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A Trip to Singapore: A Singaporean’s travel account

I’ve been a firm believer of the fact that happiness is but a state of mind. Everything else just corresponds to your personal state of mind. You may have noticed every event somehow, contributes towards your present set of thoughts. Well, that is my personal take on happiness but I am sure the world agrees with me when I say that traveling is likely to make just anyone happier!

Traveling is a beautiful and therapeutic activity that allows you to rediscover your own self while exploring newer places. This is a strange serendipitous outcome of something anyone would love to experience. Traveling to newer places comes really easy, but the adventure of exploring something you’ve already explored is entirely a different experience.

People end up travelling many miles away in search of happiness, and end up returning to the same place they belong to. This concept baffles me, as I have a completely different opinion about happiness. Besides, I am a busy, workaholic Singaporean who never got the chance to experience the beauties of Singapore even though I’ve been staying here since the past couple of years.

Singapore: My Earliest Memories

I’ve been born and brought up in this beautiful City, which is often called the Lion City by many. I am proud of its rich cultural heritage and the dynamic grounds for growth I’ve seen it offer to everyone alike. I do not intend to ramble on and on about my love for Singapore, but I am just looking to express why I chose to vacation in Singapore, despite being a Singaporean!

I grew up in Singapore and like any nerdy regular Singaporean; I have my own share of lovely memories in Singapore. I was good in studies and success came quite easily to me, as it comes to most Singaporeans and foreigners working here! I know I’ve seen enough of Singapore and know some of its hidden treasures too. Still however, I craved to experience the mystic beauty of Singapore through a regular traveler’s eyes!

Some people literally laughed at me when I told them I was vacationing in Singapore. Some of my friends and acquaintances thought it was my inclination towards work that impelled me to take this decision and holiday here. No amount of friendly admonitions and advice could stir me from my adamant decision.

Discovering Singapore, but not like a Singaporean!

I set out on my mission, and let me tell you it was truly beautiful. It was probably, even more rejuvenating than I thought it to be! I took my trip very seriously, and experienced some of the most attractive facets of Singapore. It was a solitary trip without my family, friends or workmates.

My simple preparations

I was carrying my cell-phone but made sure not to take up any official calls. You may call it funny and laugh at my asinine obstinacy, but I had totally decided to revel in the pleasures of discovering my beautiful Lion City! I picked my bags and decided to go all adventurous for my weeklong trip in Singapore.

Little did I know that I was in for a complete transformation in life! My trip to Singapore was engaging, beautiful and contrary to my own and everyone’s expectations, very surprising too. Singapore’s beautiful facets unfolded themselves before my eyes slowly, with the aggrandized grandeur any tourist would subject themselves to.

Traveler’s Viewpoint begins…

I believe in self-manipulation for making myself happy. I decided to adopt a traveler’s viewpoint while touring Singapore and come up with an unbiased travel account of the same. My journey began smoothly, and since I didn’t have to board a flight, I took a taxi and decided to stay in a cheap location at Little India. It’s not that I am parsimonious, but I just like being close to great food. For all I know, Singapore’s best food picks are at its hawker centers!

Some of the most beautiful aspects of Singapore I discovered included:

· Food: Anyone would know that Singapore offers some of the most amazing cuisines. Though I’ve tried most of these already, I never knew that I had also skipped out some more delicious foods. I had already decided to pick up practically everything from the Hawker center stalls. Some of the new found and unique dishes I tried out there include:

  1. Andhra Curry- This tastefully prepared food item was available close to my hotel. Little India is famous for these delicious dishes that tantalize taste buds and leave you craving for more. The restaurant where I tried it out was a kaleidoscope of garish colors. I don’t know whether it was the unique ambience or the warm hospitality, which made me love this spicy delicacy more and more!
  2. Hainanese Chicken Rice- Singapore’s never really had any national dish, due to its amazing eclectic offerings. The Hainanese Chicken Rice however, is one delicacy that comes quite close to becoming a National Dish in Singapore. The Maxwell Food Centre in Chinatown became my favorite spot to try this delicious food there!
  3. Shrimp with Lobster sauce- Seafood is one of my greatest weakness, and this aromatic delicacy simply took my heart away! I loved the tender shrimp cooked tastefully to perfection, with Lobster sauce.
  4. Yum Cha- Thankfully, as a Singaporean local, I made the right decision to stay close to the hawker centers. The delicious foods available in Singapore’s Chinatown include this rare delicacy that comes as a surprise package amidst some other tempting varieties of food available.
  5. Rojak- This is an amazing medley of flavors. You can find it at any hawker centers and indulge into this amazing delicacy.

I skipped out the delicious varieties you find at most swanky restaurants that provide an excellent fine wine and dine experience! You can look out to savor the unique tastes and delve into its heavenly tastes.

· Couch surfing: Most people would see it as a budget friendly accommodation alternative, but couch surfing comes as one of the most enjoyable activities. Look out for an amazing bonding experience that is layered with adventurous fun! Couch surfing helps you discover some of the different pleasures of vacationing in Singapore and interacting with friendly locals who’re ever ready to share their vivacious company with you!

