Singapore, a country filled with culture, amazing food, and massive wealth circulating around the Marina Bay Sands area. For me, Singapore has always been a place I wanted to travel to. Singapore is almost an introduction to South East Asia, and whether you have a 48 hour stopover or are planning a holiday to the island below Malaysia, then this guide will be helpful to planning your trip.
W H E R E T O S T A Y ?
For those of us on budgets, BEAT Hostel at Boat Quay is quite perfect. Yes, it is a hostel so you get what you pay for. However, if you want to be close to all the major sites, then this is your place. Tucked away on the busy Boat Quay Gilles with restaurants and pubs, and only a 10 minutes walk for the Esplande, 20 minutes from Marina Bay Sands, and an easy commute on the MRT to practically everywhere else. Breakfast is included, although very basic, but if you are planning to do Singapore on a budget, then you probably don’t care too much.
TIP: Get the MRT from Changi Airport for around S$2.50 to get you into the city. A lot cheaper than taxis, straight forward, air con, and takes around 50 minutes.
However, if you want something a bit more upmarket, your own room (and shower), then try the very modern M Social hotel, located at Robertson Bay. Further away from the main tourist area, however still in walking distance to the MRT. The restaurants have a classier feel in Robertson Bay, and appeal to locals as well. There is also a swimming pool, perfect for cooling off after a day of exploring the hot and humid city.
W H A T T O D O ?
Singapore is filled with sites, attractions, and amazing food. So whether you are enjoying a short stop over, or a week wondering around the city, you will always find something to do.
Marina Bay Sands is perhaps now one of the most iconic symbols of Singapore wealth, and an image that people now correlate with Singapore. From the infinity pool (you have to be staying at the hotel), to the shopping mall full of designer and high end shops, as well as gondola rides. Even if you don’t have the dollar to spend, wondering around the mall people watching, and window shopping is actually quite nice. Yes, you will see people spending thousands, but you can also enjoy the air con, and the free WiFi.
Also in the Marina Bay Area is the Art Science Museum. If you are a student you can get in for S$30, which gives you access to all three exhibitions. Trust me, it’s worth the money. Currently, the Wonderland exhibition, Future Worlds (you have seen them instagram photos of all the lights), and Floating Utopias (Summer 2019). Definitely worth a stop.
Continuing with the Marina Bay theme, you also have Gardens By The Bay, which is free to wonder around, but you can pay to enter certain exhibitions. For S$26 you can enter the Cloud Forest Dome, and the Flower Dome. Personally, I preferred the Cloud Dome, and the fascinating information surrounding how the gardens are helping to produce a cleaner Singapore in terms of Climate Change. Unless you love flowers, then personally I would give the other dome a miss, the Singapore Botanic Gardens are more interesting. In the evening, at 7:45pm, and 8:45pm, there is a light show. It lasts around 15 minutes and is actually quite magical. Sit on the floor, look up, and be drawn into the light show.
TIP: Use the MRT. Similar to the London Underground, or New York Subway. Journey prices are pretty cheap, there is air con on all trains, and it is a much easier way to get around Singapore without sweating it out walking around in the heat and humidity.
Marina Bay Sands also put on a light show every night at 8pm. To see the fountains display stay by the floating Louis Vuitton, or for a better view of the light show watch for the Esplanade outside theatre, or the Jubilee Bridge by the famous Merlion. The Esplanade is lovely to walk along as well to the Helix Bridge, but there is also a more expensive outdoor Hawker Centre, as well as a shopping centre. They also put on free outdoor shows in the evening.
China Town and Little India are perfect if you want to see culture, and get a real sense of Singapore that isn’t just financial wealth. From Hawker centres (street food inside), to see people getting on with their day to day lives. Go to Little India for the colours, and the food, but also because it is far less full of tourists. China Town, on the other hand, is a tourist playground, but probably because of all the shops selling tourists items. However, China Town shouldn’t be missed. Visit the Buddha Tooth Relic temple. Try Chicken Rice at the Maxwell Centre, or simply wonder around the streets.
Also on the culture path, head to Arab Street, and Haji Street. Beautiful little shops, art on the walls of buildings, bright colours, and a beautiful temple.
As already mentioned, take a morning (or afternoon) to explore the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The gardens themselves are free to wonder and explore, but pay the S$5 to enter the Orchid Garden. You can also see Singapore Ginger which is only in Singapore, however, you can see that for free.
If you are looking for something FUN then take a trip to Sentosa. There you will find Universal Studios, Aquarian, and a range of other activities. Personally, I wasn’t a fan, but I can imagine if you are there with young children, or want a fun day out with friends, then it would be a perfect place.
For those looking for that instagram photo, there are plenty of places to get that photo. Go to Library at Orchard to get a photo in the beautiful library you often see on Instagram. However, Singapore is the perfect backdrop for most photos.
W H E R E T O E A T ?
Food is obviously very important, and in Singapore you can get Michiellin star food for as cheap as S$3, or spend hundreds on some of the top restaurants in town.
For a more traditional approach, try out at least one Hawker Centre. As already mentioned, the Maxwell centre in Chinatown is amazing, but also Tekka Centre in Little India which obviously serves a variety of food but specialises in Indian food. Then on the Esplanade you have Makansutra Gluttons Bay. Those were the three that I tried, they were cheap but also delicious. Just take hand sanitizer and wipes, to eat like the locals.
If ice cream is you thing to help keep you cool in the humid air of Singapore, then take a pick from Dopa Dopa (also serving coffee) on the outskirts of China Town. Then you also have a cute little cafe opposite the Art Science Museum, which is slightly more expensive. On the other hand, try out what McDonalds have. Yes, I know it sounds strange if you want authentic Singapore, but they have matcha and a rose flavour. Cheap, and very helpful to help cool down, plus free WiFi.
Of course, you can’t go to Singapore without trying Kaya Toast. There is a lot of fast food toast outlets across Singapore, from very cheap to why are you that expensive for toast? Try out Toast Box, if you want to try it on the cheap.
If you don’t fancy traditional Singapore or Asian food, then Super Loco on Robertson quay is nice. With a view of the quay, outdoor dining, and an atmosphere, it’s lovely to enjoy a light dinner.
Instagram spot – If you want to go to a cafe simply because it is *instagram goals*, then take a stop at A Juicery. Yes, it is a bit pricey for a coffee, or an iced homemade lemonade, but it is interior instagram pink goals.
Are you planning a trip to Singapore?