Lives in Hobart, Australia
Since Sept 2007
35-49 year old female
I just love the buzz of being in a new place and not knowing what I'm in for. I like to wander freely to soak up the atmosphere of a place, but I also like to check out some of the "must do" sights and experiences - they're "must do's" for a reason, right? I grew up in Australia, but I've lived in Singapore for a few years now. I love exploring the hidden gems of this fascinating city.
Gardens, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Bars & Clubs
Architectural Buildings, Neighbourhoods
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Historic Sites, Theme Parks, Gardens
As far as Singapore icons go, Raffles Hotel is definitely not to be missed. This beautiful hotel opened in 1887 and has played host to such literary greats as Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham, and Herman Hesse. The hotel is named after Singapore's founder, Sir Stamford Raffles, and is an enduring icon of the city's rich colonial history. While many visitors tend to make a beeline straight for the Long Bar to enjoy the famous Singapore Sling, I'd recommend skipping this – it's priced at a hefty premium, even in comparison to Singapore's usual high prices for alcohol, and it's certainly not the best cocktail in town. Instead, I suggest taking a leisurely wander through the hotel, while indulging in some window shopping. It's a lovely way to soak up the classic Raffles atmosphere.
While some people find Gardens By The Bay a little too artificial for their liking, it's still worth checking out for the ingenuity and uniqueness of its design. The Flower Dome has recently set a Guinness World Record for being the largest glass greenhouse in the world. So there you have it – even non-gardening enthusiasts will find something of interest among the 380,000 plants here.
Another Singapore icon that's worth taking a look at is the Marina Bay Sands complex, or 'that boat building', as it's often referred to. If you're not a hotel guest, unfortunately you can't access the iconic infinity swimming pool, but you can do the next best thing: catch the elevator to Ku De Ta (level 57), grab a cocktail and a spot on the balcony, and explore the city sights from the sky. Closer to ground level, you'll find restaurants and plenty of shops to keep you amused, as well as the casino if a flutter takes your fancy.
While this restaurant can get a little noisy and crowded, Kinki is still a fantastic spot for finishing up a day of iconic sightseeing in Singapore. The modern Japanese menu is fresh and tasty, the cocktails are excellent, and the atmosphere is fun. The rooftop bar above the restaurant is always buzzing at night, and the view towards Marina Bay Sands is stunning. Sit back and soak it up.
Kampong Glam is the traditional Malay-Muslim quarter of Singapore, and today is an interesting mix of old Malay culture and young modern local culture. It's a lovely area for a quiet stroll, taking in the sights and smells, and browsing the cute little shops and cafes.
Tiong Bahru is considered one of the most up-and-coming areas of Singapore, with a fascinating mix of old and new. Within a few minutes of leisurely wandering, you can stock up on fresh tropical fruits at the wet market, browse high quality literature at Books Actually, munch on super-cheap wonton noodles at Tiong Bahru Market, and admire 1930s architecture and the stories behind it on the Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail. When it's time for a break, you can kick back and enjoy a top quality flat white at Forty Hands, or a glass of wine at PS Petit. And don't forget to indulge in a pain au chocolat or lemon tart for dessert at Tiong Bahru Bakery. Whatever you end up doing, Tiong Bahru Estate is the perfect place to get a feel for a peaceful inner city Singapore neighbourhood with loads of character.
I wouldn't normally recommend a shopping mecca full of chain stores, but Orchard Road really is a sight to behold (even if just for a quick look). A 2.2-kilometre stretch of road boasting 22 malls and 6 department stores – most of which are connected by underground walkways – it's all a little bewildering. Do it!
This Singapore icon is a great place to start if you've never had the quintessential hawker experience. At Lau Pa Sat you'll find a huge range of choices, such as dumplings, prata, chicken rice, fish ball noodles, and even pizza for those less adventurous. Don't forget to wander outside and check out 'Satay Street', as it's known locally, for a classic open-air dining experience. At night, the street is closed off and filled with hawkers selling fresh sizzling satay sticks and 'aunties' peddling cold beer. Once you've finally settled on a few dishes to try, kick back and admire the charm of this beautiful old building, which recently received a multi-million dollar facelift, or grab a seat on Satay St. and enjoy the bustling atmosphere of Singapore at its favourite time of day: dinner.
The Botanic Gardens are a lovely, peaceful way to start your morning, or to retreat to if you need a break from the big tourist spots without venturing too far out of the city. Take 30 minutes for a short wander, or a couple of hours to check out the National Orchid Garden, have a coffee in one of the cafes/restaurants, or just lie down and enjoy the peace and quiet!
This won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's certainly worth visiting if you'd like to see something a little further removed from your average Singapore tourist attraction (and one that's free of charge). Haw Par Villa was opened in 1937 by Aw Boon Haw, who wanted to provide education (and entertainment, I suspect) on the moral values behind a range of Chinese legends. He achieved this by building a theme park of more than 1,000 statues and dioramas – including the Ten Courts of Hell, which illustrates, in graphic detail, the various stages of punishment one must pass through for the sins committed in a lifetime. It's horrific, bizarre, and wholly fascinating.
If you've had your fill of sightseeing, shopping, and walking, you may just feel like hitting the beach. The good news is that at Sentosa you can do exactly that – or carry on with a few more adventures if that takes your fancy. The beach is certainly not amazing when compared to the best beaches in the world, but it's still a welcome respite if you just want to relax in the sun. If you're looking for something with more action, try riding the waves at Wave House, navigating the hillside track at Skyline Luge, or experience the thrill of simulated skydiving at iFly. Check out Resorts World Sentosa if you're into theme park-style action – here you'll find Universal Studios, SEA Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark, and more.
Ding Dong is the place to go to sample a modern interpretation of a wide range of Asian cuisines. On the one menu you'll find influences from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan, which makes for a richly varied and fun meal. Coupled with an equally interesting cocktail menu and top-notch service, Ding Dong is perfect for a fun night out.