Singapore

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The most expensive city to live in the world, safest city in the world, and most "technology-ready" nation, I didn't know any of these descriptions of the city-state and island country of Singapore before arriving. But I noticed the expensive part soon enough. I took a bus from Mersing to Singapore and then walked to my hostel. I gave myself 2 days to explore before my flight to the states, but I really only had one place I wanted to visit, Gardens by the Bay. The only research I did for Singapore was reading a post from a travel blogger I follow. I read what she did and where she ate in Singapore so I checked out some of the same places to get me started.

Day 1: I took the subway to Bayfront and came out between Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Sands hotel. The hotel has always intrigued me because I always thought it looked like the body of a plane was resting on top of the 3 towers. I soon came to learn that it was where the infinity pool was located. And boy did I look into getting a day pass there to use the pool, but it's only for hotel guests. [Being in Singapore definitely made me feel my poor-ness. I was on a budget as I exchanged my left-over Malaysian Ringgit for Singapore Dollar and didn't want to go to the ATM again before I left. So I was surviving on $60 for 2 days, which doesn't go far.] 

I walked around the gardens and the supertrees- structures rising to 160ft with plants growing from the "trunk". I learned about all their sustainable projects including the solar panels on the top of the supertrees, rainwater catchment, and more. They have a couple conservatories but I didn't pay to see those. I came back later that night for the light shows at Marina Bay Sands and at the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay. The shows were free and very entertaining. I preferred the supertree show as I laid down on the ground right underneath them while the lights danced to varying waltzes.

Day 2: I took the subway to HarborFront and then walked on the boardwalk to Sentosa Island. I saved money by not taking the monorail but ended up walking about 4 miles RT. Sentosa Island is an amusement mecca. A great place for families, the island is home to Universal Studies, a waterpark, aquarium, museums, spa, beaches, shops, and restaurants. I walked past all that to reach Palawan beach and the reason why I came out there, to walk to the Southernmost point of continental Asia. Located just 84 miles away, this was the closest to the equator I've ever been.

After Sentosa I visited the famous and historic Raffles Hotel and the Long Bar, the home of the Singapore Sling. The hotel and bar is under renovation but they opened a pop-up bar in order to continue to sell their $30 (with tax) Singapore Sling cocktail. I did research prior to visiting so I knew what to expect, but decided to just look around rather than buy the pricey drink.

I found that walking around at night was much more pleasant than walking around during the day. So if you're traveling to Singapore I would recommend finding activities to do indoors during the hot day and then walking around outside at night when it has cooled down. Plus everything looks better with their lights on. All in all, I was very impressed by Singapore and would love to return one day.

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Sara Leibold