Singapore is one of my favourite island cities in the world…maybe because someone asked me for directions once, truly making me feel like a local and like I belonged. The place promises the culture of the East and the modernity of the West.
Beyond what Singapore has developed onshore for tourists, there is way more to Singapore to bring out the fan in you.
My Top 5
Gardens by the Bay: The symbol of Singapore for tourists has gradually shifted from the Merlion to this massive green space called the Gardens by the Bay. From the supertrees and the flower dome to its skyway, the gardens are sure to leave both kids and adults excited.
Botanic Gardens: Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city at the Botanic Gardens (which as per me, remain highly underrated). Don’t forget to visit the National Orchid Garden and watch the flowers bloom!
Sentosa Island: Don’t come back without exploring the Siloso Beach, Merlion, Fort Siloso, SEA Aquarium, Mega Adventure Park Zipline and the iFly.
Night Safari: Kids not falling asleep? Take them here! The tram takes you across the 6 zones. Don’t miss out: Creatures of the Night Show.
China Town: Looking for Chinese food, lanterns, souvenirs? Head to Chinatown. While there, also stop at the Buddha Tooth Relic temple or the Sri Mariamman Temple.
Hidden gem: Stop by the Tintin Shop (if you manage to spot it) for comics and other collectibles.
Start your day with some Kaya (coconut jam) toast at the popular chain, Ya Kun Kaya Toast.
For dim sum haven, eat at Din Tai Fung, a dim sum chain from Taiwan, with restaurants all across the city. I’d suggest heading there a little before your normal lunch time as you will always be welcomed with a long waiting queue.
For street food, check out the famous Maxwell Road Food Centre or Lau Pa Sat for a true local feel while stuffing yourself with some Hainanese Chicken Rice.
For local Chinese food, head to Chinatown.
Restaurants I love: Margaritas (Mexican, Dempsey Hill), Marche (Swiss, multiple locations, a favourite with kids of all ages), Lucha Loco (Mexican, Duxton Hill, if small portions and world-class margaritas are your thing). For a quick drink, head to the 1887 Colonial style Raffles Hotel that invented the Singapore Sling. Burnt Ends, Tippling Club and Wild Rocket are other restaurants high up on the food scene. In addition, Singapore recently got its own Michelin guide, check it out for recommendations.
I’d recommend Holxo’s Gastronomic Delight – Singapore itinerary to satisfy the foodie in you.
Stop and Stare:
At the risk of sounding like a Zomato collection, for great views, head out to Lantern at the Fullerton Bay Hotel, which will give you sweeping views of the marina; 1-Altitude, for a 360-degree open view from a 63rd floor bar or CÉ LA VI, which perches you right atop where the action is, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
Shopping for every budget:
Singapore was recently rated the most expensive city in the world. However, for some cheap bargains, head to Mustafa Shopping Centre. Or spend a day at Orchard Road, lined with high-end malls, while for some small quirky boutiques, chill at Haji Lane, close to Arab Street.
Use the MRT whenever possible. Cabs are easily available everywhere.
Every time you visit Singapore, this city will surprise you with something new, something you hadn’t discovered earlier, but at the same time you will retain your old favourites. So, go explore this tiny lion city, while I book my Singapore flight ticket.