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Unraveling Singapore, the most expensive city in Asia

Singapore is probably the least “Asian” city in Asia. In this article, I explain why and if it’s worth visiting.

flower dome singapore gardens by the bay

The first time I visited Singapore, several years ago, it was a rather short trip: just for a few hours. Honestly, I don’t remember much besides the fact that there was an oppressive tropical heat and Singapore was a very modern city, definitely different from any other city I visited in Europe.

However, it left me with a very good impression. It was my first time in Asia, though and, as you can imagine, it is not easy to be impartial when you make a similar trip for the first time.

Some considerations about Singapore

masjid sultan singapore

In the meantime, many things have changed in my life. One of these changes is that I moved to Asia, and I’ve visited several capitals. One thing I learned is that when you live in the Far East, you get used to the chaos pretty quickly.

Places such as Bangkok and Hanoi are a fair representation of the Asian continent, but Singapore is a world apart. It’s the least Asian city in Asia, among all those I’ve been to: it’s not chaotic, it’s not cheap, booze is expensive, coffee is rather cheap (a kopi in a neighbourhood bar costs less than in Italy), tap water is drinkable, the law is very strict and is applied rigorously, the population is mainly composed of Chinese and Indians, and yet it’s incredibly clean and tidy, even more than Hong Kong.

Singapore also has some of the best things that Asia can offer: the food is amazing, the city is one of the best examples in the world of a smart city, and people are very kind and helpful, even if crime exists (as in any other part of the world). Singapore is also a very safe city (there are warning messages all around the city that remember the penalty for harassing women), there are a lot of malls and museums to take refuge in when the heat becomes unbearable, public transport is very efficient (Rome when will you learn?!), smoking is forbidden almost everywhere (if you have spent some time in China you will understand why this is a very positive thing) and is not polluted like many other Asian cities.

Here are some interesting facts about Singapore that you may not know:

  • Singapore is the second most densely populated country after the Principality of Monaco
  • It is the fourth-largest financial center in the world
  • Its port is among the top five in terms of activity and traffic on a world scale
  • 42% of the population are foreigners
  • It has one of the highest concentrations in the world of millionaires in relation to population
  • Singapore is often considered the most expensive city in the world, and although rankings vary from year to year, it always ranks in the first few places

Things to know before visiting Singapore

Singapore has not always been the model city it is today. In the past, it was controlled by the Japanese, Siamese, and Malacca and in the more recent past, it was controlled by the English, the Japanese and, for a short time, was under the control of Malaysia. On August 9, 1965, Singapore became independent as the “Republic of Singapore”. A lot of people ask what country is Singapore located in? The answer is Singapore IS a country, and it borders Malaysia in the north.

By the mid-twentieth century, most of the population was very poor, and the city was far from developed. Then, a series of reforms allowed Singapore to be gradually transformed into its current city.

If you want to visit Singapore, remember that the climate is equatorial, so there are no seasons. Temperatures vary very little throughout the year. That said, April and May are the hottest months, while November and December are the wettest. Between August and October, there is often a cloak of smoke coming from the combustion of shrubs in nearby Indonesia. This being said, I visited Singapore in October, but luckily I didn’t have any problem with the smoke.

super trees singapore

As you can imagine, accommodation in Singapore is expensive, especially compared to other states of Asia. On, there are often good offers, and you can also find good deals on Keep in mind though, that it’s a good idea to book your room a little in advance because Singapore it’s a very popular destination for tourists coming from other countries in Asia.

I also suggest you book a room as close as possible to the subway (also called MRT). If you don’t have any budget problems or you want to do something special once in a while, then you should consider staying at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, one of the most iconic in the world. The infinity pool with a view of the bay is worth the money.

In another post, I wrote some tips about what to see and what to do in Singapore. Don’t miss it.

Have you ever visited this city? What do you think? Let me know with a comment. Here, you will find the other pictures I took in Singapore. Here you will find some recommendations if you want to visit nearby Kuala Lumpur.

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