I could sing endless praises for Singapore. I expected Singapore to be a really cool (and clean!) city. But I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. Singapore surprised me. From the moment I stepped out of the taxi on our first night, with the surroundings of Marina Bay lit up in front of me, I was smitten. Really. There's not many places you visit that while you're there, you're googling how much it costs to rent an apartment in the city!
There is just so much to see and do there, and if you're a city lover like me, I'm sure you'll adore it just as much as I did. My very first tip is to get the metro! Don't forget that it exists, like we did, oops! (For the first day anyway, after that we were it's biggest fan). Apart from on the weekends. Oh the weekend. Do not. I repeat, DO NOT, leave buying your metro ticket until a weekend day morning, or any time on the weekend for that matter. You will be in a queue at the ticket machine for 30+ minutes. Don't make the same mistake that I did!
Undoubtedly one of the most stunning parts of downtown Singapore, there is so much to do in the Marina Bay area. The Marina Bay area is home to many of Singapore's most recognisable attractions, arguably most famously, the Gardens By the Bay, which are an absolute must see!
We visited both the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, which are both incredible. But if you are short on time, make the Cloud Forest your priority. Designed and created to showcase plant life from the tropical highlands & housing the worlds tallest inside waterfall, it's seriously impressive!
Unfortunately, we had stormy skies during our visit, so never managed to visit the gardens themselves. But if you have the weather for it there is so much to see there, you could fill a whole day exploring just the gardens themselves.
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands are also a must see. The stores are mostly luxury, but a visit is an experience in itself. There's a (manmade) canal that runs down the middle of the mall, where you can take boat rides, which I thought was hilarious.
I think night time in Singapore was my favourite. Everything just looks so spectacular lit up against the night sky. You can't complete a trip to Singapore without having a cocktail at the one of the rooftop bars at Marina Bay Sands. We chose to check out the Flight Bar and Lounge, which is a bit more laid back. But there's also Ce La Vie Skybar, if a DJ and late night is what you're after.
Supertree Grove is iconic and an absulute must during your time in Singapore. You can visit anywhere from 5am - 2am (!), but in my opinion it's much more impressive come nightfall. And at nighttime, you get the added bonus of the Garden Rhapsody show, which is a lot of fun, and free! You can also walk around the top of the Supertrees, on the OCBC Highway. Sadly we didn't get to do this due to an impending storm, but I would have loved to, definitely check it out if you get the chance.
Raffles Hotel is the home of the Singapore Sling cocktail, so it's kind of a must visit. The cocktail was originally created in the hotel's Long Bar, in 1915. The pleasure of sipping a Singapore Sling where it was first created will set you back a whopping $35. Which is just short of £20 by the way. Each! The other drinks, though still pricey, weren't as bad, so they're definitely milking it a bit. But who can blame them I suppose.
When we visited, the original Long Bar was closed for refurbishment. And although they were serving the drinks in an alternative bar at the hotel, we decided we didn't want 50% of the experience for 100% of the price tag. So i'm yet to try the signature drink. But we still enjoyed a walk round the grounds, which are beautiful, and definitely still warrant a visit.
Sentosa Island is an island bursting with entertainment. From the most impressive aquarium i've ever seen, to Universal Studios, to a waterpark that we sadly didn't have time for. You could spend days here and not get bored. In fact you can even stay there.
If you're not staying there, don't worry! Getting there is simple, and Singapore certainly has you covered for options. Just jump on the Metro down to HarbourFront station. Then from there you can either walk across the boardwalk, which is my personal favourite (and free!). It takes about 15 minutes but it's a lovely walk and there's moving walkways most of the way. Or hop on the monorail, which costs a couple of dollars, isn't particularly exciting and can be very crowded. There's also a cable car, which I didn't try. Honestly because it just sounded like a bit of a faf and waste of time to me!
Since my time spent in Singapore was part of a three month trip exploring Asia, we didn't have the biggest of budgets for things like food, choosing to focus our funds on experiences. Singapore is known for being a little pricey. But if you're from London, like myself, it's nothing that will surprise you too much. I would say the pricing is pretty comparable.
That being said, we did our research and scouted out a few more affordable options for dinner. There are of course so many fabulous eateries in Singapore and if (when) I go back I would love to explore those options.
But, if you're looking for a few, slightly more inexpensive choices, while still experiencing the culture of the city, try China Town and Little India. Both of these locations are fun parts of Singapore that should be explored, so why not go for dinner!
China Town hosts a whole street packed with Chinese restaurants, and street food stalls down the centre. It's called Smith Street and you could walk for hours trying to compare and pick the best restaurant. In the end we just plonked ourselves at one and hoped for the best! In Little India, we visited Banana Leaf Apollo. A restaurant which was recommended to us, and a recommendation I am passing on. It's not too touristy, we maybe saw 5 other tables of tourists there, but the food is great. And you really get a feel for the diversity of Singapore.
And finally, my favourite "cheap eat" discovery, Makansutra Gluttons Bay. Even if you're not on a budget this place is fabulous. Hundreds of tourists and locals alike, picking from the endless street food stalls. And just steps away from the Marina Bay. Perfect for a night of street food, followed by cocktails at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel!
This was a bit of a mammoth post. So thank you if you made it to the end! And I hope if you're planning to visit Singapore this has helped you. Or maybe it's inspired you to visit. I personally can't wait to visit again!