It’s hard to describe Singapore. This is partly because it was nothing like I imagined, and partly because I feel like you need to go there to understand. I’m not one to be impressed by man-made attractions and skylines made up of skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, but there was something about Singapore that made my jaw drop. This city-state was spotless, sophisticated and dynamic. Sparkling sky-high buildings with gardens bursting from the upper floors, enormous shopping malls that felt like cities in themselves, Chinese and Indian neighbourhoods that seemed to transport you to a different country; this is Singapore. The mix of Malaysian, Indian and Chinese residents also adds a whole new depth to the city. Although it is an expensive place to visit, I was surprised at how easy it was to stick to my budget. Travelling solo as a woman can be scary, but at no point during my visit did I feel unsafe or vulnerable. I would recommend Singapore to all!
Things to do:
- Cloud Forest
The Cloud Forest is a huge, modern greenhouse filled with tropical vegetation and a soaring waterfall. My senses were overwhelmed: the colours and textures of the plants were extraordinary, the smell of moisture and wet leaves lingered subtly and the clouds at the top of the conservatory felt so real! The Cloud Forest sits beside The Flower Dome, but if I’m honest, The Cloud Forest is the only one worth visiting.
- Supertree Grove
The Supertree Grove is where you’ll find the famous Supertrees. They are vertical structures resembling towering trees with different plants growing up them. It is free to visit the grove – make sure you go at night! The trees are mesmerising when lit up. Don’t miss the light and music show either: everyday at 19:45 and 20:45.
- Clarke Quay
Shop till you drop! …or join the local residents and jog along the river during early evening. The size of the shopping centre and the number of bars and restaurants are immense, making Clarke Quay a popular spot for tourists and residents alike. You can also take a river cruise on a traditional bum boat, which is especially pretty at night due to the sparkling city lights dancing on the water’s surface.
- Pulau Ubin
If you’re the sort of traveller who likes to do things off the beaten track, then make sure you spend a day in Pulau Ubin. This island lies off the northeastern coast and is one of the last ‘old school’ villages of Singapore. It’s really different from the city and gives you a taste of what ‘old’ Singapore felt like. Expect local children playing in the streets, long winding roads into the rainforest, and the odd local fetching water from a well. You can rent a bike and explore serene Pulau Ubin, away from the herds of tourists.
Where to eat and drink:
- Tiong Bahru Bakery
This cafe is an oasis in the heart of the city. Air con, WIFI, and really good coffee. Perfect for an afternoon break.
- Marina Bay Sands Sky Bar
If you’re looking for the best spot in the city to take in the famous Singapore night skyline, then this is it. Entry costs S$20, but the entry fee can be used as a voucher to purchase drinks and food. Stunning rooftop views.
- Hawker Food Markets
Hawker markets are really fun and great for a low budget. They’re all over the city, offering cheap dishes and a real Singaporean experience! My two favourites were the Hong Lim Market Food Centre and the Lau Pa Sat market.
- Use the airport shuttle service
Public transport in Singapore is fantastic and getting to and from the airport is really easy. You can get a shuttle directly to your hotel or hostel (if it’s listed on their website) for S$9. You can also get the MRT (the train system) for about S$2. I’d recommend getting the shuttle when you arrive, and then the MRT on your way back.
- Bring a reusable bottle
Tap water in Singapore is safe to drink so you don’t need to buy bottled water. Bring a reusable bottle to save money and the environment!
- Happy hour
Alcohol is expensive in Singapore, so the best way to save some money is to look for places with happy hour. Many places offer good deals during happy hour.
-Luanna de Abreu Coelho
Follow me on instagram: @food_with_lu