Singapore

Lifestyle magazine Time Out ranked Singapore among the world’s least exciting cities. In our month here, we found it to be anything but.

The Singapore government frowns on Airbnbs so our housing options were limited to hotels, which were super-expensive, and resident apartments, which were still pricey but legal. We chose a complex fifteen minutes outside the city center. It turned out to be a great decision! The pool gave Frank a chance to resume his exercise routine. While we never took advantage of the free weekday breakfast (served until 8:30 and I was never up and ready), I relished the cleaning lady who came with clean towels and made our beds 3 times a week!

The complex had a van that went into the city six times a day and mass transit (which goes everywhere we needed to go) was just minutes away. So go we did. Every day.

Singapore is multi racial and multi cultural. The goal is integration, not assimilation, so cultures are preserved. Chinatown, Little India, the Malaysian area/Arab Street — all reflect the unique culture (and amazing food!) of those who have settled here.

When we first arrived, we noticed the many residential towers. The city state has a population of 6 million and that’s where most live. The towers are their own neighborhoods with shopping centers, restaurants and links to mass transit.

The efficient mass transit system provided us easy access to the various neighborhoods, as well as to beautifully maintained parks, the lively waterfront area and the vibrant city center. Art and cultural exhibits, sporting events, festivals – we always found something to do. And shopping? I have never seen so many malls! And they’re all busy!

Yes, the city state is a bit regimented. There are countless rules (see previous post) and they are very strict on crime. But for us, it provided a certain level of comfort. Everything is clean and orderly and we never felt unsafe. On top of that, the people are very friendly.

In fact, it could easily be a place for us to settle if it wasn’t for the extreme heat (Singapore is 1-1/2 degrees north of the equator — tropical rain forest climate with no distinct seasons). It’s also very expensive.

That said, it is an amazing place to visit. And it’s far from boring. Cheers.

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