A few years ago I went to Singapore planning to stay for a week. During my stay the volcano in Iceland erupted and my flight back home got cancelled due to the ash cloud. I had to spend some more time in Singapore and believe me, that’s not a punishment.
When thinking of Singapore you probably think about a completely urbanized city: the fashion emporiums of Orchard Road, the infinity pool of Marina Bay Sands, and the Clarke Quay nightlife. Singapore has been placed on the map as a stylish urbanization.
The popular myth saying Singapore is an unadventurous place just worth a two-days visit gave many of my friends a reason to dismiss the country on their Asia holiday. Such a pity! Let me explain to you why I love to spend time in Singapore.
Monkeys swinging through the trees
Singapore is not all about shopping and going out partying. You can get away from the civilization entirely in the center of this enjoyable Asian city. In fact, Singapore is one of the only two cities in the world that still has an area of primary rainforest, named Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. There the sound of monkeys swinging through the trees might be the only sound you will hear.
A monkey is still a wild animal. So I have to be careful with any food that I am carrying with me when the monkeys are present, as they might try to take it from me. And I sure do not want to give them any signs of aggression and challenge.
Tip. Do not look them in the eye or smile at them and keep distance of at least 1,5 meters. Did you know it is even forbidden to feed the monkeys by law in Singapore?
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is also home to Singapore’s highest hill at 163.63 meters and it offers some great hiking tracks. So bring those hiking shoes!
Storytelling in Haw Par Villa
Ask some people you know who have been to Singapore for a day or two if they have ever heard about Haw Par Villa. The answer will most likely be no. This hidden gem was previously known as the Tiger Balm Gardens. I heard about it from my dad who visited the park many years ago. The park has over 1,000 statues that dramatize Chinese legends and folklore. I found some statues of famous figures such as Confucius and the laughing Buddha.
The Chinese Garden of Singapore
In the Chinese Garden of Singapore you can find the Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum. The entrance is only $5sgd, so why not give it a try and spend some time over there? The turtles are everywhere. You can find them in the garden, the lake, the house, everywhere. The turtles are not alone though. The water of the lake almost looks like its colored orange due to all the Koi Carp fish asking for breadcrumbs.
Friends have told me they did not like Sentosa because it is a touristic island, but I have really enjoyed my visits to Sentosa. I guess many people only see the touristic things and don’t explore. I entered the Sentosa Nature Discovery and the Butterfly Park where I could feed the birds and it really was a lot of fun. All those pretty birds on my arm, but they do kinda weigh a lot 🙂
But that’s not all. When you go to Sentosa you should walk around and head to the beach! I have never seen such a tranquil beach where I could enjoy nature, luxury and a great view.
In search of more pure nature? Then you should head out to Pulau Ubin.
Pulau Ubin is a small island that lies next to Singapore, but it is not well-known by tourists such as Sentosa. From the Changi Point Ferry Terminal a bumboat will bring you to the island within 10 minutes for just 2,50sgd. There is a mangrove forest with walking fish. Yes, walking! I saw a few sitting on top of a mangrove root. Rent a bike or walk on the island to enjoy the nature.
Look kinda amazing, right?
What do you think now about Singapore? 🙂
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