It’s been awhile since my last blog post, so what better time to write one then sitting on a six hour train through India! I know alot of people thinking of visiting Singapore and have been asked by afew people to write a post about what we did there. Our stay in Singapore was short and sweet so this post will be a reflection on what we managed to squeeze in during our four day visit. This was no easy task as this is a city that is bursting at the seams with really impressive attractions and lots of cool activities. I picked up some recommendations from family also so I’ll be sure to share these with you in this post too.
Singapore is the the new ‘hit list’ destination of South East Asia. Although it is undoubtedly Asia’s most expensive destination, it is somewhere you just have to see. A fascinating facade of culture and futuristic vibrance. Singapore may be far removed from the typical South Asian charm of Tuk Tuk’s, rice paddies, monkeys and other cliches; but it brings a different type of charm. A multicultural melting post where old meets new. Dazzling sky skyscrapers shape the city while urban gardens turn the city green. It is a unique and refreshing escape from the typical South East Asian chaos. Not that I don’t love the chaos, but after 6 months it was a welcomed change.
Most backpackers want to experience Singapore without doing too much damage. Yes, it is pricey but it’s an essential stop to be ticked off the list. In this post I will share some budget friendly activities and tips to help you along.
Where to Stay
We were lucky enough to stay with family so that was a HUGE help to the budget. However, I have read online that the best budget areas to stay in are Geylang (located between the airport and city centre), Little India and Chinatown. These areas offer the cheapest hotels in the city. All of which are safe, clean and close to the city centre. ‘Hotel 81‘ is widely known as a popular budget hotel brand, so this might be worth researching. The ‘InnCrowd Hostel‘ in Little India is also popular among backpackers.
If you are looking for luxury on your hollibops and not afraid to splash some cash then the city centre ( MRT Marina Bay and Raffles Place) is where it’s at. Here you will find Singapore’s top luxury hotels. This area is AMAZING at night. It completely comes alive with light shows and is absolutely stunning.
What to Do
Supertree Grove at Gardens By the Bay
This was top of our list and for a very good reason. Gardens by the Bay is a huge, colourful and futuristic park located in the Bay area of the city. It’s collection of unique flowers, plants and climate controlled conservatories make it Singapore’s top attraction. You could spend an entire day here soaking up the stunning surroundings and wandering around the park.
Gardens by the Bay is world famous for it’s huge steel Supertrees which are covered with over 200 different species of plants and flowers. These trees are widely known as the ‘lungs of the city’ and are one of the most impressive landmarks I have seen this year! Walking around the park or at the base of the trees won’t cost you a cent, however if you want to walk amongst the supertree tops it will cost you about 8 SPDollars. Every evening the trees come alive performing the most incredible music and light show. I was completely and utterly obsessed with this show and watched in awe as the lights danced to the beat of the music. Just WOW. The show actually runs twice daily with one at 19:45 and the other at 20:45. Not to be missed! (I went everyday I could!). For those who want a better view of the trees and gardens then please see my next point…
Supertree By Indochine
Inside the largest 50 metre tree at the centre is the lavish Supertree By Indochine restaurant and rooftop bar. For a very special treat, the restaurant lounge offers the most incredible 360 degree view for a dining experience you won’t forget. As backpackers we didn’t opt for the meal here for obvious reasons (€€€) but my family that live in Singapore so kindly treated us to drinks at the tree-top roofless bar. The views here were AMAZING!
Everyone raves about having a drink at the Marina Bay Sands when in Singapore, but in my opinion the rooftop here is far more impressive. You can enjoy views of the Supertree Gardens AND the very beautiful Marina Bay Sands hotel. How can you fully appreciate the beauty of the Marina Bay structure if you are in it? HOWEVER I still do of course reccomend experiencing a cocktail or glass of wine at the Marina Bay Sands hotel. It’s iconic to Singapore afterall. It will cost you 20 SG dollars to enter the Supertree rooftop bar but this will also get you a drink up there. (YES it’s pricey but you are in Singapore! And I can promise you it’s worth it!).
Satay By the Bay
Food in Singapore is incredible and taken very seriously by locals. From Michelin Star restaurants to street food carts you won’t be short of places to eat. The street food in Singapore is also perfectly hygienic and safe to eat by the way. One of our favourite places to eat that was absolutely delicious, full of variety and affordable was Satay by the Bay. This is a food court set up located near… you guessed it…Gardens by the Bay. Here you will find a massive variety of food from seafood to meat and vegetables. I can hugely reccomend eating here! It’s completely accessible, reasonably priced and is surrounded by lush greenery and the waterfront. Ideal if you ask me!
