When originally booking tickets between Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and Denpasar, Bali my friends and I were faced with the choice between an 8 hour layover in Singapore, or a longer 24 hours. At the time, the choice seemed obvious - take the 24 hours, see the city, sleep in a real bed, and wake up fresh the next day. As it turns out, this was an even better choice than we originally thought - We all loved Singapore!! And it was a really nice change of pace from our week and a half adventuring through Vietnam.
I've heard people give Singapore a lot of flack, primarily because it very expensive and "not like the real world." Those people were right... but I just don't care! It was expensive and un-like the real worl; however, it's uniqueness made it totally worth the time and money spent . Part of Singapore's significant impression on me was the stark difference between it and Saigon (where we had woken up earlier that. Truly, Saigon and Singapore could not be more night and day.
Where Saigon left the impression of grit, grime, growling motorbikes, and the constant flashing of neon nights - Singapore was all polished glass, sleek lines, and muted chrome. The streets were clean and quiet, and a light periwinkle sky laid the backdrop for a massive skyline of awe-inspiring skyscrapers - a true testament to mans potential for achievement. Don’t get me wrong… Vietnam spoke to me on the level of beautiful chaos - a part of me loves that, and is made of that. But Singapore spoke to me of potential, order, and an easier way of living - it spoke to me of the future.
I think the best way to get from Changi Airport to the main part of the city is through the airport shuttle service. If you go down to the main terminal after disembarking, find the airport transportation desk. There you will tell the desk which hostel or hotel you want to go to, pay a fee of 8 Singaporean dollars, and then the airport shuttle will take you directly to the front door of the hostel! Though it is a bit more expensive than the metro, it's extremely convenient, and pretty nice if you're tired of lugging around your bags.
Our first stop after dropping everything at our hostel was the much-famed and ridiculously opulent Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino. Marina Bay is what Vegas was aiming for, but failed miserably at achieving. World class shopping, fantastic food, and almost anything you could ever think of wanting - as long as you have the money to pay for it. As my crew has not yet unlocked our mega-baller billionaire achievement, we were sadly unable to enter the luscious infinity pool that rests on the very top level of the hotel; however, we were able to experience the superb penthouse views by going to the rooftop restaurant Ku De Ta. There to the tune of several hundred Singaporean dollars we enjoyed a creative cocktail or two, and some succulent appetizers - Tuna Tartare anyone? Yes, please!
After grabbing a much needed post-martinis lunch (waiter-dude was NOT joking when he said they we strong) we then headed to Garden By the Bay - a futuristic garden dominated by massive metal “Supertrees”. Though I have seen several pictures of Garden by the Bay, they simply don't do justice to the real thing. By day the Garden was lovely, but by night the view shifted into something truly phenomenal. With the setting sun, all the "supertrees" begin to illuminate, and once it is fully dark we witnessed the “Supertree Symphony” - a lights and music show somewhat similar to the Bellagio Fountains, but with massive metal trees and multi-colored hues.
Not long before we arrived, someone had told me that Singapore was like Utopia, and inasmuch it felt quite unreal. Seeing it for myself, I could not agree more. Singapore, to me, is one of the most unique places I have been to date - so perfect in it’s image, yet almost casual about it’s own perfection. Another place I loved without ever really knowing. The lights on the water, the view from the most resplendent hotel I have ever seen, and a futuristic Garden made of steel, flashing lights, and a riotous yet purposeful wash of nature and color.
I wanted to return even as I knew I had to go, but in a way it seemed better to just leave it as it was. Leave before the magic faded and the hair-lined cracks spread across that perfect veneer. It seemed to me that a place that perfect on the outside, must have a dark side equally as ponderous; nevertheless, I loved it the way I saw it in that single day, and I honestly I am happy for it to stay that way. A part of me simply doesn't want to ever know it better, so I might never love it less.
Have you ever been to Singapore? What did you think? Did you find it as captivating as I did? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below! Also, for more awesome travel pictures and frequent updates on my adventures make sure to follow me on Instagram and 'Like' me on Facebook.
Enjoy the beautiful view!