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National Day 2018: 53 Things We Love About Singapore

Family LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life
What's OnPost Category - What's OnWhat's On - Post Category - Things to Do With KidsThings to Do With Kids

With Singapore’s National Day upon us, the Sassy Mama team takes a moment to reflect on what we love about Singapore.

Whether you’ve lived in Singapore all your life or got off the plane last week, chances are there’s much you love about this amazing country that’s about to celebrate 53 years of independence. From our favourite kopitiam drinks to beautiful nature reserves, not to mention incomparable safety and efficiency, there is just so much celebrate. Now tell us: what do YOU love, mamas?

LANDING AT CHANGI AIRPORT
Coming home from even the best vacation is made a little easier when you can breeze through automated immigration gates, find your suitcase waiting for you, and hop in a cab within a matter of minutes at what’s without question the world’s greatest airport. -Kate

WEARING FLIP-FLOPS 365 DAYS A YEAR
As someone who grew up with way harsh winters, I still delight in getting to wear sandals (and never having to deal with heavy coats) all year round. -Kate

MUSTAFA CENTRE
You can get everything here. It’s your one-stop shop for everything from diapers, to spices, to ice-cream to smokeless camphor (!), to hard-to-find beauty products. -Shaneli

Read More: 12 Hours in Singapore: Kid-Friendly Ways to Fill Your Day

SUPER SCHOOLING (AND HIS MARVELOUS MAMA)
How lucky were we all to witness Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal when Joseph Schooling took down Michael Phelps in the 100m Butterfly in Rio? He’s done nothing but make Singapore proud since then, and we can’t wait to see what he does in 2020. Check out these fab parenting tips from his marvelous mama, May!

A WOMAN PRESIDENT
Who run the world? GIRLS! In 2017 we saw the walkover election of Madam Halimah Yacob, Singapore’s first female president. Besides being an accomplished former Speaker of Parliament, she’s also a mother of five (which do you think is a tougher job?!). We’re so proud to live in such a progressive country where we can show our daughters that they can absolutely do anything they put their mind to!
Kate

COOL BRUNCH SCENE
Sunday brunch is definitely the new Saturday night out… If you’re an old-feeling, tired parent like us that is! Neck some free-flow champers, allow the bubs to run wild in the play area, and head home for a good nap at the end of it. Phew! -Hester

Read more: Ultimate Guide to the Best Brunch in Singapore

MILO DINOSAUR
A great way to beat the heat (and a treat for the little ones too), this icy cold bevvy has vitamins, protein, and minerals inside, not to mention chocolate deliciousness! -Michelle

TAXI UNCLES
In a city where the price of owning a car is prohibitive, we’re lucky to have the friendliest taxi drivers anywhere! They are always so happy to chat about everything, and make you feel “at home” during your ride. -Michelle

WORLD CLASS MUSEUMS FOR [MANY] A RAINY DAY
Whether you’re taking out-of-town visitors to the Asian Civilisations Museum or the Peranakan Museum, or you’re keeping kiddos occupied at Sassy Mama faves like the fire station, Science Centre, Playeum or ArtScience Museum, Singapore’s perpetually rotating slate of amazing exhibits means there will always be something new to discover. -Kate

Read More: 13 Great Novels by Singapore Authors

Gardens By The Bay domes and Marina Bay Sands

CITY VIEWS
It’s not hard to find the best spots to get gorgeous views of the little red dot. You can watch the sun set over a cocktail at Marina Bay Sands or hop on the Singapore Flyer (for no reason, obviously) and check out how beautiful SG is from all angles… -Shaneli

DESSERTS
This town is a gold mine for anyone with a sweet tooth. There are so many delicious desserts to choose from. Kaya toast, anyone? Or an ice chendol? Or how ’bout a milkshake? –Shaneli

PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS
Sure, you might get a bit sweaty (and don’t forget the sunscreen/mossie repellant/hat/snacks/massive diaper bag) but Singapore really kicks ass when it comes to its awesome selection of parks and playgrounds, wherever you live. -Hester

