Ah Good Old Singapore…or Should I say “new” Singapore….. Singapore was simply amazing. We spent 5 days there, and actually considered moving there for a few years. The people were wonderful – we enjoyed chatting with so many locals, and their welcoming attitudes really warmed our stay. We stayed on Arab street, a few blocks from the most beautiful “fairy-tale” like mosque (This mosque looks like it came straight out of the Magic Kingdom), close to boutique shopping and best of all, unbelievable food. I had read so many articles and blogs saying 3 days in Singapore was too much, and I cannot express how differently I feel.
No Gum Chewing – No Spitting – No Littering ……Too Many Rules!?
During my childhood, my neighbors had a Singapore magnet on their fridge that joked about the rules in Singapore, leading one to believe it is a very strict and rule based society. After visiting, we felt that the rules Singapore has put into place simply keep their society acting like respectful human beings – rather than animals (especially when alcohol comes out to play…). The country has installed a lot of Green technology and was clean -in my opinion, how we should be treating Mother Nature. If a few simple rules are all we need to enforce taking care of our Earth, maybe other countries should consider looking to Singapore as a role model….
Okay, so our highlight moment in Singapore seems really cliché, especially because I do not like letting a fancy hotel make up my trip….But the Marina Bay Sands is simply the coolest hotel I have ever been to. It’s not even the hotel, but the rooftop pool that expands over all 3 buildings. We only stayed there for one night, and spent every moment at the pool – head there at 6 am for sunrise, and you’ll only be among 50 verse 500 others J The hotel is easily connected to the public transportation (it runs right into the basement of the hotel), so even if you are not staying there you can still pop by the rooftop bar at night for the view.
Day 1: Arrive in Singapore! (There is a very large (and beautiful) international airport; or you can take the bus in from Malaysia; we took the bus down from KL, Malaysia). *They asked to see our transportation method out of the country; I am not sure if this is required to have or not, but be aware that there is potential for them to ask)
- Grab Lunch & Walk around the area, Check out some of the stores (specifically on Jihad Street, Arab Street & the street that runs into the Grand Sultan Mosque)
- Need a Caffeine boost? Where else can you order a $10 coffee but Singapore?! Check out #SelfieCoffee , where you take a selfie, and they blow it onto your whipped cream. It’s definitely a one- time thing, but we had fun with it!
- Visit the Grand Sultan Mosque
- We were in Singapore during Ramadan, so we were able to check out multiple Ramadan Bazaars, which had some amazing food! We were told to hop in the longest food lines at the bazaar, which held true- everything we tasted was great J
- Enjoy dinner at Cicheti – It’s an Italian restaurant in the area, but SO delicious.
- Foods to try while in Singapore : Kopi & Kaya Toast (Breakfast), Satay, Laksa, Chicken & Rice, Char Kway Teow & Hokkien Mee
Accommodation: Shophouse: the Social Hostel
Day 2: Free, YES- Free! Tour with Indie Singapore
- This tour was wonderful – the guides work off of tips, and typically have a pretty large turnout (our group had about 25 people). They offer different tours in different areas of the city, providing you with the history of different areas and buildings, and taking you into buildings you probably would not think to wander in on your own. We were only able to check out 1 tour, but I would suggest trying to fit more into your schedule if you have time! Check out the tours here : Free Indie Walking Tours
- Zam Zam for lunch – the Murtabak is SO SO SO good. Try it for yourself – this restaurant closes in the afternoon, so go at lunch hours.
- Check out Meomi Cat Café if you like cats….It’s on the pricier side, but we had fun sipping on coffee while playing with the little fur balls. Maybe a little too much fun… the concept was new to us!
Day 3: Head over to Marina Bay Sands
- We stayed here for one night (public transportation runs right into the basement of the building). Check prices on different websites, the prices will randomly drop on different nights….if you can find a night within your budget, go for it!
- We spent all of our time at the pool….and once your there, you’ll understand why.
- There is a rooftop bar at the hotel, we decided to visit Chinatown that night instead (since the view from the pool is better than the rooftop bar’s view)
- Chinatown is very different from how I imagined- lots of trendy, chic bars/restaurants; we ate at the hawker that is famous for their chicken rice
- Check out the Maxwell Road Hawker Center in Chinatown, with the well known Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Stall….people say it’s the best in Singapore! (#01-10 – I believe, but you should be able to tell based on how long the line is)
- The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum and Sri Mariamman Temple are both in Chinatown as well. If you choose to check out the temples, I would suggest making Chinatown a day time visit.
Day 4: If staying at the Marina Bay Sands, spend your morning at the pool until check out time.
- Ask the hotel to hold onto your luggage if heading back to a hostel (or head to the hostel to drop your stuff off)
- Enjoy Lunch at a restaurant or Hawker Center – be sure to stop into a Turkish restaurant as well
- Check out the Singapore Gardens and/or the Singapore Flyer if interested
- At night, take the public transportation towards the Marina Bay Sands, and get out 1-2 stops before the hotel; Walk to the viewing point of the hotel….It’s an incredible view of that whole area of Singapore!
- Traveling with kids, or simply like parks? Check out Sentosa….If not traveling with kids, The Southernmost Point, the Singapore Cable Car, the skyline luge, Tiger Sky Tower (at IMBIAH Lookout) and the beaches are all great activities to be enjoyed by playful adults J
Day 6: At this point, we took the bus to Johor Bahru, and took another bus to the Johor Bahru airport to fly to Lombok, Indonesia. The Singapore airport discontinued their flights to Lombok during the time we were traveling (I’m not sure if they are still discontinued). This was a semi-stressful evening, as we traveling in the night and found out that Johor Bahru was not the safest area to be alone in at night time (and it required multiple transfers because certain busses stop running at night time). The airport basically closes at night, with basically no security and the doors are open to anyone – I slept, but Michael stayed on “watch” the whole night. I would suggest heading up to Johor Bahru during the daytime if taking this route, or flying into Yogyakarta or Bali if possible.
** If you can stay a few extra days in Singapore, do it! There are so many great things to see and do!
** Alcohol is basically the same price as in the states. Singapore is still cheaper than the U.S., but much higher priced compared to the other countries in SE Asia — Budget accordingly if needed so you can enjoy yourself.
Singapore does not require a VISA for US travelers, and there are no extra vaccines needed for travel.