Singapore: Where Explorers Meet event took ‘immersive’ to dizzy heights

It has been 200 years since Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles landed on the shores of Singapore and began transforming it into the city-state we know it as today.

For a nation that is just 683 square kilometres, it packs a punch when it comes to culture, cuisine, natural beauty and history. And it was these cultural curiosities that the Singapore Tourism Board wanted to show off at its Singapore: Where Explorers Meet event in Finsbury Avenue Square in celebration of the bicentennial anniversary of Singapore.

The evening promised to be an immersive showcase of the wonders of Singapore, from the Old Chang Kee curry puffs to the impressive tropical Imaginarium designed by Singaporean botanical designers, Humid House – and it didn’t disappoint.

Old Chang Kee curry puffs.

The endless drizzle one can expect from a real English summer didn’t deter the crowds either – everybody wanted a slice of Singapore.

After collecting a Singapore Sling welcome cocktail, guests poured out into the square to see the botanical techno garden, which featured native Singaporean plants, and a selection of talented musician, including the pioneering Mileece who, through some sort of wizardry, played the plants like instruments by stroking them softly.

The Lord Mayor of London, Peter Estlin and Singapore senior minister for social policies, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, officially opened the Singapore: Where Explorers Meet installation, lighting the garden in hues of green and a rainforest-like mist.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam (centre) Peter Estlin (centre right).

Back inside and out of the drizzle, we tasted Singapore through cocktails and food. Crab, aubergine and chicken Singaporean curries were all on the menu, alongside baskets full of curry puffs. If you’ve never tried a curry puff, imagine a Cornish pasty, only with a more buttery pastry, a spicer filling and a flavour that takes your taste buds on holiday.

If there wasn’t already enough going on, we were all invited to try out the City of Possibilities interactive map which visually and audibly lets you explore every corner of Singapore, from Sentosa beach to Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Botanic Garden to Universal Studios Singapore.

When an invite describes an event as immersive, this is the level of interaction and experience guests expect. The speeches were kept short, the entertainment was ongoing, without being repetitive and gave every guest had the chance to experience Singapore.