Wow ! We may fall short in words to explain the impression Singapore caused on us when we went there.
This amazing city-state in the South East of Asia it’s a small country but has a lot of surprises to offer. It’s mix of cultures, the contrast of its old colonial constructions with the super modern skyscrapers and the temples from all kinds of religions, makes this place a perfect playground for explorers and photographers to have a blast. Singapore is one of the most multicultural places we have visited so far.
Here we share with you the 10 things that we we enjoyed the most.
Go to the top of the
Marina Bay Sands
World famous iconic building and major photo attraction in Singapore, with its infinity pool at the top floor it offers the best view of the city’s skyline (you can only swim in the pool if you are a guest at the hotel) but! we have a fun alternative for you guys who are traveling on a budget! on the 57th floor there is a pretty cool rooftop bar just next to the pool, we were so happy to be there in the evening enjoying a beer and a cocktail at the top of the city with the most amazing view of Singapore. Drinks are pricey, but hey for that view it’s totally worth it to have at least one. At one point the manager of the bar came to us and the table on our side to inform us that if we wanted to stay we needed to have a minimum consumption of $1000 Singapore dollars per table! can you imagine! at this moment both tables asked for the checks to be paid and leave. this happens after 9:00 pm so if you get there earlier you can be in for the sunset and stay for a couple more hours before this happens.
How to get there?
Just enter through the main entrance, through the lobby, walk as if you own the place and walk straight to the lifts, no one should ask you anything, press the button to go up to the floor 57 and once there just enter the bar normally and have a seat or go to the bar to order some drinks.
Eat, eat and eat
Oh my ! what a great place to eat ! It’s pretty accurate to say that we spent a considerable part of our time eating here, everything, anything, we consider ourselves foodies and food explorers so we literally were trying any dish that was presented to us.
What kind of food you ask?
All of them, due to its cultural variety you can find very wide range of cuisines not to say all of them: chinese, korean, japanese, indian, arab, malay, this one’s encompass mainly the food courts or street food, but you can find as well nicer restaurants of: mexican, french, spanish, greek, italian and much more, it’s just a matter of searching and you will find for sure something that satisfies your taste.
Where is the best place to experience the food?
Obviously there is a ton of places and restaurants that we didn’t have the time to explore and not because of that we would not recommend them, but what we found the best in terms of price, variety and convenience are the famous “hawker centres” which are basically huge food courts with lots of different stalls offering all types of food.
Vegetarians don’t panic! there are plenty of options for you. We make a big effort to eat just vegetarian, but when it comes to trying something new we have a hard time sticking to our no meat policy, but in every hawker centre we went to eat we found something vegetarian, decent variety to choose from and very tasty by the way.
We share with you two hawker centres that we visited and liked a lot:
Located in the business district this one is a premium hawker center,
fairly new and close from very touristic spots and places of interest,
prices are slightly higher but you will find a great variety of cuisines.
A very famous one, located in the center of Chinatown you can find as much as 100 food stalls to choose from, lots of food! one we definitely recommend to visit.
Spend a morning
at the Singapore Botanic Garden
With an easy access, located just on the way out of a metro station the botanic gardens are worth a visit, a huge extension of grass and native forest made this place one of or favourites, we spent a lot of time there, walking around, chilling and taking cool pictures of the exotic plants that grow in this part of the earth, there is also an amazing orchid garden that you can visit (to enter this part you have to pay a fee), or the ginger plant route which we enjoyed a lot, we also got lucky and saw an enormous Lizard! (I’m talking about 1.5 meters) very close from us!
Geek shopping time:
Sim Lim square
If you are looking to buy some electronics and tech gadgets you must visit Sim Lim square, the first choice mall for technology enthusiast in Singapore, you can get a really good bargain on laptops, cameras, cell phones and much more.
But be advised, Sim Lim Square has a dodgy reputation about how they make business over there, so don’t just go there to see what you find and buy from the first store you enter, because more likely you are going to end up paying a very high “tourist” price, so go there well informed about what you want to buy and the maximum price you are willing to pay for it also check several stores, you will find plenty offering the same product.
We bought a nice lens for our camera and an external drive that we had been looking for a long time, we really think we had a very good deal,.Also an advantage is that singapore is a tax free country for this kind of products so at the end of our travels at the airport we went to the tax Office with our purchase ticket and invoice, a few minutes later we had an $11 Singapore dollar tax return! enough to pay for our lunch while we were waiting for our plane to leave.
You can get to Sim Lim square by metro,
it’s really close to the MRT train station of Bugis (EW12) and also close to the little India station (NE7)
1 Rochor, Canal road,
Explore Gardens by the Bay
for the sunset
Gardens by the bay is a combination of nature and modern structure park made of 12 major attractions, including a flower dome, south american garden, sun pavilion, art and sculpture garden, sky walk and the iconic “supertree” groove, this last one was our favourite thing about Singapore, the one we enjoyed the most and that left us completely amazed. The park is huge (101 ha) so you may want to reserve a whole day to stay there and check out all the things it has to offer. We went in the afternoon because we love the light at this moment of the day, and also sunsets, for our bad luck most of the attractions were already closed, but even like that we had a wonderful experience. We walked for a long time in the supertree groove, which is a garden with this gigantic tree like structures that have hanging gardens with all types of exotic plants over them. We did the OCBC skyway that takes you up to a walk over the ground and around the supertrees, it offers super cool views of all the park and the Singapore waterfront skyline, when we went down it was a surprise for us, but we totally recommend you to stay for this: an amazing light show!, in the night all the park goes dark and the structures start to light up at the compass of the music that is playing super loud, this amazing show goes on for about 20 minutes adding to our experience a super grand finale!
