Asia for beginners. That's Singapore in a nutshell.
And, well, having lived in the United States, Austria (twice), New Zealand and Australia before moving to Singapore in August 2014, I was definitely a beginner.
When I visited Singapore in early 2013 I was a tourist on a shoestring budget.
When I moved from Perth, Australia to Singapore 18 months later I was no longer a tourist, but I was still on a shoestring budget.
Something had to give. Ultimately, I found a way to exist (on an entry-level salary) in one of the world'd most expensive cities.
Clean, by Asian standards, and efficient by any standards, the 'Lion City' is a one-of-a-kind city-state. There are four official languages (English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese and Tamil) on the 20-mile-wide (32km) by 10-mile-long (16km) island, yet 5.5 million inhabitants call Singapore home. It is remarkable just how much green space there is considering how densely populated the island is.
Singapore is a young country, all things considered, celebrating its 50th birthday on August 9, 2015. The entire island put on a show! Signs, banners and mega-celebrations for the jubilee lasted an entire year. As they should, right?
Known for its diverse cuisine in local eateries called hawker centers, Singapore will steal any food lover's heart. Feel like a nice steak dinner? No problem. You can have that, to the tune of a $200 steak if you so desire. Want to eat on a budget? Not to worry, there are plenty spots throughout the island where you can sit down for a freshly-cooked meal of meat, vegetables and rice and spend less than $5.
Due to its proximity to the Equator (Singapore is one degree north), Singapore has one of the highest rates of lightning activity in the world. The weather is hot and humid almost year-round, so conditions are favorable for the development of lightning producing thunderstorm clouds. In fact, an average of 171 thunderstorm days (days when thunder is heard) are recorded annually in Singapore.