Travel Guide: Singapore

Singapore is the world’s only island city state.There are plenty of things to do- whether you are looking for a beach holiday or a city life, there is something for everyone. Here is my list of the top things to do while you are in Singapore for a holiday or just a lay over.

1o Things to do:

1. Visit Marina Bay Sands (MBS). With the fast development of this cosmopolitan city-state, the whole Marina Bay area has undergone a vast transformation over the last few years. The  MBS complex is the focal point of the bay, this is the eiffel tower of Singapore. There are many great things to do and see in the area which mainly revolves around this unique building and resort, such as the Science Museum (Flower-shaped building), Casino, numerous shopping, dining and nightlife options.

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The Marina Bay Sands Casino

Note: There is no entrance fee to the Marina Bay Sands Casino for tourists but there is a S$100 fee for Singaporeans and Permanent Resident Holders of Singapore.

2. Visit the Merlion Park. The Merlion is not just any statue but a a mythical symbol of Singapore.The Park is the city’s most sought after photo-op, and also a a place to take in some incredible views of the Marina Bay.

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That tourist photo with the Merlion Statue

 

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This is the view of the Marina Bay Sands from the Merlion Park

 

3. Visit Esplanade during the evening. There is a hawker centre (Makansutra Gluttons Bay) just beside the Esplanade mall for local food, roti prata/ roti tissue/ tosai (Malaysian/Singaporean version of pancakes) char koay teow, also a popular drink to try is soursop, it’s a local fruit made into a smoothie.

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At the Merlion Park, the Esplanade (Durian-shaped building is in the background)

 

The Esplanade is also a great location to take panaromic photos of the Marina Bay, as shown below.

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4. Gardens By the Bay is a big, eye catching, modern park which has been awarded the World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival in 2012. The prominent Supertrees offers an breathtaking Skywalk (OCBC Skywalk) over the park, massive sea-shell-shaped green houses mimicking chilly mountain climates (Cloud Forest and Flower Dome) which houses hundreds of species of different plants from all over the world which makes this destination an ideal place for a family day out.

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On the OCBC Skywalk

 

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Cloud Forest

 

If you need a break, there is a beautiful restaurant located in the Flower Dome, Pollen where you can have lunch or coffee.

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Note: Gardens By the Bay is beautifully lit up at night! Definitely worth a visit then.

5. Singapore Night Safari is truly a unique attraction which I have visited multiple times. Not only is it an interesting place worth visiting but it is also a leading conservation and research centre in Asia. As a zoo it offers an unusual glimpse into the nocturnal animal kingdom. You can start with the ‘Creatures of the Night’ show for a 20 minute overview of the animals to be seen in the zoo.


There is a ParkHopper Package which allows you to visit all 4 parks: Night Safari,  Singapore Zoo, River Safari and Jurong Bird Park.

6. Take a cable car or train to Sentosa Island , where you can find another Merlion Statue! There is Universal Studios, nature excursions, Adventure cove water parks, S.E.A. Aquarium, and beach activities. This is a playground for both adults and children.

Palawan Beach Sentosa

 

7. For the ultimate retail therapy head to Orchard Road also known as the ‘Fifth Avenue’ of Singapore.

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ION Orchard

 

8. Night out at Clarke Quay. Clark Quay is located by the riverside with many bars and restaurants, boutique shops and nightclubs.

Clark Quay is both a night and day attraction. The shops and restaurants are also open during the day and you will be able to see the artsy colourful buildings which was previously the Old Hill Street Police station but has now been converted into art galleries and office spaces.

Old Hill Street Police Station

 

9. Timbre+ is a gastro-park built from repurposed shipping containers. This food centre houses 35 vendors- some dishes to try are the Salted-Egg- Yolk chicken wings, Pizza, the duck from Garçon and Durian Creme Brûlée.

