This country has an inspiring upbringing, which was impressively cultivated by longtime, but recently deceased leader, Lee Kuan Yew. His passion, focus and intelligent utopian design fashioned his country with divine growth points, focusing on unity and fairness. Lee put strong attention towards national security, economic strength, anti-corruption measures, population control, corporal punishments and strong water resources. In fact, because of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore ranks one of the highest countries in the world with regard to standard of living, education, healthcare and economic competitiveness. Under his leadership, Singapore transformed from third world to first world in one man's single lifetime.
As usual, Lisa and I showed up with a backpack full of dirty, smelly clothes (only to find out it costs $10 US for load) and four infected eyeballs—conjunctivitis—which we somehow acquired in Indonesia (watch those bedsheets, people). Arriving on a Sunday and a public holiday, we managed to find the only medical care clinic that was open in the heart of Little India and waited in an intensely long line with a swarm of Indian men. After being called in, the doctor quickly diagnosed us, then began some pleasant, amusing small talk. She told us that people in Singapore don’t take holidays—labor is the leisure. Anyone who flocks to Singapore comes for work and/or advanced study and they come to succeed. There are institutions from all over the world—America, Germany, United Kingdom and beyond—and everyone gets strait As. It’s healthy, wealthy and proud if it.
However, the downside from a backpacker's perspective, is it's incredibly high prices for everything from water to transportation to accommodation. It's tough to go from $5/dorm bed in every other southeast Asian country to $20. It causes mental gasps and financial fevers, especially if unrealized until arrival. Not to fret. There are plenty of ways to enjoy Singapore with a budget & the right attitude.
- Make your own walking tour. Since the bikes are $5/hr for hire (no thank you) and the sites to see don't really require you go inside (temples, universal studios, zoos, etc). Just get a map (or use google maps) and start walking. It's great exercise and will be much more spontaneously exciting than the train/metro.
- Save your water bottle because, for once in S.east asia, you can drink tap water! Thank mr. Lee for that as it was he who urged Singapore acquire their own fresh water source to secure more independence from Malaysia.
- Hop on a double decker bus to see more of the city. Why not wear some jogging clothes? Then you can hop off in various places, like Botanical Garden, for a quick speed walk. Careful as there are some jurassic looking creatures crawling about the various pathways.
- Check out www.Couchsurfing.com! There are so many hosts offering their spare bedrooms and living room couches. The cheapest dorm bed we found $13! It’s really worth it the try and score a free place to stay, as well as get the local experience.
- Lastly, dine out at food courts (more commonly known as Hawkers). The food is the cheapest you’ll find, delicious and worldly.