Known as the ‘city in a garden’, Singapore has so much to offer! Delicious food that will have you coming back for more; rooftop bars with fabulous views; areas that celebrate the mixture of cultures; beautiful experiences that educate; and so much more! Listed alphabetically are my top 10 picks for Singapore.
Recommended to us by a couple we met at the Marina Bay Sands, 1-Altitude is one of those rooftop bars with fabulous views. Positioned across from the Marina Bay Sands, it’s the optimal spot to watch the nightly fountain and light show. There is a cover price to get in, but that price comes with two drinks that you choose when you pay. Once up on the roof, you also have the option to order food. Before going, we looked up the dress code and it seemed like it was super fancy. After arriving though, we saw people dressed in various degrees of dressiness. I would recommend going at least business casual.
Bugis Street / Bugis Village
This area is the perfect spot for shopping. Whether you’re in the mood for clothes, want a refreshing drink, need luggage for all those extra purchases, or itching to try durian, Bugis is the place to be. Rows and rows of shops are lined up to give the outdoor shopping experience, and right across the street is an indoor mall [which we stumbled upon by accident if I’m being honest] – the best of both worlds!
Exploring Chinatown really feels like you’ve stepped into China. As the Chinese New Year was just around the corner when we were visiting, we were able to see all the red, gold, and pig decorations. There were red lanterns hanging over the streets, and shops decked out in the everything from calendars to clothes to treats. There are so many food options here to check out as well. The cheapest meal from a Michelin-star restaurant can be found here- and it’s certainly delicious! Look for spots with long lines; although you won’t want to wait in them, they will definitely be worth the wait! If you plan on getting the Hop On/Hop Off bus tour, check out the walking tour schedule. Chinatown is one of them, and the tour provided very detailed, interesting insight into the Chinese culture and how it came to Singapore.
Gardens by the Bay
Constructed on 250 acres of reclaimed land, Gardens by the Bay boasts over 200 species of plants and flowers. This magnificent attraction is actually composed of three main parts: 1) The SuperTree Grove; 2) The Flower Dome; and 3) The Cloud Forest. Each section was as impressive as the last, and honestly give yourself enough time to fully explore and appreciate each section. We did not realize just how large and educational the domes were, but we learned a lot! And we were able to walk on the Skyway and get an up close and personal look at the Supertrees. That was pretty neat! Be sure to see the Gardens during the day and at night. Each evening, there is a light and sound show, and it’s spectacular! We saw it from both a distance and up close, and if you’re only able to do one, I’d recommend up close so you can hear the music!
Just like Chinatown, stepping into Little India feels like you’re stepping into a different country and leaving Singapore behind. I have personally never been to India, at least not yet; however, I feel like a received a small taste of what the country is like. So many colors dominate the area of Little India and strong enticing smells waft through the area. If you plan on getting the Hop On/Hop Off bus tour, check out the walking tour schedule. Little India is one of them, and the tour provided very detailed, interesting insight into the Indian culture and how it came to Singapore.
Long Bar @ Raffles
One of the things its said that you must do is have a Singapore Sling where it originated, at Long Bar in Raffles Hotel. Currently, Raffles is undergoing construction and is expected to open by 2020, but thankfully Long Bar is still open. As you walk up to the bar, the origin story is depicted on the walls which I thought was a pretty unique touch, and I quite enjoyed it. You’ll probably experience a wait for a table, but once you get to a table, you’ll have peanuts to munch on while you wait for your order to be placed. If you’re deathly allergic to nuts, I would avoid going here as their are peanuts everywhere, and the shells are covering the floors and seats.
Marina Bay Sands
Did you know that the Marina Bay Sands was the world’s most expensive hotel to construct? Costing $8 billion to build, this hotel is one of the most iconic hotels in the world. Recently featured in the movie, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, people from all over the world come to experience this extravagant hotel. Of the top attracting features is the infinity pool located at the top of the three towered establishment. Views from this pool are like no other; however, in order to gain access to the pool, you have to stay at least one night in the hotel. There is an observation deck that everyone is allowed to access – guest of the hotel or not – and views from there are great as well, although shielded by glass. The hotel has so much more to offer, and spending an entire day exploring is barely enough time to take in everything.
Situated across from the Marina Bay Sands, this mythical creature of half lion, half fish is the official mascot of Singapore. The lion head represents the original name of the city, meaning ‘lion city’; while the fish body represents Singapore’s humble beginnings as a fishing village. There are various Merlion statues scattered throughout the city-state, but this is the official one!
An extremely popular attraction of Singapore, Sentosa is a resort island filled with many adventures. Here, you can find beaches, casinos, amusement parks, museums, one of the Merlion statues, and so much more. Of course shopping and eating are a given on this paradise of an island. We went on a cable car ride over the island, and were able to see amazing views. If you’re scared of heights [like I am], this may not be the ideal activity for you. But, I was able to get through it – closing my eyes a few times. The wind does cause some swaying, and sometimes the cable cars just stop – that’s a little scary, but it was a fun experience overall!
The Botanical Gardens
Located within The Botanical Gardens, the National Orchid Garden was an absolute delight. Unfortunately, the rest of the gardens were under renovation so we were only able to see this garden, but it was definitely no disappointment. We learned that there are over 60,000 species of orchids, all hybrids take about 1-3 years to create, and most orchids do not have a smell. We also learned that every time an important guest comes to visit the country, they create a hybrid orchid to name after the person. How cool is that? Good to note that while The Botanical Gardens is free, there is a fee for the Orchid Garden. On the last Sunday of the month though there is a free concert and people are encouraged to come picnic in the garden!
Singapore is truly a city that has it all! I had a blast from start to finish, and enjoyed learning so much about this city-state. What about you? Have you been to Singapore before? Is it on your bucket list? Have you seen Crazy Rich Asians? Did that influence your decision at all? I’d love to hear from you!