For almost half a year, we called Singapore home and what a glorious half a year it was. Elements of Singapore were reminiscent of being home in London (the diversity of people and food on offer for starters) though for the most part Singapore has its own unique feel. It’s easily a city/country that I’d move back to without hesitation and it’s perhaps the epitome of the phrase “small but mighty”.
A lot of Singapore’s appeal lies in the unique blend between its ultra modern city and its natural appeal and while it’s so easy to fall into the trap of just heading for where the shiny lights are, there are so many more experiences to be had in Singapore. Here are some of the ones you definitely needs to try when you visit.
1.) Marina Bay
This is as spectacular as it gets. I felt the lure as soon as I arrived and knew we had to go check out the place in more depth. There’s the view of the city to be had there, that ginormous shopping village and of course, the famous infinity pool (though that one will cost ya!). If you’re around, even if for just one night try to visit at around 20:00 to catch the light show, illuminating both the buildings and the water. The food on offer here is pretty good too and decently priced so head down to the food court here while you’re at it!
Dive into a piece of Singaporean history and get lost in Chinatown. The majority of Singapore’s population is Chinese and Chinese culture is kept alive here with authentic food to try, old Chinese Temples to discover and some of the cheapest shopping opportunities in Singapore. Be sure to check out one of the many roof bars in this area for a sundowner. Ah, if you’re feeling rather adventurous – try your hands on some Durian fruit. If you don’t know what it is, I’ll just say this – you’ll smell it, long before you see it.
3.) Little India
If you paid Chinatown a visit, get your next culture infusion of Singapore in Little India. The food here by the way, is reason enough to visit! If you’re still able to walk after your meal, go to Mustafa Centre, a 24 hour market, and be mesmerised by the colours, flavours and bargains to be had.
4.) Lau Pa Sat Market (officially known as Telok Ayer Market)
You may have noticed by now that one of the main reasons to pay Singapore a visit is the abundance of world-class local cuisine. This is also the case at Telok Ayer, colloquially known as Lau Pa Sat Market. It’s yet another centre for delicious hawker food – and for people-watching… but mostly for the food! If you can get your hands on fried (flat) noodles here, don’t even hesitate to try it out!
5.) Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a huge, futuristic looking park in the bay area of Singapore. There are several greenhouses that look like UFOs from the outside and are amazing pieces of art from within. There are hundreds of different plants and trees to discover – trust me, even if you’re into into plants (like me), you’ll still wanna check this out.
6.) Botanical Gardens
Understandably, due to the incredible amount of deliciousness on offer here, you’ll probably spend a lot of your time in Singapore eating. To work on those calories (or at least pretend to yourself like that’s what you’re doing), take a long walk through the Botanical Gardens. Singapore is one of the world’s biggest orchid producers, and they’re all on display in the Botanical Gardens. Also, there’s lots of spaces to just relax and take a breath between sights (i.e. let your food digest).
7.) Pulau Ubin Island
If you want to have a glimpse of what Singapore looked like before it became the boom town it is now, take a bum boat to Pulau Ubin. It’s incredibly cheap (the terminal is near the airport) and it’s the last traditional village of Singapore and a strong contrast to the skyscrapers and crowds. Rent some bicycles and explore the forests or go bird-watching in the beautiful wetlands of Chek Jawa. You will also most likely run into some monkeys and pigs here. See more from my visit there in this post here.
8.) Palawan Beach, Sentosa
Another fantastic idyllic getaway from the city is Palawan Beach. It’s not only a sandy, picture-perfect beach but also connected through a suspension bridge to – brace yourself – the southernmost point of continental Asia! Oh and they also have some pretty good parties on here too so check in advance before you visit.
9.) St John’s Island and Lazarus Island
These islands are both connected and while St John’s is the entry point (and definitely worth a gander), Lazarus island is really where you want to go as this is home to Singapore’s best beach! If you’re feeling particularly swish, you can skip the commercial ferry over and get yourself a yacht over here. The price is more affordable than you might think if there are quite a few of your – for instance for 4 people its around £100 for a day per person and while it’s indulgent (and absolutely unnecessary), it does add that extra bit of bragging rights on holiday! 🙂
10.) MacRitchie Nature Trail
MacRitchie Nature Park is home to one of Singapore’s more stunning natural beauties. It’s rough rugged and a brilliant way to get lost in nature when you get fed up of all the bright lights and shiny buildings.
This is the fancy pants district of Singapore and definitely worth a gander. There’s always so much going on here and it’s perhaps one of the brightest parts of the city. Just a little heads up though – this is absolutely 1%er-ville – the shops here are uber expensive and understandably so as Singapore has the highest density of millionaires in the world (in US$s too – something like 20% – 25% of Singaporeans are millionaires).
12.) Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay is where you absolutely need to go if you wanna have a good time. This is where the bars and clubs are! My recommendation would be to start at Chinatown for some dinner (which is minutes away from Clarke Quay) and then head down here for a good old boogie. Heads up though – alcohol is expensive in Singapore so you might wanna visit duty free before you arrive! (You can also find them over at baggage claim so don’t worry if you forgot to do this until you arrived in Singapore).