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21 Things That Will Make You Rethink Singapore

It's strangely unique, and wonderfully diverse. Experience the vibrant colours, unique tastes, and quirky curios of Singapore.

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1. If there's one country that knows how to perfectly marry strange and wonderful, it's Singapore.

Erwin Soo (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: erwin_soo

A land where, sometimes, trees look like this. They're called the Supertrees, at Gardens by the Bay — vertical gardens that stand up to 16 feet tall, and that come to life at night in vibrant light displays.

3. (Sometimes the food is strange too.)

Michael Gwyther-Jones (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: 12587661@N06

These octopus lime things are known as Buddha's Hands, and are one example of the weird and wonderful tropical fruits you get to eat when you're in Singapore.

4. There's fascinating culture to learn about.

Seen here is a spectacular procession of pierced devotees at Thaipusam Festival — an incredibly symbolic Hindu festival. It happens in January or February every year, as Singapore's Tamil community comes together to honour Lord Subrahmanya, destroyer of evil.

Luke Ma (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: lukema

Like the narrow Haji Lane in the heart of the Malay-Arab Quarter. What it lacks in size it makes up for with hip stores, and there are plenty of cute places to grab a bite nearby.

8. You can party away the day and night at a music festival.

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Like ZoukOut, a wild dance music festival that goes all night long. It's the only place in the world where you can watch the sunrise, on a beach, at a festival.

9. And you can admire highly decorative temples and sculptures.

Singapore has a unique diversity of cultures and ethnic influences, and on a single street in Chinatown you might see Chinese, Malay, and Indian places of worship.

11. Or spend the night shopping into the early hours.

Singapore has some of the best shopping in the world, and you can't say you've shopped in Singapore until you've spent a night at the cult favourite, Mustafa Centre, where you can buy just about anything. It's open 24 hours in the Little India district.

13. And bird's-eye views that look like this:

Mark Lehmkuhler (CC BY-ND http://2.0) / Via Flickr: mark_lehmkuhler

Wander around the lush MacRitchie Reservoir, where there’s even a suspended boardwalk known as the TreeTop Walk. It’s the only place in Singapore where you can’t see high-rise buildings — just green, magnificent jungle, as far as the eye can see.

14. There are wild animals waiting to meet you...or eat you.

Kabilan Subramanian (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: kabils

Over 400 new baby animals were born in Singapore's wildlife parks in one year, including orangutans, manatees, hyacinth macaws, giant river otters, and Malayan tapirs.

15. You can relax to sweet birdsong at a bird-singing corner.

Courtesy of Daniel Sin / Via Flickr: picdiary

This unique tradition sees local bird lovers congregate in a local neighbourhood corner to show off their competitive songbirds in ornamental cages. A strange and wonderful sight, and absolute auditory bliss.

16. And there's even something called a Hungry Ghost Festival.

missbossy (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: missbossy

According to Chinese custom, every year for a month the souls of the dead are allowed to roam the earth — this is Hungry Ghost Festival. In order to keep the ghosts at bay, Singaporeans will give offerings and pay their respects by way of raucous performances, incense burning, and burning "hell money" and other paper offerings in giant metal bins.

18. You can sip on a Chilli Crab Cocktail, or several.

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If you're not into the Chilli Crab, you could also try a Beancurd pudding, or Kaya Toast cocktail. Singapore bars can cater to your every wacky desire, and have much more to offer than the trusted Singapore Sling.

19. You can spend a fairy-tale afternoon canoeing through Singapore's oldest reservoir.

digitalpimp. (CC BY-ND http://2.0) / Via Flickr: nathanhayag

It's called MacRitchie Reservoir, it has been around since 1868, and it is wonderful.

20. Or find this strange and sensual creature at Haw Par Villa:

Jirka Matousek (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: jirka_matousek

Haw Par Villa is a theme park that holds more than 1,000 dioramas and statues that depict often bloody, sometimes wild, and certainly entertaining scenes from Chinese folklore and legends.

21. And when you tire of all that weird and all that wonderful (you won't), you can sit back and admire Singapore's amazing skyline.

Erwin Soo (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: erwin_soo

Probably with another Chilli Crab Cocktail. OK. So we'll see you there soon.