I've been to Singapore thrice in my life. I can't say that I've always been a huge fan. In fact, when I looked back on my early writings about Singapore, it seems the thing I liked best during my first trip in 2010 was leaving Singapore to go to Kuala Lumpur.
Nonetheless, in life, I prioritize people over places. So, for the birthday of a dear friend, I headed to Singapore for the last two weeks of December.
Having never spent Christmas away from my family or outside of the northeast United States, being in Singapore would mean, for one year, abandoning all my traditions - no baking and watching movies on Christmas Eve, no wake up call from my brothers at the crack of dawn to open presents, no helping my mother and aunts prepare a feast for Christmas dinner.
But I wanted - needed - so badly to be in Singapore. So, I embraced the idea of an untraditional Christmas season and booked a ticket. And other than spending time with my friend, I made no plans. I thought Singapore could never give me the Christmas I wanted, so I just went with the flow. The beauty in this was that I didn't force Singapore to be anything at all other than itself by demanding to go places and see things that I thought, based on internet photos, I might enjoy. This time, when friends in Singapore asked me what I wanted to do while I was there, I said "It's Singapore. So everything, anything, or nothing at all?"
That ended up meaning spending hours at dinner parties, reading in Singapore's gardens, walking on Tanjong beach in Sentosa until I found a quiet spot, visiting friends throughout the city, walking around and shopping in all the boutiques Tiong Bahru has to offer, discovering Singaporean magazines at a bookshop, drinking wine on terraces, meeting new friends. And because I wasn't searching for the nearest place with air conditioning or the coolest new restaurant, I slowed down, stopped judging, and appreciated Singapore for what it was.
And, in the end, "everything, anything or nothing at all" is the best advice I can give on what to do to while traveling to Singapore. More tips and recommendations are available in our Singapore Itinerary.