Singapore, an island roughly the size of Los Angeles, is a city, state and country all rolled into one. You would think with a country of its size that there wouldn’t be much to it, but Singapore is surprising. I’ve lived here for three years now and haven’t even begun to tire of it. There is always something new to do, see or eat.
First off are the touristy things. No trip is complete to Singapore without feasting your eyes on the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It really is a gorgeous architectural wonder and is as impressive from the top as it is from across the water. If money isn’t an option staying there is the way to go, even if only for one night. It’s also the only way to get the money shot overlooking the infinity pool. But there are cheaper options for getting to the top, including brunch, a drink at the bar, or ladies night at the club, Ce La Vi. If you want to take in the whole area, start by walking along Clarke Quay, into Boat Quay, then pass the Fullerton Hotel. Once you’ve reached the water you will be amazed by the view of the Esplanade, boardwalk, financial district, Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore Flyer and the mascot, the merlion. Every time I have guests visiting I take them on this walk and it’s as breathtaking as the first time I saw it. Other noteworthy tourist attractions are Orchard Road, the Night Safari, the Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay.
Singapore is really a collection of neighborhoods, with each one having a distinct look and feel. Little India and China Town are two of the most well known, but try some of the others. I love Holland Village. At its core is a hawker stand, surrounded by shops, restaurants and bars. At night the street is closed off to traffic and the restaurants and bars spill out into the street. It’s a great atmosphere. Arab Street is another favorite of mine. The mosque sits in the center and is surrounded by little shops, specializing in everything from carpets and lamps to fabric. The restaurants in the area are quite good with Middle Eastern menus. This is also a great area for trendy shopping. Just two blocks over is Haji Lane, where up and coming Singaporean designers display their work. The street is lined with shop houses and coffee shops and one could easily spend hours there just going from shop to shop admiring the clothing and trinkets. The quirky neighborhoods are endless really; Robertson Quay, Club Street, Ann Siang Hill, Dempsey Hill, Serangoon Gardens, etc. etc. Spend a couple of days just wandering from barrio to barrio and take note of how Singapore can instantly transport you to places all over the world.
If you are after something a bit off the beaten path in Singapore, try Pulau Ubin. It will take you back in time with its kampong houses and roaming wild boar. You have to take a boat to the island, but once there you can rent bikes or hike. There are also a few restaurants, a small hotel and a camping area. MacRitchie Reservoir is equally as beautiful and easier to get to, as is the Southern Ridges. At MacRitchie watch your bags so you don’t get your lunch snatched by hungry and aggressive monkeys. There is a treetop walk that has great views and lots of trails that wrap around the park. When walking the Southern Ridges you have the option of stopping along the way as the trail goes all around the city, eventually leading to the cable cars that cross into Sentosa Island. Either way you will get a great workout and get to see the non-touristy side of Singapore.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Do you have other favorites or things you’d like to see in Singapore? Comment below.