You’re planning to spend a week in Singapore? Or simply to stop there a few days along your discovery of South East Asia? Trust me, this city-state has a lot to impress. From its luxurious parks to its eco-friendly buildings, travelling in Singapore in a sustainable way is more than feasible!
In November 2017, at the Cop23, the Singaporean government declared 2018 to be the Year of Climate Action. One year later, sustainable initiatives are visible and truly promising. Eco-friendly buildings are emerging in the city’s major places, car-free Sundays are organised, and selective sorting is more and more encouraged in public places (and trust me, in terms of selective sorting, Singapore really starts from scratch). Along your way in the streets of Singapore, you’ll see some of the government’s instruments to build awareness in people’s mind about the importance to make Singapore’s development more sustainable, as the City will keep growing over time.
Car-free Sunday in Singapore
At your arrival at Changi Airport, you will have to choose a transportation to reach your hotel. No worries: Singapore has a very efficient underground installation! There are four main lines that enable you to go anywhere you want and you can expect a train every 3 minutes. There are also many bus stops in the city, which prevents you from calling a personal grab. However, for a more pleasant and eco-friendlier trip, my best advice is for you to take a bike! Ofo Bikes, O’Bikes or GrabBikes are in self-service everywhere in the city (at the entrance of MRT stations or in front of your hotel). They are easy to use, and often don’t even need a cash deposit! You’ll just have to download the append scan the bike QR code to enjoy a ride.
Your choice of hotel shouldn’t be hard. It mostly depends on your budget. If you have a high budget for your stay in Asia, you can afford one of Singapore’s eco-friendly hotels (Six Senses Duxton, Parkroyal on Pickering or JW Marriott). Otherwise, Singapore has many cheap hostels for you to discover the city without spending too much. I tried Spacepod@com and ZEN Hostel Wanderloft and I really had a great time there!
As activities I can advise you, parks in Singapore are the best way to spend a relaxing afternoon (if the weather is compliant!). There are a lot, and you can choose the one you want to try depending on your location or the experience you want to enjoy (wild nature or design gardens). Botanic gardens are a must-do (wide diversity of plants, flowers and trees, nice to go with children), and Mount Faber Park is my favourite (wilder, with a lot of vegetation and tree-top walks). For an even greener afternoon, Mc Ritchie reservoir is Singapore’s largest natural reserve. You can find a wide variety of trees and animals all along your way.
Some sights you really don’t want to miss are of course the Marina Bay Sands hotel (the famous boat elevated on top of three skyscrapers), Gardens by the bay (luxurious gardens and Avatar-like metallic trees) and the Esplanade (to enjoy a beautiful panorama of the Singapore river, and the surroundings monuments). Raffles Place is also a nice place to visit. It’s the affairs’ neighbourhood, and some eco-friendly buildings are slowly emerging (Capitagreen, Oasia Hotel). Chinatown also worth the stop by its rich cultural and historical background. Take a step in one of the museums there, and discover the fascinating story of the first Chinese immigrants in Singapore (the Peranakans).
Gardens by the bay
Restaurants and bars
Singapore has a wide variety of options to have lunch or dinner. The most typical option is to try any of the city’s « food courts », which are open kitchens in the street with cheap and tasty food. You can choose your dish depending on what you have a taste for, within a large variety of alternatives: Japanese food, vegetarian food, Chinese food, Indian food, etc. If you need some guidelines, try Hot Pots! It is a typical dish in Singapore, composed by a flavoured boiling soup in which you cook ingredients of your choice. In the morning, Kaya Toasts are also a typical dish you have to try. The cheapest food court in Raffles Place is Market Street Interim, and the most beautiful one is Lau Pa Sat.
Eating in food courts is a way to meet locals and try the “Singaporean way of life”!
Lau Pa Sat food court in Singapore
For the nightlife, a cocktail or a beer in Hadji Lane (MRT Bugis) is really to experience. In this cosmopolite part of Singapore, the Muslim, Hindu and western cultures meet each other in a festive atmosphere. Music and street art pieces are to expect: everything to enjoy a great night.
Hadji Lane, Arab Street in Singapore
This blog is authored by OPR’s Ambassador from Singapore – Amandine Guilbault. Amandine studies at ESSEC Business School in Singapore. She was born and raised in France, but her wanderlust pushed her outside of her comfort zone – in Asia. She has always loved traveling, but this passion exploded here. What she loves about traveling is the beauty of nature and the richness of the culture. However, the impact of tourism is real and visible in Asia, and she wanted to find a better way to travel. One Planet Rating promotes sustainable tourism, and value environmental, social and cultural issues. She is proud to be OPR’s first Ambassador in Singapore.