Sleek, futuristic, food-obsessed Singapore. A city of billion dollar skyscrapers, luxury shopping malls and rush hour expressways, built on the foundations of hundreds of buffets, hawker centers and restaurants. A leader in the world economy of banking, shipping and cutting edge technology, all of which are powered along by huge helpings of hainan chicken rice, nasi lemak and wonton mee. We spent most of our time in Singapore in a self-induced food coma but every now and then we did engage in a few things not found on the usual list (menu).
Firstly Singapore has developed a green initiative called the Park Connector Network, an island-wide network linking up parks and nature sites in Singapore, making green spaces accessible for everyone to enjoy. We walked the Southern Ridges trail, starting in HortPark, which joins up four parks stretching across the western half of Singapore. Several parts are suspended walkways of up to 18 metres, letting you walk at treetop level through greenery, and even safely over highways.
Just remember to do this early morning or late afternoon and bring water with you because it’s hella hot. Singapore weather averages around 30°C and if it had four seasons you could describe them as: Hot, Damn It’s Hot, So Hot I Need A Shower Because I Walked Outside and If You Ask Me to Leave The Air-Conditioning, So Help Me You Will Regret It!!
Apart from that the walk was great.
Part of it includes Henderson Waves, Singapore’s tallest pedestrian bridge at 36 metres, a wave-like structure made up of seven undulating curved steel ribs.
The views are spectacular, either jungle greenery or a bird’s eye view of buildings.
The trail goes to Mount Faber, with a great view of the chairlift, coming to and from Sentosia. We just walked down the hill to Vivo City/Harbour Front which is a major public transport hub, and hopped on the next bus home.
Despite all the crazy new developments and skyscrapers, the most distinctive architecture that Singapore is known for are the old shophouses, which are a mix of Chinese, Malay and European details. These are heritage listed, fiercely conserved and restored and can be found in little pockets all over Singapore. The easiest ones to check out is Chinatown or Little India especially on Petain Road and Lorong Bachok.
There’s also a really convenient row next to the Tourist Information Centre on Orchard Road.
Thanks to a tip from my cousin Trina we went to explore the surrounding streets of Kampong Glam, in particular Haji Lane, which has really detailed facades.
Haji Lane itself become aggressively hipster, with little coffee shops, bars and quirky boutiques, pretty great if you’re looking for a unique souvenir or local designers.
My favorite was Craft Assembly, where they have taken old retro dresses and have altered them to wearable contemporary styles.
Did we end up doing anything a little touristy? Yes, my cousin Justin gave us tickets to Universal Studios for our birthdays and you better believe we went on every single ride!
It’s SO FLUFFY!
One thing we didn’t end up doing but it’s on the top of the list for next time is Gardens by the Bay and specifically Supertree Grove, vertical gardens of up to 50 metres, covered in ferns, vines and orchids with an elevated walkway between. At night, a light and music show called The Garden Rhapsody lights up the Avatar environment in different hues together with music.
To get around we used an EZ-link card, a public transport smart card to tap on and off buses and the SMRT (train/monorail system). Singapore has one of the most modern public transport systems and we were never waiting longer than five minutes. It was also really cheap. We took two SMRTs and a bus for one trip which ended up being S$1.90 (The AUS and Singapore dollar is almost the same atm).
Stay tuned for alllll the eating in the next post 🙂