Welcome to a place where West meets East. Singapore is a melting pot of Asian cultures that also incorporates one of largest financial districts in the world. You will come here for the food, but you will experience so much more. I have been to Singapore two times and every time I go I fall in love with the country more. There are so many eclectic nooks and crannies that every time you go you tend to see more and more.
Singapore is a city-state, which means it is a city, but also a country. It has a bustling metro system called the MRT that will take you efficiently anywhere in the city. Yes, Singapore is in SouthEast Asia, but it is not as affordable as most places in the area. If you decide to come and visit, expect to pay 3-4 times the amount for accommodation and transportation can add up.
Top 8 Things to Do
1. Marina Bay Sands – If you are lucky enough to stay here, this is the best place in town to see the skyline of the city. It is not great because it is high, but on the top is the world famous infinity pool. If you have seen pictures of Singapore you for sure have seen the MBS, but you have also seen the pool. Be careful, they have started to prosecute people trying to sneak into the top. So be warned! There is also a shopping mall, event center, casino, and gondolas in the MBS complex.
2. Clark Quay – Come and drinks with the locals. This is a great spot to go to have dinner and drinks. There is everything from fine dining to regular bars and nightclubs. They use to allow drinking on the bridge between the two sides, but recently there was talk about a law that would stop this. If not, go to the 7-11 and grab a Tiger or two. You will notice, the quickest way to lose all your money is to drink in Singapore. It is not cheap, save the drinking for other countries in Southeast Asia.
3. Sentosa Island– This has to be one of the finest, 100% manmade, beaches in the world. There are theme parks on this island and very easy to get to using the MRT system. You could easily spend your entire vacation here. Yes, Singapore is between Malaysia and Indonesia where they both have some of the worlds best beaches, but don’t expect to find them here. Still a fun time to hang out and enjoy the tropical weather.
4. EAT!!! – Singapore is a melting pot of Asia and you can see it in the cuisine. If I had to pick one country to only eat at again I would pick Singapore. They have every Asian dish you can think of and also a lot of Asian fusion. Go to a Hawker Center to score some good deals on amazing food. These use to be street venders, but since Singapore is super clean, they turned them into big food courts. Meals here can be very affordable. Try the BBQ Stingray or the Chili Crab! Your welcome for the recommendation. It wont let you down!
5.Little India – If you want to feel like you are in a different world from the high tech downtown, head over to little india. Here you will find many markets and food stalls that serve some of the best Indian food outside of India. Singapore has been a popular relocation site for Indian people and this is evident here. Try some Singaporean inspired indian dishes… it wont disappoint.
6. Singapore Sling – If you have the money and need to cross something off your bucket list head to the Raffles hotel where the Singapore Sling was invented. Enjoy this chilling cocktail at a very nice and expensive hotel. Don’t be expecting to get out of this place with a little bill, if you have a couple of these expect to pay $40 – $50 for the drinks in total.
7. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve – Singapore is a concrete jungle, but it is true that there are some preserved rainforest that offers the feel of being in a far away land minutes from skyscrapers. Make sure to check out all the trails and explore everything the park has to offer. This event is also FREE!
8. Take a picture with the Merlion – What? Take a picture with what? A Merlion, it is half mermaid and half lion. It is the symbol of the city. The Merlion is located right off of downtown overlooking the bar and MBS. It is a great spot to take in the entire bay and the city. If you do not have access to the Marina Bay Sands hotel, this is one of the better views for the panorama.
Before you die, every foodie int he world must make a trip to Singapore. The combination of all the different types of people in Singapore culminates into an amazing food scene. You can get some of the finest dining in the world, or eat with the locals at a Hawker Center. I always recommend a Hawker Center to eat.
The Story goes like this: Back in the day there use to be street vendors. They had a hard time regulating these street vendors so they told them to all go to the same place. Soon, their carts turned to stands and it became a food court so to say. Now, each stall usually cooks only one type of food. The best part is to come with a group and try as many dishes as you can. That way everyone can eat what they want. You can easily go to the Hawker Centers and eat for $3-$5 USD. Not a bad way to feast!
Since this is a city, but also a country, I would recommend having a long layover in the city. If you have two days, you can knock out pretty much everything on the list and then some. There is really no need to spend a large chunk of time here as you may get island fever. Book an extended layover, sometimes for even the same cost, and explore the city.
For USA citizens you are able to get a visa upon arrival. My only tip would be to stay close to the MRT as this will be your savior for getting around the city and check out a few Hawker Centers. Get out of the downtown to avoid the touristic hawker centers.
Lonely Planet “Singapore”