Singapore ~ City of Gardens
City of Gardens? More like City from Space! This place is seriously out of this world. A lot of modern Asian cities can make you feel like you've entered a different dimension, but none are quite as funky-futuristic as Singapore.
As we made our way into the city via taxi around 1:00 am on a Friday night (Big mistake! Next time, we'll plan to arrive when the train is still running to save major $$$), I caught a glimpse of the Singapore Flyer glowing blue against the skyline and magnificent Marina Bay Sands standing tall in all its cruise ship-shaped glory. Welcome to the future, I thought to myself. It felt like we'd entered the real-life version of the Capitol in TheHunger Games...
...especially when we saw this super trippy light show on the harbor-front a few nights later. Moving pictures danced across fountains of water bursting from the bay, causing me to let out a few "ooh's" and "aah's" as if I was watching fireworks on the 4th of July. Scratch that - this was way more impressive than fireworks! I was a little tipsy from duty-free wine and a few cheeky Tigers (the best Singapore beer!), but I can actually say my mind was blown.
If it felt like we were up in space by night, all we had to do was walk around the city by day to bring us back to Earth. Singapore is so full of green space and flowers, parks and gardens and carefully curated pops of color and art in all the right places. Even through the concrete jungle of downtown and the major shopping district along Orchard Road, there was still plant life all around!
And it was so Christmas-y! It really raised my holiday spirits. This will be my first-ever Christmas abroad and I wasn't really feeling into it at all until we went to Singapore. This pink tree just made my day!
Coming from Bangkok where it's nearly impossible to walk down the street without fear of getting run over, we took every chance we could get to stroll along the tree-shaded boulevards and expanses of greenery found throughout the city. The Singapore Botanic Gardens proved to be the perfect place for an afternoon escape.
We wandered through the Healing Garden and learned about herbal remedies and the medicinal uses for a number of plants. It was an amazing reminder of everything Earth offers to us when we take the time to care for and cultivate it. Out in the fresh air, surrounded by all that beautiful vegetation, I made a little mental note to get out and smell the flowers more often.
Not only did we get to connect with nature, but this trip also allowed me to reconnect with my old friend Adil! We grew up together and went to the same school K-12, but hadn't spoken in years. My friend Emily put us in contact when she found out he was traveling to SE Asia and it just so happened that he was planning to be in Singapore the same weekend as us. Talk about a blast from the past!
He'd already been in town for a few days by the time we got there, so he showed us all the cool places to go. Love when that happens! After the epic light show on Saturday night, we went to the top of Marina Bay Sands for the craziest views of the city below and made our way to Clarke Quay to party the night away at The Pump Room.
My favorite place in all of Singapore is definitely Gardens by the Bay. Here, I really felt like we'd traveled to a different planet. I'd seen photos of the Supertrees before, but they were even more unbelievable than I thought they would be. Standing at up to 16 stories, the psychedelic supertrees generate solar power and glow with actual living plants. You can even eat in the restaurant in the top of the tallest tree! And an illuminated footpath circles through the trees, allowing you to get up-close-and-personal as you "climb" your way around.
On our last day, we wanted to be outside as much as possible, so we went to Sentosa Island to rent bikes and check out the beaches along the shore. Home to Universal Studios and a number of other recreational attractions, Sentosa feels like a theme park in and of itself, manicured to the very last detail. It felt a little artificial, but it was great to have actual bike trails and nice roads to cruise on! The landscape was green as could be, convincing me that Singapore really is the garden city of Asia.