After two and a half months, my stay in Singapore has just come to an end. As you may have seen if you follow me on social media (via Facebook or Instagram, for example), I absolutely loved this city, more than I expected I would!
Not only is it a pleasant place to live, it’s also an important and worthwhile stop as you travel through Asia. A few days is enough to check out the main points of interest. Here’s my top-ten list of things to do!
1) Spend the night in a dream hotel
As you know, Singapore is a city which welcomes many tourists every year, and luxury hotels are commonplace. I of course couldn’t begin this section of my post without mentioning the famous Raffles, a symbolic establishment in Singapore. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for the hotel!) it’s currently under renovation, and therefore closed to the public in early 2018. It’ll be at the top of my list for my next trip here!
As I’ve explained in my post about choosing a luxury hotel in a capital city, it’s often difficult to decide between the biggest international hotel chains, which all provide exceptional service. You can for example opt for the Shangri-La, which offers its guests a delightful natural setting only a few miles away from the Central Business District, or for more centrally-located establishments like the Mandarin Oriental with its view over the marina, the Fullerton, or the Marina Bay Sands with its infinity pool overlooking the city-state.
2) Check out the Marina Bay Sands
With 55 floors and 2560 rooms, it’s a far cry from an intimate boutique hotel! Here it’s all about excess! The Marina Bay Sands is best known for its hotel and splendid infinity pool, but you can expect the experience to be a bit impersonal if you decide to sleep here. It would seem, however, that the view from the pool is absolutely magical… that is, if you can make it there at dawn to avoid being surrounded by more than 200 other onlookers!
The Marina Bay Sands is also a huge shopping complex with more than 280 luxury boutiques, a casino, and two theaters; in short, there’s more than enough to keep you entertained for a few hours! It’s also an impressive architectural achievement, worth a visit if only to enjoy the beauty of the place!
3) Walk through the Gardens by the Bay
Come here at sunset, around 6:30 or 7 p.m., so that you can take in the atmosphere as the light is fading before seeing it at night. Remember to check out the greenhouses first (as they close pretty early), then go for a walk in this natural labyrinth. It’s hard to tell that you’re in the heart of Singapore with its 5.5 million inhabitants. This emblematic place is enchanting!
4) Marvel at the Botanic Gardens
Come and explore this green oasis in the heart of the city, spread over 60 hectares. It’s a must-see, especially the orchid garden, which is truly superb.
5) Stroll through Chinatown like a local
Chinatown is my favorite neighborhood in Singapore. It’s very different from the Chinatowns I’ve seen in New York, San Francisco, Sydney, or other global cities. First item: the architecture! The renovated shophouses in their pastel colors are absolutely beautiful, and simply walking through the streets is a true pleasure. Take a brief tour of the touristic area, but focus your attention on the side streets which are filled with incredibly charming bars and restaurants! This trendy hotspot is without a doubt the place to go for dinner and drinks.
6) Go shopping on Orchard Road
It’s THE place to do your shopping! The most luxurious malls are here to help you make use of your credit card! My favorite shopping center is the elegant ION, worth a trip if only for your viewing pleasure.
Before you leave Orchard Road, take a walk down Emerald Hill Road, a little street where you can find gorgeous shophouses, renovated and converted into residences.
7) Explore the other neighborhoods
As for other neighborhoods, I’d recommend Little India, perfect for a walk combined with dinner in an Indian restaurant. We also have the Thiong Bahru, which is a popular haunt for fashionable expats; it’s a lively neighborhood over the weekend with its renowned brunches! Don’t forget to check out the Arab quarter, or more specifically Arab Street and Haji Lane, where the little boutiques, bars, and restaurants are a great option for dinner.
8) Cool off in a museum
Thanks to the high temperatures (nearly 30° year-round) and humidity, it’s hard to feel cold in Singapore! If you’re looking to cool down, you can head to one of the city’s museums. I went to the Art Science Museum for its exhibit on street art, but you may want to visit the National Gallery or one of the many other museums available.
Don’t forget to take a trip to the Baba House (reservation only). Here, you can discover a shophouse from the inside! Over the course of an hour, we explored the life of a local family at the turn of the 20th century, and it was truly fascinating! Please note: you have to reserve your tickets well in advance on their website.
9) Enjoy a delicious meal at a restaurant
In terms of food, you have an abundance of options! From local watering holes to award-winning gourmet restaurants, Singapore is a foodie’s dream destination! In terms of gourmet restaurants, I would recommend Odette, a Michelin two-star restaurant where I had an excellent meal, as well as the Rhubarb, a Michelin one-star restaurant featuring French cuisine which I wrote about on my blog. Otherwise it’s hard to offer advice, as new restaurants are opening all the time (while many others are forced to close…).
10) Clink glasses in one of the city’s bars
For rooftop lovers, there is of course the Cé La Vie up on top of Marina Bay Sands (which allows you to take a look at the hotel’s pool from up high if you’re not staying there), but also the 1-Altitude! It’s something of a tourist trap, but the view is just incredible! In Chinatown, the Potato Head offers a more local ambiance, and there are plenty of cocktail bars scattered throughout the city.
I hope that you enjoyed my guide to Singapore in 10 unmissable experiences, and that you’ll want to see the city for yourself!