THE ULTIMATE TRIP TO SINGAPORE
Singapore is a city-state where you can find whatever your heart desires. ready to find out some more about this south-Asian gem?
Ladies and gentleman,
Singapore is one of the best countries I've been to. It is under the radar and not a lot of people have it on their travel bucket list, including me. This all changed when my sister and her husband moved to Singapore due to relocation for academic reasons, and when the stories, pictures, and experiences started pouring in, I was hooked.
Luckily for me, the idea of having the holidays in Singapore came to mind.
so if you want a destination that is one of the most modern and sophisticated looking countries in the world but to still enjoy all kinds of culture, cuisines from anywhere you can think of and great nightlife, this is it.
Day 1 - Getting there
| Outfit: Pants: Adidas, Shoes: Bucketfeet, Watch: Daniel Wellington |
I hopped on a plane to begin the longest flight I ever experienced. It was a 20-hour flight with one stop in Zurich. Luckily Swiss made the flight go by ok without me getting too uncomfortable, so thumbs up for Swiss. After 4 movies, 3 meals and on and off sleep, I finally landed in Singapore. When you arrive you don't really notice it but Changi airport in Singapore is considered to be the best in the world. More about that later.
I'm all about using Uber and don't get me wrong, I used Uber all the time in Singapore, but after such a long flight we just wanted to get to the hotel. There is a line for taking a Taxi right as you exit the airport.
Pro tip: Use Uber and use it a lot! Some of the rides we took were under the minimum price for an Uber ride. Drivers were really nice too. If you want to use public transport, you can use the MRT system. A great network of trains that go to every corner of Singapore you want to see.
On the ride from the airport to the hotel you get a feeling you landed in the 23rd century. The city looks so futuristic with its clean architecture and skyscrapers reaching the clouds. I already felt that this one is going to be something really special.
We stayed at the Regent Singapore, A Four Seasons Hotel, a 5-star hotel located on 1 Cuscaden Road, just a small walking distance from the famous Orchard road which is the most well-known street in Singapore. A 2.2 Kilometer boulevard packed with shopping malls, coffee shops and restaurants of all kinds. This is the heart of Singapore.
Hotel is spotless and the lobby is decorated beautifully. The staff is so nice, rooms were spacious and clean and the bed was so comfortable. On the table, I found something pretty surprising. The hotel offers you a free smartphone to use while you visit Singapore, Data package included. Room service was more than affordable (compared to other luxury hotels) so I couldn't resist a plate of Pineapple and Watermelon. Besides all that, on the second floor of the hotel, behind big dark doors, you will find the 11th best bar in the world (and best in Asia), the Manhattan Bar. I had to check it out, so more about it later.
After a little freshening up from the long flight, it was time for dinner.
| Outfit: Jacket: Primark, Shirt: Zara, Pants: Zara, Shoes: Creative recreation |
First stop in Singapore was for dinner at Suntec city. A circle surrounded by 4 tall buildings with the Fountain of wealth right in the middle. It is located at the Marina Bay precinct and it is considered to be one of the largest shopping complexes in Singapore. I arrived pretty late so didn't have the opportunity to explore this place like I wanted to. From over 100 different options to choose, we had dinner at MARCHÉ MÖVENPICK SUNTEC CITY which offers you all kinds of cuisines and desserts. Really a one-stop food place.
Day 2 - Cruising, lions, and gardens
Waking up in beautiful Singapore to the first full day of adventures in this amazing country. Had a quick breakfast at Starbucks (didn't know any better yet) and hopped on an Uber to Singapore River Cruise that leaves from the Marina bay sands dock. The 40-minute cruise takes you for a ride to see all the landmarks that are stationed on the Singapore river shoreline.
After seeing all those beautiful spots from the boat, it was time to stop being lazy and start exploring the city the old fashioned way, by walking to an air-conditioned location to cool off from the crazy humidity. It was my first but not last visit to Marina bay sands.
| Outfit: Shirt: LC Waikiki, Pants: Zara, Shoes: Bucketfeet, Sunglasses: Illesteva, Watch: Daniel Wellington |
Marina Bay Sands is considered to be one of the most famous places in Singapore. You can't visit Singapore without dropping for at least one visit at this place. The complex (And it's a big one) includes a shopping mall, all sorts of restaurants, luxury hotel with the craziest looking rooftop pool I have ever seen (and you will see later), a 2 story Casino and even a museum. This time I only visited the lower floors, so more is yet to come.
If what I've told you about this place is not enough, you can add an indoor boat ride to the list.
After cooling off we went for lunch at Long Chim by David Thompson. "Long Chim" means "Come and taste", and this was exactly what we did. Food was awesome. Inspired by traditional Thai street food, but taking it to a whole other level.
After having a great lunch we moved on to another great attraction in Singapore, the beautiful Gardens by the bay. A green oasis that you discover on the other side of Marina bay sands. The Supertrees in the middle of the gardens are connected by a suspended bridge you can walk onto admire the view. Time on the bridge is limited to 15 minutes but it is worth it. If you have the time to come here at night you can see the Supertrees light up in different colors.
