to a glittering city which dazzles during the night. We were taken aback by this sudden transformation, where strict and workaholic professionals were seen loosening their ties and swaying to the musical beats at most nightclubs.
The best aspect of visiting Singapore is probably its congeniality. Helpful and friendly locals are ever-ready to help you in Singapore. This is probably why most people apply for Singapore Visa and plan to even stay here for life. Yuang was a perfect example of one such friendly Singaporean who helped us to a great extent.
Singapore is a typical utopian country, with different rules and regulations framed from a perfectionist’s point of view. There are huge fines for the most minor offenses in Singapore. You need to watch what you’re doing, and avoid committing any mistake in this immaculately clean city.
Other than these aspects, Singapore is brimming with some of the most spectacular sights and tourist spots. Be it a ride on the world’s largest observation wheel, a walk across an underwater aquarium or a spooky adventure, Singapore has it all!