Singapore is the place to go when you want to immerse yourself into a diverse range of cultures, but can only afford to travel to one country. The once-British Colony has three official languages and offers a wide selection of food deriving from several ethnic groups, making it an intriguing destination.
Because I had the privilege of being in this country for ten days, I was able to get a taste of what Singapore is all about. From Clark Quay to Chinatown there are many things to do and see in this city-state. With all that this country has to offer, here is what I would deem the “must-do’s” of Singapore…
Orchard road is a world famous street known for its shopping. With nearly 30 malls on this road alone, there is a never-ending selection of clothing available. An added perk, the clothing is fairly inexpensive in Singapore. Unfortunately, I did carry-on, so I didn’t have enough room to buy any clothes. But, the window shopping was spectacular. Lesson learned, always check in at least one bag for the extra room if you plan on visiting Orchard road.
As the whole island is visually astounding with the creative architecture and beautiful greenery, Chinatown brings its own unique feel to the city. As you enter Chinatown there is an influx of smells from the customary cooking of the Chinese culture as well as an influx of people. Singapore can be expensive when it comes to food and beverages, but the Hawker centers in Chinatown were home to the most inexpensive and delicious foods around. Take a visit to the street market where they have perfect souvenirs and knick-knacks to bring home for yourself and your family/friends.
Clarke Quay is the go-to place if you want to experience nightlife in Singapore. There is a different type of energy that Clarke Quay creates with live music filling the streets, fountains, lights, all types of cuisines, the vibrant pastel-colored buildings, and a river walk. There are also various activities in Clarke Quay. If you are feeling adventurous, Clarke Quay offers an extreme swing that drops you from 165 feet. If you are looking for a more relaxing night, there are ferries that cruise you down the river to the Marina Bay Sands to watch the laser show.
If you want a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and need to cool off from the hot, humid air, Sentosa is the place to be. Sentosa is an island-resort south of Singapore that is just a taxi, ferry, or cable car away. Home of Universal Studios-Singapore, there are 3 beaches that Sentosa offers: Tanjong Beach, Siloso, and Palawan beach. I spent the day relaxing at Siloso beach and ate at a restaurant called Din Tai Fung, that offers the best dumplings. Note: Din Tai Fung also has locations in the United States, but be prepared to make reservations weeks in advanced. (Yes, it is that good!)
Take a short bus ride to Little India to capture some pictures of the jaw-dropping and colorful architecture that make up the Indian temples. Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple are just two of the various Hindu temples you can visit. Enjoy a walk through the aroma filled streets to a Hawker center and indulge in the pronounced flavors of authentic Indian food. Or, make your way to the Little India Arcade where you can find souvenirs for your loved ones and get some Henna tattoos with your friends.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a 250-acre park home to the Flower Dome, the Supertree Grove, and the Cloud Forest. The Flower Dome imitates climates in Spain, Italy, and specific parts of Africa, and it is the world’s largest glass greenhouse in the world. The Supertree Grove consists of steel trees measuring up to 170 feet tall that are covered in greenery. I went to the see the Supertree Grove in the morning while the park was still closed making sight-seeing limited. But, when it is open, make sure to take a lift up to one of the supertrees and treat yourself to beverages and snacks at the bistro. It is worthy to mention that most people advise going to the Supertree Grove at night as the trees turn into a spectacular light show. Finally, Cloud Forest, the most popular attraction at Gardens by the Bay holds a Instagram-worthy indoor waterfall, and hundreds of species of plants both indigenous and exotic.
I highly suggest visiting at least one of the several museums in Singapore while enjoying a stay in this city-state. I believe that traveling is about learning and understanding different cultures and histories, and there is no better way to get a grasp of history in a visiting country than at a Museum. The National Museum of Singapore and the ArtScience Museum are two of the most visited museums in Singapore. Although I missed out on the ArtScience Museum attached the Marina Bay Sands, it is on the top of my bucket list the next time I decide to return to this country. This is mostly because I learned that they have a Titanic exhibit, which is uncontrollably exciting coming from someone who has an odd obsession with watching more documentaries of the Titanic than I can count. The National Museum of Singapore offers a more interactive experience as you can get a tour guide to go through each room with you to explain the different points in time of Singaporean history. Get to know the leaders that developed Singapore to the extraordinary country it is today and how much the city-state has modernized in the last fifty years.
What did you do when you visited Singapore? Let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to mention what your favorite Singapore adventure was!