Civilization City State: Singapore

Singapore literally means “lion city.” However, since the only lions in the area in the zoo (which is amazing), the city’s other moniker of Garden City is significantly more appropriate. We spent the weekend exploring Singapore and mostly found that we wished we had more time.

As a city state in Civ V, Singapore grants it allies rare luxury goods and extra happiness. Having spent a weekend wandering the sites and streets of the city I can’t imagine a more appropriate bonus. Singapore loves shopping, especially designer luxury goods. Take a stroll down Orchard Street and you will see what I mean. This shopping avenue is massive and filled with mall after mall of various designer stores. When visiting be sure to wear some kick-ass walking shoes; your feet will thank you.

If all that shopping wore you out then maybe you would like to refresh in an amazing garden, this is the garden city after all. A short train or bus ride away, you can step right into the Singapore Botanic Gardens. To say this garden is impressive is an understatement. This place is so beautiful that it was actually made a UNESCO World Heritage site. Yeah, a free city garden. Not some ancient monument or palace or temple, a garden.When you are there be sure to walk through the Healing Garden, which was hundreds of plants used in medicine, and the Evolution Garden, which is a walk through time showing the plants of each era.

If you have the opportunity to visit Singapore visiting the botanic gardens is a must, plus as I said earlier it’s free. If your garden fix isn’t quite sated then head to the Gardens by the Bay. While it isn’t a world heritage site, the bay gardens are fantastic in their own right. These gardens are mostly a collection of small gardens designed around themes such as ‘Chinese garden’, ‘Colonial garden’, ‘Malaysian garden’ etc. Also they are nearly a dozen giant ‘trees’ scattered about that host a fun light show in the evening.

As great as the gardens are, our favorite time in the city was at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. Again we suggest taking public transport via train and bus to get there. In a lot of places in the USA public transport has a bit of a negative stigma. Don’t worry. The trains and buses in Singapore are some of the best in the world. Clean, efficient, and cheap. Just be sure to follow the rules like no smoking or eating/drinking. Not only would it be disrespectful to break them but you could face a pretty hefty fine.

The Singapore Zoo is the best zoo I have been to in my life so far. Walking around the zoo I actually felt like I was entering a home for the animals and not some weird performing animal prison. Most zoos have enclosures with the animals in small habitats behind glass. While the Singapore Zoo does have a little of that, most of the habitats are large and open with lots of play space for the animals. A few of the habitats are even completely open, like technically the monkey could just jump on your shoulder. The zoo boasts it is home to the only free range orangutan exhibit and you can even have breakfast with the orangutans if you purchase the right tour. If you like getting up close with animals you can actually spend a few extra dollars to feed many of them yourself. Also if you need a good laugh be sure to visit the baboons.

When you are done with the zoo stick around for the Night Safari. There are several eateries at the zoo to help kill the time. You know all those times you went to the zoo but half the animals are nocturnal so you can’t see them? Well that’s why the Night Safari exists. The doors don’t even open until after dark, finally a chance to see those nocturnal animals you always craved.

If you are going to visit both be sure to purchase a 2 in 1 ticket to save a little bit of money. Even better book online in advance and save even more. This is one of those cases I mentioned earlier about wanting more time. They have a third zoo in the same area, The River Safari, that we didn’t have the time to visit. What, you want more? OK. There is a fourth. It isn’t in the same area but you can buy a 4 in 1 ticket and also visit the Jurong Bird Park. Why is there so little time?!

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