On the morning of 12 March 2020, I woke up in India with plans to fly to Nepal for a 180-day trek to Everest Base Camp, but I ended up in Singapore with my partner. The world, as we knew it, changed overnight, as countries around the world slammed their borders shut in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus.
We scurried around Indira Gandhi International Airport (New Delhi), cancelling our respective flights, as my partner was destined for Madrid and I was destined for Kathmandu.
We then sat there, deciding where to go, naively thinking the world will turn the right way around within a week...laugh with me!
Taking visa entry requirements into consideration while holding the fifth most powerful passport in Africa, my Namibian passport allows me visa-free access to 68 countries, while my Norwegian-passport holding partner could travel to the moon if he wanted to – with his visa-free access to 183 countries and territories.
Within five minutes, we settled in Thailand – only to find out at the ticketing counter that the Thai border is closed off to foreigners.
We then decided to head to the Philippines but were advised against it.
Fifteen minutes later, we were holding flight tickets to Singapore, where we spent a month exploring our passion for adventure, music, food and photography.
What we discovered was a world where different passions come alive in its culture and people.
One of Asia’s hit-list countries, Singapore, is an island city-state of southern Malaysia that has everything for nature, adventure, culture, architecture, leisure and history.
It is a classic example of a multicultural population that left us awe-struck.
As a nation that’s home to a wide range of cultures, ethnicities and religions – in Singapore’s diversity lies its strength. I am well accustomed to the Namibian hybrid language – Namlish – but I was taken by surprise to hear Singlish in all its glory at a hawker centre, where all the communities gather and interact with one another.
The Island is feasting
Food in Singapore is taken very, very seriously – from cheap hawker centres to Michelin-starred fine dining, we tried it all and Instagrammed the hell out of it.
Each neighbourhood is home to local hawker centres dishing up some of the island’s best meals for just a couple of bucks.
Simply follow your nose or join the longest queue because the best stalls often have the longest lines and whatever foodstuffs lie at the end is guaranteed to be scrumptious. Hawker centres are the epitome of Singapore’s melting-pot culture.
At all centres, you can find dishes from the island’s main ethnic groups: Chinese, Malay, Indian and Indonesian – with a handful of Western, Japanese and Korean stalls thrown into the mix.
Like their ethnic tapestry, Singaporean food comprises many cuisines – and at a hawker centre, you can sample them all under one roof.
Sentosa Island – the state of fun
Our favourite place in Singapore is without a doubt Sentosa, a sunny good-time island which is home to exciting events, themed attractions, tropical landscapes and golden sandy beaches that left us spellbound. A firm favourite of ours, Tanjong Beach Club which is lauded as one of the World’s Best Beach Clubs, is a serene sanctuary located on the finest sun-soaked stretch of sand in Sentosa.
On weekdays, it’s a peaceful hideaway that offers a slice of paradise and on weekends the club transforms into a celebration of vibrancy. The most thrilling thing we got up to on the island was spending an afternoon at the world’s second-largest wind tunnel for indoor sky diving that was unrivalled high flying fun! At iFly Singapore, state-of-the-art technology lent us wings in an experience that simulates free falls from heights of 12 000 to 3 000 feet. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or a day of bold exploration, a world of adventure awaits you at Sentosa.
Getting to Singapore from Namibia is easy thanks to all the airlines that fly directly to Windhoek, and getting around Singapore can take a matter of minutes, thanks to one of the world’s most efficient and widespread public transport systems.
No matter how niche or novel your interests are, in Singapore, you’ll encounter a city filled with people who share them. I dedicate this piece to our best friend in Singapore, Zach, for his kindness, friendliness and willingness to show us all around the