Made our way from Marina bay sands through the DNA bridge towards the Merlion. On the way, I saw a stand that sells coconut ice cream, I just had to get some. In the hot and humid weather of Singapore, it was even more enjoyable than usual. This treat was definitely worth the 6.5 Singaporean dollars (4.5 USD).
The Merlion is Singapore's national icon located in front of the Fullerton Hotel and overlooking Marina Bay. The combination of the fish's tail and lion's head is linked to the origin of Singapore as a fishing village and the country's original name Singapura, which means Lion city.
I know I saw this landmark from the boat ride earlier in the morning but I didn't wanna miss the Merlion cub which is right behind The Merlion. By the way, there are 7 Merlions in Singapore, Those two are the most well-known.
From there back to the Regent hotel for some R&R and getting ready for dinner.
Dinner at Lau Pa Sat (just mention that name to the Uber/Taxi driver) is a food landmark, no less. The food court really pops out and distinguish itself among the modern looking buildings of the financial district due to its octagonal shaped structure and ornamental columns decorating it. If you are looking for food on the budget, a taste of culture and traditional Asian cuisines, this is the place for you.
| Outfit: Shirt: Zara, T-Shirt: Uniqlo, Pants: Zara |
A quick change of clothes after dinner and then going out to the 1-Altitude rooftop bar. Located on the 63rd floor of One Raffles Place, it is considered the highest viewpoint is Singapore, 282 meters off the ground, to be exact. The view is simply breathtaking! The entire country is visible from the 360 degrees panoramic bar. 3 different levels on one of the tallest buildings in the country make this a must-see location. This bar has a Smart-casual dress code, so no sleeveless shirts for guys, and no flip-flops.
Day 3 - Part 1 of Sentosa Island
Started the morning with some homemade breakfast at my sister's place. And I don't know if you know this, but the quality of life in Singapore is pretty high. Brand new complexes with private gyms and pools are not so rare here.
You can drive to Sentosa island, but we had a much better plan of making our way there. We made our way to Faber Peak Singapore and from there took the cable car via Mount Faber line to Sentosa.
Sentosa island can be a vacation destination on its own. So much to do here that simply one visit is not enough. You can have an entire day at Universal Studios, the golf course or casino. You can spend a day at one of the 3 beautiful beaches, go visit the aquarium and water park, Madame Tussauds museum and of course stay in one of the luxury hotels this island has to offer.
It was raining that day (pretty light but the sun was hiding behind the clouds) so we did a quick tour around the island to see the third Merlion on the list and took the Sentosa Express back to the mainland for a visit to Vivo city. Vivo city is considered the biggest shopping mall in Singapore. With all the giant malls all over Orchard Road, it is a hard title to come by.
We sat down for dinner at Brotzeit German Restaurant & Bar. Food was obviously German based but they do have a very diversified menu. Great looking and tasting dishes!
After watching this beautiful sunset we headed back to the hotel, but not before we did one last stop in Vivo city. This is not sponsored in any way but I found myself at the UNIQLO store (advice from my sister which is obviously smarter than me). it was downhill for there. I bought half the store with amazing prices. Visit UNIQLO and you won't be disappointed. You can find whatever you want there.
Day 4 - Rooftop pool, Mexican food, and Clark Quay
Started the day with a late breakfast in one of my favorite locations, food-wise, in Singapore. P.S Cafe is located at Palais Renaissance on Orchard road. The place looks great, beautiful yet minimalist decor, great brunch menu that includes a lot of tasty options. Definitely worth a visit.
I really can't think of a better spot you can enjoy a cup of coffee. The Ce La Ve Bar, on top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, is one of those places you gotta visit if you ever come to Singapore. The view is amazing, Food is good and the atmosphere is pretty cool. Just a little heads up, you can't enter the famous rooftop pool unless you are a guest of the hotel. We actually wanted to book one night at the Marina Bay hotel just to have a dip in the pool. It was too much of a hassle so I didn't have a chance to enjoy it. In retrospect, I should have done it. Trust me, Bring your camera with you! We spend a good amount of hours here, just relaxing, enjoying the view.
| Outfit: Shirt: H&M, Pants: H&M, Shoes: Creative Recreation, Watch: Daniel Wellington, Sunglasses: Illesteva |
Took some pictures with this beauties. right outside the Marina Bay sands entrance, you can rent out a Supercar for a ride around the city. Prices vary from 300-800 Singaporean dollars depending on the duration of the ride.
Dinner that evening was at Margarita's Dempsey Hill. Best Mexican food I had. Who knew it would be in Singapore? The restaurant is not located next to all the major tourists' attractions so a lot of people miss it. I do recommend you give this place a try. Margarita's has a great ambiance, delicious food, big dishes and great service. Last but not least, try the Margarita.
With bellies full of great Mexican food we made our way to one of the most famous spots in Singapore, Clark Quay. A few historic residential blocks transformed to a place packed with bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. To be honest, it was too touristic for my taste, so we didn't stay long.
