Singapore isn’t exactly known for its green scenery. This city-state located just 85 miles north of the equator is highly urbanized. In fact, it has the third highest per capita income in the world (behind Qatar and Luxembourg).
I traveled to Singapore with my family early on in grade school. It was a convenient stop on the way back from Malaysia, where we had traveled for a cousin’s wedding. Having been there at such a young age, it’s not a surprise that both of two memories from Singapore actually involve food. I vaguely remember meeting my mother’s friend in Singapore, but I’ll never forget my astonishment when she showed me a pitaya (better known as dragon fruit) for the first time; that fruit could visually spice up any fruit basket, though it has a very mild flavor. My second memory is of a quick-service kaiten sushi restaurant at which we dined. What better way to have sushi presented to you than on a constantly moving and constantly replenished mini conveyor belt?
Given the number of years that have passed, I look forward to revisiting the country. In particular, I would like to visit the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Despite being just barely over 400 acres, this reserve is one of largest patches of rainforest left in Singapore. It is located at the geographical center of Singapore, and sits on the slopes of Singapore’s highest hill, Bukit Timah Hill, which stands a mere 200 feet tall. The reserve is a popular location for walking, running, and some minor hiking. There are also specific trails specially allocated for mountain bikers. Those interested in nature will find great pleasure in the park. It is home to over 840 species of flowering plants and over 500 species of fauna; think you can name them all? Common plants include the rattan, figs, and macaranga. One will also find many different types of birds and insects.
Did you know that the area of Singapore is still growing? Through land reclamation, it has grown to over 20% of its former size during the 1960s. Of course, even with that increase Singapore is less than a quarter of the size of the state of Rhode Island. From its current 272 square miles, there are plans of restoring another 40 square miles of land. Thus, even for those who’ve traveled to Singapore recently, there will be more to see the next time around!