The Big Read
The Crazy Rich Asian's guide to Singapore
Chris Pang, star of 'Crazy Rich Asians', sings the praises of the city where the Hollywood blockbuster was shot. He shares tips on where to stay, eat and shop while holidaying in Singapore
There's a reason we chose Singapore to shoot Crazy Rich Asians. It's obvious for anyone who's read the book - it's set there - but Hollywood substitutes locations all the time. Vancouver becomes New York. Parts of Alabama stand in for California. But for us to find Singapore, well, we weren't really left with any other options.
Situated at the perfect crossroads of east and west, it's a bustling island-metropolis that is no wider than 64km at its widest point, yet still somehow manages to feel larger than life. Economically self-made under the country's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, it attracted growth and stability the likes of which southeast Asia hadn't seen - and, in some respects, still hasn't.
Singapore today is simply amazing. From the moment you step into the lavishly appointed Changi Airport, to your taxi ride to a downtown hotel (or boutique shophouse inn), it assaults you with colour, energy and character. Not to mention heat. Bring your tank tops and shorts - forgetting that sleeves exist entirely would be your best bet.
If you're lucky enough to arrive over Christmas or Chinese New Year, take a ride down Orchard Road for the lights and a fantastic summary of Singapore.
You'll notice the crowds, the never-ending bustle, the well-heeled yuppies mixing it up with the no-nonsense aunties and uncles. You'll notice the tucked-away malls like Far East Plaza, filled with twisting corridors, rubbing shoulders with modern, glamorous steel-and-glass constructions like Ion Orchard.
Notice what you don't sense either - not a single piece of litter on the streets, or aberrant smell in the air - which, as those who live in humid locations know, is a rare thing...