Singapore is not what you’d expect.
It’s located slap-bang in the middle of Southeast Asia, but it’s nothing like its neighbours.
While they are cheap, it’s that bit more expensive; where they are chaotic, it is efficient and organised.
And though it’s small, it packs a real punch.
It’s a country of many colours: from cheap eats to expensive rooftop cocktails, and traditional markets to plush, expansive malls, Singapore will surprise you with its diversity.
Here are some things you might want to know before you go.
You may never want to leave the airport
Singapore’s Changi Airport is practically a day out in itself.
Immaculately clean and unbelievably well-run, the airport reflects the city itself.
With art installations, an entertainment deck, several gardens and a rooftop pool, you probably won’t want to leave the place.
I mean, it has a free cinema for crying out loud.
It’s a city and a country
Singapore is what’s known as a ‘city-state’, which means when you go to Singapore, you are visiting both a city and a country.
Pretty cool, huh?
Be careful how you behave
It’s the stuff of whispered rumours, but it turns out to be true: you aren’t allowed to eat on public transport in Singapore.
You’ll also be fined heavily for selling chewing gum, spitting, or littering, which probably explains why the country is so darn clean.
London, take note: Singapore’s streets aren’t studded with the remains of people’s old, discarded gum.
Its metro beats the Tube by a country mile
Singapore has a reputation for efficiency, and nowhere is that more apparent than on its Metro, the MRT.
It runs consistently on time and there are designated places to stand, so you don’t get crowds of gormless tourists stood right in your way while you’re trying to exit.
If you’re used to London, travelling on Singapore’s metro will be a total dream.
There are four official languages – and then there’s Singlish
Tamil, Malay, Mandarin Chinese and English are all official languages in Singapore – and all are frequently spoken, as well as being taught in school.
But then there’s a fifth language that you might hear and not recognise – and that’s Singlish.
As the name suggests, it’s a blend of languages: its vocabulary is built up of words from all the official languages and some additional dialects, such as Hokkien Chinese.
Drinking is expensive, but eating is cheap
Alcohol is taxed heavily in Singapore, but food is another story.
There are significant numbers of hawker centres across the city, and all are full of glorious food for under a fiver: try La Pau Sat as a starting point.
And then, if you fancy it, you can pop over to Chinatown and get some Michelin-starred food from the catchily named Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle stall. For about £2.
But come early: it’s pretty popular and they will sell out.