Day 5 - Chinatown, holiday dinner, and Speakeasy
Singapore is known for being one of the most advanced and western countries out there. So if you want to have a little break from the malls and skyscrapers and soak in some Asian culture, try Tea Chapter. Located on 11 Neil Road in Chinatown, it is the biggest tea house in Singapore. You can shop for tea blends and tea accessories from a vast variety. The interesting part is the second floor of the shop. There you can sit down around a table or on the floor (depending on the culture you want to experience) and get a detailed information regarding the way Chinese or Japanese people drink their tea. You guessed right, there is an entire ritual that is being made and specific steps and timing for each part. It was really a nice and relaxing experience.
| Outfit: Shirt: H&M, Pants: Zara, Shoes: Bucketfeet, Watch: Daniel Wellington |
After tea time it was time to visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. A beautiful building you can't really miss. The traditional Chinese architecture Combining red timber foundations, green windows, and golden lining facade, make the temple stand out in the urban scenery. I only saw the temple but it was beautiful inside and out. I bet the museum is just as intriguing.
You can always just stroll through the streets of Chinatown, Soak in all the sights and sounds you can expect of Chinatown. Streets are filled with tons of restaurants and numerous stands that sell everything from key-chains and bracelets to silk robes.
Dinner was actually a Passover (Jewish holiday) dinner at Maghain Aboth Synagogue. This was such a great experience because dinner included a few hundred people from the Jewish/Israeli community in Singapore.
| Outfit: Dress shirt: Marks and Spencer, Pants: Zara, Watch: Daniel Wellington |
Under a simple street lamp, behind a banged up and rusty door lays one of the best bars in the world. Simply goes by the name 28HKS, this place represents a true Speakeasy. Even their website gives you no information on its whereabouts. Not even a shred of marketing. It hides in plain sight on 28th Hong Kong st (hence the name). Voted for the 13th best bar in the world, and not without reason. When you enter through the door you find yourself in a beautifully designed bar with a classic American decor.
Day 5 - Malls, Sentosa (again) and Manhattan
The day started with breakfast at the Privé Café on the Orchard road & Scotts Road junction. The light blue color that surrounds you while you enjoy your breakfast really gives this place a pleasant and peaceful vibe even though it is facing the ever busy Orchard road. Food is on point and dishes fill you up real good. Besides breakfast, this place is open all day long so feel free to drop by anytime you want.
Orchard road is a shopping heaven. I tried really hard not to get distracted and stay focused on seeing Singapore. You can easily get sucked into a 5-story mall like ION Orchard or 313-Somerset and get lost for hours and hours between thousands of shops. I had something better in mind.
So? Was it worth it to come back to Sentosa Island? I definitely think so.
Sentosa island has 3 beaches. With a recommendation from my sister, I found myself in the overly beautiful Tanjong Beach. This shoreline is considered the more secluded one of the three. So I was at the perfect location to spend my last full day in Singapore. Located right on the beach you can find the Tanjong Beach Club. What can be better than drinking coconut, sitting on the poolside with a stunning view in front of you? It is no wonder I stayed till the sun came down. Lunch at the club was a little pricey but was really good.
It was finally time to enjoy the Manhattan Bar. As I mentioned before, the bar is on the second floor of the Regent Hotel. Dress-code again is smart casual. When you open the door and enter the bar it is like you took a leap back in time to the 1920's. A large main hall and 2 private rooms all decorated to capture the essence of old New York sophistication. When you look at the menu it is like a trip through the neighborhoods of Manhattan with drinks and food being inspired by the history of each one. Besides all that, what really makes this bar unique, is the Rickhouse where cocktails are being aged to a specific amount. It is possible to ask for a tour around the bar if you are interested. Best bar in Asia and 11th in the world are well deserved for this glamorous bar.
Day 6 - Last day at the Botanic gardens
Singapore Botanic Gardens was almost the last stop of this amazing vacation. With a walking distance from the Regent hotel, you find yourself in wonderful and endless green planes. I thought I was in the middle of Jurassic Park when I was lucky enough to spot a few Komodo Dragons (baby dragons) sunbathing right in front of me. If you want you can buy some turtle food and feed them, just like I did. The Gardens are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Last stop before heading to the airport was going to 313-Somerset with one mission in mind, to decide which Sony Mirrorless camera to buy. I Finally decided to get the Sony a6000 Mirrorless camera, and the only thing I regret was not getting it as soon as I arrived in Singapore.
This was the 4th and last Merlion I saw, and it was the saddest to see because it was time to leave this amazing country. By the way, Take your time at the airport and explore it. As I mentioned at the beginning, Changi airport is voted the best in the world, and it is not surprising. You can obviously shop your heart out, you can catch a movie at the movie theater, go to the rooftop swimming pool, go to the butterfly garden or simply go to a free-to-snooze area to relax. Most of the things are free of charge.
Looking back at the great times I had here in Singapore and wishing to get back to keep on exploring this marvelous country. Thank you, Singapore.