You can get there by train MTR using the yellow or blue line station (CE1) and (DT16) respectively.
18 Marina Gardens Dr,
smells, colours and flavours
You can get there by train MTR and getting down in the station that goes by the same name “little india”, what you will find when you get out of the station it’s a whole new world, completely different from the station you were before. You will notice that the population shifts to become a more indian type, including the temples,food and smells, this phenomenon, that repeats all over the different neighborhoods in Singapore caught a lot our attention. Visiting there we walked for a long time in the streets just absorbing the beauty of the busy life, the colours and the daily lives of the people, we entered some markets where we looked at all the fruits with its vendors, trying to sell us at a “special price”, all the indian goodies and their complicated patterns.
When we started to feel hungry we just entered the first of many local restaurants to have some very spicy curry (you can always choose to have a vegetarian curry if chicken or pork is not your thing) with garlic or cheese naan bread, finishing up licking our fingers and almost in a food coma state. If you are a foodie and an exotic food enthusiast we definitely recommend you to experience little india.
Enjoy the Nightlife
by going up a rooftop bar
The second night we went out we wanted a different experience, so we went looking for a rooftop disco/bar, in the business district you can find a few. We went to ask to one place that seemed to have the best view, but we decided to go and have dinner first, at this time a light rain started, so when we came back to the elevator for the bar we found a lot of people getting out of the building and the guard told us that the bar was being closed because of the rain, bummer! But we were not giving up that easy, we started to walk around the area to see if we could find another similar place, suddenly we saw a group of people dressed for a fancy night out and decided to follow them into a building where signs of a discotheque directed us to a lift, entered it with the whole group and up we went. The elevator door opened at the highest floor and a guard received us asking if we had any reservations, naturally we said no, but he was ok to let us in just after checking our bags with our cameras. We headed straight to the bar and ordered some drinks, we spent the whole night dancing together with all the local people in the place giving weird looks at us, we had a great time! When our feet were hurting we went down and took the train MRT to our temporary place in chinatown. amazing night with an awesome views of Singapore.
Have a drink
in a speakeasy
We love going out in the night to have a few drinks and to dance, but what we love the most and we are self proclaimed experts in the matter is looking for and finding “speakeasy” type of bar. In our first night out in Singapore we ventured in a quest to find the city’s most acclaimed speakeasy: The Library, hidden in the streets of chinatown, we had to pass a few times in front of the address to even realize something was happening in there. Finally we entered what seemed to be a mix between art gallery and toy display shop, there was a friendly looking guy who welcomed us and asked what we were doing there, obviously we said we were looking for the bar and he answered with a suspicious smile and asked us for the “password”, we looked at each other amazed and confused, at the end we got it right and he let us in by opening a hidden door on his back.
We first entered a room full of mirrors and red neon lights which we found very cool, it prepared us for the ambiance in the bar, at our back in the mirror, was the other door for getting into the Library, we discovered a place with dim lights and old decoration, with no more than 10 tables, but all of them full, the cocktails we had in there where by far the most elaborated and exotic we have ever tasted, and of course the most delicious. Every time we ordered a new drink the bartender came to our table to ask how the cocktail was and if we were having a good time, we appreciated this a lot and next time we are in Singapore we will come back for sure.
What to know before going there?
The prices of the cocktails are way more expensive than the Singapore standard ranging from $22-$34 SGD for each drink.
If you are having trouble getting the password you can find it asking on the restaurant next door or in the manager’s twitter account.
We booked our room at the heart of chinatown, at first we thought it was crazy and that we would have not the best experience there, but guess what? it was a very good decision at the end. Chinatown (as in most of this kind of neighbourhoods all over the world) is a place full of life, things to watch and delicious food to eat, also happens that in Singapore this place is really centric, so it was a good starting point to move to the other parts of the city we wanted to see, very easy to get to and of course everybody knows about it. We had a train MTR station (Chinatown) just 3 minutes walking from our front door and 5 minute walk through the night market (which is open all day) to central avenues in the city.
the contrasted Architecture
One of the most charming things about Singapore is walking around the streets and contemplate the architecture of the city, the contrast between the old colonial architecture and the super modern skyscrapers mixed with the temples of all religions you can imagine, it’s like being in all the epochs at the same time!
We found this to be very obvious in the korean neighbourhood, in which the old buildings are pretty well conserved and inside them you can see all the hipster friendly kind of stores, bars and restaurants buzzing with very well dressed young people. For the lunch time we went to a very big hawker centre close to the area to have a freshly squeezed fruit juice and a variety of food Asian that we shared.