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10. Try the original Singapore Sling at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel. The Raffles Hotel is a luxurious colonial-style hotel which has a long history going back to 1887 and has become one of the most important Singapore landmarks. Some of the famous guests that have stayed at the hotel are Elizabeth Taylor, Queen Elizabeth II and Michael Jackson, but many come for the Raffles Bar experience and you can be sure to enjoy the best Singapore Sling in town as this was where it was invented and they have had almost a century of experience at making the cocktail.


Recommended Restaurants:

Perhaps the most famous Singaporean dish is Hainanese chicken rice. Everyone has their own favourite place for the dish. My personal favourite is Boon Tong Kee on River Valley Road.

 

No Sign Board Seafood Restaurant– Similar to the chicken rice, everyone has their own favourite place for Chilli Crab which is considered Singapore’s national dish. Other dishes to order are the Crispy Cereal Prawns.

Chilli Dungeness Crab

Spago by Wolfgang Puck

 

Cocktails at Ce La Vi at Marina Bay Sands with a Panoramic view of Singapore’s skyline.

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Lantern Rooftop Bar at Fullerton Bay Hotel is a great place for drinks with an amazing view of Marina Bay Sands.

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Places to Stay:

1.Marina Bay Sands Hotel-the most spectacular hotel in Singapore! This is the most iconic building of Singapore which has the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool stretching 150 metres across the SkyPark. The pool is only accessible by hotel guests, so be sure to book your stay now!

2.Sofitel So-a unique boutique hotel with elements designed by Karl Lagerfeld is a place where timeless French elegance blends with modern Singapore chic. The hotel is a colonial gem nestled among the skyscrapers in the heart of Singapore.

3.Fullerton Hotel -The magnificent building is a grand Neo-classical landmark built in 1928. For nearly a century, it has played a central role in Singapore’s rich history as the building was once home to Singapore’s General Post Office, the Exchange Rooms and Exchange Reference Library, and the prestigious Singapore Club.  Presently, it has been transformed into The Fullerton Hotel.

4. Fullerton Bay Hotel– This underrated, modern hotel located by the Singapore River pays tribute to a bygone era. The hotel is infused with a sense of elegance and a style that is both contemporary and international.

Other things to do:

Dempsey Hill- Back in the ’50s, Dempsey Hill was home to the British Army. These days, the former barracks, set amidst lush jungle, have been transformed into a fine collection of restaurants, bars, art galleries, and spas.

Golden Lava Croissant from Bread Talk– Savour the naturally grainy texture of salted egg molten lava oozing out from crispy, buttery croissant! You can find Bread Talk in the basement of Paragon Mall in Orchard Road. Don’t miss out on the decadence overload!

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Golden Lava Croissant

 

If you love cheese tarts, you should try Bake, located on B4 of ION Orchard. The freshly baked tarts are worth the queue !

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Cheese Tarts

 

Travel Tips:

1.You can split your stay, spending a couple of nights in Sentosa and a couple in the city to experience all of Singapore.

2. If you are in Singapore for a layover and is press for time, I would recommend visiting the Marina Bay Sands, Merlion Park, Try the Singapore Sling Cocktail at Raffles Hotel and Gardens by the Bay (at night).

3. Singapore’s currency in Singapore Dollars (Sing Dollars (S$))

4. It is easy to get around in Singapore by MRT (the Tube or Subway) and taxis.

 

On a budget? 

There are plenty of hostels and budget hotels located around Jalan Besar- centre of town so it is a convenient location and should be pretty happening. Geylang area is also good- there are many cheap hostels and is surrounded by a numerous local food places. Popular places for sightseeing are Sentosa Island, Botanical Garden, National Orchid Garden- Orchid is Singapore’s national flower, Marina Bay Sands and the Gardens by the Bay.

If you like night markets or bazaars, Chinatown is the place to be (many swear by it as the cheapest souvenirs location in town) There are also a lot of pagodas or temples here too, such as Thian Hock Keng Temple, the oldest temple in Singapore and Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Other good bargains can be found in Little India or Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road.

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