When you’re planning the trip of a lifetime, it requires, and deserves, a lot of time and effort. After all, this won’t be your typical city trip or week in the sun. We are talking about culture, food, design, and location. All of that should get the slow and steady with an eye for detail treatment. Travel magazines, Pinterest boards, travel apps, learning some of the languages before you go. Just to make sure that you are polite enough to staff, and the locals. Paying particular attention to any laws and customs that will make an impact on your trip. They say that a holiday is great, but real traveling is something very different altogether.Your Beginner's #Travel Guide to #Singapore is here! Click To Tweet
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru
Singapore rates so highly on the real travel opportunities list, due to its beautifully contrasting nature. The slick and shiny buildings, clean well-manicured streets and gardens, but then, the small cafés the laid-back atmosphere, the smell of Kopi in the air and a lived-in feel. The beautiful nature of the Singaporean people is something worth seeing and soaking up all by themselves. A glorious melting pot of backgrounds.
With four languages spoken most commonly every day, English — used for most business purposes too, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. You might feel your ears prick up at the sounds of ‘Singlish’ — a Singaporean cross English colloquial language. It would be worth your time to learn how to say please and thank you in all of those languages. The cuisines you are likely to encounter (but are not limited to) are Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, Italian, Spanish, Indian, Thai, French and a fusion of any of those. So it is going to be a pretty gastronomical visit.
If you are going to be staying for a little while, rather than buying daily passes for the MRT (mass rapid transit/train) system, you might be better off picking up a Singapore Tourist Pass, which can give you up to three days of unlimited travel for S$16. Make a note of where the Singapore Visitor Centre is, and although the idea is to get immersed, it is a good idea to know where a hub of information is — should you need it.
Where To Sleep:
When deciding where to stay, you have plenty of options – but really, you’ll be looking at either Villas, Apartments, Hotels and be sure to check out a Yishun condo as an option. Perhaps a mix of all of them depending on costs.
If you check out some of the prices for a room or apartment on Airbnb, you might be surprised to find the rates as low as 58 USD per night for a private room, 5 minutes from the MRT and set in tranquil gardens. If sharing a house isn’t what you had in mind, then an entire studio apartment is just 63 USD per night. This one is close to a mall, supermarkets and more. Villas are another trendy choice. The private nature of them do appeal to many couples traveling, and usually very safe for solo travellers too. More likely to be beachside, they tend to have breathtaking views.
The bonus for both of these is, you are self-catering for the most part. So you can make the most of shopping at local fruit and veg markets, and prepare out of this world food for yourself. Booking regular meals at unforgettable places… It might even leave you considering how a mortgage loan might work out on a similar property. It wouldn’t be the first time Singapore has stolen a traveling heart.
The next option and the one people find most convenient, and budget-friendly is the vast amount of gorgeous hotels. Here are a few areas you should consider booking your hotel in, they all have different perks.
- Looking to visit museums and art galleries? Then you need a hotel based in the Civic District. It is pricey for eating out, and limited nightlife — ideal for culture buffs.
- Fancy budget hotels, Indian food, and two connected MRT stops? Little India is where you should be looking. It’s very close to other ethnics districts, packed with fantastic food. Downside? If you can even call it that, the shops and malls aren’t on trend, not many late-night bars and it can get very hustle-bustle.
- Family travels? If you want a resort style vacation, love the beach and don’t want to be in the midst of city life – Sentosa is for you. It is packed with family-friendly attractions, clean and surrounded by greenery. But, if you do book here, don’t expect to be shopping in lux malls.
- Foodie? Clubber? Head to the party hub, Clarke Quay. This location is brimming with backpacker and lights up after dark. It’s packed with bars, has a vast host of nightclubs, and is well connected with the MRT. If you aren’t in it for the museums and local normalities, this one’s for you.
Finally, if swiping your plastic and spending your hard earned cash is what you had in mind then Orchard Road is the only place you should be booking a hotel. Surrounded by malls a-plenty, bistros and cafes, it’s perfect for long shopping trips and coffee breaks. It does have some access to leafy green suburbs and the hippest bars.
What to Do
There are a few things that people typically want to tick off their list when they are heading to Singapore, and usually for a good reason. Once you have your unlimited pass, handled your central location point, worked out a few phrases – it might be time to head out and explore.
Let’s start with the food. It wouldn’t be a travel post worth reading if it didn’t have something about the food you should be trying when you are there — would it? Make a day in your diary to head to Lau Pa Sat, this market springs to life around 7 pm. Take a slow walk around, try and sample as much as you can. The smell of Murtabak and chicken satay will be filling the air, and you’ll be spoiled for choice.
There are a few stalls that have been hailed as the places to go by more than just Hawkers. In no specific order we have:
- Budding Chef / Noodle Evolution – As the name suggests, it’s a noodle stall, a range of dishes at excellent prices.
- Lai Heng Fried Kway Teow – Classic Singapore dishes, reasonable prices.
- Song Kee Fishball Noodles – a dish to try would be the mini pot with noodles; it is a packed pot of meat and fish with a separate bowl of noodles. A significant portion, little price.
- Thunder Tea Rice – this one makes everyone’s list of place to go to, anything on the menu is worth having but check out the dish named after themselves. It’s cheap, cheerful, healthy and out of this world with flavors.
A significant way to ensure you’re in the right place, the better the food, the longer the queues.
Let’s go, Michelin! You can pick up Michelin-starred chicken rice for about $2. Head to Hawker Chan, and indulge yourself. If Michelin-star food from the tray isn’t your bag, then there is a restaurant attached called Candlenut, and the prices are unbelievable.
So, the food is relatively easy; it’s majoritively excellent quality and tasty. Next up the most relaxed place to grab a hot cup of coffee. Selfie Coffee — might just be the most hipster coffee boutique you’ll ever have the pleasure of drinking in. Based in Kampong Glam, this coffee shop have a fantastic twist on the usual cup. You take a selfie, and it gets printed onto an iced coffee. Yes, really.
If unusual and exotic plants are something that gives you pause for thought, then Gardens by the Bay is somewhere you just can’t afford to miss out on. There is a lot to see, sculptures hidden among the trees, waterfalls but if you wait until nightfall – the whole place changes. The trees a lit up, giving a glorious light display, and if you plan your visit well, you can see the lights dance to music. It’s hourly, so you stand a pretty good chance of seeing it.
Something not to miss?
Kaya Toast (back to food), a Singaporean treat. Toast with Kaya jam — coconutty and sweet — slathered in between and a generous helping of salted butter. The idea is, when you bite in, it will squelch out the sides. It comes with side dish too. Soft boiled eggs, in dark soy sauce and a coffee. Blissful.“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world” – Gustave Flaubert. Click To Tweet
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