Singapore, for those who aren’t Crazy Rich

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Photo: YouTube screengrab

“Crazy Rich Asians” is undeniably the runaway hit of 2018, with box office sales so high that industry experts have called it the highest grossing romantic comedy in the last nine years.

While the film highlights the lives of the ultra-rich and beautiful, it’s not true that only the very well-heeled can actually afford to visit or live in the island nation.

For first time visitors who are on a budget, we’ve compiled a list of several attractions from the hit movie that anyone can afford and everyone is sure to enjoy.

1. See the city from Marina Bay Sands Skypark

Okay, this attraction does have an entrance fee of $23 per adult. But it certainly is worth it, since you’ll climb all the way up to the 57th floor, where the roof deck (incidentally shaped like a surfboard) is located.

The views are stunning. Don’t miss this.

2. Take a walk among alien trees

By this we mean the Supertree Grove, of course, which is one of the top 5 attractions of the Lion City. It’s open every day from 5:00 in the morning until 2:00 the next morning, which means you can enjoy the beauty of the Supertrees by night, when they are all lit up, and which is accompanied by music. It’s lovely and romantic, and if you’re in Singapore with your significant other, tyou don’t want to miss this.

Admission is free. In the movie, part of the wedding of super rich Colin and Araminta was filmed at Gardens by the Bay, and the Supertrees are featured beautifully.

3. Satay, and other delicious dishes, at a hawker center

Here’s a (non)secret. You don’t have to go to a fancy-schmancy 5-star Michelin rated restaurant in order to enjoy the best food that Singapore has to offer. In Crazy Rich Asians, the protagonist, Rachel Chu gets to sample satay at a hawker center on her first night, and loves it. 

But satay is not the only delicious dish at hawker centers, there is a whole array to choose from, such as chili crab, all kinds of barbecue, dim sum, porridge, prawn noodles, char kway teow, and kway chap, to carrot cake, soya beancurd, chendol and ice kachang for dessert.

Don’t expect luxuries like air-conditioning or even table cloths at these spots though. These open air food courts are a strictly no-frills affair, with extremely affordable prices to match.

4. Take a selfie with the Merlion

This next entry will cost you not a single cent. The Merlion is a long-standing symbol of Singapore, and people have been taking photos with this statue from time immemorial. The statue has a lion’s head and a fish’s body, and has been around since 1972, way before millennials were born.

It’s interesting to note that “Singapura” means “Lion City” in Malay, and so the iconic symbol is a portmanteau of this, along with Singapore’s roots as a seaside city.

We daresay no visit to the Lion City would be complete without it.

Since we see Singapore from our heroine Rachel Chu’s eyes, it’s not extraordinary that it’s one of the first things seen of the city in the movie.

Where to find it? Walk along the Marina Bay promenade, where you’ll find Merlion in front of the Fullerton Hotel.

5. Try a Singapore Sling at least once in your life

You have to ask yourself: is a $30+ drink in a beautiful Asian city worth it?

It is.

And the best place to sample it (come on, let’s live a little, shall we?) is the LE-GEN-DA-RY Raffles Hotel, where the drink originated from. Unfortunately, the Raffles is going through a bit of an upgrade at the moment, but do not despair. They have a pop-up Long Bar located at 3 Seah Street just for you and me. Cheers!

I mean yes, you could whip up the gin-Benedictine-Cointreau-pineapple and lime juice-Grenadine concoction on your own at home. But it won’t be the same.

What you get at Raffles (or the Long Bar) is a uniquely Singaporean experience that will cost you several plates of chicken rice for one Singapore Sling, but the history, the memories, the opportunity to throw peanut shells on the floor (ask them about it when you get there) is priceless.

Photo: YouTube screengrab