· Local sights: Singapore is known for its attractive man-made and natural marvels. I often got a glimpse of one or more such sights during a casual drive to work, or ended up gazing at one or more such amazing destinations. Some of my favorite memories from sightseeing and touring in Singapore include:

  1. Swimming in Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool- It was nothing but pure thrill to swim across this pool and cool myself down! I enjoyed this swim 780 feet above ground and swam across its 500 feet length.
  2. Ride on Singapore’s ‘Wheel of Fortune’- The Singapore Flyer is known to be the largest observation wheel. As quoted by many people, this ride is totally worth its every minute. The dizzying heights take you to another world and ensure that you enjoy this unabated excitement throughout the entire ride.
  3. The Esplanade- I was always fascinated by the ‘Theaters by the Bay’ concept of Singapore’s amazing manmade marvel. This beautiful theater makes you gasp and marvel at its ingeniously designed architecture. It is a beautiful waterside building, located on six hectares of land. I personally loved its uncanny resemblance with the popular Durian fruit we find here!
  4. Singapore Underwater World- Singapore has enough excitement to keep anyone hooked on to its fascinating wonders. The Singapore Underwater World is home to some of the most exotic species that are a delight to watch. Some of these species have been extinct many million years ago. The thought itself is quite unnerving!

I treated myself to a nice fish foot massage service offered close to the Aquarium. This amazing foot massage relieved me of all my aches and pains. It was a nice sensation to have fishes nibble around your feet and eat away the dead skin.

I was also really enticed by the beautiful ‘Gardens by the Bay’ and the amazing ‘Singapore Zoo’. It was quite a delight to experience these places and enjoy some of their spectacular offerings. It was good to enjoy these delightful aspects and revel in the simple joys of travelling around Singapore.

Aftermath of my trip

My trip went off uneventfully and that is exactly someone like me would expect from travel! I gained a lot from this trip and had one of the most transforming experiences ever.

Traveling evokes those sensations unknown,

Those that make me yearn to travel just alone!

Not away to escape, but to understand how to live,

To vanquish prejudice, bigotry and easily forgive!

I only wish to enhance the experience I have today,

But not by travelling to places and seeing people from far away,

I want to wait alone endlessly, in anticipation,

I wish to witness the wonders, which I often ignore, in fascination!

And every time I feel low, my memories, I shall define,

Memories I can smile at, which I need not refine!

That’s how I would put my take on Travelling in general! Travelling for me, is just marveling at wonders we often tend to ignore! They say that you haven’t lived your life unless you have travelled across the world. I don’t wish to see the whole world to understand life and feel rejuvenated. You know you’ve travelled well and good, if you just hit your soft pillow in your bed and drift into a sound sleep! That’s exactly what happened with me when I came back from Singapore. I felt more enlightened and rejuvenated for sure!

Things I gained out of my trip…

I gained some of the best things of my life in this trip. Some of these include the ones I have mentioned below:

  • I learnt the hidden delights of eating chilli Crab with hands. Even as a devout Singaporean, I never got a chance to have Chilli Crab with my hands and I must confess, it was but pure delight!
  • Gai Pad Mamuang Him Ma Pahn is a jargon for deliciously cooked tender chicken and cashews. This healthful snack is one of the best you can ever lay your hands on!
  • My apologies for emphasizing so much on food, but I just cannot help! I forged a sweet bond with Benjamin ‘Baba Sen’, a cool bloke who serves some of the most amazing Nyonyan delicacies.
  • I gained a great friend in my couch surfing partner- Chris. We promised to catch up every alternate weekend to celebrate our friendship. It was one of my choicest achievements, as I loosened up and did some weird things with him!
  • I also got to know where to find the cheapest beer in Singapore and when to enjoy cheap drinks there. We spent a lot on drinking otherwise, and I am glad I finally got to know where to get the cheapest drinks in Chinatown and take advantage of the Happy Hours too!
  • I also started valuing and loving Singapore much more than before! I am all awed by the multifarious offerings of Singapore’s diverse culture. As workaholics, we sometimes miss out some of the most beautiful aspects of our country. I regained pride on being a Singaporean, which is something I would treasure for a lifetime.

It isn’t that I did not love my beautiful country, but it’s just that I found more reasons to feel proud to be a Singaporean with this exciting trip! With the month of August on roll, I probably feel a lot more close to Singapore’s diverse culture. It may be the magic of the National Day celebrations, or probably I just cannot hold myself from loving my beautiful country more and more!

Would I go on another Singapore trip again?

This trip has taught me how much I missed out, despite being a Singaporean! Singapore is known to be a tourist destination that enthralls travelers at all times. To say, I missed so much of Singapore and would love to revisit Singapore every single day of my life.

My trip really taught me the importance of sneaking some time to revel in Singapore’s fascinating adventures every day of my life! I think we all ought to learn this lesson every day and revel in the pleasures of travel from time to time.

Peter Lee is a consultant associated with He is a travel buff and an avid blogger, who likes to study the work and business cultures of different places.

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