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The small city state of Singapore at the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula has 4 million inhabitants. Investments in the tourism industry have polished up the international reputation in recent years. Brand new resorts bring visitors and a lot of money to the city. The art and music scene no longer needs to shy away from comparison with other world cities, and the nocturnal Formula 1 event has become an integral part of the city's calendar. Shopping malls, nature and cultural highlights are all close together.

The skyline reflects the rapid changes of recent years - a breathtaking mix of small British colonial buildings and modern skyscrapers. If you like shopping, then Singapore is just the place for you: consumer electronics, fashion, video games, fabrics, spices, Chinese medicine - the list of goods from Singapore is as long as it is varied. Shopping here is an almost religious action; at the centre of this cult is the 2.5 km long Orchard Road, a gorge of glass, steel and concrete. The Singaporeans are very fond of their shopping malls; they spend a large part of their leisure time there. Also because it is pleasantly cool in the malls. The shops are not really cheap anymore, but the choice and the ambience guarantee an impressive experience. And there are also restaurants in abundance. Singaporeans are crazy about good food. This passion unites the nation across ethnic boundaries; countless restaurants serve delicacies of Chinese, Indian and Indonesian cuisine. The Hawker Centers and Food Courts are extremely popular. There is no better way to explore Singapore's mentality than through its cuisine. Most visitors come to Singapore because of the legendary shops and restaurants and are then amazed by the many exotic parks and gardens. Urban planning is very important, and it is no coincidence that large green belts run through the cityscape. The character of these green spaces ranges from the roof garden at the top of the Marina Barrage to the cheerful MacRichie Reservoir with its circular path at the top of the trees and the unspoilt Sungei Buloh, a resting place for thousands of migratory birds.

In my opinion, a visit to the legendary zoo, one of the best in the world, should not be missing either. The outdoor enclosures offer enough space for the animals and the zoo visitors can see the animals unhindered. Outside Borneo and Sumatra this zoo is one of the few places where the orangutans sit directly above the heads of the visitors in the trees and deer piglets and lemurs cross their way. In the evening you can experience animals like leopards, deer and Malay tigers in the neighbouring night zoo. And for those who have never seen pandas before, two of the cuddly bears live here.

Worth a visit is the nearby island Pulau Ubin, which gives an impression of village life as it took place in Singapore until the 1960s. From Changi, a small bumboat takes you through mangrove swamps. There, one can cycle by bicycle past tin huts or follow a mountain bike path and end the day with a seafood meal. If you don't feel like taking part in outdoor activities, you can take part in a cooking course instead. And if you like island life, you are welcome to spend a few nights at the resort.

And then there's Sentosa Island. From the outside, the world-class holiday island may seem a bit kitschy, but since the opening of the resort "World", the playground of the inhabitants of Singapore really offers something for everyone. A highlight for children are the Universal Studios. In the evening you can try your luck in the casino or just lie on the beach and enjoy a cocktail.
My overnight tip: If you have the necessary change, I recommend a stay in Marina Sands Bay, which was opened in 2010. The three 55-storey hotel towers bear a 340-meter-long roof garden at a height of 191 meters. Part of the largest public cantilever platform is a 146 meter long Infinity Pool. The resort is considered the most expensive single casino in the world.

From here you have also not far to the "Gardens by the Bay" - land that has been artificially heaped up. A surprising combination of architecture and nature make this park from my point of view one of the main attractions of Singapore. Stroll on idyllic paths through impressive landscapes and marvel at the two glass biotopes and the huge artificial trees, the "Supertrees". These huge steel trees, towering 50 metres into the sky, are overgrown with hundreds of species of orchids, bromeliads, ferns and tropical flowers. If you visit the park in the evening, stay a little longer and see the impressive Garden Rhapsody light show. And take the elevator up one of the trees and stroll up the skyway at lofty heights. Here you'll get a particularly impressive view over Gardens by the Bay and the city.


This is how you get there:
Nonstop from Zurich with Swiss or Singapore Airlines

This is how you get around:
By taxi and public transport

How long should I go:
3 - 4 days, also suitable as a stopover city

Best travel time all year round:
all year

Highlights:
Orchard Road, Zoo, Gardens By the Bay

Delicious food:
Probably the most beautiful Hawker Centre on the Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, Robinson Road between Waterfront and Chinatown.

Hoteltipp:
Marina Sands an der Bucht

More info:
www.visitsingapore.com


Recorded by Michael Bachmann
Further travel pictures under www.kissed-by-nature.com