Sujata is an architect by profession and has a passion for writing. She shares her life experiences through writing, hoping to be of help.
A World Class Airport in a Fabulous Country
I have traveled via the Singapore airport several times. By far, it has been the best airport that I have had a layover in. As per several reports, the Changi airport has been on the list of the top ten best airports in the world for several years consecutively. With the opening of the Jewel, it has gained even more popularity.
Apart from the airport, I once had the opportunity of visiting Singapore. My experience there was exceptional and I am eagerly looking forward to visiting Singapore again. Here are my top ten reasons for wanting to visit Singapore again.
1. The Airport
The Changi airport is an extremely user-friendly airport. The entire airport is connected via sky trains. The first time, of course, I had a tough time navigating the airport. From one wing to the other wing, I had no idea there were sky trains and I did not even bother to look around and find one. I just decided to walk instead.
There was a last-minute gate change for my flight to India, and I ran from one gate to the other carrying two backpacks with me. It was only during my second layover in the airport that I discovered the sky trains and since then, it has become all easy and convenient. The airport has interactive screens at various locations to locate various facilities around the airport.
The Changi airport also has amazing food in their food court which I totally love. Every time I have a layover there, I plan on heading to the food court to eat the crispy duck rice. Oh, it is so yummy!
The Changi airport is filled with numerous activities for everyone. There is a butterfly park inside the airport premises for one to visit. Unfortunately, my layovers have always been at night, and I never got to see any of the butterflies. But I did go see the park, and it is wonderfully landscaped. Changi airport is also filled with numerous brand outlets and confectionary shops for one to enjoy a shopping spree.
With a longer layover, one can consider getting the entry visa to Singapore and visiting the Jewel, its newest terminal. It is an amusement park in itself. Unfortunately, when I visited Singapore Jewel was not yet built. So, visiting Singapore again is a must for me.
2. Safety and Security
I have been to quite a few places so far and the safest I've felt was in Singapore—during any time of the day. I have walked out in the city at 11:30 pm and I could see the security forces at different points. That automatically makes you feel safe because you know you have someone to approach if anything goes wrong.
The public transport—even though can be empty sometimes—feels absolutely safe. With all the technological advancement, you know that you are in safe hands.
3. Friendly People
I have had the privilege of having a Singaporean as a very close friend of mine. While I was doing my post-graduation in Australia, my housemate was a Singaporean and we ended up clicking really well. For the time I was there, I cannot imagine having not her as my housemate and surviving in a foreign land.
So, when I visited Singapore for the first time, she came down to the airport to receive me—at 5:30 am—even though we had already booked our cab ride to our stay. During our week of stay there, she invited us to their place for dinner and served a delicious Chinese meal that we thoroughly enjoyed. Everyone in their family was extremely welcoming and hospitable, and it did not feel like I am meeting them for the first time. It felt like I had known them for a long time and we were reunited.
In another incident, the Hawker center (the food courts in Singapore) below our hotel had a food outlet where we ate our meals most of the time. We were there for just one week, and just in those seven days, the lady made us feel like their own. She almost treated us like her kids. She knew what we liked to eat and what we didn't. She made sure the food served matched our palate.
There have been several other such instances while we were in Singapore where we found help in unexpected places and were welcomed like a part of their own.
4. Activities for Everyone
Singapore has activities for everybody—be it any age group, any gender, or any interest group. The activities are also interchangeable. We went to the Art Science Museum, and they had coloring activities for the children. It was so interesting that we started coloring too.
When it comes to learning about nature, this city-country has the most amazing amalgamation of nature and technology. The Gardens by the Bay has the Flower Dome to learn about plants and vegetation, Cloud Forest showing the different tropical regions and their vegetation, Supertree for vertical vegetation and lovely light shows at night and the OCBC walkway gives the view of the entire Gardens by the Bay and Singapore throughout the walk.
There are nature walks for nature lovers and then they have the Universal Studios for the adventure park lovers. You name it, and you have everything that you want to explore.
