During the late summer and early fall 2018 I had the opportunity to visit Singapore twice. What a wonderland Singapore is in South East Asia with its tidy street, easy transport and its entertainment options.

As it was not my first visit to the city state I skipped many obvious tourist activities. As a nature lover I decided to explore Singapore’s parks instead. I was in love with the Botanical Garden which in fact still has virgin forest in the midst of the city. It also has the largest ginger collection in the world. Were you aware that ginger plants in fact come in so many shapes and colors? The ginger garden may have been my favorite part of the Botanical Garden, but it is not an easy pick.

Beyond the Botanical Garden I visited Kent Park, Hort Park, Mount Faber Park, the McRitchie Reservoir with its Treetop Walk, Chestnut Nature Park, Fort Canning Park, Coney Island Park and Sungei Buloh. The Southern Ridges were lovely with its elevated bridges and views over the city and harbor. McRitchie and Chestnut Nature Park can really give you a jungle feeling with its dense forests. Sungei Buloh was another favorite of mine.

Sungei Buloh’s three trails in the magrove forest were close to each other but showed quite different landscapes. By far it had most wildlife. It was my little Singaporean safari. Since Sungei Buloh is far away from everything, not many people come here during the week. In fact, it is so far away that an Uber brought me there but there was no Uber picking me up nor was a bus running there throughout the week. My hike became involuntary longer in search for another bus station under Singapore’s scorching sun. But since it was so quiet at the park it was easy to spot animals, or maybe I became more attentive. Actually, even the large saltwater crocodiles were roaming around freely. I do not need to mention that I became quite nervous, given the fact that I was alone for the majority of my walks. During my time in Australia I learned to keep away from such waters, now the path was directly inside the mangrove forest without any fences. Seeing a few kept me on my toes, maybe even more than the Halloween night at the Universal Studios (quite a different but also super fun activity). I know I know, everyone talks about Pulau Ubin when discovering “remote” Singapore, but somehow it did not happen this time. I keep Pulau Ubin on my agenda for my next visit.

Downtown Singapore was on my agenda more towards the end of my second visit when my last accommodation was located very central. The hip Tiong Bahru became a favorite go-to neighborhood with its tasty chicken rice at the local Hawker, the fancy cafés, and BooksActually, where I had to buy some local literature. I am not a bookworm but love to buy books from local authors during m travels (this time Amanda Lee Koe, amongst others). I was also surprised how pleasant the promenade along Singapore river was, it covers quite some distance! A few times I walked from Robertson Quay to Marina Bay sands and back. Singapore is excellent in designing public parks and walkways.

After spending about a month in total in Singapore you also discover the very few pitfalls. Café visits are expensive (or basically all activities except walking, eating in Hakwers and using public transport); you better do not drink anything in the metro; with a high percentage someone can watch you scratching your bottom via a security camera; and do not even get me started on Singlish! Although of course you can get around with English very well, I was surprised to find out how omnipresent and implicit Chinese still is. This caused me major trouble in understanding sellers at the Hawkers and malls or taxi drivers, leading to many funny or embarrassing misunderstandings. By the way, many taxi drivers and their driving styles actually reminded me that this wonderland of Singapore is still in Asia. These pitfalls were very manageable though and I look forward to go again to discover even more, dive deeper into the rich cultures and meet again new friends I met there!

Only in the very end of my trip I started a few sketches with impressions from Singapore and I finished them back at home.

Have you been to Singapore? What is your favorite place?