The Global Basecamps Blog

24 Hours In: Singapore

10.11.2012

by elias

In our “24 Hours In” series, we present good ideas of what to do in the featured city over a full day. The destinations we’ll be covering include cities that are often traveled through, but not in. These cities often act as international flight hubs, and layovers can extend from hours to a full day at times. So if you’re in a city on your way to or from your destination, following are some of our favorite things to do there!

Singapore SkylineHave 24 hours to spend in Singapore? Well hold onto your hats friends, because you are in for a wild ride.

Ever since the first boats were traveling back and forth through the seas of Southeast Asia, Singapore has been a hub of international travelers. Traders realized the value of this island’s real estate very quickly, but it wasn’t until the British colonized the place in the 19th century that the Singapore we know today was born. Since its independence from foreign rule in 1963, and subsequent full sovereignty in 1965, Singapore has boomed as an international trade and travel hub. One of the wealthiest, most diverse, and modern cities in the world, Singapore is an extreme contrast with most of the Asian continent.

The city’s image is that of a business-oriented, overly-clean, state-run shopping mall, but if you chip away the lacquer, you will find a vibrant, crunchy center of culture worthy of its Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, and Western roots. In 1963, most new Singaporean citizens were Chinese, Indian and Malaysian immigrants brought in by the British government for hard labor. Enough time to fully mesh these cultures has not yet passed, and Singapore remains a diverse nation of immigrants. Though about 75% of its citizens are Chinese, one must remember that over a third of Singapore’s residents are not citizens at all. This is a true international city; religions, languages, and cultures come by the dozen.

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5 Off the Beaten Path Islands in Southeast Asia

2.14.2012

by ali

Koh Rong, Cambodia

After decades of isolation the 60 plus islands surrounding the southern coast of Cambodia remain largely untouched. Koh Rong is the biggest Cambodia island off the coast of Sihanoukville. The majority of the island is undeveloped, though there are plans to develop it into a luxury resort destination. Right now, travelers can visit for a day trip, or stay in one of the few small beach resorts. There is around 27 miles of beaches, one of the most beautiful being Long Set beach. There are seven bays on the island, all offering great snorkeling and diving. There are also several nearby islands, easily accessible by boat. Other activities include swimming, hiking and fishing. From the mainland, it takes a little over 2 hours to reach Koh Rong, but it is well worth the journey to experience this tropical paradise. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this incredible island before it becomes a tourist hot spot!

Koh Rong

Bantayan Island, Philippines

Visit Bantayan Island, located northwest of Cebu, where life is slower and you can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the beautiful beaches. Until recently, foreigners did not frequent Bantanyan. Though the tourism industry is growing on the island it still retains a secluded feel. There are no large shopping malls, major hotel chains, movie theaters, etc. There are a handful of restaurants and bars in Santa Fe, though Bantanyan is definitely not the place to go if you’re looking for nightlife. Bantayan is a place for travelers looking for a tranquil getaway and hoping to spend most of their days lounging on the beach. The warmth and friendliness of the locals allows travelers to learn about day-to-day life on Bantayan, where locals farm and live simply in bamboo houses. The island is just 7 by 10 miles, and has crystal clear waters. Renting a scooter is a great way to explore the Bantayan.

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Exploring Singapore

1.13.2011

by ali

Though many of the laws and regulations in Singapore can be shocking to tourists, as a result the country is very clean, safe, and beautiful.  It has breathtaking beaches, delicious food, and a vast array of culture to experience.  Despite the fact that English is commonly spoken there, Singapore’s culture is a melting pot of Chinese, Malaysian, and Indonesian.  There is other heavy foreign influence making is one of the most diverse centers in Asia.  If you have the opportunity to visit this unique country here are a few of our recommendations on how to experience the best it has to offer!

Pulau Ubin: A Naturalist’s Paradise

Pulau Ubin

If your looking for a unique day trip in Singapore Pulau Ubin, an island just off the northeastern tip of Singapore, offers a look into a small town left untouched by the development of bustling Singapore.  Pulau Ubin is a 15-minute boat ride from Changi Point Jetty. It offers an escape from the metropolitan city and is like taking a stroll through Singapore in the 1960’s.  With less than 100 inhabitants, it is just 5 miles across and 1 mile wide. As one of Singapore’s few remaining great nature areas, the island has vast areas of jungle and swamp that sustain a wide variety of animals. Renting mountain bikes is a great way to explore the jungle and scenery of the island.  There are also 2 beaches on the island, Noordin and Mamam, where visitors can camp.

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