On Friday last week, we flew from Jakarta to Singapore! My 37th country! So, I thought I would give you a run-down, and a semi-guide if you are here SNG!
We arrived into Changi Airport – which is just as nice as everyone had told me it was! The amount of shops was astounding, especially the Duty Free liquor, as we had come from Belitung, Indonesia where you cannot purchase any alcohol (except at a hotel bar)! We immediately logged into the airport Wi-fi and checked the exchange rate to make sure we were falling within our budget.
We may have gone a little crazy, and walked away with 1 bottle of spirit each (Whiskey for me, Rum for Marty) and a bottle of New Zealand wine each (woo! NZ wine!). That should last us a while…well, we are still Kiwis, so ya know, it’ll last a little bit!
During our research before arriving here, it was blatantly obvious that Singapore was going to be really expensive. So we had decided on only a week, and booked an Air BnB room accordingly. The place we booked is a five minute walk to the subway station, and on the line that comes direct from the Airport. The train (MRT) ticket cost $S12; $5 for the card, and $7 usable fare. The journey from the Airport to our Air BnB in Tiong Bahru cost $S1.82, and was super simple to navigate.
Our first full day in Singapore saw us take the subway to Paya Lebar and walk down towards Marine Parade to see the shipping harbour. It was threatening rain pretty much the whole time, but being Saturday morning I expected to see lots of people milling around, however it was pretty much empty.
That afternoon, we trekked to the National Museum of Singapore. The museum cost $S10 each for the History of Singapore section, or $S25 for the entire museum. We had left it too late in the day to complete the whole thing, so we chose the Singapore section only, and that kept us busy for at least 3 hours. Singapore has an amazingly varied history, with the British, Malays and Japanese all having a go before Singapore became independent in 1965. Very interesting, interactive displays too.
Following the museum, it was only a short stroll to Clarke Quay- one of the busiest restaurant/bar areas of Singapore. There were market stalls right in front, with restaurants and bars spilling people out onto the streets and outdoor seating areas. We decided to find a place that was a little more subdued for dinner and settled on a Vietnamese restaurant in the heart of Clarke Quay. Although, considering it was Saturday night, we thought we’d grab a beer with dinner…that was until we saw that the “cheapest” beer (a Corona) was $S15!!
Getting up nice an early to get to the Botanic Gardens before it got too hot was useless, the temperature app on my iPhone told me it was 31 degrees celsius, but felt like 38 degrees by 10am!! Good story Google!
Again, nice and easy to access, the Botanic Gardens has their own subway stop, conveniently named ‘ Botanic Gardens’. These gardens are free to enter, and, being that it was a Sunday at 10am, there were already people dotted all over the park enjoying picnics, sports, and wandering through the different themed gardens.
Half way down the gardens, is the National Orchid Garden, home to thousands of Singapore’s national flower. Entry here is $S3 each – and totally worth more! The work that goes into making the orchids thrive is immense, and the garden is truly beautiful. I cannot wait to bring my Mum!!
Monday morning came around, and it was about time we went down to the top tourist attraction in Singapore, Marina Bay and Gardens by the Bay. Emerging from the subway station into the park was literally like a breath of fresh air in this crazy busy city. Again, the gardens themselves are free to enter and wander around, you can pay for a shuttle service to take you around but the walk is nice.
First thing we came across is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen – the Supertree Grove:
These giant metal “trees” are covered in luscious flora and fauna and stand at heights ranging from 25m to 50m.
Not far from the Supertrees are the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome- two conservatories, the first filled with green, beautiful plants and flowers from all around the tropics, the second filled with plants and flowers in themes such as ‘Mediterranean’ and ‘Music’. A bit pricey for entry to the two, but I loved it – $S28 each.
If you head out the back entrance of the conservatories, there’s a small ‘smoker’s area’ over the road that opens up onto the river inlet and looks out to the Singapore flyer (see Day 7). Perfect place to watch the sunset and all the lights come on over the city.
Once dark, we went back to the Supertree Grove – because, each night at 7:45 and 8:45pm, they put on a light show timed to some music on the Supertrees. Absolutely spectacular- a must-do in Singapore.
A rainy morning started off slow – I’m not going to lie to you! I’m surprised at the torrential rain that Singapore gets actually- for about 3-4 hours every day or so, it seems to rain the heaviest downpours I’ve ever seen. And the worst thing is that is could turn up at any time! An umbrella is a must in this city!!
After lunch at the Tiong Bahru food market, we hopped the train (EW to Joo Koon) to head out to the Tiger Beer Brewery. Tiger Beer has been one of my favourite beers for some time now, and I didn’t even know it was brewed on the island!! This is the part about traveling I love the most I think…random things from “previous life” that infiltrate.
Once at Joo Koon, it’s about three stops (ten minutes) to the Asia Pacific Breweries stop – yes, they have their own bus stop.
The tour itself is $S18 each, which includes two pints of Tiger beer and 45 minutes of tasting at the end (they have about 12 other beers and ciders for you to try that are brewed onsite).
As much as I love Asian food, it was about time for some western, actually Australian, brunch. Forty Hands cafe served up one tasty helping that set me right for the day- eggs Benedict!
I needed sustenance for the day ahead as we were heading to Orchard Road today. Shopping up a storm!! Well, actually, we’re backpackers, so there wasn’t much shopping for us- but the street itself was amazing to window shop along! Every fancy shop you’ve ever heard of full of people, flittering away the dollars.
One of the most famous places in Singapore, the Raffles Hotel, was on my list to see purely because it’s a beautiful building.
Also, Raffles Hotel has the claim to fame that they invented the Singapore Sling (gin cocktail) back in 1915-ish. Believe this if you wish, as drink one if you want to! You can go and buy a Singapore Sling at the hotel bar for $S28. I was almost assured to be turned away at the door…what with my jandals and torn denim shorts- so I just admired from afar.
That evening, we walked down to the Promenade area to take a ride on the Singapore flyer – a 165m tall Ferris wheel at the harbour’s edge. The flight takes thirty minutes, and costs $S28 for each adult.
The ride is costly (seeing a theme here, Singapore!?), but it was amazing to see the sunset and then the city light up. If you want to save a few bucks, you can also go up to the deck of the Marina Bays Sands hotel for $S18, which stands at 200m tall.
For dinner that night, we splashed out and went to one of the restaurants in the Shoppes at Marina Bay- Mario Batali’s Pizzeria. Too expensive, average pizza – I had such high hopes!
Following dinner, the plan was to head to the Casino located within the Sands complex, however, as a tourist, it turns out you must produce your passport before being allowed entry. Considering neither of us had this on us (traveler 101: don’t go out on the piss with your passport), it was home to bed for us.
So there you have it, 7 days well spent in Singapore!! I feel like we jammed quite a bit into 7 days, but also felt like we got to relax a bit too- the perfect balance!
I genuinely loved Singapore, the city is so accessible, clean, and well planned. There’s loads to do as a tourist, no matter if you’re a shopping master, relaxing in the park type or a museums and art gallery aficionado.
Heading to Singapore anytime soon? I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions!!