Last month’s whirlwind trip to Singapore seems like a distant memory now, so I thought I’d whip up a quick travel guide before it completely drops off the radar.
I’ve combined my sister’s tips with my own. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but it will be well suited to short stopovers or a long weekend in this bustling city.
The view of MBS from the Merlion at One Fullerton is amazing. We walked along the river across the bridge from the Helix Bridge near MBS to the Merlion and it was awesome.
Universal Studios Singapore: The must rides are The Mummy Ride, Battlestar Galatica (Human, and Cyclon – two rollercoasters ‘battling’ each other), Transformers 4D ride, Jurassic Park river rapids (really good for cooling down! We went on at least once to help cool us down because it’s a lot of walking through the park). The Shrek kiddy rollercoaster is a good starter if you’re not sure about the Human and Cyclon rollercoasters, but they are definitely fun, because I’ve been on them at least 10 times every time I’ve been to USS! Also do Shrek 4D Adventure if you have time. A good place to go if it’s raining a little bit (also The Mummy Ride). So you could definitely do half a day given there are no to little queues.
Marina Bay Sands Skypark: Skypark is always a must, unless you plan on staying at MBS sometime. The view is amazing (but even better at the Infinity Pool). Entry is $20 I think, we went during sunset. There’s a bar and restaurant up there too but MBS is crazy expensive. Skip the Flyer if you’re going to the Skypark. Flyer isn’t worth it actually.
Singapore Zoo and Night Safari (and River Safari should be open by March I think): So fun, but it’s far away and would have to take up a whole day.
Chinatown (above) is a sight unto itself.
Clarke Quay at night time: This place is always alive at night time. Lots of bars here, always busy at night, we’ve only ate at Senor Taco here which was really good.
Singapore Botanic Gardens was nice but don’t get lost like we did, it ruined our day!
MBS Museum might have some exhibitions running (Art of the Brick, above, was the highlight of our trip).
View of the Singapore flyer and Gardens by the Bay on the right
Gardens by the Bay at Marina Bay – a must. It’s also free! The Flower Domes come to life with a dazzling light and sound show every night, around 7:30-8pm. We sat on the steps and gazed up for half an hour, completely mesmerised.
Uber awesome Light & Water Spectacular between the Fullerton and Marina Bay Sands. I think this happens every night on the banks of MBS?
Ann Siang Hill: one of my favourites. Lots of little boutiques here – we picked up a few gifts for our family as well as homewares for ourselves. Try to go on a weekday instead of, say, a Sunday as a lot of shops are closed on the weekend.
Haji Lane: overall a disappointment! Tons of boutiques and fashion stores here but only half the shops in this laneway seemed to be open. You can hear the tumbleweeds rolling through in Haji Lane, though this is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to Singapore.
Orchard Road: the original and the best. Look out for H&M, Forever 21 and (a rather overpriced) Topshop. Favourite shopping mall would be ION Orchard, hands down.
Not quite sure what we were doing here…
Muji: no trip to Asia would be complete without a stint at Muji. Stock up here on acrylic storage, breton striped tops, hair elastics (best!), stationery and homewares. Remember if you do end up buying acrylic storage, take them back with you in your carry-on.
Uniqlo: I love Uniqlo for their basics. Cashmere cardigans, lounge wear and underwear, and Heattech thermals.
Marina Bay Sands: Where window shopping really is just, um, window shopping. Look out for the floating LV boutique!
Bugis: There’s a market, and shopping area in Bugis, all sort of connected to each other. Bugis Junction is the shopping area with proper shops, Bugis Street is the cheaper market sort of shops. Always busy, gets really crowded. If you go through the market, there are more shops in an open area (this is where I bought the kit kats). There is also a hawkers centre here, too, if you keep walking. Bugis Street has some snack food, we had salt and pepper chicken for like $3.50, so good and we went back for thirds. The drinks here are always the best ($1!).
Finally, do not go to Sephora for makeup! I found it to be so expensive! Your money is probably better spent at DFS at the airport or making a beeline to your nearest Watson’s.
One of our favourite hawkers place in Singapore is at the corner of Cavanagh Rd and Orchard Rd, near Starbucks. They have roast pork, bbq pork rice, steamed chicken rice and wonton noodles, as well as noodle soups. They try to sell add ons here, like drinks. Average price for food around $5.
Lau Pa Sat, Raffles. Huge hawkers place, used to be good apparently. It wasn’t too bad, but it’s open 24 hours (SOME are open), and at night, they close one of the streets because satay stalls open until late.
Maxwell Road Food Centre in Chinatown. Cheap cheap cheap, probably one of the best hawker centres. Super cheap. We ate here for breakfast/late breakfast most mornings.
Try to avoid Food Republic because it’s quite expensive compared to hawkers, but the quality is probably better. Still cheap, but expensive compared to what you could get in Singapore.
Dumplings and chilli oil at Din Tai Fung, Paragon.
Tiong Bahru Market Food Centre is another favourite hawker centre, cheap food and was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations.
Wild Honey in Mandarin Gallery in Orchard – Nice breakfast place, reminds me of breakfast in Australia, because it’s Western breakfast. What you’d expect at home like price and type of food. There’s always a waiting list though but longest we’ve waited is 15 minutes at 10:30am, so best to go early.
Ippudo in Mandarin Gallery in Orchard for Japanese ramen. Most likely owned by Japanese because they were all yelling in Japanese. Fancy-ish place. Best ramen, slightly on par with Nao, same serving size (huge!).
There’s a bar on the top floor somewhere at Swissotel The Stamford which I heard is really good, has an awesome view as well.
TWG Tea is a must-do. Indulge in high tea, a light lunch or scones and jam after giving your plastic a workout at MBS.
For dessert, I always hold a soft spot for Honeymoon.
With Mochi for supper. God, I could eat Mochi all day long.
For something a little bit fancy try Iggy’s, Esquina Tapas Bar, Joël Robuchon or Waku Ghin at Marina Bay Sands. We celebrated my husband’s birthday at Waku Ghin (review to come!).
See you again soon, Singapore!