Before I finally made my decision to start a travel blog in 2017, my main focus was to achieve a personal goal of visiting thirty countries by the age of thirty. ( I speak about this on my 30by30 article). My initial plan was to celebrate my thirtieth birthday abroad, with a group of my favorite people. I finally honed in on a country that I’ve aspired to visit for many years, South Africa. I couldn’t contain my excitement when I stumbled upon what I thought was an amazing flight deal out of Miami to JoBurg, with a long layover in London. I went ahead and booked flights for my partner and I, five months in advance mind you, because I didn’t want to miss such deal. So in my mind, my birthday trip was set. Friends couldn’t commit to the lengthy trip, but I was excited to be going to Africa for my birthday, so the rest didn’t bother me.
For five months all I could do is think about my epic trip, my epic birthday. Hot air ballooning over Johannesburg, hiking up Table Mountain, visiting the Apartheid Museum. The only problem was, I never received an approval for my time off. This is when working for corporate America goes wrong. About three weeks before my “epic” birthday trip, I am told there was no way I can take that time off. Even with having spent a decent amount of money on flights, I was not able to make this trip of a lifetime. I was crushed. I couldn’t believe that I was so careless not to have planned better. The best part, I did not have travel insurance. The frustration level was beyond real at this point. Luckily I booked with a travel agency, and they were willing to give me at least 2/3 of my refund, which is better than nothing.
Now that I had canceled my South Africa trip, had a portion of my funds refunded, and I had a new vacation date set; I decided to be flexible and see where my funds would take me. Low and behold, Qatar Airways was having a great sale from Miami to Singapore. Singapore? Yes, Singapore. Singapore is not one of those destinations people are rushing to go visit, like Bali or Cuba, so my instant reaction was more dismissive than anything. I booked our trip blindly, didn’t do much research and hoped for the best. I honestly didn’t know what to expect out of Singapore, but it is one of my favorite trips to date.
Now that you all know how I ended up in Singapore for my 30th birthday, let me tell you why you should consider visiting Singapore in the future:
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures. You can feel as though you’re in China one minute or India the next. Singapore’s population is composed of mostly Chinese, Malays, Indians and other Asian countries. It is no surprise to find the essence of such countries throughout Singapore in neighborhoods such as little India and Chinatown.
Singapore has the perfect blend of Asian cuisine, and the food options are plenty no matter your wallet size. From the 24 hr hawkers stands to fine dining, the options are endless. I had Chinese, Thai, Singaporean, Indonesian, American (yes, don’t judge) and Indian food. My stomach definitely paid the ultimate price though. Being the lover of ice cream that I am, I was beyond excited to have tasted durian ice cream, a fruit only found in Singapore. It was delicious!
Singapore has the contrast of being a concrete jungle mixed with vast gardens and green spaces. One moment you can find yourself in the middle of bustling downtown and the other you’ll have your breath taken away by the super trees in Gardens by the bay.
Singapore is extremely easy to get around. Coming from a person that gets lost easily, take it as the best advice ever. Singapore’s public transportation system, is extremely punctual, reliable and very clean. Try to avoid high peak times as you will be paying higher fares and ruffling with everyone else trying to get home.
Being a Caribeña (Caribbean girl) I tend to favor destinations with warmer weather. Singapore was beyond warm, more like scorching hot. When wandering around Little India I literally felt a little dizzy because of the sweltering temperatures. So if you’re looking to escape the upcoming dreadful winter, Singapore’s heat will warm your soul right up.
I felt right at home. We were hosted by different Airbnb hosts who were ever so wonderful to my boyfriend and I. We even made friends with some of the neighbors who spoke no English, and they kindly walked us to the train station on our first day. Don’t ask me what we talked about but we had a whole conversation
mostly through signs and facial expressions. We also made friends with strangers while walking down Marina Bay drive, and we now have a place to stay should we decide to come back.
My absolute favorite attraction in Singapore was Gardens by the Bay, You won’t regret paying a visit to this masterpiece. While in Singapore, try your best to take a stroll down Little India, China Town, and Arab Street. You’ll feel as though you’re traveling through different countries on each train stop. Depending on your pockets, stay a night at the Marina Bay Sands to experience its famous infinity pool. I admired the Marina Bay Sands from the outside and had just as much fun. Other travelers might add Sentosa Island or Universal Studios to their list, neither of these were of particular interest to me but they might be worth checking out.
Singapore became the 30th country I visited. It will forever be in my heart as one of the most exciting trips of my lifetime. Would I visit again? Absolutely, now who wants to pay for my flight?