Read More: Our Favourite Parks in Singapore

FOOD 24 HOURS A DAY
Ok let’s face it, when I got past the age of 35 these escapades reduced significantly, but still! We can eat anything we want at 3am and not just have to choose between a plastic box of fries or a stale kebab. Want to grab world-class noodles, or chicken satay, or roti prata, or dumplings (the list goes on and on)? Singapore’s got you covered. -Nadia

Outdoor exercise class with UFIT Bootcamps Singapore

OUTDOOR EXERCISE CLASSES
A bootcamp on every corner! So many to chose from and all in the lovely outdoors. -Georgina

WE’RE ALWAYS LEARNING ABOUT DIFFERENT CULTURES
Living alongside multi-cultural neighbours often means we get to experience their traditions, like cooking for neighbours during Hari Raya, watching Indian/Hindu neighbours draw their Rangolis in front of their houses during Deepavali, and exchanging oranges with Chinese neighbours during CNY. –Syazana

Read More:Singapore Families Celebrate their Multi-Cultural Identities

AN AMAZING SENSE OF SAFETY
I can take a bus from the city centre to my home in Changi after 11pm. Then get off and walk down a lonely street – alone – to my house. All this while not having to watch my bag every few seconds, getting scary catcalls or clutching my purse with all my might. -Nadia

MONKEYS AND COBRAS AND CROCODILES (OH MY!)
Ok so this can be a little terrifying, but we love that the wildlife our children see in their storybooks actually comes to life in Singapore and somehow manages to coexist alongside our urban metropolis. There’s nowhere better for budding naturalists!
-Kate

Read More: Where to Spot Crocodiles, Snakes, Dolphins & More in Singapore

Jungle hiking/running trail in Bukit Timah, Singapore

TRAIL RUNNING IN MACRITCHIE
You might be dodging monkeys but it’s well worth it for the shade and uniquely rugged terrain at one of the few truly hilly places to go running in Singapore. After doing this challenging 11km loop, I love emerging into the clearing that hugs Macritchie Reservoir — one of the prettiest spots in Singapore in my opinion. -Kate

GRABBING A $2 MICHELIN-STARRED MEAL
Singapore is proudly home to the world’s only Michelin-starred street food. Whether you’re craving a $2 plate of chicken rice or some $4.50 bak chor mee, you’ll be eating the cheapest Michelin-starred cuisine in the world. Talk about value! -Kate

AMAZING HEALTHCARE
Even government hospitals provide top notch healthcare services. Everything is also super high-tech and I can rest assured that our hospitals are equipped with the best & latest stuff to help me with any (or most) health issues. -Nadia

TEH HALIA
Pulled ginger tea with condensed milk just might be the world’s most perfect drink. A little bit zingy, comfortingly sweet and slightly frothy, it’s the only way to kickstart my day! -Kate

cempedak private island
Cempedak Private Island, accessible from Singapore by boat

AWESOME LOCAL GETAWAYS
We’ve already mentioned how fricking awesome Changi is, but if you don’t want to get on a plane at all (ciao annoying luggage allowance!), then there are myriad possibilities via boat and car-Hester

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
Okay, okay, Singapore doesn’t have as many public holidays as our sisters in Hong Kong, but we get days off for Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Diwali… all the cool multicultural ones! -Shaneli

RELIABLE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Sure, we may complain that the next bus is due to arrive in 7 minutes (which can be easily checked thanks to apps like Iris, My Transport SG, etc) which may be long by our standards, but we can definitely count on it! Getting from one end of Singapore to the other is so easy and usually involves just a couple of transfers. It’s also great that buses and trains are increasingly getting more wheelchair- and pram-accessible. Plus, I can’t wait for the bullet train to KL that’s set to complete in 2026 – getting to the Malaysian capital is about to get so much easier. -Michelle

WI-FI AT LAU PA SAT & MRT STATIONS
Who would have thought there’s free Wi-Fi at this famed Hawker Centre? Seriously, you can connect anywhere and ‘gram away! Check out other cafés with free Wi-Fi here-Shaneli

