Singapore is a pleasant boost of civilization - the city is clean, bright and even looks quite European with its alleys, parks, metro and business districts. It's also one of the greenest cities I ever seen - the lush green colors and exotic flowers are everywhere you go. And in combination with cleanness it does sometimes feel too sterile.
This obviously comes from the Singapore's famous "no-no" policy - no smoking, no spitting, no littering, no walking on the grass, no animals, no food in metro, no drinking in public, no durians in public transport, no chewing gum (those bad asses who chew gum in Singapore are real gumsters, a la gum gangsters :)) The list goes on and on, and per each of "no" there is a fine, from $500 up to $3000.
Singapore at night is spectacular, whole city like one big light show (who cares about environment, right?)
It's practically impossible to get lost in Singapore, besides the fact that it's relatively small (about 5 million on all territory), it's well organized and well connected. Public transport seemed to operate much better than in many European cities. Parks are equipped with all sorts of chilling areas, public places like libraries, pools and metro stations are well maintained, even beaches have BBQ pits setup for people to rent them and get some party going on the beach (which is what they do a lot on weekends)
It's great to visit many different districts as they really are different - Marina bay with endless promenades, China town with its numerous traditional Chinese medicine stores, bazaars and temples, Little India with its…oh, well, Indian stuff, Clarke Quay with its exclusive party and dining, Lavender and Geylang with their famous food courts, Arab street with its funky party scene, Bugis with its "3 for 10" shopping, East coast beaches and remote villages and islands with their own unique atmosphere. On top of that Malays, Chinese, Indians and Arabs mix into one pot, one city, one identity called "Singaporean".
But all of this is still not the main attraction in Singapore. Seriously, it's not. The main attraction in Singapore is FOOD. A lot of FOOD, different FOOD, really tasty FOOD, and FOOD everywhere! There is no single street in Singapore which would not have a food court or at least some food stalls on it. You probably can't eat at the same stall twice a year if you wanted to try every stall.
Singaporeans seem to think that there is no life where there is no food courts. And they eat all the time, we asked a local friend what time do people usually have dinner in Singapore, she said "oh well, there's no such time, we eat whenever there is nothing else to do".
1. Crazy Singapore style teas - basic ingredients are tea and milk, the rest - you can go as crazy as you like.
2. Dim sums and other steamed stuff
3. Pork balls soup
4. Clay pot black pepper/ginger frog
5. Singapore special Chili Crab, it's probably the most expensive meal we ever had - 2 crabs cost about $130 (In Clarke Quay they go up to $500 though!)
6. Another Singapore specialty Chicken rice
And here are some other stuff we tried just to get you drooling :)
Nasi Lemak, Wanton noodles, Lamian, Carrot cake, Fish cake, Kway Teow, Chicken feet soup, Egg rolls, Shrimp pancake, Beef noodles soup, Fish ball soup, Egg and cheese roti, Fried banana, Saba fish, Popiah, Duck noodles, Jelly fish, Star fruit, Jack fruit, Dragon fruit, Durian, Rambutan, Bandung, Sugar cane juice, water chestnut juice, and others.
During our 2 weeks stay we managed to get out of Singapore and go to an island North-East of Singapore, Pulau Ubin. If this is your first encounter with a small exotic island, you might think Pulau Ubin is great. It is pretty nice and foresty, but unfortunately it's also very very touristy and the beaches are really really dirty. We rented bikes and cycled all day through the island trying to find the paradise looking beaches - no much luck though.
We however tried there for the first time the King of Fruit, the Durian. Yes, it's the one that supposedly smells like rotten egg + blue cheese, well, it's hard to describe its smell, but you can imagine there is a reason why you can't go in public transport with a durian. Some guys come to Pulau Ubin specifically to collect durians as they are considered the tastiest there, one of these guys was kind enough to offer us to join their durian feast. It wasn't great, but it also wasn't something horrible and stinky, it does have a specific taste and smell, but not more than that.
We also made some friends with the locals during our stay, Singaporeans are really fun and out going, thats for sure! It will be awesome to go back there and meet them again!
That's it for Singapore, stay tuned for KL (Kuala Lumpur)!