I’m back briefly in Singapore again (spontaneous last minute decision – thank god for reasonable Scoot flights!). It’s starting to feel like a second home so thought I’d do a quick travel guide here.
I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at the Fullerton Hotel the past few trips – it is a beautiful hotel in a prime location and the balcony rooms facing the water have gorgeous views out onto the Marina Bay area (spoilt!). Nevertheless, you can’t really go wrong with where you stay just as long as it’s near an MRT – Singapore has an excellent (and cheap) public transport system. Cabs are also relatively inexpensive (although if you ask a Singaporean they have gotten horrendously expensive of late) and plentiful (except during a shift change).
There is plenty to do in Singapore besides eating and shopping (although admittedly those are probably its biggest tourism drawcards?). Here are some suggestions:
- Gardens by the Bay – this area really is stunning even for those who aren’t usually too keen on plants (aka me). Taking the Skyway up Supertree Grove is a must, especially at night time – it only costs $5 and is just magical. The Flower Dome is also amazing.
- ArtScience Museum – they usually have some pretty cool exhibitions here for the young (and young and heart) – definitely worth checking out.
- Singapore Zoo and Night Safari – I enjoyed the Zoo more than the Night Safari but both are still very good. The Zoo is probably one of the best I’ve been to – well thought out enclosures which maximise the ability to see the animals. This is a bit further out of the heart of Singapore and will require a half to full day trip.
- Singapore Tree Top Walk – I had almost forgotten how paralysing my fear of heights was until I did this (and I was the one who suggested this activity!), nevertheless if you want some decent walking tracks the park provides some good options (watch out for the monkeys!)
- Botanical Gardens – pack a picnic and enjoy some r&r time away from the constant buzz.
- Watch a show at the Marina Bay Sands Theatre.
- Wonder Full – watch the15 minute laser light show on the water (advisable to get there early on Friday and Saturday nights to secure a good spot).
- Sentosa Island – Sentosa Island has come a long way since I first visited about 6 years ago – the cable car ride is the best way to get across and once you’re there there’s plenty to keep you occupied.
- Cycle along East Coast Park.
One of my favourite things to do when holiday’ing! Below is just a start – there are so many places to eat in Singapore that I’ve only just scratched the surface.
- Hawker areas – Lau Pa Sat (Raffles Quay), Gluttons Bay (Raffles Ave), Maxwell Food Centre (Chinatown), Bugis Village (Bugis). I have to admit, I spend most of my time in Singapore eating at Hawker centres – cheap, delicious food – right up my alley!
- Arab St area – plenty of places to eat around here, particularly Turkish food – there was one called Alaurka which I really enjoyed – super delicious dips and huuuge plates of food. The Arab St area is also the place to try a shisha if that’s your thing.
- Ann Siang Hill – Very cool area in Chinatown but with an almost European vibe (literally a street away from the ‘traditional’ Chinatown) with lots of bars and restaurants. I’ve tried Cugini Trattoria Pizzeria (Italian) and Los Primos Taberna Y Tapas (Spanish) here and both were good.
- Robertson Quay – lots of cafes and bars in this area. Try Epicurious for a good western style breakfast, Wine Connection for decently priced wines and food and Red House for seafood.
- Boat Quay – Boat Quay itself is pretty touristy and overpriced, but if you go to the street behind Boat Quay you’ll find much better food at better prices
- Collyer Quay – more upmarket area with prices to match. Good for a special occasion – most have views out to the Marina Bay area.
- Marina Bay Sands – The Marina Bay hotel is a tourist area in itself, with lots of options for food. If you’re looking to splash some cash, Wolfgang Puck, Guy Savoy and Tetsuya all have restaurants here.
- Sunday Brunch – Sunday brunch is a real thing in Singapore and most hotels put on a (massive) spread with free flowing champagne. Capella (Sentosa), Fullerton Bay and The Ritz Carlton are all excellent.
- Other – I almost always make a trip to Din Tai Fung for their dumplings and Jumbo’s famous chilli crab is pretty good as well.
Even though drinking in Singapore is extraordinarily expensive (lucky I’m such a lightweight) there are still plenty of very cool places to quench your thirst.
- 1-altitude (One Raffles Place) – apparently the tallest rooftop bar in the world, worth it for the 360 views alone.
- New Asia Bar (above Swissotel) – again, great views out to Singapore and good cocktails as well.
- Ying Yang, Ps Cafe, Screening Room (Ann Siang Hill) – all very cool rooftop bars in the Ann Siang Hill area – probably one of my favourite places in Singapore to go for a drink.
- Bar Stories (Haji Lane) – cute place in Haji Lane where they will happily make a concoction for you based on what you enjoy / feel like drinking.
There is definitely no shortage of places to shop in Singapore and although it’s not the cheapest place (in fact, I actually think it may be one of the only places more expensive than Australia in some cases) there is certainly a lot of variety. Orchard Rd is the original and still the best – Ion is probably my favourite, you walk straight into it after getting off the Orchard MRT stop and could easily just spend a few hours emptying the wallet at Zara, H&M, Mango, Warehouse, Topshop, Uniqlo and Muji there. Otherwise there are plenty of other department stores – Takashimaya (with a pretty great Japanese food hall on the basement level), Tangs, Isetan, Paragon on Orchard Rd as well as a stack of high end designer (Chanel, Miu Miu, Prada etc) stores. Laduree have also recently opened up a shop in the Takashimaya as well.