Things to Do when in Singapore

It was December 10, 2006; a group of 10 Cambodians and I, as the delegation to the Sunburst Youth Camp 2006, were taking off from the Pochentong Airport to Singapore. It was one of the most thrilling times in my life, as I got to experience my first airplane ride to a country other than Cambodia.

Singapore is actually the smallest country in Southeast Asia but, at the same time, has proven itself as probably the most developed in the region. Different from many countries in Asia, Singapore is very well organized in its own beautiful ways, with quite an impressive balance between development and nature, despite its narrow space. The people thus enjoy a great amount of welfare, high intellectual ability and, in general, high standards of living.

It was definitely an eye-opening experience. Although Singapore is only 2 hours away by plane from Phnom Penh, in many ways, both are different. In the bus from the airport to the hotel that I stayed for the next 7 days, I remembered feeling deeply contented and constantly mesmerized by all the development and all the new things that caught my eyes.

As during the entire stay in the city and the country, everything was planned and organized by the organizers of the Sunburst Youth Camp, I didn’t need to plan or pay for anything profound at all; therefore, sharing with you how to plan your trip financially would not be very possible. However, I’m going to write about the places I’ve been to–places that may be of some interests to you about Singapore.

What to do in Singapore:

Pulau Ubin, an island of OBS (Outward Bound Singapore)

OBS is like a place for outdoor, sportive activities. It’s located on an island, which is about 10 minutes by boats from Punggol Point Jetty. There facilities and tools for such activities as rock-climbing and the like can be found. Actually, I was not that into sports and I didn’t do much of it at all, so I wasn’t very keen on the activities. However, getting to do them with many other first-timers, these things were a lot of fun after all. I was quite inspired by the activities and learned a number of things from them as well. Mainly, most, if not all, taught us to appreciate working in team and encouraged trust and team spirit, pointing out how important each element is. For instance, rock-climbing requires a lot of strength and that could really take tolls on people who don’t have head for height; but many could pull that activity off and managed all the way to the very top. In fact they, or we, were not that strong and not that skilled to do such things, but during our climbing, we had a whole team on the ground, who was helping with the belaying and keeping us safely up. All each climber needed to do was to trust the team, believe in themselves, and to keep moving up with their strength.

Suntec City

If you want go shopping and having some fun strolling around, Suntec City is definitely the place. There are big shopping malls packed with hundreds of shops selling a big variety of products, from shoes and clothes to electronic appliances. There are also numerous places for you to try typical Singaporean, culturally diverse food.

Marian Square, Esplanade, & Merlion

You can view some of the remarkable things of Singapore here—some views that are really good for photos in this country. Just along the river, you can’t miss the famous building of Esplanade, which was beautifully designed, shaped like a rounded jack fruit.

Just about some 100 meters away, there is this big famous, symbolic statue of Singapore, Merlion, standing upright facing the river, with the Singapore skyline in the background. This Merlion is another thing not to miss including in your pictures when going to Singapore.

Singapore Science Centre

This science centre is a nice place; I had a good time taking a look at quite a few things which were very creatively made. Some were cool, some were impressive, and some were simply entertaining. I’ve been there twice, actually, but I still managed to have some fun the second time.

I was there with quite a few people, and upon arriving at this place, we immediately headed for the Omni-Max, where there’s a huge screen. It wasn’t 3D but the room was enormous with the capacity of hundreds of people, and the screen covers the entire ceiling of the room. We could just down in the chair watching at the screen ahead of and above us. It was one of my favorite parts.

China town and Little India

These are two separate places but both great spots in Singapore for shopping. Obviously, China town is where you can find a lot of Chinese little stores, Chinese cuisines and people, and Little India is run by the Indian-Singaporean population. At both places you can buy many things at quite a good deal, if you know how to bargain.


