Though Singapore is one of the world’s smallest countries there is so much to see and do and with flight times and scheduling we were left with only around a day and a half to see everything! Interestingly, Singapore is one of the only countries, alongside Monaco and Vatican City, that is also a city state and it is made up of one large island with 63 surrounding islands. We felt like we didn’t even scratch the surface of what there was to see, though here are few of the things we did manage to cram in!
1. The Gardens By The Bay
The Gardens by The Bay lie adjacent to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and span 250 acres of reclaimed land on the waterfront, it’s pretty epic! Perhaps the most dominant feature of the Gardens is Supertree Grove, an area of twelve steel-framed trees, 25 storeys high, which have been planted with over 200 different species of plants and flowers.
There’s also a walkway 22 metres high connecting two of the trees at Supertree Grove, allowing you to take in the view from above. Unfortunately, clouds were forming, thunder threatened and the walkways was closed so instead we took refuge in Supertree by Indochine, a restaurant and bar with a 360 degree view from the roof top. Besides Indochine there lots of casual restaurants and high-end dining in the form of Jason Atherton’s Pollen.
Due to ummm…high winds and a huge downpour… we couldn’t have a drink on the roof deck of the Supertree, but we still treated to an awesome view. Because of the weather and certain areas being closed we really couldn’t make the most of visiting the Gardens by the Bay. We missed out on The Cloud Forest and Flower Dome are other sites of interest as well such as the Dragon Fly and Kingfisher Lake.
2. Dine Local
We were really keen to try some proper local Singaporean cuisine and as I didn’t want to fall into tourist traps I was really grateful for some great recommendations from Honey. I also asked a few of the Singapore residents who we met and they came back with the resounding answer: Long Beach.
There’s a few branches of Long Beach in Singapore but Honey recommended trying the one in Dempsey…
The place isn’t fancy but the food is super tasty and Long Beach are the creators of black pepper crab, which of course we had to try amongst other things. Singapore is also famous for the chilli crab, which is on offer at Long Beach too. Singapore is also know for it’s Hawker Centres but due to time constraints and the terrible weather (we just wanted to take refuge in a restaurant!) we didn’t get to try out one of them but here’s a list of the ten best Singapore hawker centres that might be helpful for other people visiting the country.
3. Go for a Swim in the World’s Largest Rooftop Infinity Pool
Located on the 57th Floor of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel is the world’s largest and one of the highest infinity pools in the world. Sadly, you can’t use the pool if you’re not staying at the hotel but you can visit the observation deck and take a look at it.
Trust me, no amount of bad weather would stop Mr S and I getting our much sought after selfies!! I just wish I could photoshop in a blue sky…
4. Go Shopping
Always a great fall back plan when the weather is bad! As we were staying at the Marina Bay Sands, which included a vast shopping mall, we didn’t really have any need to go anywhere else for shopping. The complex includes luxury designer shops, tons of restaurants (including some celebrity-owned), a theatre, museums and a Venetian canal, it’s worth a visit for the central water feature alone!
Other than Marina Bay Sands, you can visit the megamalls on Orchard road, Vivocity mall or the markets of China Town.
5. Have a Singapore Sling at Raffles
Raffles was opened in 1887 and is now a landmark in Singapore; the hotel boasts stunning colonial architecture that completely sets it apart from ultra-modern Singapore. Most famously Singapore’s iconic signature drink, The Singapore Sling, was invented here 100 years ago in the hotel’s Long Bar and enjoying the famous cocktail there is pretty much a must-do. I do warn you it is a touristy experience, and the cocktail is pricey but we still loved it :).
6. Have a Drink with a View
The Singapore skyline is stunning with the Singapore Flyer, vast skyscrapers and the dramatic architecture of the Marina Bay Sands, it really is a sight to behold. We loved the Cé La Vi Bar on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands which had a sweeping view across the city:
Also on a much lower level (a mere five storeys high) was the Lantern bar at the Fullerton Bay Hotel. I love this bar for the beautiful pool area and relaxed, chic vibe…as the bar is quite low there’s no panoramic view but there is still stunning vistas across Marina Bay.
The bar also has the most incredible view of the Marina Bay Sands Towers across the water including the dramatic laser light show performed daily.
