The first thing to hit me was the heat, like a great wave that rolled over me as I exited through the doors of Changi Airport on what would have been a crisp September morning back home. It was only then that I fully realised the magnitude of what I was doing, and just how different Singapore was going to be from my life in the UK – at that point, the only life I had known. Five and a half years later and those earlier reservations have long since disappeared, though I’m still not fully accustomed to the temperature!
With a total land area less than half that of London and English as its most-spoken language, Singapore turned out to be a lot less daunting a new home than I was expecting. I quickly discovered the self-styled Little Red Dot has a lot more to offer the discerning traveller. Whether you’re taking a stroll down the bustling back-alleys of Chinatown or past the rows of shophouses that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with skyscrapers. Singapore’s diverse cultural heritage is on display at every turn, a rich tapestry woven by the Chinese, Malays and Indians that call it home.
This is nowhere more apparent than the food, which I would urge any prospective visitor to Singapore to place high up on their itinerary. While Singaporeans prefer their food on the spicy side, Singapore has something to offer for every palate. The food courts and coffee shops that dot the island mean that you’re never far away from your next portion of homely wanton noodles, hearty beef rendang or the much-celebrated chili crab. Add to this that a decent meal at a hawker centre can be bought for as little as two dollars, and Singapore truly is a foodie’s paradise. Though you Brits in particular should be aware that finding a decently-priced pint is a different matter entirely!
Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia – with destinations in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand just a short flight away – Singapore also makes an ideal staging area for those that wish to explore the wider region. So, what are you waiting for? Put away those winter coats, brush up on your Singlish and come experience what Singapore has to offer!