My Singapore Travel Guide
Singapore or, officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian island city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres north of the equator. Singapore is a microcosm of Asia, populated by Chinese, Malays, Indians, and a large group of workers and expatriates from all across the globe. Singapore – with more than 50% of its area covered by greenery and with over 50 major parks and 4 nature reserves – is an enchanting garden city.
As befits the country’s main airport, major regional hub status, Changi Airport and officially the ‘best airport in the world’. Keep in mind Singapore cabs do not take Visa, in the end I had to get the doorman at my hotel to pay for the cab and charge it to my room.
Quick 3 day break down of my trip to Singapore:
- Stayed at Swiss Otel at The Stampford, breakfast buffet is the way to go, and a McDonalds and subway line attached to this hotel, you can not go wrong. It is also the tallest hotel in Singapore and the second biggest hotel in Singapore. The service is great and there are bars and clubs in the hotel as well. The prices for in-room dining is a bit ridiculous however.
- Clark Quay, great for night life, a lot bars and clubs and sheesha bars, this place is generally packed and people love their drinks. You will see a bit of ‘brown bagging’ and a lot of people sitting by the river on the ledge at night with friends sipping and drinking things, while music plays in the background. The entire place is very brightly light up, and keeps you awake without any difficulty.
- Marina Bay hotel is a obvious landmark in Singapore that everyone must see. Luckily for a fraction of the price you can see the light show at night, have a view of the lake (and the city) and visit the casino at the hotel along with the mall (with most western brands) by staying at Swiss Otel on Stampford. Which is near Raffles Hotel as well, who would have thought Raffles hotel would be so small. It definitely gives one a colonial era vibe based on the architecture of the building it self. One must see Marina bay’s roof top patio (which looks like a boat), check the mall here (it has a river that flows through it with a boat and restaurant on it), and the casino (you must have your passport to enter).
- Hawker Centre, what a shock it was to discover a place in Singapore where an entire meal can come to $5, I went to the hawker centre in the middle of town and it was great. Apparently this hawker center has gotten relatively expensive compared to the other ones, no-matter! The prices were still better then my $42 chicken tikka sandwich which I consumed at Swissotel in my room. $5 meal will give you approximately 400kcal worth of food (this is the way I measure found, it needs to be done in a dollar to calorie ratio). Near the end of the night, the side streets have chairs and tables laid out and has a beer girl who walks and serves beer. My favourite place was Satay stand #7, I think that was the name where the women lured me in and told me it was the best Satay in Asia based on Air hostess who have eaten across the world and rated her stall the best in the world. Needless to say, it didn’t disappoint.
- Sentosa island apparently has many things to do, along with a entire theme park. Unfortunately, I did not have time to visit the park but I did get a chance to hit up the Casino on Sentosa Island. It was a good hotel, a lot of tables, some setup in a style that seemed a bit like a sweat shop, I hadn’t seen this in any casino in Vegas or Canada. I think Bingo halls is the closest way to describe how it looked. The casino is not smoke free, and could be better ventilated. A beer will set you back $12 (which seems like a standard price for beer in Singapore) + Tip/Tax, comes to around $18. I can proudly say that, that must have been the most expensive beer I have ever had.
- Other things I checked out: Sri Mariamman Temple, which had a prayer going on when I was there, it was pretty inspiring. The temple is 200 years old and had been going on since the early 1800′s. On this same road you will see a church (Buddha Tooth Relic Temple) and a mosque. Truly multicultural indeed. I luckily took it upon myself to go both the temples and ended up lighting a incense candle at the Buddhist temple and planting it in sand. Following these places of worship are lots of shops and restaurants.
- You should also take it upon yourself to explore Singapore’s downtown and get a picture by the infamous Merlion. The lion head represents Singapore’s original name — Singapura — meaning “lion city” or “kota singa”. The Merlion (Malay: Singa-Laut) is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore.
Closing thoughts, I have heard everyone should see the night safari, however I did not have time to do so. Everything mentioned above was done in 1 full day and half of the second day with my flight the day after. Overall Singapore is a very clean and safe place. I say safe because no less then 5 people including 3 cab drivers alerted me it is safe to wander around at any time of day. So go ahead, wander and let us know how it goes for you!