How To Explore Singapore’s World-Famous Sustainability Scene As A Tourist
Although Singapore is just over 733 square kilometers, this tiny Southeast Asian nation has established itself as one of the most innovative countries in the world. From ample social housing to a near-zero crime rate, the country is rife with innovative initiatives across all sectors, and sustainability is no exception. For any tourist who wants to get a glimpse of the country’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and live in harmony with nature, the following destinations are perfect.
If you’re planning a trip to Little Red Dot in the near future, there’s no shortage of elegant hotels that perfectly blend sustainable practices with modern luxury. For those who prefer to stay downtown, the JW Marriott Hotel South Beach has mastered the art of conservation with its microclimatic canopy, a rooftop installation that collects both solar energy and rainwater to reduce the property’s overall carbon footprint to reduce.
Across the Singapore River, the downtown core features the Oasia Hotel Downtown, a nature reserve and hotel in one. This stately property is adorned with a 27-metre-tall vertical garden on its perimeter walls that invites all manner of native Southeast Asian bird species to nest – and while it may surprise, it’s far from the only verdant vertical garden to be found across the country is .
Opened in June 2012, the iconic Gardens by the Bay is a perfect example of Singapore’s unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability – and as an added bonus, it’s one of the most dazzling attractions in all of Southeast Asia. This sprawling 101-hectare nature park is best known for its abundance of towering metal ‘super trees’, each home to its own vertical garden of vibrant orchids and bromeliads. Meanwhile, just steps away, there are some truly innovative structures on the property.
Home to a variety of ecosystems from around the world, the Gardens by the Bay Flower Dome serves as the world’s largest glass greenhouse, while neighboring Cloud Forest is filled with lush gardens topped by one of the tallest indoor waterfalls on earth. Both destinations are home to a treasure trove of rare and endangered plants, and the buildings themselves are also a masterclass in sustainability, superbly designed to use displacement cooling to lower the temperature in high-traffic areas while warmer air is pumped out of the ceiling .
While there’s no shortage of sustainability-focused farms in downtown Singapore, some of the country’s most fascinating farms are found on the Malaysian border — and perhaps most interestingly, none can be found on land. These large wooden platforms, known as ‘kelongs’, were traditionally built throughout Southeast Asia as makeshift fishing piers, while today visitors can experience them from a sustainability-focused perspective on a ‘Let’s Go Kelong’ excursion.
Departing from the SAF Yacht Club, this 3-hour cruise offers an in-depth look at the history and function of a modern Kelong fish farm, passing many buildings and Pulau Ubin, a sprawling Singapore island with lush forests. Flocks of monkeys and wild boar. Perhaps most interestingly, the trip culminates with a trip to the Smith Marine Floating Restaurant, a massive metal kelong that houses classic local cuisine and rows of fish farms teeming with grouper, snapper and sea bass.
Back on land, Kok Fah Technology Farm serves as one of Singapore’s premier sustainable farming institutions, operating in the country’s remote western reaches for more than forty years. In addition to traditional farming methods, Kok Fah operates one of the largest hydroponic farms in the country, providing local Singaporeans with locally grown bok choy, okra, Thai basil and a plethora of other produce. On weekdays the farm offers tours where guests can explore the hydroponic greenhouse and even enjoy a freshly made salad from the gardens, while the weekend market is a must for those wanting to stock up on herbs and vegetables.
While both kelong fish farms and hydroponic greenhouses play a role in Singapore’s food industry, a state-of-the-art restaurant approaches sustainability at every step of the dining process. Launched in 2021 by Native co-founder Vijay Mudaliar, Analogue has mastered the art of flavorful plant-based drinking and dining, complete with a fully vegan menu. Flavorful favorites like the Crunchy Nugget, Poutine and Cactus Cocktail with Agave Syrup all prove you don’t need animal protein to achieve incredible flavor – and Analogue’s commitment to sustainability doesn’t stop there. Much of the restaurant’s tables were made from mycelial spores as an alternative to using wood, while the centerpiece of the restaurant — the wraparound bar — was 3D printed from more than 3,500 pounds of recycled plastic.
For all cocktail lovers, no trip to Singapore is complete without a visit to Long Bar, a historic watering hole housed in the world-famous Raffles Hotel. This place is widely recognized as the birthplace of the Singapore Sling, a sweet gin cocktail dating back to 1915 – and in modern times, this popular drink is raising the bar for sustainability in spirits. Since 2021, Raffles has drastically reduced its carbon footprint by eliminating thousands of glass bottles from the supply chain and choosing to receive the majority of its ingredients in ecoSPIRITS reusable containers. Raffles promotes its commitment to nature, ensuring that for every 25 wraps sold, a native tree is planted in one of Indonesia’s most fragmented rainforests.
Endowed with lush, wildlife-rich wildlife sanctuaries and a fascinating culture that blends Chinese, Malay and Tamil customs and traditions, Singapore serves as one of the world’s most unique travel destinations – and with each passing year, the nation increases its commitment to improving life its inhabitants and the flora and fauna that call Singapore home. When planning your next trip to this tiny island nation, be sure to leave some space in your itinerary to explore some of the most modern hotels, restaurants and attractions in all of Southeast Asia.
follow me Twitter or LinkedIn.