The Best City in the World

Singapore Changi Airport

There are quite a few reasons why Singapore is considered one of the best cities in the world. Not only is it beautiful and exotic, but you won’t spend an arm and a leg finding a room for rent in Singapore.

What with all the hair dye and complaining about the lousy music the kids are always listening to, most of us cringe at the thought of turning 50. Not Singapore.

The entire city-state went into high-octane party mode in 2015 to celebrate 50 years of independence, with a series of big events for the weekend of National Day. As part of the Republic’s Jubilee celebrations, Singapore President Tony Tan declared a new public holiday in August, creating a long weekend for locals and visitors alike to celebrate. For every one of those years, we’ve picked 50 reasons the city-state popularly known as the Little Red Dot (see reason no. 46 for an explanation) is the world’s greatest city.

Singapore Changi Airport is consistently voted the world’s best airport in both industry and consumer polls. Among unexpected highlights there’s an outdoor nature trail, swimming pool, movie theater, hawker-style food stalls, beauty and reflexology centers, children’s play areas, sleeping areas and massage chairs all over the place. If only the flights were delayed more often.

Raffles Hotel sounds British and looks it. But it was conceived by three Armenian brothers, who wanted to ape the Brit style and attract wealthy 19th-century travelers. Raffles became a hub of Singapore society and bolt hole to stars from all over the world. Today it remains as posh as Victoria Beckham.

Chili crab was created in 1950 by Singaporean chef Cher Yaw Tian and her husband Lim Choon Ngee. It’s since become the unofficial national dish of a food-loving nation. Restaurants and coffee shops serve it by the ton nightly. The runner-up crustacean dish, Singapore’s signature black pepper crab, would take center stage anywhere else.

Intimate, lantern-strewn bars dot rooftops from the Central Business District (Southbridge overlooking the river, Lantern Bar overlooking the bay) to Chinatown (The Rooftop Garden). With year-round balmy evenings, the city’s many rooftop bars are open most nights, unlike in other cities where they close down once summer is over. You can find a common room for rent in Singapore easily as well.

When it comes to public services, visitors seldom have to wait. Strict performance targets at the airport, for instance, mean travelers don’t have to loiter around the luggage carousel. The first bag off a wide-body airplane has to be on the carousel in 12 minutes; the last has to arrive within 30 minutes. It just gets quicker from there — Singapore trains always run on time.