What comes to mind when you think of Singapore? Aside from my high school math teacher, for me the movie Crazy Rich Asians comes to mind. Ever since I watched the movie in the movie theater, I instantly added Singapore to my bucket list. Crazy Rich Asians does a great job in showing the main attractions. However, you need to go to Singapore to experience it first-hand. There is way more to Singapore than just what the movie depicts. The best part is – Singapore was only a $20 flight from Kuala Lumpur, so I asked myself why not? Singapore it is!
Singapore is an island city-state located approximately one degree north of the equator in Southeast Asia. In addition to Singapore’s main island, the nation includes 63 islands, most of which are uninhabited. It is one of the cleanest and safest countries in the world. So if you are thinking of traveling solo to Singapore – let this serve as the sign you need to do it!
Guess what? Singapore uses Grab (similar to Uber and Lyft) as a form of transportation! Make sure to download the app and set up your account before you fly into the country.
Singapore is not as expensive as people make it out to be. It is definitely more expensive than other Asian countries, but it is not expensive compared to the cost of things in the United States – mainly DC, which is where I live. The currency exchange is $1 USD = 1.35 Singapore Dollar.
Fun fact: It is illegal to chew gum in Singapore. Don’t even think about it.
Where to Stay
Singapore is a small country – I stayed near Little India. It is not located in the city center of Singapore. However, it wasn’t hard to get around within the two days I was there. I can say that housing in Singapore is a bit pricey. My travel buddy and I stayed at an Airbnb for two nights. (If you have never signed up for an Airbnb account, use this referral link to save up to $55 on your first stay.) The total cost for the two nights including fees was $98.25. If you think about it, it is not bad at all. However, that is because we stayed in a townhouse in a private room. The room had it’s own private shower. As for the toilet that was shared with everyone else in the house. I wasn’t crazy about it, but it wasn’t horrible either. There was a helper who lives in the house, and she was super nice. She was a life saver because the plug converted I was traveling with did not connect to the outlets in Singapore. Overall, hotels and entire apartment options on Airbnb are super expensive per night so keep that in mind. Housing is the only thing I would say was expensive in Singapore.
The closer you are to the downtown area, the more expensive the stay is going to be. That is a fact anywhere you go. If possible, I would recommend staying in the city center. If you can’t then Little India is a great location, especially if you plan on exploring that neighborhood.
Checked in and dropped off our belongings at the Airbnb. Walked around the corner and ate lunch at Twenty Eight Cafe. I ordered their salmon mac and cheese ($22 SGD). It was my first time having salmon mac and cheese, and it was really good actually. That or I was just really hungry.
After enjoying a much needed lunch we walked about 30 minutes to Marina Bay Sands located in downtown. Marina Bay Sands is the must stay at hotel with a rooftop infinity pool. It is about $400 a night in their most inexpensive room. Aside from being a hotel, it is connected to a shopping center. Made a quick stop at Pandora (I collect exclusive pandora charms from every country I visit).
Once I purchased my pandora charm we made our way to Gardens by the Bay where we saw the beautiful Supertree Grove.
There are a total of 18 Supertrees, two of which are connected by a Skyway. It is free to see the Supertree Grove. However, if you want to access the OCBC Skyway there is a fee of $8 SGD. The view you see from the Skyway is totally worth the fee. You can see the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and more!
After we experienced the Supertree Grove we got a little bit lost trying to find the Grab/Taxi pick up point. It almost felt like we were walking around in circles trying to find it. Once we did, we hopped in a Grab and made our way to Merlion Park.
Merlion Park is a famous Singapore tourist attraction, home to the Merlion. Merlion is a mythical creature with a lion’s head and the body of a fish, it is the well-known tourist icon of Singapore.
We went to park around 6:30pm and there were so many tourists there. It was difficult to capture a shot without people in the background. I would recommend going early in the morning if possible to avoid the crowd.
Near Merlion Park there are a bunch of restaurants, which is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We did a walk through of all the restaurants, checked out their menus and decided where we wanted to eat from there.
Dinner at The Pelican it is! The Pelican, located directly across from Marina Bay Sands, is known for its seafood and steak. I ordered the clam linguini pasta ($28 SGD). It was so so good! It reminded me of the seafood pasta I once had in Venice. If you are a happy hour fan, The Pelican is the place to be with happy hour 1 for 1 on Monday-Thursday 12pm-3pm and 5pm-9pm, and Friday 12pm-9pm.
Breakfast at Wild Honey, located in Mandarin Gallery on Orchard Road, was awarded Trip Advisor’s Excellence Certificate of the Year. You must, I repeat you must, eat at this restaurant when you travel to Singapore. It was my favorite restaurant in Singapore. I ordered the Norwegian breakfast toast, which is an avocado, grilled asparagus spears, poached eggs wrapped with Norwegian smoked salmon, Hollandaise sauce & salmon pearls on wholewheat brioche ($28 SGD) and a Queen Bee kombucha ($10 SGD). This was the first time that I’ve had asparagus in my breakfast and honestly it was delicious. Here is an updated link of their menu.
After breakfast at Wild Honey, we hopped on bus #65 and stopped at Tekka Place. Tekka Place is the bus stop for Little India. Little India is known for its traditional Indian restaurants.
The photo you see with the colorful background was taken on the side of the House of Tan Teng Niah, which is a two story colorful villa
This is one of the few remaining Chinese structures in Little India.
After exploring Little India make sure you make your way to Haji Lane – walking distance.
Haji Lane is filled with shops, restaurants, bars, street art and more. We entered a few shops, tried on clothes, and enjoyed the street art until we had to make our way back to Orchard Road for our 4:30pm time slot to The Bubble Tea Factory! Tickets were $25 per person, and it was the best $25 I have ever spent. One of my favorite parts of this trip was experiencing The Bubble Tea Factory. The amount of creativity that was used in every room was out of this world. I kid you not, it was my favorite pop up museum that I have ever attended. Not only was the creativity on a high, the creators made an interactive activity where it encouraged you to speak with other visitors in the factory. I hope the creators of The Bubble Tea Factory decide to take this pop up museum to the United States.
After my travel buddy and I spent about three hours enjoying the greatness of The Bubble Tea Factory we knew it was ready for dinner. We walked over to Violet Oon located in Ion Orchard – shopping center. Here I ordered Dry Laska ($25 USD) which is their wide rice noodles with prawns, vegetables, and their special laska gravy. We had a super long day. Once dinner was over we made our way back to the Airbnb to pack and get ready for bed.
On day three we woke up on time only to enjoy brunch before heading to the airport. We checked out of our Airbnb, and headed to PS Cafe – located in Raffles City, with our luggage. I ordered a grilled prawn sandwich ($28 SGD), a lemon-lime and mint kombucha ($12 SGD), and a banana mango crumble ($15). When I tell you I was stuffed. Holy moly was I stuffed. This was the most I had eaten on the entire trip. I couldn’t breathe, but it was so worth it.
The service at PS Cafe was truly amazing. The servers were attentive and the manager noticed we were visitors (I bet the luggage gave it away), and he actually gave us their 20th anniversary coffee mug for us to take back to the United States. The manager was far too kind.
I was literally in Singapore for about 50 hours (I did the math), and I honestly felt as if I experienced, saw, and ate a lot. The great thing about short trips is that it almost makes you plan correctly and encourages you to make the most of your time in any given location. Yeah I could have stayed in Singapore another night or taken a later flight. However, I left Singapore feeling extremely happy with all that I was able to accomplish in such little time allotted.