I was fortunate to spend a year living in Singapore and I fell in love with all that the city has to offer.
For the first few weeks, I certainly felt like an out-of-place tourist. One of the first things I noticed was how tall I felt. The average height of males in Singapore is more than two inches shorter than the average height of American males. Even my name stood out, as Mike is one of the most popular names in the United States, but it is a rarity to find other people named Mike in Singapore. I believe it is safe to say I was the only “Mike Nay”.
It was easy to find friends through various University clubs such as the Photography Society, going out with my flatmates, and by attending events throughout the city. Within my first week in Singapore, I was fortunate to attend the National Day celebrations that honor the independence of Singapore from Malaysia.
Another of the highlights from my first few weeks in Singapore was visiting the Marina Bay Sands hotel and its breathtaking infinity pool, the largest in the world. The pool sits on the 57th story of the lavish hotel, and the view looks out over the heart of Singapore’s skyline. While it is costly to stay at this hotel which was the most expensive hotel ever built, it is definitely worth it for an unparalleled experience.
Singapore is also a foodie nation, and eating is one of its foremost pastimes. There are over 160 government approved hawker centers in Singapore. A hawker center is a large, outdoor, stand-alone food court which is a staple of the Singaporean food culture. During my year in Singapore, I visited nearly 100 of these hawker centers to get the full range of dining experience. I enjoyed foods such as chicken rice, chili crab, pig-tail soup, and fried noodles. The abundance of amazing food on every street corner is definitely one of the things I miss about Singapore.
Whenever people ask about Singapore, they almost always ask about the strict laws that Singapore is known for such as the ban on chewing gum. I didn’t really notice a lot of these laws too much, and I doubt too many people would unless they happen to be addicted to chewing gum. What I did notice was how incredibly clean, green, and efficient the city is. Most notable is the incredibly reliable and easy to use transportation system which made it very easy to live without a car. It is common for Singaporeans to not own a car due to the small size of the country and the very high costs of car ownership.
Another great thing about Singapore is that it is a central hub for Southeast Asian travel, making it very easy and cheap to travel to other parts of Asia.