50 reasons why we love Singapore

Here's why we think Singapore is the greatest, most exciting city in the world โ€“ regardless of what the Time Out City Index 2018 says
50 reasons why we love Singapore
By Megan Sim and Nicole-Marie Ng |
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Fact: Singapore is not boring. And we can prove it. We had a hard time narrowing down 50 reasons why we love Singapore – we had to leave so many other things out or we'd be here all day. From our vibrant arts and culture scene and obsession with food to our status as a hub for technology and innovation, Singapore truly has it all.

1โ€“10

Singapore safety
Photo: Sorbis/Shutterstock.com

Because it's safe

This might not seem like a very exciting fact but we can walk the streets late at night without having to worry about being mugged, stabbed or held up at gunpoint. The Time Out City Life Index 2018 found that 98% of people living in Singapore feel safe here compared to the global average of 78% – take that world.

Dan Rose Collective, The Body of the Sea, i light Marina Bay

Because of the view from Marina Bay

Waterfront views don't get any more breathtaking than when you soak in what Marina Bay has to offer. From the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel and quirky looking Esplanade to the historic Fullerton Hotel and cloud-piercing skyscrapers of the CBD – New York City has nothing on us.

 

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Marina Bay Sands
Photo: Scott Frances

And the view from Marina Bay Sands

There's a reason why people from all over the world flock to take a dip in the rooftop infinity pool at the luxuriant Marina Bay Sands. Not only is it the largest infinity pool on the planet, it offers unparalleled views of Singapore’s glamorous cityscape. Now go take that Insta pic of you looking off into the sunset.

Jumbo Seafood, Chilli crab
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Because this is where chilli crab was invented

We don't care what our neighbours say – we take full credit for introducing chilli crab to the world and we do it best. In a survey we did ranking the best local dishes, the iconic dish came out on top. And the best place to get a taste? Our readers voted for Jumbo Seafood.

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Because free art is all around us

Singapore has some seriously stunning street art murals littered all over the city, you just need to know where to look. Here's a seven of our favourites.

Panda River Safari

Because of cuddly pandas

You don't have to go all the way to China for a glimpse of these cute creatures. The River Safari is home to Kai Kai and Jia Jia, a couple of giant pandas who thrill visitors with their butt-scratching, belly-jiggling antics.

 

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Tong Ah Eating House
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Because of kopi and kaya toast

There's no better way to start the day than with a cup of kopi – or kopi-o for those of you who like your coffee as dark as your soul – and kaya butter toast. Throw in a couple of soft-boiled eggs and you're golden.

Singapore passport

Because of our passport

It’s pretty cool being the rightful owners of the world’s most “powerful” passport – our passport commands up to a $50,000 premium on the black market.

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Nathan Hartono: Coming Home

Because our homegrown talents make us proud

It’s always heart-warming to see local artists making their mark on an international stage – Nathan Hartono, a Singaporean singer made it all the way to the finals of Sing! China and Anthony Chen took home the prestigious Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, just to offer a few exaples that prove that Singapore’s talent pool is far from deficient.

The National Gallery
Photo: Darren Soh and the National Gallery Singapore

Because we have the largest collection of Southeast Asian art

Housed in the former City Hall and Supreme Court buildings, National Gallery Singapore is the largest visual art gallery in Singapore and showcases most local and Southeast Asian pieces.

11โ€“20

St John's Island, cats

Because of Singapura kitties

You don't need a house pet when friendly stray kitties roam the streets. These cuties are always up for a pat as long as you treat them with kindness.

Hawker Chan

Because you can get a three-course meal for less than $10

Hawker centres are home to countless of stalls offering unpretentiously scrumptious food at affordable prices. Hit up Tiong Bahru Market – an oldie but goodie with more than 80 stalls including legends such as Tiong Bahru Fried Kway Teow, Jian Bo Shui Kueh and Lor Mee 178.

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In Good Company

Because of the local design scene

From small brands looking to make their mark to brands like Charles and Keith that have gone international – with celebrities using its pieces on the red carpet – Singapore's local design scene is a hotbed of activity. You'll find designers blending the styles of different Southeast Asian cultures to create garments that give us our own unique voice.

Keong Saik, Potato Head Folk

Because there's room for both the old and the new

From the heritage shophouses that lace the streets of Chinatown and Katong to the futuristic Art Science Museum and towering skyscrapers of Raffles Place, Singapore’s architectural splendour relentlessly proves that the traditional and modern can indeed coexist.

