When I first visited Singapore, it was literally for less than 24 hours. However I loved it so much I persuaded my mum we needed to visit for a few days on the way back from our trip to Japan. So much to do in this city that it still warrants even more visits.
It is the perfect stop for a few hours, or a few days, when travelling around South East Asia. However be warned that compared to the rest of the region it is incredibly pricy!
Read on for my tips on what to see in Singapore.
1.Marina Bay Sands
This infamous hotel is so iconic that it has to be viewed when visiting Singapore. First head down to the Marina to get a fantastic view of it over the bay. Also check out the statue of the Merlion while here, which marks the original entrance to Singapore.
Then make your way around the bay to have a wander inside the hotel. It is practically a city in itself as it is so large.
The famous infinity pool at the top must be incredible with the views over the city. However, I was short on both time and money so unfortunately didn’t make it.
Make sure you check out the Shoppes at the Marina Bay Sands – there is a canal that runs through the middle and a very impressive water feature called the Oculus.
The Louis Vuitton store cum museum is definitely worth checking out for any fashion lovers.
For extra enjoyment head down the Bay at night and watch the stunning laser show over the hotel. We did this from the wonderful rooftop bar at the Fullerton Bay Hotel over some rather extravagant cocktails.
2.Gardens by the Bay
From Marina Bay Sands you can walk over into the impressive Gardens by the Bay. This nature reserve is built on reclaimed land and the Supertree Grove is a sight to behold. I didn’t have time to walk through the tree top walk on my first visit and was gutted when it was too wet and so was closed on my second.
Make sure you check out the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest – beautiful indoor gardens which showcase sustainability and have such an fantastic array of plant life. As well as waterfalls and some stunning sights.
3. Singapore Sling at Raffles
An absolute must do! Obviously not the cheapest cocktail you can get in the city, but there is something so special about sitting in the historic hotel and throwing the monkey nut shells on the floor.
This Colonial style hotel was built in the 19th Century and named after Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles, the founder of Singapore and the Singapore Sling was invented by a bar tender in this very bar.
4. Botanic Gardens
This tropical garden is over 150 years old and located on the edge of the famous Orchard Street shopping district. The admission to the garden is free, but to get in to the National Orchid Garden it is $5 for an adult.
It is a beautiful place to walk around, I never knew there were that many different types of Orchids!
5. Little India and Chinatown
These areas of Singapore are where immigrants settled when they first arrived at the city.
The Indian population only makes up about 4% of Singapore’s people, but the impact this small part of the city has will surprise you. In Little India there are so many shops and food stalls selling everything you could want. I could have wandered around here for hours. Also check out the Masjid Abdul Gaffoor mosque located on Dunlop Street.
Chinatown is located within the central area of Singapore and is a great place to shop for cheap souvenirs and gifts for friends. Although built by immigrants from southern India, the impressive Sri Mariamman Temple is well worth a visit. This is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore and is now a national monument. You have to pay more if you want to take photos inside. And of course, there are plenty of places to eat cheaply in Chinatown!
Do also check out the narrowest street in Singapore – Haji Lane, when you are in the area.
A couple of other things I think worth mentioning when visiting Singapore.
If you want to eat cheaply, check out the many Hawker Markets dotted around the city. I ate at Lau Pa Sat, in the financial district, and it offered so many different types of food. I was wandering around for ages trying to decide what I wanted to eat!
The famous Ice cream sandwich carts appear around Singapore, so its hard to tell where they are going to be. But if you do see do stop to get an sandwich. Quite literally in bread, although the bread is pink and green. The ice cream is available in many flavours, including Durian! For those of you who know what this is, you will know why I chose to avoid and go safe!
Where to Stay
Accommodation is expensive in Singapore, even the hostels.
I stayed in the Hotel Bencoolen Hotel, which is in a good location to explore the city. Fine for a 3 star hotel and not too expensive.
I arrived into Singapore by public bus from Melaka, you can purchase tickets online. It was very comfortable and a good way to travel. The only thing to note, is that the bus doesn’t necessarily wait for you at the boarder. Sometimes this process can take a while at the land boarder, and if you take a while the bus will just leave. Luckily this didn’t happen to me.
The MRT is the easiest way to get around the city, and very easy to use. You can also use it to get to and from Changi airport.
Singapore is a constantly changing city and so much building happens, it changes from year to year. No matter how many times you visit, I think there will always be something new to excite you.
Have you been to Singapore? What were your highlights?