The Many Faces of Singapore

The food counter at my hostel in Little India

This past weekend I had the rare opportunity to hop an airplane and explore Singapore for more than the usual 4-5 hours I have during visa processing trips. A previous co-worker, who has been in Southeast Asia traveling since November, decided to join me in exploring this island that never sleeps, and over a period of two days we walked or rode the MRT, seeing a vast array of Singapore’s many faces.

Little India, Singapore

My hostel was in Little India. I’d heard it was a diverse neighborhood filled with backpacker hostels, late night food stalls and of course, plenty of Indian treasures. In this regard it did not disappoint. The streets were always filled with tourists and locals alike and it seemed that the only time it was really quiet was in the early morning sun.

The Sultan's Mosque, Kampong Glam Singapore

On one of our many walks we traveled to Kampong Glam, the Malay and Muslim neighborhood. Here the grandiose Sultan’s Mosque resides in a stately manner over tidy storefronts filled with exotic lamps, hookahs and fabrics in addition to an impressive array of family-owned restaurants and cafes.This area is clearly in a state of growth and I found the small streets and bright surroundings to be my favorite of all the neighborhoods—certainly the place where I’d try to find my own tiny apartment within the city’s hustle.

Singapore-in in the Rain in the Botanic Gardens

After a rain-soaked wander through the expansive Singapore Botanic Gardens (one of the best FREE attractions I’ve ever been to), we also spent a short time on Orchard Road—the Fifth Avenue of Singapore. After a quick stop at a coffee shop (the first soy latte I’ve had in months), I stopped by club21b in search of Chromat, a clothing line by my friend Becca! It was so exciting to see her designs for sale in a store on the other side of the world! Check out Chromat online HERE.

Singapore at night

Saturday evening was the first time I saw Singapore at night. In spite of being insanely tired from all the travel and fighting a pretty serious cold, I am glad that we walked through the Colonial District and eventually ended up at the Marina Bay area after nightfall. Seeing the Sands Towers, the Merlion fountain and the whole of the Singapore skyline in lights was remarkable. Additionally, the area is very pedestrian friendly with plenty of flower-lined pathways that traverse the waterfront and are marked with eateries.

Bollywood Vegetable Farms, Kranji Singapore

On Sunday we enjoyed a clear day and walked around one of Singapore’s many beautiful parks, Fort Canning Park. As always, I could have spent an entire day waltzing about barefoot on this patch of green overlooking the jumble of skyscrapers, but as with weekend explorations, there’s wasn’t time for such things. In the afternoon we wandered outside the usual city circle to Kranji where we toured a small organic farm, Bollywood Veggies. It was exciting to learn that there’s quite a burgeoning organic farming community cropping up (you love my puns) outside the city center. After kicking around their grounds we enjoyed a meal at Poison Ivy Bistro, their small cafe where the menu changes depending on what’s available at the farm.

Fire breathing at the Night Safari, Singapore

After avoiding the many “super tourist” attractions of Singapore, our Sunday night was spent at the Night Safari. Going to a zoo at night is weird, that much is for sure, but getting to see an entire pride of lions roaring in the night and many other “creatures” while walking or taking trams through the evening air was really awesome and well worth the $32 SIN paid for entry. Additionally, I was pulled up onto stage during a fire breathing show where a handful of incredibly good looking muscular men in loin clothes were doing tricks. They all flirted relentlessly with me while explaining how to use a blow dart which I then got to shoot to pop a balloon situated between the knees of one of said men—what was there NOT to love?!

The icon of Singapore, the Merlion

It’s definitely a small big city but that doesn’t mean it’s short on diversity. I will have one night in Singapore en route to the States at the end of my contract in June and I’m already beginning to plan how to spend my limited time! Check out the gallery below for more snaps of Singapore.

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