Singapore: The Theme Park City

Continuing the retrospective of my trip in February, the third part of my trip was to Singapore. I’ve actually heard a lot about Singapore before I went and was always curious to go. In fact, despite Malaysia being the main destination for that part of the trip, I was actually looking forward to the visit to Singapore the most.

I always think that city states are really interesting. They’re obviously really small so that impacts the development of the city a lot. When you’re dealing with a country the size of Canada for example, you can only micromanage so much. But with a city, you can do a lot more. Governments, businesses, the people, everyone. It’s like a breeding ground for their own unique culture and style. Which honestly is really cool.

The Esplanade theaters, which are shaped like durians.
The Esplanade theaters, which are shaped like durians.

Prior to my trip to Singapore, the only city states that I’ve been to were Hong Kong and Macau, which are both very unique cities too. Hong Kong feels very mature. It’s like a big financial city with many different traditional elements. Macau on the other hand doesn’t even really feel like a city, rather more like a traditional town that just so happens to contain a massive gambling strip. It feels quite artificial in a sense because you know it was developed for a specific reason.

Singapore feels kind of like a mix of that for various reasons. For one, it has that big city feel like Hong Kong does, but things feel a bit, newer, I guess. A lot of the buildings feel very modern and unique, especially with their interesting architecture and designs. Their streets are also really clean and well decorated with both modern and natural elements. The overall atmosphere feels quite nice. I really liked it there.

In a way, it kinda reminded me of Disneyworld or something. You’re in a place that kinda feels familiar but just, more magical or something. The buildings are nice and fancy, and everything is just very prim and proper. When you’re walking through the city you also end up finding many interesting buildings or displays just scattered around, which makes it like a mini adventure even when you’re just walking down the street.

Mirror orbs in a park-like area.
Mirror orbs in a park-like area.

My favourite part of Singapore by far was the Gardens by the Bay. It’s absolutely amazing because it’s probably the most unique fusion of natural and man-made elements I have ever seen. You’re in this giant park right behind the Marina Bay Sands, which is a sight to behold to begin with, but you’re not looking at the Sands, you’re looking at the two unique observatories that jut out of this.. forest of both real trees and supertrees.

I don’t even really have the words for it. It’s just such a unique park. First off, those two observatories are really cool. The Cloud Forest is definitely the coolest conservatory I’ve ever seen. Not only is the building aesthetically pleasing to look at, but the exhibit itself is mindblowing. It’s such a cool showcase of plant life and the route you take going through it is really awesome too. Parts of it are on suspended bridges which just adds to the whole experience. The other observatory, the Flower Dome, was cool too, but it was not as unique as the Cloud Forest.

Suspended bridges branching in the Cloud Forest.
Suspended bridges branching in the Cloud Forest.

The main theme of this post really is wonder and amazement. There’s just so many things I thought was so cool in Singapore that despite only really being there for like, a day and a half, I had an amazing time.

Maybe it’s because I’m a design student now, but I’ve found myself appreciating unique design a lot more now than I used to. Going back to the idea of the design of city states, obviously the basic needs of the citizens and residents are paramount. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t go above and beyond in other aspects, especially when you’re dealing with a smaller area where atmospherics can actually be applied. In a way, it kinda brands the city too and makes it more attractive for tourists.

I really think that Singapore does this really well. Whether you’re wandering the downtown core checking out the fancy buildings, or at Sentosa, which like actually is a theme park, or even while you’re checking out the nature at the night safari, everything in Singapore feels so uniquely Singaporean. It’s hard to explain, but the feeling is really neat. The city is so cohesive and well integrated.

The sense of natural co-existence is fairly strong in Singapore.
The sense of natural co-existence is fairly strong in Singapore.

Overall, I had a really great time in Singapore. My biggest regret of my entire February trip was that I couldn’t spend more time in Singapore. A variety of reasons ended up making my visit a bit shorter than I liked, but I did a lot when I was there. And honestly, everything was fun. Expensive, but fun.

I would definitely go back to Singapore. In fact, I’d go back like, soon too if the opportunity arose. I think that when I go back to Southeast Asia, I’m going to use Singapore as a hub for sure. I felt very comfortable there and liked what I saw, and there’s definitely more cool things to be seen. I’d recommend people to go check it out too.

Like I said, it’s a bit expensive though. I think it’s probably the most expensive place in Asia, even more than Japan. Which honestly is just more shocking due to where it is, since all the countries around Singapore are fairly cheap. Regardless, totally worth it.

Author: Gary

Explorer, Creator, Gamer. #IDKAIST MSc and #UOITGameDev Alumni.

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