My visit to Singapore ended up being way to short. I had a great time and packed in a lot of sightseeing. There were a ton of things I wanted to do, and didn’t have time for…so it looks like I’ll be planning another trip back. This is the rainy season, so there wasn’t a day without some rain. Luckily I had almost 1 full day without rain to get a lot done.
A great way to get acquainted with any city is by taking a city tour. I love the double-decker hop-on hop-off busses. There was a stop just outside my hotel, the Singapore Marriott, and the tour stops at all major attractions/areas of interest. Make sure you take water and a hat along as it can get quite hot on the tour bus if you sit outside.
The botanical gardens are just beautiful and a must see. They were founded by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore itself, and later resurrected by the government in an effort to make Singapore a garden state. There is an amazing Orchid Garden – one of the newest and most popular attractions is the Princess Diana Orchid.
The Singapore Flyer
The Singapore Flyer is like a giant ferris wheel with enclosed pods that provide spectacular views of the city. Note: this is not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights. The flyer towers over Singapore at 514 feet. They started construction on the Singapore Flyer in 2005 and it opened in 2008. It takes a full 30 minutes to make a 360 degree trip on the flyer.
Singapore goes crazy for Christmas. I remember watching a show about 4 or 5 years ago about how many lights they put up in Singapore, but you really can’t imagine how crazy it is without seeing it. Every mall tries to outdo the other with decorations and lights. All of the main streets are light up and Orchard Road, the most famous road in Singapore is decked out. If you love Christmas, you will love celebrating it in Singapore. They really do go all out.
Orchard Road is the shopping and entertainment hub of Singapore. You can find every and any store you’ve ever wanted to visit. The Marriott Hotel is at the epicenter of Orchard Road and provides a great starting out point for the avid shopper (though I must note, I couldn’t even afford to breathe in most of the stores, it was fun to look.) The Marriott is iconic and easily recognized by the pagoda shaped building it resides in.
Chinatown Heritage Center
This smaller, and older museum is a gem. I would not have found it had it not been for a recommendation from, of all people, the flight attendant. The center has meticulously recreated entire rooms from traditional 19th century homes. This is a really great place to visit and I highly recommend making time to see it.
Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel
The Raffles name is synonymous with Singapore and a visit wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Raffles Hotel. If you’re not lucky enough to stay at the hotel – which is very pricy – stop by, as I did, for a Singapore Sling. I’m not much of a drinker, but I did at least want to try one. It wasn’t my favorite, but now I can say I had a Singapore Sling in Singapore at the famous Raffles Hotel.
At the mouth of the Singapore River, Clarke Quay was the centre of commerce in the late 19th century. Today, it is full of life with restaurants, clubs, shopping and sightseeing activities. From the Quay, you can hop onboard a traditional bumboat and cruise the river. Along the way you can see a mix of historic shophouses and the new modern Singapore architecture. The boat tour was well worth the money, I had a great time.
Singapore has a million different food options. Whatever your taste, you’ll find something you like. There are celebrity chefs, local spots, hawker centers (food courts essentially) and tons of spots to grab a meal. Singapore is known for a few traditional dishes. One of the dishes that everyone recommends in Hainanese chicken. You can find it in many restaurants and in the Hawker centers. The dish is originally from Chinese origins, but has become a quite popular dish in Singapore. I had it one night and while I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t say I had to have it again. The presentation is impressive, and the Chicken was very moist and tender, but I didn’t find it as outstanding as some people find it.
There are so many things that you can do at night in Singapore. I wanted to go to the Night Safari, which is a very popular activity for tourists in Singapore. However, it was pouring and I wasn’t able to go. The following night I went to the Sting concert. The venue is indoors, which made it very enjoyable – no rain, no humidity, no heat. This was a big treat to me on my vacation and I got a seat in the 3rd row center. One of the things I’ve found w/getting last minute concert tickets is that there are often single seats in great locations if you’re willing to pay. This was worth it; I could see his face without looking at the big screens, heck, I could see the sweat on his face. Next time I’m in Singapore, I will make it to the night safari, but this was a good alternative.
As I said, there are so many things to do and I just didn’t have enough time. I will be back to Singapore, it’s an amazing country. Next up on my trip: Langkawi & Kuala Lumpur Malaysia