Singapore is a country of rules.
Rule #1: No fun*.
You can’t do anything in Singapore: no gum chewing, no jaywalking, and certainly no illicit behavior of any kind.
Did you notice the asterisk?
Singapore is a country of illusions. On the surface, all seems calm, clean, and cultured. On the surface, everything is chaotic.
Welcome to Singapore, a country of no rules.
“You can get anything you want here,” the taxi driver told me on the way to dinner.
He was talking about all the delicious food of course.
Singapore is my favorite place in the world to eat. Forget formal dining, check out the food hawker stalls is a must to experience Singapore’s diverse food selection.
Your first stop should be Maxwell Food Centre for some chicken satay and delicious Hainan chicken rice.
For late night food head to Newton Circus and try an oyster omelet and even more chicken rice. The seafood is delicious but be wary of the prices. Enjoy a cold Tiger beer if your budget allows it.
If you’ve made the mistake of staying in Singapore for more than two days, then head over to Little India for some amazing biryani served on a banana leaf.
In Singapore heavy taxes are levied on alcohol. Skip going to Hooters for wings and beers (namely because it is Hooters) because the prices are ridiculous.
The price for a beer at a bar rivals New York and Miami so locals skip hard alcohol and beer in favor of wine.
Nevertheless, there are many nice restaurants along the harbor and in Clarke Quay where you can enjoy a nice cocktail. If you are feeling like a tourist, head over to the Raffles Singapore, and enjoy being extorted for an overpriced Singapore Sling.
“You can get anything you want here.” Those words played in my head again as I entered the Brix bar at the Grand Hyatt Singapore. Brix is a unique wine cellar bar located right off of Orchard Road in the heart of big little Singapore.
What makes the bar unique is how friendly all the nonlocal women were not to mention the multiple offers I received to enjoy party favors. This can’t be going on in Singapore, can it?
After heading to the infamous Orchard Towers better known as the ‘Four Floors of [INSERT WORD RHYMING WITH STORES] my suspicions were confirmed: You can get anything you want here.
While it was all illegal and presumably you will get caned if you are arrested, it was mind boggling that in a country so known for its harsh rules, that everything, was taking place virtually out in the open.
When I arrived in Singapore, I knew I had to be on my best behavior. This was a strict country with zero tolerance for rule breakers.
Two days later, I learned a valuable lesson that would be reinforced time and time again when I traveled to other ‘strict’ countries: all of it is an illusion.
Singapore is 274.1 sq miles in size. I’d assume it wouldn’t be difficult for the authorities to know what goes on in these establishments yet somehow, tourists are given a pass to do what they please so long as they are reasonably discrete.
To be clear, the message isn’t ‘if you’re looking for a good time go to Singapore’, the message is don’t believe everything you read, no matter where you go.
Desensitized by the ‘rules’, the next day I decided to jaywalk while chewing gum at the same time.