Every day, we receive new warnings about the damage we are causing to our planet. Too many vehicles on the roads, not enough trees, too much plastic, habitats for animals being demolished, climate change. The list is endless and often it feels like people are too stuck in their ways to make significant changes. Not in Singapore.
Singapore has been created with all of these issues front and centre. It is an eclectic mix of problem solving ethically woven into their magical framework. Chewing gum is illegal. There are over two million trees spread across an area of 710 square kilometres. Car use is heavily discouraged and public transport is second to none. It has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Most importantly, they are super baby-friendly!
The moment you leave the safety of the airport doors you are hit with their infamous heat. And boy is it humid! Operators manage the baying queues and coordinate taxis and/or minibuses for those who need one, in a very prompt manner. What you notice first are the trees and colourful flowers. Everywhere you look and it is stunning. On the side of the roads, in parks, in and on hotels – it is no wonder that internationally, Singapore is known as the garden city.
Streets are flat and wide with pedestrian crossings, perfect for prams. There is no litter and every building has air conditioning so you can escape the heat – they also have plenty of underground walk ways. Public transport runs smoothly, the food is safe to eat and they have some of the best baby changing and feeding facilities I have ever seen.
While the skyline looks intimidating, there is a height restriction on buildings (a measly 280m) and only three hit that mark. There are plenty of attractions to see and do. The obvious ones are Marina Bay Sands (the hotel with the infinity pool), Universal Studios, Singapore Flyer and the Botanic Gardens.
From our hotel we took a leisurely stroll along the river, popping into malls to use excellent toilet facilities (most toilets in malls are situated next to the front doors for everyone to use). Not sure which direction to head? Aim for the skyscrapers! Arrays of weird and wonderful lighting and artworks are dotted all over the place.
Be warned, nothing is cheap. You get what you pay for, and with a baby you will absolutely need accommodation that has air conditioning. Taxis and public transport are good value for money and eating the local/street food will help keep your costs down. Saying that, Singapore is not a place you spend a long time in, there is a reason it is a popular “stop over.”
For me, the highlight of our trip was the Gardens by the Bay. Boasting over 200 different species of plants and flowers, divided between the two greenhouses and the Supertrees. This city jungle is straight out of a fairytale. The sounds, smells and colours overwhelm your senses and you will take thousands of pictures! Not to mention the views from the bar in the centre of the gardens of the place itself and the surrounding landscape.
Everything about Singapore is set up to cater for Western visitors. Everywhere is photogenic. And we can all learn a thing or two from the City about sustainability and how to look after our planet and its wildlife. You cannot help but be in awe of what they have achieved so far and wonder at what they will do next.
So if you want to see how people and a City can successfully flourish whilst prioritising wildlife and the planet then Singapore is a no brainer. The perfect stop over destination for travellers of all ages.