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Singapore – The Garden City

Singapore – The Garden City

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller us unaware.”

―  Martin Buber

It’s been a while now since I got to tick a new country off my list.

I’ve waited years to submerge myself in the beauty of Singapore and it’s a beautiful culture.

This trip turned out to be way more interesting than I thought it would be.

With English being their first language, it was easy to get around and the locals were extremely friendly and helpful. In fact, most of what I’ve learned about the country came from 2 Taxi rides.

I never realised that Singapore is one of only 3 city-states in the world, with the other 2 being Monaco and Vatican City.

The first thing you notice about the city is the cleanliness and its incredible beauty owing to the green overgrowth that over-lapse the buildings in this garden city.

Every year, the country has a “Tree planting day” where EVERYONE from the community plants a tree, including politicians and children. Even though the country struggles for land size, they prioritise the environment, even growing trees from high rise buildings as it is near impossible to build horizontally. this means that the majority of the population live in high rise apartments, but no taller than 280 metres, set as a height restriction by the government. The city is now known as “The Garden City” is hoping to become “The City in a Garden.”

With Home Ownership in Singapore being above 90% and the highest in the world, it is prohibited to beg and almost no need for it either due to the incentives and generosity of the government with more than 80% of Singapore’s population living in government-subsidized houses.

This leaves the streets free of beggars and a worry-free walk to wherever you may be going, but you’ll have to walk fast to keep up with the pedestrians who have been recorded as the fasted walkers in the world.

Even though it is rated the 3rd most densely populated region in the world, behind Monaco and Macau, Singapore remains clean and safe. Cameras can be found wherever you look and we were ensured that someone would likely stop you for so much as dropping a tissue. Even chewing gum has been banned from the country and although you can still bring a personal pack for yourself, it is prohibited to sell any within the country.

The country is so small that it has no natural resources to offer the rest of the world. Even its water and sand is imported.

They have insufficient space for farming, mining or even fishing so they have to import EVERYTHING. This is why Singapore has been rated the most expensive city in the world to live, although 17% of the population (1 in every 6 people) has assets worth $1 Million or more.

Even with the economy based on shipping, the main revenue coming into Singapore is from the multitudes of tourists that flock to the city every year, mostly for sightseeing and business.

The government takes education very seriously and has created an internationally recognised community. With schooling now being an essential part of their lifestyle and 95% of the costs paid by the government, parents may find themselves arrested if they do not send their children to school.

By far one of the most fascinating things I discovered whilst taking a history lesson in a local taxi, is that a lot of the city was underwater a mere quarter of a century ago.

Some 25 years have passed since the country realised it was gaining land with the falling sea level, and in order to preserve the land, they wanted to create something truly remarkable to make a lasting impression.

They used the reclaimed land for a 250-acre nature park called The Gardens By the Bay,” including the largest glass greenhouse in the world.

One of the main attractions and a huge reason for my visit to Singapore was the immaculate “Super Tree Grove” which is an impressive display of architecture trees standing between 25 and 50 metres high. The trees mimic the benefits of their natural counterparts by hosting other plants, capturing water, solar energy and even serving as air intake and exhaust functions as part of the conservatories’ cooling systems.

The expansive outdoor gardens are completely free to roam around and additional costs would be for walking the “OCBC Skyway” which lets you view the gardens from an elevated walkway between the “Super Tree’s.”

A beautiful view from here will include the 2 massive conservatories which host an abundance of plant life and educate tourists on the importance of keeping our planet green.

The 2 Conservatories consist of the “Flower Dome” and the “Cloud Forest,” Each hosting a spectacle of plant life from around the world and a 35-meter indoor waterfall.  These are also at a cost to visit but are definitely worthwhile and something you won’t find anywhere else. At least not yet.

From all around the gardens you can see the impressive Marina Bay Sands towering over the horizon which adds to the epic Singapore skyline and along with the gardens, also used to be below sea level. The impressive architecture was billed as the worlds most expensive standalone casino property at S$8 billion when it was opened in 2010.

The same architect, Moshe Safdie, designed the newly released phenomenon at the international airport known as the JEWEL.

This architectural masterpiece was completed in March 2019 and is another reason to visit this incredible country.

The centrepiece of the terrace forest setting inside the building is the worlds largest indoor waterfall, named the “Rain Vortex.”

This is n incredible sight to behold and something that truly took my breath away. The surrounding building includes 10 stories of retail shops, restaurants, gardens and entertainment. Being a short walk from the terminals, this is a must-see when visiting or even passing through Singapore.

Other than the architecture and History lessons, Singapore was a very interesting place to visit and very advanced in technology. We stayed at the “Studio M” Hotel and were surprised by room service being delivered by a robot! Yes… A robot.

We were equally surprised to find that our breakfast was also cooked by an egg flipping robot. Something I definitely didn’t expect to encounter. Alas, with the excitement of having a robot make you breakfast, it does sadden me that the world is finding more and more ways to disrupt the human connection. I hope we can find a way to bridge this gap without becoming overwhelmed by technology.

Anyways, all in all, We had an incredible time in this beautiful city and I’m so happy to tick off another item on my bucket list, as well as my Travel list. If my calculations are correct, I think that was Country number 63.

Looking forward to more adventures in the future.

Let me know if you’d like more information on visiting Singapore.

Happy Travels.

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