One bar I was sad not to visit was 1-Altitude, the highest roof top bar in Singapore and one of the highest in the world. Mr S and I tried to pop in during the day but it only opens at 6pm, when I can imagine you can get some amazing sunset views.
7. Enjoy the finest of Fine Dining
An influx of celebrity chefs and many award-winning restaurants makes Singapore a haven for fine-dining and one of the culinary capitals of Asia. Mr Silver and I dined at two fantastic restaurants: Tippling Club and Restaurant Andre two of Asia’s top restaurants the latter being one of the best restaurants in the world.
There are so many other fantastic fine dining restaurants I would have loved to try given the time including Waku Ghin, Iggy’s, Jaan and Osteria Mozza, but I’ll just have to save those for next time! As well as Honey’s wonderful blog, I used top Singapore food blog Lady Iron Chef for ideas of where to eat in the city.
8. Go Hotel Hopping
Regular readers of this blog will know that I love having a little snoop around fancy hotels and with the intense humidity in Singapore it’s totally necessary to pop into one to take a break and get some air-conditioning respite! You’ve probably already gathered how much I loved the Fullerton Bay Hotel, especially the Lantern bar, and I love the look of both the afternoon tea and the dim sum brunch on offer there. We also had a quick peak at the sister hotel, The Fullerton, which also has some lovely looking bars and restaurants including a Cake Boutique and the Lighthouse Restaurant and Bar with a great view of the city.
While visiting The Fullerton, take the time to check out the Merlion, Singapore’s mascot. The half lion, half fish which represents Singapore’s humble beginnings as a fishing village and stands at 8.6 metres tall and weighs 70 tonnes!
Love it or hate, the Marina Bay Sands is simply unmissable and even if you don’t want to pay the high room rates, I’d still go and have a visit. I’ve already mentioned the pool, shopping and entertainment but there’s also night clubs and a massive casino in this complex that is billed as one of the most expensive buildings in the world, costing over 5 billion dollars! Raffles is, of course, a must and as well as slinging cocktails down your throat there’s a shopping arcade and fourteen other restaurants and bars including the Writers Bar which pays homage to the famous literati who visited the hotel.
One hotel that I didn’t get to visit but looks so much fun is the Equarius Hotel in Sentosa. Here you choose between an Ocean Suite, an underwater room with a view of 40,000 different species of fish or a Treetop Loft, a room twelve metres above the ground in a canopy of trees. Another hotel that I would have loved to visit is The Swissotel The Stamford; it’s Singapore’s tallest hotel and houses top restaurant Jaan and the swanky New Asia Bar, located on the 71st Floor.
9. Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Gardens By The Bay were a fun place to visit but The Singapore Botanic Gardens were far more beautiful and natural. The 156 year old gardens are the country’s first UNESCO Heritage Site with 60 acres of land making up the stunning scenery.
One of the highlights is the National Orchid Garden which has the world’s largest display of orchids with over 60,000!
10. Cocktail Culture
A couple of years ago there were very few bars on the Singapore scene but now there is a wealth of talented mixologists in the city, winning awards and topping ‘World’s Greatest Lists.’ Apparently it’s the influx of international barman who are crafting new cocktails and setting the bar (pardon the pun) even higher. The Tippling Club is not only a cocktail bar but offers an innovative tasting menu paired with cocktails in a relaxed environment. Cocktails are theatrical and many use elements of the molecular gastronomy also found in Chef Ryan Clift’s cooking.
The Lantern Bar at The Fullerton Bay (ok, I know I keep going on about the Fullerton Bay but I just really loved it, ok…) has a cocktail list which focuses on classic and modern cocktails and features an array of different Slings, Margaritas and Mojitos.
Bars that we didn’t try but came highly recommended were 28 Hong Street, a speakeasy-style bar that consistently appears in the world’s best list, and also The Library, a ‘secret’ and intimate bar owned by Jason Atherton.
There were so many things that we didn’t get to do while visiting the Little Red Dot, as Singapore is also known, such visit Sentosa Island, ride the Singapore Flyer, take a trip to China Town, discover Little India or take an excursion to some of the outlaying areas of the islands. For a some other great ideas of things to do, I highly recommend this great post on Hand Luggage Only whose authors actually lived in Singapore too.
Have you ever been to Singapore? What would you recommend doing there?