Singapore. The two things I knew about it before I visited were that my ex-boyfriend’s parents had lived there for a while, and that the city was about as big as the whole country.
What I didn’t know was that Singapore can easily be associated with blends. Beautiful blends of languages, cultures and kinds of food. It’s a place where nature and technology come together in their own special way. Where even the architecture managed to continually impress me. Me – the girl who normally seems to have blinds on by passing by the most beautiful and famous buildings in town without any notice.
So, with this (lack of) knowledge about Singapore, how was I supposed to know that this city would put a smile on my face that I could never seem to lose?
My 24 hours in Singapore made me wanna come back for more. Here’s what I managed to do in my precious time there & what I would surely recommend you to visit when you ever get the chance.
Marina Bay Sands hotel
Of course! It’s one of the only things most people know about Singapore. So it’s surroundings are well known, ‘slightly’ touristic and totally worth visiting. You’ll see this hotel from almost anywhere in the city and after 200 pictures you’ll realize it still looks the same and awesome. Especially at night, when the lights make it’s unique form stand out even more.
After I took off to the Philippines, my cousin gave me a brilliant tip for next time: The CÉ LA VI Skybar on the 57th level of Marina Bay Sands is visitable for only 20 SGD, which is completely redeemable on food and drinks!
Gardens by the Bay
From the hotel you’ll automatically enter the park through the bridge from the Marina Bay Sands mall. Gardens by the Bay has many things you could pay for, but since Singapore isn’t cheap and my budget not big, I decided to leave those things for at least now. The entrance to the park is free of charge and there are many things to see without emptying your wallet.
There’s a visitor’s center, where you can obtain a park map. The park is covered in art pieces, sculptures and a huge variety of plants and trees.
THE SUPERTREE GROVE you’ll find here makes for pictures you can nowhere else take. Even without walking the OCBC Skyway (maybe even especially from the ground), these man-made creations covered in plants are really one of their kind.
SATAY BY THE BAY is one of the many food courts you’ll find in Singapore. It lays within the park and, with its cozy outdoor seating, makes for a perfect dinner spot. For about 6-12 SGD you’ll find something to your liking. Dishes are very internationally orientated: Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai… You want it? You get it!
I purposely skipped the Cloud Forest. Not only because of its entrance fee, but also because my Couchsurfing host told me it’s practically the same as the Botanical Garden on the other side of town, which is free. Time didn’t allow me to go there this time, so I can’t confirm.
I managed to miss the Dragonfly Lake, which seems to be worth visiting. One more for the bucket list!
From Satay by the Bay it’s a short walk along the promenade to get to the Marina Barrage. The walk up ends in a view of Singapore’s skyline. There’s a grass field where you can sit in peace. I ended up here watching the Supertree Grove’s 7.45pm light show (they have a second show at 8.45pm).
The lit-up skyline, people flying kites and warm breeze kept me up there for a while. Marina Barrage regularly hosts activities. This time it was the Singapore run, so I was lucky enough to have some good background music during my little picnic and skyline photography session. If you got a fancy camera: Bring it!! Note: There’s a restaurant on the ground floor, but no supermarket in the area. If you’re a beer and chips fan, make sure to buy it beforehand 😉
A tourist attraction is what it is. The area has, as any other in Singapore, a relaxed feel and since it’s so close to other landmarks, it’s easy to step by. The half-mermaid half-lion statue stands gazing towards Marina Bay and thus provides a perfect place to view the impressive building.
Spectra Light show
The 15-min Spectra light show outside of the Event Plaza is very nice, so if you happen to be in the area, make sure not to miss it. There’s a 8 and 9 (and on some days a 10) o’clock show. If the breeze is coming your way, sitting on the front rows will not only get you the best view, but also some fountain showers.
The first quay I stumbled into. Again: such a great mixture of nature, cute low-rise historic buildings and a financial district. Going here means taking a relaxed walk and potential spotting of some king crabs and giant lobsters in front of one of the many seafood restaurants. Besides that, you’ll find many international restaurants and cafes along the riverside.
This quay I squeezed in quickly because I was running out of time. Turned out to be something completely different again. Apparently here, ‘the good times start when the sun sets’. It’s a place where happy hour never ends and where Festivals of Fun are advertised. This city never failed to surprise me. Even in this place, still no missing out on any nature.
Just take a walk!
There’s no better place than Singapore for just a walk around. Significant parts are reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, which makes it easy to get around. Ofo and Mobike – and other bicycles for rent – are to be found throughout the city. The many impressive things listed above are all easily accessible by foot, and their metro system is well organized too.
Singapore has a laid-back vibe and is very safe. People keep to themselves (but are happy to help if you need it), which gives you all the time in the world to do your own thing. There are plenty of walkways around and just sightseeing was one of my favorite things to do here. There’s music all over the place, traffic noise is barely there and there are many places to sit and relax. The palm trees, water surfaces and soft breeze take care of the tropical aspect, while the transparent lit-up balloons make the place a little magical.
Some notes to possibly make your stay even better:
Couchsurfing: I stayed with a woman from India and her flat mate. After I didn’t surf someone’s couch for a while, I figured this would be the ideal place to do so. I highly recommend this method of making new friends, finding some nice places to stay (for free) and having someone to help you build your itinerary. It really gets you more immersed into the local ways.
Prices: Singapore is certainly not known for it’s cheapness. If I had to name any disadvantages of the place, it would be this. If your budget allows it, there’s obviously no problem. Although I can imagine it can slightly scare off the ones with a small budget, the ones who travel long-term and/or the ones who are used to ‘Asian’ prices (that’s exactly why I only planned on staying for 24 hours in the first place), with a little bit of creativity you can get around for 30 SGD a day, which is around $23. 7-Eleven and Couchsurfing became my best friends and as walking around is so relaxing, you don’t need much more.
Other FYI’s: Tap water is drinkable – very convenient – and it’s not allowed to chew gum in public. Outdoors, all other drinks (alcohol too) and food are no problemo.
As is said, 24 hours made me wanna come back for more. So I’ve got some plans to go back AND a small bucket list:
Lau pa sat: Food court in Raffles Place, recommended by my host.
Little India & Chinatown: Easy to reach with their own metro station. These miniature India and China should give you a more chaotic version of the originals. Even though the real stuff must be better, it might be interesting checking out.
Robertson Quay: This third famous quay in Singapore exists, like Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, mostly of restaurants and bars. This must me especially good in the evenings!
CÉ LA VI Skybar & The Dragonfly Lake