Singapore

Singapore is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 85 miles north of the equator.  Made up of 63 islands, it is a place that we have traveled to many times as it is the birthplace of thinkCHUA’s father and home to his paternal relatives.  Singapore is highly urbanized but almost half of the country is covered by greenery. Now more land is being created for development through land reclamation, the new Marina Bay Sands directly across from the famous Merlion for example is on reclaimed land.  The highlight of Singapore, besides visiting family of course, is the delicious food.

A first time visitor to Singapore can easily take for granted what they see: a modern metropolis.  The magnificence of Singapore is what they have accomplished as a society, in 1970, just five years after its independence from Malaysia, it was poorer than Cyprus, Chile and most other nations on earth.  In 2010 it passed the USA in per capita GDP (according to the IMF), is home to more millionaires per capita, and can claim a shorter path to prosperity than any non-resource rich country before it.

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DON’T MISS: Orchard Road, Mustafa Center (Little India), Marina Bay Sands mall, wandering downtown/Clark Quay, Merlion on Marina Bay, Botanical Gardens (most amazing orchids you’ll ever see)
MUST SEE: Marina Bay Sands…then realize that just a few years ago the land it is on was the sea…
MUST TASTE: Everything!?!  Singapore has the world’s best cuisine.  Try chile crabs, curry puffs, popiah, roti pratha and anything you can get your hands on from the hawker stands in HDB buildings.

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TRIP PLANNING: Singapore is a tiny country and can be hard on the budget.  The main “sights” can be seen in 2-3 days.
GETTING AROUND: MRT and buses can get you everywhere, don’t bother with anything else.

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OUR COST PER DAY (2 ppl): Not applicable, we stayed with family and didn’t pay for food and lodging.
COST OF A BEER: $9-14 USD, seriously.  A beer at 7-Eleven is about $5.
KEY MONEY-SAVING TIP: Don’t eat at restaurants.  Eat only at hawker centers connected to HDB housing developments and food courts in malls.

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YOU NEED TO KNOW: Laws in Singapore are non-negotiable, don’t try to bring any illegal drugs into the country, the penalty is death.
IF WE KNEW WHAT WE KNOW NOW: We’ve been there at least 15 times, not sure…
HELPFUL LINKS TO LEARN MORE: USA Today Singapore Savings Tips, Wikitravel, TripAdvisor 20 Things to Do in Singapore.  Please send us any sites you found useful and we’ll add them!

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WE WERE THERE FOR: 8 days this trip, probably a year total combining other trips.
OUR HIGHLIGHT: Eating and seeing family.
WHERE WE WENT: Everywhere.
WE REGRET MISSING: Nothing.

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