Welcome to this week’s Postcard From – the feature where I chat to some lucky explorer about their recent travels.
Morgan is a Colorado native with suburban sensibilities and penthouse dreams. She writes about life as a millennial wander, self-improvement through travel, and the realities of teaching English in Korea on her website A Beautiful View. If you’re reading this, it’s a good bet she’s either daydreaming, writing, thinking about food, or considering the timeless question of how to become a “real adult.” She’s been travelling and living abroad for almost two years now, and doesn’t see an end date in sight. So, feel free to come along as she explores this crazy beautiful world of ours. For more awesome travel pictures and live updates of my travels and various mis-adventures, be sure to check out Morgan’s Twitter @abeautifulview0.
Read More: Check out this awesome post from Bemused Backpacker for a guide on how to spend three days in Singapore!
Welcome to Postcard From, Morgan! Tell us about your latest trip…
Arriving in Singapore was, in the simplest terms, surreal. We only had one day there – a 24 hour layover sandwiched between Vietnam and Bali. We flew to Singapore out of Saigon, on our tenth day on the road. That fact combined with the sleep deprivation of an early morning flight, and the stark contrast between Saigon and Singapore left me feeling like I had somehow stumbled into a dream.
Saigon is all growling motorbikes, endless honking, vendors hawking wares, crowded streets, and a wild, yet functional chaos. Singapore on the other hand is smooth, sleek, and as I said almost surreal. Everything there is immaculate. Spotless BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes dominate the smooth and surprisingly quiet streets. Nature quite present in the sweeping rows of perfectly manicured trees and beds of lush, colourful flowers, but it’s quite clear that all was planned and is tended to quite carefully. Massive skyscrapers coated in chrome, steel, and shimmering glass dominate the skyline, and from the moment you leave the airport it’s clear you are in a city to which image is important.
Where Saigon was functional chaos, Singapore is effortless function made utterly beautiful.
Wow, you paint a vivid picture! It sounds very exciting – how was the weather?
The weather oscillated between sunny and light cloud cover all day. As we were there during February, the humidity was still light, which made for an overall pleasant setting.
So, you only had one night in the city! Where did you stay?
We stayed in a hostel about a ten minute walk from the main highlights of the city. Due to our limited time in Singapore, we spent most of our time exploring the city; however, when we were in the hostel it was very pleasant. Everything was clean, the manager was very helpful, and the relaxed vibe was exactly what we needed.
And did you manage to fit plenty into your 24 hours?
Singapore is an extremely small country. Seriously, look it up on Google Maps sometime. It’s tiny! The city itself is the entire country, so we were able to knock out most of the destinations we wanted to see; mainly, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Garden by the Bay.
Our first stop was sipping cocktails and snacking on Tuna Tartare at Ku De Ta – the posh restaurant and bar at the top of the Marina Bay Sands. I won’t tell you how much we spent, because it’s kind of insane. However, I will say that everything was ridiculously good, and the delicious food combined with the opulent ambience made it worth the money.
After that we grabbed a more affordable lunch, in the mall portion of the hotel. Then, we headed out to Garden by the Bay. In all my life, I don’t think I’ve ever seen, or will ever see anything else quite like this site. Garden by the Bay is a masterful mix of man-made structures and natural beauty – four-story “supertrees” dominate the grounds, and each one of these massive structures is bursting with flowers, vines, and other colorful fauna.
The whole thing is futuristic, beautiful, and like all of Singapore somewhat surreal. Though I had seen pictures before I came – they definitely didn’t do justice to the real thing.
That sounds amazing – what was your highlight?
For me, the highlight was the “Supertree Symphony.” When the sun starts setting, Garden by the Bay lights up with shimmering multi-colored LED’s. Once night has fallen completely, everyone visiting the Garden is regaled with a beautiful music and lights show. Again it’s somewhat hard to describe, but the whole thing reminded me of the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas, except with massive metal tree instead of water.
Did you try any of the local food?
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to try Singapore’s most famous dish – chili crab. So if I ever go back someday, I would love to make that happen. As Singapore is such an international destination, we didn’t eat anything that was specifically Singaporean, but what meals we did have were delicious and well-prepared.
Ah, I’ve heard that before! Now for some more general travel questions. Did you read any new books on your trip?
I actually did finish a book on this trip. Not in Singapore itself, but throughout the trip overall. It’s called Ocean and the End of the Lane, and it’s by Neil Gaiman. I would describe it as surrealist fiction and I thought it was pretty good. Would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in that genre!
And finally: what do you love most about travelling?
I’m never bored. Even if I’m just sitting on a train I still feel engaged and alive. There’s always a beautiful view to be seen, a plan to be made for the next adventure, or an interesting stranger in the seat next to me. Not only am I never bored, but I think that constant exposure to unique experiences is the best way to become more understanding and accepting of difference, broaden your perspective, and become a better human being overall. I love the fact that when you are traveling there is something new around every corner.
NB – all images are owned by Morgan.