There is a lot to do and see in Sentosa. There are zoos, underwater museum, theme parks etc and etc. To get there, you take a bus or tram going directly from the city or first going up the hill on one side of the river, then taking a cable car up in the sky, enjoying a good view of this small country and sliding yourself down until you reach Sentosa. Then, you can choose and go do and see whatever you want to do and see. There’s a good chance you can’t do everything in one day or let alone in one afternoon, so it’s advisable that you choose well what you want to do and see on this resort if you don’t have a lot of time. From my experience, with limited time, although having been there twice, I only managed to do very little things insides, one of which was entering the underworld museum where I could see many sea creatures inside glass walls.

Night Safari

This place is where we can go, when it’s getting dark, sitting in the tram slowing going across artificial forest for us to enjoy the view of some wild animals. Interestingly enough, the tram is all open and most of the animals, including tigers, elephants, rhinoceros, etc. were only some metres away. Although I can imagine that the safari in Africa can be a lot more surreal, this one was also a very cool experience. Besides from the ride, there were also some animal shows, some folk dances, so on and so forth. There are also stores from which we could pick up and pay for some souvenirs for our friends and family.


Singapore is home to one of the most convenient public transport systems, I think. Many places in the city are very accessible by buses, trams and metros. You can get yourself a card and use it for easy access to all available public transports; the card is rechargeable with cash through machines that can be found at the metro stations. Charge on each ride depends on the distance it covers, and when I was there, recharging the card with 5 s. dollars was enough for a few days in Singapore.

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Italy: Erasmus Mundus, Travelling, Studying, and Living the dream

Though Italy is widely known as the home to many famous romantic places in the world, yet travelling in this country as a single guy didn’t do me any regret in the slightest; its aesthetic beauty, rich history, people’s relaxed way of living, well-known cuisine, and even its considered-by-many-as-sexy language are just all some of the things Italy has to offer, which greatly spiced up my 11 months there.

After many years of dreaming to study abroad, I finally had a chance. I was selected for a scholarship in the Erasmus Mundus Mobility for Asia Programme, and among 3 universities that I prioritized, the university of Padova accepted me. The programme sponsored me to spend 10 months in Padova and study as an exchange student there.

The experience was amazing in so many ways. It was the longest time I’ve been abroad, for almost a year. During the whole time, I met so many people, many of whom were also international, Erasmus students, and although most of them didn’t become my close friends, meeting such a diverse group of people really made my year. Besides, I got to live a European life. For sure it wasn’t totally European, as I am always a foreigner, yet I got total independence from my parents; that is, I could do whatever I wanted to do, like going out at 1 am in the morning and coming back at 5 am in the morning without my parents worried about me, and I was financially independent (I didn’t need any cents out of parents’ pockets), and I got to learn so many things. My world was only lifted to another new, wider level, with a much better understanding of the European societies, ones that I had barely known anything about. Plus, I got to do many of my first times. For the first times in my life, I travelled across countries alone, I got drunk J, I learned Italian, I went from places to places by trains, I joined the new-year countdown celebration at the flooded square in Venice, and I knew what it felt like to touch snow, just to name a few.

Plus, I got do a lot of travelling; for less than one year, I’ve been to more than 30 cities in almost 10 countries, and for sure, the country that I most visited during this time was Italy. Even though it’s a shame that I couldn’t manage a trip to any city in the South of Italy, I almost made it in all regions in the North of Italy, from Piemonte in the most west to Lazio in the most south of the Italian North. From these travelling experiences, I have so much to share with. I will go from city to city, describing and introducing what I found interesting and attractive about each one.

I was lucky enough to stay in Padova, the city of one of the oldest universities in the world, starting in 1222, and got the memorable pleasure of travelling once to Turin (the old capital of Italy), once to Milan (one of the high-profiled fashion capitals of the world), once to Verona (the one with the famous home of Juliet, the main leading character of one of the all-time favorite romances, Romeo and Juliet), once to Trento (the city among the alps of the UNESCO Dolomites), Florence (the city of Renaissance), once to Pisa (the one with the renowned leaning tower), once to the undeniably breathtaking Cinque Terre, once to the capital city of Italy, Rome, and almost 10 times to the famous floating city of Venice. Other cities that I’ve been to were as: Ferrara, Vicenza, Marostica, Bassano del Grappa, and Cittadella. I’m absolutely delighted I did this.

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