L-MerlionI have been to Singapore several times.  Singapore is a compatible mix of Chinese, Malay, and Indian where English is the common language. It is one of the most innovative and cleanest cities in the world. Singapore is a clean city for a reason. As a taxi driver told me, “When we pass a law we enforce it.” Littering and other such behavior carry heavy monetary penalties. You may remember this is the place where a young American boy was caned for spray painting a car. Even his mother’s sobbing appeals on international TV did not change the punishment. Chewing gum is banned. Before landing at Changi Airport a PS announcement alerts arriving passengers to the no-tolerance anti-drug laws.

When I arrive at Singapore’s Changi Airport I wish all airports were similar.  It is quiet and immaculate with many free things to do including Internet access, two free city tours for lay-over passengers, a movie theater, butterfly garden, and more. 1. Changi2 I get a free leg massage, pick up a complimentary map and enjoy a piece of hard candy from the dish on the counter while my passport is being checked.  The ride into the city is truly a trip into the “Garden City.” The road is lined with trees and the overpasses are dripping with colorful flowers. One part of the road is divided with huge pots containing trees. Why?  Because, there is only one airport so if Changi is attacked they can remove the pots and use the road as a runway.

My husband has declared the taxis in Singapore the “best in the world.” All the drivers must be Singaporean, at least 30 years old, with an unblemished driving and police record, and they take credit cards. We use our credit card as much as possible to gain points for more travel. BTW we have one credit card that we use internationally because it does not charge a foreign exchange fee. There are plenty of ATMs in Singapore.

L-Sing 021A hop-on hop-off bus tour is always a good way to get acquainted to a new city. It is hard to pick my Singapore favorite things toSentosa do. Sentosa Island is an amazing place with a great beach, a fort with a museum that tells about the Japanese occupation during WW II, amusement rides, and the Images of Singapore attraction that vividly covers Singapore’s history and culture. Singapore Zoo’s Night Safari is unforgettable. An open-air trolley makes it way through the jungle at night when the animals are most active plus there are nighttime walking trails. On my most recent visit I was dazzled by the newest attraction, Gardens by the Bay.  It is impossible to miss the 150-foot Supertrees connected by an elevated walkway. They provide shade, a structure for plant life, and are designed to harvest solar energy and rain water. Inside the Flower Dome was just as impressive with plants, flowers, and trees from around the world. From the Gardens by the Bay I had a great view of Marina Bay Sands, an over-the-top hotel/casino/shopping arcade/entertainment complex. The Marina Bay Sands’ rooftop infinity pool on the 52nd floor has incredible, heart-stopping views of Singapore. 

L-Parkroyal pool cabanasWe stayed at the newly opened Parkroyal Hotel on Pickering with sky gardens at various levels. Typical of Singapore the area next to the street is lined with trees and the street-length lobby has a meandering stream creating a green environment unique for a city hotel plus it is located across from a small park.  It is like a hotel in a garden. The infinity pool with colorful birdcage lounges is located on one of the sky garden levels offering an expansive view of the city. It was especially impressive as I watched a thunderstorm roll in late one afternoon. As one might expect from a 5-Star hotel, the service, accommodations, and food was great.

 Food malls are not a new concept; they were derived from Asian hawker stalls. Today Singapore Cooking classhawker stalls have morphed into modern food malls.  There are McDonalds and other chains, high-end restaurants, and everything in between.  One of the things John and I love to do when we visit foreign countries is to take a cooking class. It is a great way experience the culture.  The Parkroyal on Pickering is located a short walk from Chinatown home to Food Playground Cooking School where we made Pandan Pancakes with Coconut Filling, Chicken Satays, and Fried Kway Teow. 

Singapore is also home to a bird park, botanical gardens, and a great zoo with an exciting Night Safari. It wasn’t until we were ready to leave that we learned they now have a Water Safari. Guess we will just have to visit again. For more information check yoursingapore.com, www.parkroyalhotels.com/pickering, and foodplayground.co.