Singapore does’t shut down often, but it shuts down good over Lunar New Year. Unlike China, where new year celebrations last for weeks and schools and businesses are closed during the busiest travel season of the year, Singapore grants two days of public holiday for the celebration. Many restaurants and businesses also shut their doors for two days or more, which only otherwise happens around Christmas. And even then, it’s not hard to find places that are open.
Lunar New Year, though, is different. The roads are quiet, public transportation is quiet, and there’s little activity around town. I headed to Chinatown one morning to look at the decorations and see what was going on; it was slightly busier than I expected but not busy at all.
The exception was at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple where I opted not to wait in line for admission.
There is also a really beautiful Hindu temple in Chinatown and its well-wishing puts into perspective one of the aspects of Singapore that I really love.
The following day I headed to Little India early in the morning and watched the neighborhood wake up. The sights and sounds of Little India are like nowhere else in Singapore and it feels like a different world entirely.
I love the colors . . .
. . . the markets and shops . . .
. . . and echoes and signs life being lived.
Singapore is glittery and shiny and other worldly and yes, it looks like whatever you saw in Crazy Rich Asians (or The Bachelor though I haven’t actually seen it). But when you look closely, Singapore looks like this, too.