Singapore is one of the most exclusive destinations in Southeast Asia
Lights and skyscrapers contrast with the most traditional Chinese, Indian and Arab customs
Singapore has little to do with the surrounding countries. Perhaps the city of Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia, is its closest simile, but it has grown in an atmosphere of luxury, money and high standing that sets it apart from everything else. In 1965 it achieved its independence from the Malaysian country and since then it has not stopped growing.
To get an idea, the city-state of Singapore is the third country with the highest income per capita in the world behind Qatar and Luxembourg, its economy moves much of world trade and in turn is the smallest country in all of Southeast Asia.
With a couple of days you will have enough time to get a good idea of what it has to offer the traveler. On the one hand, its size is easy to cover even if we have to resort to its effective public transport and, on the other hand, its high prices will not encourage us too much to stretch our stay beyond what is necessary, so with a couple of nights we can have enough if what we are looking for is a first contact full of contrasts.
In Singapore we will find skyscrapers, but also traditional Hindu temples; we will see luxury hotels, but also relics of Buddha; the best restaurants in the world next to humble street stalls, a country open to the world but with severely restricted freedoms… In short, a medley of cultures that are well worth knowing.
Take good note, in this list we show you the most interesting musts that you can’t miss in your stay in Singapore even if you only have 24 hours.
The Arab Quarter
Singapore has very different neighborhoods and there is no way to go into its Arab quarter to be aware of it. Walking through the streets of Kampong Glam, observing its stores and meeting its neighbors will be impossible for you to have the slightest doubt about what culture is breathed in each of its corners.
Crossing the Arab Street, where all their businesses were born, and arriving at Muscat Street we will find the spectacular Masjid Sultan mosque, center of the Muslim community since it was built in 1824.
Just a few steps from the Arab Quarter is Little India, the small Indian quarter of Singapore. Colorful and brightly decorated, its streets become a real party in October during the Deepavali, the most important Hindu celebration of the year, a whole Festival of Lights celebrating the triumph of good over evil, of light over darkness.
In Little India it is essential to make a stop at the Sri Veeramakaliamman temple. It was built in 1881 and its infinite figures, inside and outside, could monopolize our attention for hours.
This neighborhood was inaugurated in 1821 and today the Chinese community is one of the most numerous in the country. Its size means that it is divided into five districts. You have to walk, yes or yes, its Pagoda Street, an excellent place if you are looking for a memory to put in your suitcase, and the Singapore City Gallery offers a spectacular and huge 3D model of the whole city.
One of the striking notes in Chinatown is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, or what is the same, the temple of the Buddha tooth relic. This great building of classic style attracts attention both inside and outside, is a center of pilgrimage of many faithful and inside is guarded with suspicion a tooth that is said to have belonged to Buddha. If the visit coincides with a Buddhist ceremony the experience is even more special.
If you are short on time, it’s okay to miss them, but it’s more likely that you’ll end up walking past them, so it’s best to get to know them in advance. The National Gallery, the Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Victoria Memorial Hall are the most noble buildings in the city. Nearby is St. Andrew’s, a very white Anglican cathedral.
The Downton Core is the financial center of the city and therefore of the country. Huge skyscrapers that illuminate its silhouette at sunset, wide avenues and frenetic business life during the mornings move the economic heart of Singapore. A walk through its cafeterias in the shade of its buildings is not a bad plan when the heat is on.
The Merlion, a fountain with the body of a fish and the head of a lion, has become one of the most iconic symbols of Singapore. It was built in 1972 and spits its water over Marina Bay. You haven’t been to Singapore if you haven’t had your picture taken with it.
Everything revolves around Marina Bay, its waters reflect the Downton Core, they look at the Merlion and are also the mirror of the spectacular Marina Bay Sands hotel, possibly the most spectacular building in Singapore and why not, one of the most striking in the world. Three unfolded skyscrapers support above their heads a single boat-shaped building that has more than one hectare in area and seems to have dropped anchor at 200 meters high.
Needless to say, the best views of the rest of the city are obtained from this exclusive rooftop, with a 360° panoramic view, where you can also find the longest elevated swimming pool in the world. If you can afford to stay in one of its 2,560 rooms it will be an experience you will hardly forget.