HAVING HELP AROUND THE HOUSE
As busy mamas, we totally dig that we can get support around the house from the wonderful hard-working women who often sacrifice time with their own children to come to work for us here. Whether it’s night nurses, cleaning services, babysitters or full-time live-in helpers, there’s a level of support whatever your personal taste. –Hester

Read More:Real Life Stories by Helpers in Singapore

PALM TREES
Singapore is dotted by palm trees in more shapes and sizes than you can imagine. These exotic shrubs always make me feel like I am resorting in a tropical paradise. Their green lusciousness puts a smile on my face every single day. -Carlijn

YOUNG COCONUTS COLD FROM THE FRIDGE
The most refreshing thing, basically ever, and a totally affordable luxury! -Hester

Nyonya Laksa with sambal

HOW SPICY CAN YOU GO?
As a cultural hotpot (literally), Singapore might specialise in more cuisines than anywhere else on earth. Chinese food, Indian food, Malay food, Peranakan food, Thai and Vietnamese food…this is truly a foodie paradise! -Michelle

FLUFFY WHITE CLOUDS AGAINST A PERFECT BLUE SKY
I grew up in Los Angeles (smog days and Malathion spraying, anyone?), so white fluffy clouds against a clear blue sky are always so soothing to have floating overhead. -Michelle

SWIMMING POOLS
Perhaps both a luxury and necessity in this heat, but the fact that most condos and houses come with a pool or are close to one rocks! Mamas can relax poolside with a magazine and an iced bevvy while the bubbas splash around (read: tire themselves out)! A win-win situation every single weekend. -Carlijn

Read More: Ultimate Guide to Condos in Singapore with Real Mama Reviews

HIT THE BEACH…AND THE SLOPES
So fine, we live on the Equator and it’s unlikely we’ll ever see fluffy white snowflakes, but not only does this mean we can hit the beach all year round, but because this is Singapore and innovation is the norm, of course we’ve got indoor ski slopes, too!

Cycling at East Coast Park

CYCLING
As a true Dutchie I LOVE that Singapore is a cycle-friendly city! If you accept the fact that sweating is inevitable and try to cycle early mornings or (early) evenings, it’s a fantastic way to get from A to B with or without kids. –Carlijn

THE FRESHEST FRUIT JUICE
Fresh and delicious – my ABC addiction comes cheap as chips from just about any hawker stall! -Georgina

DRAMATIC LIGHTNING STORMS
Singapore holds the world record for number of lightning storms, and they are amazing to watch (but not so much fun when trees get knocked down!). -Michelle

THE BEST EDUCATION IN THE WORLD
As parents, we’re pretty stoked to live in the country that leads the world in Math and Science performance. It’s not every nation that has its own brand of math named after it!

THE SINGAPORE ZOO
This Singapore institution has saved me from many an afternoon with the kids and is also a favourite with visitors. It’s probably one of the most beautiful zoos in the world. In typical Singapore fashion everything is very clean and orderly and all the animals (over 2,800) look healthy. Definitely a must-see. -Emilie

SEAMLESS HARMONY BETWEEN THE CITY AND NATURE
No matter how much concrete there is in Singapore, there’s always an abundance of trees, bushes, flowers and the like, everywhere you go. Plus there are so many parks and even a few untouched habitats (Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, Pulau Ubin), we can discover once we’ve exhausted all the hipster cafés and photogenic architecture. -Michelle

IT’S ALWAYS SO CLEAN
I love the fact that we have such clean streets! -Michelle

BILINGUALISM (AND MORE!) IS THE NORM
While kids in local schools are required to have proficiency in at least two languages, plenty of international and preschools also take advantage of our multicultural landscape to promote Mandarin immersion and true bilingualism among children. How chuffed were you the first time you heard your little one conversing with a taxi uncle?

ION Orchard
ION Orchard

WORLD-CLASS SHOPPING
Whether you’re after the luxury international brands on Orchard Road (Singapore has more malls per square mile than anywhere else on Earth!), looking to score a bargain in Chinatown, or keep up with the latest hip up-and-comers on Haji Lane, you are definitely in a shopping paradise.

