I recently had the opportunity to write a travel guide to Singapore for Paste Magazine’s “Weekend Layover” column.
Singapore, a multiethnic, multilingual and multicultural Southeast Asian island nation off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, is more than just a quick stop en route to the region’s more talked-about destinations like Bali or Bangkok. For centuries, immigrants from China, India and Europe have made the 276 square miles of Singapore home, creating a cultural mix of 5.4 million people unique to this part of the world.
Bypass Singapore’s famed zoo, its casino complexes and Sentosa—the theme park-esque island resort off its southern coast—and spend your holiday sampling Singapore’s lesser-known culinary delights or exploring its overlooked parks and nature preserves. Admire the temples, churches and mosques. Lose yourself among the colonial-era Palladian, Renaissance and Neoclassical civic buildings. Contemplate the modern and postmodern office towers that punctuate the skyline. And when you’re on the streets, fitting in like a local, attempt to converse in Singlish, an English-based language comprised of English, Malay, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese and Tamil vocabulary, which are all languages and dialects spoken by the majority of Singaporeans.
Singapore is celebrating its Jubilee year, or its 50th year of independence, throughout 2015 and commemorative events line the calendar. From February’s Chingay, a “We <3 SG”-themed street parade, to the October opening of National Gallery Singapore, which will house the world’s largest collection of Southeast Asian art, no matter when you visit, there will be cause for celebration.
Read my entire suggested itinerary here.