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5. The Architecture
Being an architect, Singaporean architecture has always been of utmost interest to me. As architecture students, we spent hours studying the technologically advanced architecture of Singapore. It is a small area of land, and yet it has maintained and kept the natural element of the land alive. It not only showcases the modern and hybrid form of architecture but has kept the historical colonial-era alive as well.
Its rich cultural diversity can be seen in the vernacular Malay houses, hybrid shophouses, and the range of places of worship which reflects the ethnic and religious diversity. Post-colonial modern architecture and the contemporary form of architecture can be seen clearly in the newly built structures.
Being a tourist and someone who is interested in the evolving nature of architecture, the architecture of Singapore is noteworthy. The pure amalgamation of nature into high skyscrapers is to look forward to and learn from.
6. The Landscape
The balance of open spaces and built form in Singapore is amazing. If we look at Singapore, primarily we notice the high-rise structures all around. However, when we walk around the city, there is an ample amount of open landscaped area that provides relief in the humid temperature and adds to the social spaces in the city. Singapore is also filled with buildings having internal landscapes that add to the sustainable and biophilic characteristics of the city that it abides by.
Additionally, there are also a lot of parks and gardens within every complex and locality which provides the residents with private community spaces. Even though the island of Singapore is closed by landmasses on three sides, it has still utilized the water channels incredibly and has created lovely public spaces with activities, entertainment, and food outlet.
Also, the walkways are mostly shaded with vegetation that provides relief from the sun throughout the year.
7. Brilliant Transportation
The Singaporean transport system is very well-connected. Whether it be the bus network, the metros (it is called the MRT, Maas Rapid Transit), or the walking lanes, they are very well connected. There is help available everywhere, either it is the police or otherwise to help us with direction in case we get lost.
The people are also helpful most of the time. Additionally, there is Wi-Fi available in almost all public places which makes navigation and communication extremely easy. Having access to the internet at all times is of utmost importance today, and Singapore seems to have understood it exceptionally well.
8. Year-Round Summer
Singapore typically has a humid climate with abundant rainfall. It does not have defined seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Throughout the year the weather is hot and humid. It is summer all the time with bouts of rainfall quite often.
We were in Singapore in the month of February, and it was extremely hot and humid. Walking on the streets can sometimes get uncomfortable, but the open spaces are well planned out and designed with ample greenery which makes it all comfortable. Since it is warm almost throughout the year, one can avoid winter wear.
9. Cultural Diversity
We did a lot of walking around Singapore. During our walks, we came across several streets and every street has a characteristic of its own. For example, when we went to the Arab street, it was filled with Arabic food and shopping outlets and the architecture of the entire street felt Arabic.
Little India gave all the Indian feels in the entire area. Orchard road had all the posh characteristics with the branded showrooms and electronics outlets. Every area depicted a unique identity of its own which portrayed the cultural diversity of Singapore.
Even though on the surface we might see a hi-tech city with skyscrapers and modern architecture, at the root level the traditions and ethnicity of each cultural group is very alive and can be seen through the country.
10. Absolutely Yummilicious Food
Last but definitely not the least is the food. Of the few countries that I have visited so far, Singapore has impressed me to a different level with its food. The food there is not just affordable, but all of its dishes are just mouthwatering.
We tried and tasted food in different areas and every place served just delicious food. My personal favorites are the Hainanese chicken rice, Roast duck rice, chicken rice, and crispy pork, but I loved everything I ate there. My Singaporean housemate made a couple of more suggestions that I did not have the chance to try but they will definitely be on my list of foods to try whenever I visit Singapore next.
Singapore has too many options for food, and there is no disappointment. Even when we bought something to eat from a supermarket, it was yummy. I would highly recommend a food lover to visit Singapore at least once solely to try all their food.
These are only a few things that I had noticed during my short visit to Singapore, and I loved it. There are many more things that I have not even explored yet. Jewel itself is the first place I will visit when I land there again. Apart from that, I am also keen on exploring the trekking areas of Singapore.
Having had an amazing experience, I am looking forward to visiting the country city once more when the pandemic gets better, and we are allowed to travel freely.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.