A Tourist Guide To Singapore
As one of the most popular layover destinations Singapore has a lot to offer no matter how long your stay is. This guide will walk you through the best places to stay, to eat and to visit during your time in this amazing city, and a quick tip on what to do on your last day in Singapore.
Once you arrive in Singapore you will find that while you can walk pretty much anywhere in the city you will be hard-pressed to find a day with the right temperature to do so. If the heat is too much then try the MRT train system which connects to almost everything.
Now after the long flight you will inevitably be hungry so you should try out the local hawker centres, where you will find a wealth of aromas to whet your appetite. You can find favourites such as laksa noodles, omelettes and Singapore chicken and rice. Some of these centres include Lau Pa Sat, Maxwell Road Food Centre and Chinatown Food Centre, all easy to find and have plenty of delicious dishes on offer.
For an easy breakfast, you should try out Kaya Toast Café for coffee and kaya toast made with coconut and butter, for as little as $5 you can be filled up and refreshed for the day ahead of you. And in the evening take a seat out the back of Pau Pa Sat with some satays and a cold beer to enjoy some interesting people watching.
Once you are ready to see the sights you should plan in a trip to the Hanging Gardens at Gardens at the Bay. The mixture of metal structures and floral arrangements is simply stunning.
Other sights for you to plan for your trip are;
- The Singapore Botanical Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of colourful arrangements.
- The Pool at Marina Sand Bay where you can relax and unwind.
- The Waterfront Promenade where you can take a look at the merlion water statues.
- An island full of spas, theme parks and places to dine and shop to your heart’s content.
In Singapore, you will notice a healthy mix of the local cultures through the changing neighbourhoods, from little India to the various places of worship, including Buddhist Temples, Churches and Mosques. Within these neighbourhoods be sure to take in the various forms of street art.
Once you have taken your fill of Singapore make sure to leave yourself enough time to explore Changi Airport. You will find plenty of food to taste, including sushi and dim sum. There are gardens to walk through, places to take a swim and a range of shops to purchase last minute holiday gifts.
Whether Singapore is your holiday destination or a long layover whilst on your way to another country you will find plenty to keep you occupied and well fed.
How to Get Around Singapore
Upon arriving at Changi Airport, skip the taxis and take the MRT train. You can jump on at terminal 2 or 3 and transfer to a westbound train to Tanah Merah Station. You’ll be in the heart of everything within minutes.
Pro tip: Singapore is very walkable but depending on what time of year you go the, you may be hard pressed to find a cool day. Take advantage of MRT train system with its cool air, prompt trains, and impeccable cleanliness.
What to Eat in Singapore
Ok, real talk. The REAL reason why I went to Singapore was the food. With so many regional and international influences, its easy to get lost in the aromas and flavors that Singapore has to offer.
Locals, expats and tourists can all be found at local food hawker centres all around the city. You don’t have to worry about getting sick here – sanitation is king and the quality is queen.
Some of the best hawker centres are:
-Lau Pa Sat
-Maxwell Road Food Centre
-Chinatown Food Centre
Some of my favorite eats include:
-Laksa noodles of any kind (I always sought out ones with prawn)
-Singaporean chicken and rice
And if you need a cheap breakfast, don’t miss popping into a kaya toast cafe. Get a cup of coffee (check the menu on how to order), a warm kaya toast (with coconut and butter) and an order of soft boiled eggs. For about $5 you’ll be fueled up, but not too full to not want to keep eating.
Pro tip: Head to Pau Pa Sat in the evening and walk to the back exit. Once outside, order about 10 satays per person (chicken and shrimp are the bomb), grab a table, order a cold beer, and just enjoy the people watching. It’ll be the best food experience you’ll have in Singapore!
What to See in Singapore
The highlight of my 36 hours in Singapore (after the food) were the Hanging Gardens at Gardens at the Bay. The massive metal structures and sky walkway nestle in against local flora and flauna. Make sure to stand at the ground level and look up!
Pro tip: You can walk the grounds for free and only pay for entrance to the gardens. Perfect if you are short on time.
-Singapore Botanical Gardens: This 158 year old UNESCO World Heritage Site is not to be missed! My favorite part was the orchid gardens but you can spend hours wandering through the gardens, getting lost, and just enjoying this serene oasis.
-Pool at Marina Sand Bay: While I skipped this, you can spring for a room here and enjoy access to the rooftop pools and all the opulence they have to offer.
-Merlions at Waterfront Promenade: Stroll through this water park and see the iconic merlion water statutes.
-Sentosa: Another spot i skipped, but Sentosa is Singapore’s premier island resort getaway with spas, theme parks, dining, and shopping.
Pro tip: Read “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan on the flight over. You will be able to picture Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young all over the city.
Singapore is a mixing pot of the regions greatest cultures. Ethnic Chinese, Malays, Indians, and even Eurasians mix and mingle. As you walk the city take note of the changing neighborhoods in little India or Chinatown or stumble upon Buddhist Temples, Christian Churches, and Muslim Mosques.
Pro tip: make sure to take time to explore the vast range of street art in many of the neighborhoods.
How to Leave
Upon departure, take the train back to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Changi Airport is consistently rated one of the best airports in the world, and for good reason. There’s PLENTY to explore at the actual airport itself!
Pre-flight, enjoy a few drinks, munch on sushi or dim sum, go for a swim, stroll one of the many gardens, or take in some last minute shopping.
Next time you find yourself flying to Bali or Thailand, be sure to consider Singapore for your layover. Whether you have 12 hours or a week in here, you’ll find that this small city-state has something for everyone to enjoy!