The Garden State of South East Asia remains one of the most enticing countries in the region for first time travellers – but can Singapore get a bit boring for returning visitors? After all, the country is small, and attractions are few and far between.
I have been travelling to Singapore at least twice per year since 2011 and on most of those occasions I spent a good while in the country (sometimes even in luxury hotels – some backpacker!). I have always been fascinated by the local culture, which is a hotchpotch of Malay/Indian/Chinese with a splattering of western influence. However, speaking to other travellers recently, it seems that the star of Singapore is shining less brightly these days.
“Once you’ve done the big attractions, there’s no re-visit value”, say some of my colleagues. They do have a point. Sometimes, this can be overcome by lodging in cheap accommodation and just hanging around for culture and food (like a lot of people do in Thailand, for example), but you cannot do this in Singapore as it is the most expensive country in the world. “Now I just use Singapore as a stopover for half a day then fly elsewhere” is something else I hear far too often. In the past, a transit visit to Singapore lasted for 2 or 3 days, yet now travellers know that there is not too much to keep them entertained here for a longer period.
I often think about what is actually new in Singapore since I began travelling 7 years ago, and really I cannot think of anything! You have the theme parks and water parks of Sentosa, the glitz and the glam of Marina Bay Sands, and of course the world class Singapore Zoo and accompanying wildlife parks – but all of these have been around since at least 2010! Although there is a lot of infrastructure to transport and of course accommodation for locals and holidaymakers alike, there has actually been a lack of investment – up to now – in the tourist attractions.
As the local tourist board says “Visit Singapore” but really once you’ve been here once, why would you keep coming back?