A Guide to Singapore

November 26, 2019

Even though I've been at Singapore's spectacular (and truly an attraction in its own right!) Changi Airport MANY times for transfers, I officially got to "meet" the city-state of Singapore for the first time this past summer. It was a quick 2-day layover on our way to the Maldives, but we made the most of it. Many people refer to Singapore as "Asia light" or "entry-level Asia", which sounds about right. (Maybe because everyone we encountered speaks perfect English?). Singapore actually reminded me so much of Cape Town, for some reason. I think it might be because it has a similar mishmash of cultures, ethnicities and architectural styles, and they are both former British colonies.

 

In this guide I will share with you our recommendations on where to stay, eat, drink, and what you can do and see on your first visit to Singapore. At the end of the post, you'll also find a Google Map with pins of all the places mentioned in this guide. You won't regret spending a few days in Singapore, there's so much to do and see, it's safe and clean, and with its tropical climate, you're likely to experience some nice temperatures.

 

WHERE TO STAY

 

There's no shortage of places to stay in Singapore, with literally hundreds of hotels, B&Bs and Airbnb options available. We were definitely considering staying at the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel with its high-in-the-sky infinity pool, but the room rates that were still available were outrageous and we wanted a more spacious room. We found this lovely Airbnb in one of Singapore's historical shop houses. There are a few rooms available inside the house, each with their own bathroom and most of them a private kitchenette. The Airbnb also has a spacious common area, a laundry room, and a communal kitchen. We loved staying here as the place is absolutely beautiful, spacious, it's in a quiet neighborhood, close to a subway station, and in walking distance of Little India. We stayed in the "Botanical Apartment" which you can BOOK HERE. (P.S. Get a discount off your first Airbnb stay if you book through my link!)

 

More places to stay: Lloyd's Inn, Marina Bay Sands, Raffles Singapore

 Botanical Apartment

Botanical Apartment

 Common Area

 

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK

 

Singapore is absolute heaven if you're a cafe-hopper like me! I could literally spend a month there just visiting all their amazing coffee shops. They also know how to do a mean brunch, and we were absolutely spoiled for choice. We had a lovely lunch at the popular earlybird cafe where we got seats outside, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the most delicious pancakes EVER at Twenty Eight Cafe. We spotted The Koi, a drink shop, at a few different locations in Singapore and I fell in love with their refreshing matcha iced lattes. Our favorite meal was brunch at Merci Marcel, the most beautiful cafe located in the Tiong Bahru neighborhood of Singapore. If you're in that area, also stop by Plain Vanilla Bakery for their out-of-this-world cupcakes!

earlybird

earlybird

earlybird

earlybird

earlybird

Twenty Eight Cafe

Twenty Eight Cafe

Twenty Eight Cafe

Twenty Eight Cafe

Twenty Eight Cafe

Twenty Eight Cafe

Twenty Eight Cafe

The Koi

Merci Marcel

Merci Marcel

Merci Marcel

Merci Marcel

Merci Marcel

Merci Marcel

Merci Marcel

Merci Marcel

Plain Vanilla Bakery

Plain Vanilla Bakery

Plain Vanilla Bakery

Plain Vanilla Bakery

Plain Vanilla Bakery

 

Of course, there are plenty more amazing places to eat in Singapore, and if you want to try some local fare, make sure you stop by Singapore's popular hawker's centers like Amoy Street Food Centre, Maxwell Food Centre and Newton Food Centre.. For Indian food lovers like ourselves, you will be spoiled for choice by just walking around Little India. For cocktails with a view, we recommend Smoke & Mirrors, and really all of the other fabulous rooftop bars in that area that overlooks Marina Bay Sands. For a more laid-back and casual drinking situation, definitely go to Haji Lane, which is a lively street lined with bars, shops and cafes.

 

More places to eat and drink: OdetteGroup Therapy Coffee, AtlasClan Cafe, The Social Space, Free the Robot

Haji Lane

Haji Lane

Haji Lane

 

WHAT TO DO AND SEE

 

If it's also your first time exploring the city, you'll probably also want to experience their "greatest hits" like we did. Walk around the vibrant Little India neighborhood with all of its colorful shops and buildings, take lots of photos and visit the historical Tan Teng Niah house. From there you can hop on over to Orchard Road which is lined with department stores and restaurants. If you're a fellow bibliophile, definitely visit the majestic public library located inside the Orchard Central department store.

 

Of course, a visit to the famous Gardens by the Bay is a must. Take your time visiting the Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest and the Super Grove, which is actually way more interesting and beautiful than what I thought it would be. From there it's an easy stroll over to the Marina Bay Sands hotel with its adjacent mall. Take a casual walk around the bay (you can pop into the ArtScience Museum on your way) all the way around to the iconic Merlion statue. This area is also where the huge Ferris wheel is located, called the Singapore Flyer

 

More things to do and see: Fort Canning Park, Koon Seng Road, Peranakan Houses, Chijmes, Sentosa

Tan Teng Niah

Little India

Little India

Tan Teng Niah

Little India

 Library@Orchard

Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay

Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay

Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay

Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay

Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay

Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay

Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay

Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay

Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay

Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands

ArtScience Museum

Marina Bay Sands

Merlion

 

HOW TO GET AROUND

 

  • I always encourage travelers to walk as much as possible when exploring a new place. Singapore is a great city for walking, as sidewalks are big, it's safe, and mostly flat.

  • Taxis are available everywhere and you can easily hail one curbside. If you don't see one around, just head over to the nearest department store or big hotel, where you're likely to find a taxi stand.

  • Unfortunately Uber doesn't operate in Singapore, but instead download Grab, which is their local ride-sharing company.

  • Singapore's subway, the MRT, is convenient, clean, easy to use, and literally covers the entire city.

 

PIN THIS POST!

 

 

Because of Singapore's location, Changi Airport is a popular transfer hub for many travelers around the world. It's so easy to extend your layover and spend a few days there, I highly recommend it! From Taipei it's a quick 4.5-hour flight and the perfect destination for a long weekend getaway. Don't forget to pin this guide for your future trip, and if you have any further questions please get in touch with us at hello@astylealike.com

 

A Guide to Singapore MAP

 

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