Have a ‘Singapore Sling’ at Raffles
Raffles hotel is the home of the iconic ‘Singapore Sling’ cocktail and I can assure you it’s the best in town! With over 100 years experience in making this famous cocktail, the Raffles Bar experience is one of the top things to do in Singapore.
Little India is one of Singapore’s most vibrant districts. You just need to walk down Serangoon Road to experience the hustle and bustle of the Indian community that live here. If you wander down the side streets you can find some of the most colourful buildings in the city! Their mix of various Hindu and Chinese mosques, temples and churches show off Little India’s vibrant culture.
Shopping will be a unique experience here with everything from groceries to goldsmiths and sari stores on offer. Don’t forget to wander through the inside market here…I loved how chaotic it was! Little India is very close to the city so it’s very easy to excess either by foot (depending on where you are of course) or by MRT.
We unfortunately didn’t make it here, but Chinatown is known for it’s shopping and having the cheapest souvenir stores in the city. The whole street itself is iconic to Singapore decorated by bright and colourful lanterns. There are countless street vendors and restaurants to choose from to ensure you enjoy an authentic Chinese dish. Chinatown has lots of other hidden gems to explore so I’d definately reccomend taking a stroll over to this side of town.
We were staying in this area and walked passed it into the city almost everyday. It’s stunning riverside setting is the perfect backdrop to the large variety of amazing restaurant’s here. It’s an upmarket area for sure, but even walking through it and stopping for a drink in one of it’s plentiful collection of bars is a must. Such a pretty area. At night Clarke Quay comes alive with every bar and club buzzing. It’s a bar hoppers heaven!
Boat tours along the Singapore River are also available here. This will really allow you to soak up the beautiful surrounding sights such as the Clemenceau bridge and Merlion Park.
Merlion Park is home to the iconic Merlion Park landmark – half lion, half fish. The body of the statue represents Singapore’s humble history as a fishing village while the head represents Singapore’s original name ‘Singapura’ meaning ‘Lion City’ in Malay. It’s a must-see attraction for travellers all over the world.
Every evening Merlion Park hosts the best views of the light show at the Marina Bay Sands and surrounding buildings. It takes place at 8pm everyday.
Coffee at ‘Central Perk’ Singapore
If you have some spare time on your hands and love Friends as much as we do, then paying a visit to Singapore’s ‘Friends’ themed cafe is a really fun novelty. Yes, it’s overpriced but in fairness they do sell one hell of a coffee and the portions are generous. They offer six different blends of coffee profiled to the six Friends Characters made from four different coffee roasters. So it’s a coffee snobs dream!
It’s the only cafe outside the US to be granted intellectual property rights by Warner Brothers. I’ve never been to the one in the US so I was nerdly excited about visiting! The menu item names are legendary including ‘Janice’s Oh My God Baby Back Ribs’ and ‘Joey’s Your My Everest Turkey’. While you’re there don’t forget to Instagram the hell out of it!
Some things we didn’t get to do but that were recommended to us include:
The Singapore Flyer
The largest observation wheel in the world! At 165 metres high, it is 30 metres higher than the famous London eye! I’d imagine the views from the wheel are insane as it overlooks Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore river, Raffles Place and Marina Bay. The contrast between these sights during the day and at night make for an amazing experience whatever time of the day you choose.
This point speaks for itself! It’s the first of its kind in South East Asia and I’m pretty sure it won’t disappoint. It’s the ‘grown up’ version of Disneyland with less magic, more thrill. Hollywood, lost world and Madagascar (to name a few) themed rollercoasters…what more could you want!?
The Singapore Night Safari
Depending on your interests this might be something nice to experience and worth a visit. The night safari is the leading conservation and research centre in Asia. It exhibits over 1000 animals of the nonternal animal kingdom from around the world.
Free Scooter Tour
There is a hostel in Little India called ‘The InnCrowd hostel’ that offers free scooter tours around Singapore showing you all of the citys highlights. My friend mentioned this to me so it might be worth looking into… it sounds amazing and its FREE!
If you’re looking for some relaxation and to escape the city then Sentosa is a purpose built island off the southern top of Singapore. It offers beaches, sea breeze, restaurants and shops. It can reached via road or cable car.
The Arab Quarter
Beautiful textiles, leather, jewellery and baskets. The Arab Quarter is the perfect place for an afternoon wander. I love strolling in and out of quirky little shops and this area has many!
Top Tip: For attractions listed above such as Universal Studios, the Singapore Flyer or the Supertree top walkways, be sure to check out the Klook app for discounts. I’ve mentioned this app in afew of my posts now and LOVE it!
Hope you enjoyed reading my short Singapore guide. I loved this city and I hope you do too!