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Changi Airport

Because we have the worldโ€™s best airport

Changi Airport needs no introduction. The world's best airport offers a fusion of fine local delicacies, luxury shopping, an array of things to do and even a soon-to-be sprawling canopy park. Our airport is, without a doubt, a departure from the ordinary.

Singapore Airlines

And the second best airline

Fine, we might not be number one but that just means we have something to work towards. Concomitant with our world-class airport, our national carrier is also outstandingly impressive. With state-of-the-art cabins, ridiculously well-trained cabin crew and an imaginative safety video, Singapore Airlines is the go-to airline for locals and tourists alike.

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Supertrees, Gardens by the Bay

Because it's green

They don't call us a City in a Garden for nothing. From Supertrees to roadside sentinels, Singapore’s lush and verdant landscape is both green to look at and working on being as environmentally friendly as possible too.

Chewing gum

And clean

You won't end up stepping in someone's chewing gum on the streets here.

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Singlish

Because of Singlish

Only in Singapore does a sentence that incorporates four or more different languages make perfect sense. We think that's beautiful. I mean, understand can already right?

Merlion Magic Lights Sentosa
Photo: Sentosa Development Corporation

Because we have the coolest national icon ever

Half lion and half fish? Somebody had to be trippin' when they cooked up the idea of the Merlion and pitched it to the tourism board. But we're glad that we've rolled with it and even have seven planted around the island.

21โ€“30

Accessibility in Singapore

Because of the city's accessibility

Given that the mainland of Singapore spans across approximately 50km, you can easily get from one end of the island to the other in an hour or so. And it's easy for the elderly and disabled to get around the island too.

Once Upon a Time in Little India, Indian Heritage Centre
Photo: Indian Heritage Centre

Because of our rich cultural tapestry

It’s not unusual to find temples, mosques and churches located within walking distance from each other – emblematic of the intricate ethnic fabric that affords us the opportunity to experience a variety of diverse cultures. Cultural and religious festivals are proudly celebrated all year round and we can honestly say that we're a not just a tolerant, but welcoming bunch.

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$1 ice cream

Because you can enjoy the little things

Like ice cream wrapped in a slice of rainbow bread on a sunny day for just $1.20. If that doesn't make your day then we don't know what else will.

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Iggy's

And some of the best restaurants

Restaurant Andre, second on the list of Asia's 50 best, might be closing its doors on Valentine's day, but the city is still home to excellent restaurants that push boundaries without compromising on taste. Here are some of our favourites.

Durian

Because we love our king

The king of fruits that is. Call it smelly, call it disgusting, we'll happily gobble down your share of durian while you're standing there making faces at the spikey fruit.

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Bollywood Veggies
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Because we're a city with farms

While we don't have a lot of land to go around, we're glad that the island still has pockets of green in the form of farms up in Kranji. We get fresh greens, mushrooms, eggs and even fish from farms such as Ah Hua Kelong or more high-tech outfits like Kühlbarra. 

Kinki rooftop bar
Photo: Bruce.G

Because we pride ourselves in being trustworthy

Our long-established corruption-free reputation ensures that we’re a conducive place for businesses – both local and international – to thrive. We're even trustworthy on a day to day basis: the Time Out City Index found that 85% of Singaporeans would turn over a wallet full of cash to the police if they found it on the street.

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Candlenut

Because Peranakan food is delicious

We have the world's only Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, Candlenut and a host of other authentic Nonya restaurants to get stuffed at. There's also a growing trend of people inviting you to their homes for a taste of their family recipes – local hospitality doesn't get any better than that.

Kampong Lorong Buangkok
Photo: GRPS

Because you can still enjoy kampung life

Despite rapid modernisation, there are still places to visit if you want to revisit the kampung days. Head to Kampung Lorong Buangkok in Hougang or take a trek out to Pulau Ubin.

31โ€“40

Thumb drive

Because we gave the world the thumb drive

Did you know that a Singaporean company, Trek 2000 International, invented the thumb drive? Yup, Singapore single-handedly brought us from the age of floppy disks and CDs to the future of USB flash storage. And we continue to do so as an innovative tech hub. You're welcome, world.

