Notes From: Singapore

Singapore was our final destination on the Asian continent. I’m still still wrapping my brain around this interesting city-state. It’s different but familiar. In many ways, it feels like “The Las Vegas of Southeast Asia.”

The Name

The history of this Singapore island is long and short. Having changed hands many times over the centuries, it become an independent republic in 1956. The name is much older though.

History says that in the 1300s, Srivijayan prince Sri Tri Buana saw a tiger native to the area, mistook it for a lion, and called the settlement Singapura which translates to “Lion City.” The Lion Head symbol is everywhere on the island and very much revered.

The name does make me smile though. I know another city that is named by a visitor who saw one thing and used another language to name the area after that thing that doesn’t really exist within that city…

The Tourist Focus

Singapore has built itself to cater to visitors. Most common is the Chinese tourist who has money and desire for luxury brands and lifestyle. The skyline, the shopping, the casinos, the impressive buildings, and the commercialization is all there.

This isn’t really our thing though.

We spent one day at the beach (also man made) and it was such relief from the heat. We did some swimming in the Singapore Strait and also in a very nice swimming pool with less salt and fewer jellyfish. 

We also crossed the bridge to take a picture in front of a sign marking “The Southernmost Point of Continental Asia.” It was fine. 

Where else do people wait in hot line to take pictures in front of a sign at the South end of a city?

Some Singapore Highlights

The city is a massive trade port with a constant flow of ships. It was awesome to see them all lined up as we flew in. 

It seems like every day you could count on a massive downpour in the later afternoon. At one point, we were walking home with some dinner and you could just feel the water gathering in the sky. As we walked into the door, I looked back out the window as the downpour began. It’s amazing how much rain can fall in a very humid area so close to the equator.

Of course, the rain was much more fun if you were waiting in the right place for it. 

The Singapore airport is famous for being an attraction of its own. They are currently building Terminal 5 which will be bigger than Terminals 1-4 combined. Amazing growth. We went early before our flight out so we could see the famous water funnel in the Jewel. It was very cool. 

The most like home

There was another reason Singapore felt so much like Las Vegas. The best reason of all. 

In each city we’ve travelled to so far we would play the game “How far are we from Grandma Linda?” We open our “Find My” app and located Grandma. That would tell us how far we are from home. 

In New Zealand it was 6746 miles

In Malaysia it was 8260 miles. 

But in Singapore it was six inches, and oftentimes much less.

We were so happy to welcome a grandmaan unclean aunt, and a cousin on our trip for a few days. They took one of the longest flights possible from the Continental US just to spend a few days with us in the humidity and it was wonderful. 

The girls kept saying that “it is so strange to see someone we know that is not us.”

So more than anything else, having family nearby made “The Las Vegas of Southeast Asia” feel most like home. 

Viva Singapore.

Notes From” is a series where I share observations from recent adventures. You can read more of these in the “Notes From” category.