GOING TO THE SHOPS AFTER 6PM
A luxury I took for granted! In Europe all shops were closed when I was done with work, forcing me to do all my errands in the weekend. Only problem was: the rest of the people also did them then! Urgh! -Nadia

PETROL UNCLES
I know this is odd – but after being back home in the UK for a holiday I’ve gained a new appreciation! I hate filling the car with petrol myself! I love how they do it for you in Singapore. –Georgina

SHOPHOUSES GALORE
From the painted ladies of Koon Seng Road in Joo Chiat to the pretty tiles on Duxton Hill, Singapore’s pockets of architectural delights are an immediate mood enhancer.

Read More: The Singapore Farewell Tour: My Favourite SG Haunts in Pictures

KID-FRIENDLY PLACES EVERYWHERE I LOOK
Most bathrooms in malls are well-equipped for diaper changes & feeding, too. Kids’ activities take place all year round, not just during schools holidays. There’s never a lack of things to do with kids on Singapore. Love it! -Nadia

CHICKEN RICE
This must be one of my favourite things about Singapore. Chicken rice along with chilli crab are Singapore’s signature dishes. What do you get? Amazingly tender chicken and super tasty rice. It’s delicious and totally child-friendly. -Nadia

NEVER-ENDING FOOD PROMOS
Whether you get a sweet discount with your bank’s credit card, or a bar’s running a nice happy hour special, there are always enticing reasons to go out to eat here.

THE WORLD’S GREATEST AIRLINE
Don’t just take our word for it (although I will sing Singapore Airlines’ praises til the cows come home, much to my friends’ and families’ chagrin): take it from the readers of Travel + Leisure who have ranked its the world’s best international airline 21 years in a rowThe service, the food, the nice planes and up-to-date entertainment options — they’ve spoiled us for flying anyone else.  -Kate

Read More: The Perfect Weekend in Singapore: Itineraries for Foodies, Nature Lovers & Culture Vultures

EVERYTHING IS SO CLOSE
Singapore is really tiny; you can get to anywhere within minutes (longer if using public transport) but nothing will really take you long. By saving time commuting we get more time to spend with our family, friends or doing things we love. -Emilie

TAXIS
Singapore has lots of taxis and now even more with Uber, Grabcar etc. so you’re only just a hail (or a few finger taps via app) and a ride away from anywhere.

Old Supreme Court building

COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE
Singapore has done a great job preserving colonial architecture built by the British in the 19th century. Some examples include the Raffles Hotel and the old Supreme Court but I am also totally in love with the island’s many black and white bungalows. –Tracy

VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES & COMMUNITY SPIRIT
One of the highlights of my job is getting to write about the myriad charities and volunteering opportunities available in Singapore. I think it’s a reflection of the “kampung spirit” and is evident everywhere from the schools to local politics, and truly rubs off on us expats! -Kate

ACTIVITIES GALORE
Singapore is a rockin’ place and there is never a dull moment here for singles, married couples or families. I love there are always plenty of things happening, and of course you can always find the latest events here at Sassy Mama! -Tracy

There you have it, mamas! We could go on all day. And don’t forget to check out our Singapore Bucket List if you’ll be leaving this beautiful island sometime soon (or simply want to hit up some of our favourite sights). Now tell us what YOU love, and have a very happy National Day. Majulah Singapura!

Lead image, Macritchie image, Laksa image, Shophouses image and Old Supreme Court image all sourced via Getty
Changi Airport image by Changi Airport via Facebook
Milo Dinosaur image by Come Cucinare
City Views image by Gardens By The Bay sourced via CNN
Outdoor Excercise Classes image courtesy of UFIT Bootcamps
Local Getaways image by Cempedak Island
Free Wifi @ MRT image by Neo Xiaobin via Straits Times
ION Orchard image by CapitaLand
Cycling image courtesy of Cycling Without Age
Singapore Zoo image by Wildlife Reserves Singapore via Facebook
Singapore Airlines image by Singapore Airlines via Facebook

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