National Library Singapore

Because public libraries are everywhere

Can't make it all the way down to the National Libary in Bugis? No worries, there are 25 other fully-stocked public libraries littered around the island housing everything from plays and recipe books to the latest international bestseller.

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ION Orchard
Photo: chensiyuan

Because you can shop for high-end and mass market all on one street

Yes, we're talking about Orchard Road. The glamourous shopping belt has everything from Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel to H&M and Uniqlo plus everything in between including local brands such as Love, Bonito and Bynd Artisan.

KK Hospital

Because of our healthcare system

We're the textbook example of how healthcare should be. We offer accessible, affordable yet high-quality healthcare – something that other countries envy and seek to replicate. 

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Springleaf Prata Place
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Because the city never stops eating

With so many late night and 24-hour dining options around the city, who can blame us?

Zouk

Or partying

The city is home to one of the best clubs in the world, Zouk. But that doesn't mean it's the only club you should check out – there are others offering panoramic views of the city, Asian glitz and glamour and sick beats from hip-hop to EDM so lace up your dancing shoes and get jiggy 'til you see the morning light.

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Mustafa Centre
Photo: Morven

Or shopping

Need cooking supplies, jewellery or electronics at 3am in the morning? Mustafa has you covered. The huge 24-hour shopping malls on Syed Alwi Road in Little India has everything and anything you could possibly want

Water droplet

Because of Newater

In our thirst for self-sufficiency (and potable water), created and refined water-recycling technology to produce Newater – perhaps the greatest testament to the irrefutable Singaporean spirit of innovation. Plus it tastes pretty damn good too.

 

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Kayak in the east

Because weโ€™re sheltered from natural disasters

We’re fortunate enough to be insulated from the first-hand devastation of natural disasters by virtue of our geographical destiny. Even if we experience a flash flood every now and then.

Singapore

And help out countries that arenโ€™t

Call Singapore selfish all you want, but when another country is in need of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, we'll be there in a jiffy.

41โ€“50

Kumar

Because we're always reinventing ourselves

In a bid to constantly remain dynamic in the face of ever-changing milieu – Singapore is always reinventing itself to stay ahead. Skillsfuture and lifelong learning anyone?

SMRT

Because of our public transportation system

Sure the MRT might break down every now and then (they're working on it) but that doesn't change the fact that there's a train station or bus stop to connect us to every major point in the city. Unlock the experiences the island has to offer with a tap of your ez-link card.

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Comedy Masala

Because we know how to laugh at ourselves

Despite our stoic exterior, Singaporeans enjoy a good laugh every now and then – especially at the expense of fellow Singaporeans. Our shortcomings with a pinch of wry humour make for our own unique brand of self-evaluation.

SGAG
Photo: SGAG

But are fiercely defensive if someone else does

Step on our toes and witness to a fiery display of national pride. We might even cause you to lose your job and drive you out of the country. Don't play play hor.

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Singlit
Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Because Singlit is on the rise

Our literary scene continues to make headway, with local writers proffering thought-provoking social commentaries that resonate with the everyday Singaporean. Just last year, Sonny Liew's graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye won three Eisner Awards and the Pingprisen for Best International Comic in 2017.

Punggol Waterway Park

Because of our non-erratic weather

Apart from the (exceedingly) occasional hailstorms, it's perpetually summertime in Singapore so you don’t have to worry about gearing up with earmuffs and windbreakers. When you’re looking to escape the sweltering equatorial heat or tropical storms, simply seek refuge in one of our air-conditioned malls.

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Apple store, Orchard

Because we're kiasu

The national psyche that we’re often vilified for is also one of the reasons for our success – our relentless pursuit of excellence ensures that we top league tables and always stay ahead. Being scared to lose means we're always #winning.

Otters Singapore

Because even otters love it here

Our new favourite expats – wild otters who now call the rivers of Singapore home. Just don't get too close or they might snap at you, just like an auntie on the MRT during peak hour.

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Laneway Festival Singapore
Photo: Laneway Festival Singapore

Because of the people

Call us rude, selfish or any name you'd like – because deep down, we know what kind of people we are and we're totally unapologetic about it. We don't have time for fake, superficial pleasantries but in your time of need, we'll be there.

Kit Chan

Because this is home, truly

No matter where you come from, what language you speak or the colour of your skin – anyone can make Singapore home. This is where you won't be alone, because this is where it's truly home.

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