Can you possibly experience Singapore in a few days?
Arriving in Singapore on a Friday around midday, I was here on a mission to experience Singapore in a weekend; yes, only a weekend. 2 nights and 3 short days..challenge accepted!
Singapore has over the years become a very popular stopover city for many international travellers, only opting to spend few days here rather than treat it as a destination city. So given the circumstances and it being my first time in Singapore, I did have a few things in mind I wanted to see and I couldn’t wait to get exploring!
First things first: Checking into AMOY Hotel
Finding a hotel in Singapore can be a stressful time as there are about a gazillion hotels to pick from, all varying in location and price. Luckily I had pre organised a stay with AMOY hotel, a quaint little boutique hotel located right in Singapore’s CBD. The hotel is actually apart of Singapore’s oldest Chinese Temple which they restored years ago and build AMOY around – so cool. AMOY was our cosy little home for the following two nights in Singapore.
You can read more about my stay at AMOY Hotel here.
Exploring Singapore: Eating & Dining
Singapore is such a multicultural country and with such a diverse range of food, you can bet dining out will be an experience here. With just about every cuisine you can think of under the sun available, Singapore’s the absolute mecca for food.
On the afternoon of the day we arrived in Singapore, we set out on foot to find food for a late lunch somewhere near our hotel (in Telok Ayer). One thing I learnt quickly about Singapore is that you really don’t have to walk far to find food! And for those who love cheap street food and love Asian/Indian cuisine, Singapore really ticks the boxes and you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice here. My goal was to eat as ‘local’ and ‘authentic’ as I could so upon this request, I asked the staff at AMOY for recommendations of places to eat in Singapore. So with a handful of places pick from, I was headed straight for the nearest one; Telok Ayer Market.
Oh.my.gosh. This was food heaven at its best and I won’t even harp on about the diversity of food on show and how hard it is to pick just one thing (we did end up getting Vietnamese Beef Pho and Indian curry to share though). The prices were also super cheap with dishes ranging from $4 up to $10! We loved it here so much we came back again the following night (Saturday night) for dinner.
As per another food recommendation, we decided to check out Chinatown for some more cheap eats and in search of Dumplings. There’s lots of street style Chinese food to pick from in the market place in Chinatown and it really works best to buy a few things to share with your travel companion (if you aren’t travelling solo).
The next day we stumbled upon Food Republic, another great place for any food lover to grab a bite (or three)…really, don’t be sorry, they have Korean, Japanese, Malaysian, Chinese and more so its your own given right to taste as many cuisines in one day as you can!
For those who love tea (like me), don’t even get me started on how great the milk tea is. Singapore have some great tea and coffee shops so be sure to taste one of the iced milk tea or coffees – you will regret it if you don’t!
Wandering around Singapore: Site-seeing
So besides eating and drinking my way around Singapore, I still managed to cram a heck of a lot into a few days! So what did I get up to?
Gardens by the bay, Super Trees & Cloud Forest
Yep, possibly one of the most iconic parts of Singapore would have to be here, but for good reason of course! And to be honest, it was pretty high on my list of ‘Singapore must sees!’. We headed here on our first night in Singapore and walked through the Gardens by the bay, checked out the epic Super Trees and paid to go into the Cloud Forest & Flower Dome where we felt like we were in avatar (literally!). We may have got hit with a massive thunderstorm amidst our adventuring but we didn’t let any rain dampen our excitement for how awesome Gardens by the Bay were!
I’m always quite fond of Chinatown (they always have the best Chinese bakeries I swear) and given that someone recommended we visit at night due to the Chinese New Year decorations still illuminating throughout the district, we loved it! All the streets were decorated in bright red lanterns, neon lights and Chinese symbols as well as street entertainment in the marketplace.
Despite the 2:30am wake up call that morning, our first night in Singapore couldn’t go without visiting Southbridge, one of Singapore’s trendy rooftop terraces. From here we had beautiful views of the Marina and Downtown Singapore…really no reason to complain huh!?
I somehow felt that a trip to Singapore wouldn’t be complete without seeing some part of Sentosa Island. Although Universal Studios and Adventure Land lay here, we opted not to visit the parks due to our restricted time frame, and instead used our time walking through the island and exploring the other parts – the luge, chairlift and the Merlion being a few memorable parts! There was really so much fun to be had here, I felt like a little kid in a candy store but all good things must come to an end eventually.
Don’t get me wrong, The Gardens by the Bay were pretty impressive, but it still crossed my mind that the Botanic Gardens might offer something completely different… and just secretly, I’d heard some pretty good remarks about it so I kind of wanted to scope it out for myself. And yep, my guy instinct was right; they were totally worth it. We spent a total 3 hours walking around the different garden ‘world’s and even survived thunderstorm and (more) rain that followed!
Little India is a district in Singapore I’d heard so much about before I arrived and couldn’t wait to see it for myself. I loved the bright panelled buildings and the buzzing atmosphere as you walk through the streets of such an historic area. Complete eye opener!
(Seriously, those colours though!!!!!)
After a jam packed day we were still powering on making use of the last few hours of the day along the Promenade. We even made it just in time to catch the sunset over The Marina and Singapore flyer (highest ferries wheel in the world). Also for any Formula 1 fans out there, as you would already know Singapore holds the event once a year, but not far from the Promenade you can see up close parts of the track (pit lanes and the straight in fact ;)).
Fountain of Wealth
I’m not to proud to say this was a total and utter surprise to stumble upon Singapore’s Fountain of Wealth…a heck of a cool fountain that shoots synchronised water performances that are actually entraining to watch can you believe?! Oh, and you can actually walk onto it to the centre viewing point…but to get there you will get wet and once you are in the middle… you will still get wet!
Last and definitely not least, what’s a trip overseas without a bit of shopping involved?! Being one to love a good browse myself, I couldn’t resist the urge to spend a few solid hours in Singapore’s Harbour front shopping centre. Before heading to the airport that night, what a better way to wind our whirlwind of a weekend down than with a bit of relaxing downtime – and in the comfort of air con on a scorcher of a Singapore day !
So can you see Singapore in a weekend?
The short answer: Yes!…and no.
Despite the city being a popular stopover city, I definitely underestimated just how much there is to see and do in Singapore. Yes, you can see the most visited parts and attractions (namely Marina Bay area and Sentosa perhaps) over a short stay, but skimming over the surface is all you will be doing! A few extra days in Singapore would have allowed us to do a little more digging deeper into some of Singapore’s less touristy attractions and more of the local delights.
Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed my first timers visit to Singapore and although a lot was crammed in and a lot still remains unseen, I am content I saw all that I wanted to this time round. Anything i missed only leaves space for another trip!