After a few months of traveling in Southeast Asia and a daunting heartbreak, I was tired and all I wanted to do was curl up on my mother’s couch. Attending a conference and exploring a new city was the last thing on my mind. Singapore especially – a city I only knew for its amazing airport – seemed quite overwhelming in my mind.
But when ITB Asia and an invitation to speak about influencer marketing came along, I pulled myself together. I quickly got some business cards printed, booked a flight from Thailand, and waved goodbye to my little beach dresses for a while.
Luckily I didn’t regret it. Not only was ITB a huge success but Singapore and I hit it off immediately. Why you may ask? Singapore is the perfect big city for travel newbies and a well-deserved breath of fresh air (quite literally) for us veterans. It has excellent infrastructure, is super manageable and dare I say – incredibly charming with a dash of big-city excitement. Whether you are looking for the perfect stopover city on your way to other Southeast Asian destinations or for a weekend city getaway – Singapore is the place to be!
I believe that mastering public transport is the way to conquer any new city. That is easy in Singapore so you get an instant feeling of success. And not only that but the MTR is incredibly clean (yeah, really no spitting, eating or even the import of gum is allowed) and for impatient people like me, it comes as a relief that the escalators and subways are incredibly fast and efficient. You can buy single tickets or get a card for multiple rides.
For late nights, I can recommend Uber. In Singapore, you even have the choice to share your ride in order to reduce the costs.
While not the most original way to see a city I am still a big fan of hop-on, hop-off buses and city tours – plenty of choices for all interests and budgets in Singapore. And in case that isn’t fancy enough, you always have the option of renting a Lamborghini for a fifteen minute spin around town
One of my favorite things about Singapore was its diverse neighborhoods. From Little India to Chinatown, Labrador Park and especially the Instagram-worthy streets of Kampung Glam – Singapore is as diverse as it gets.
I love skyscrapers and historic buildings with a story alike. What I don’t like are cookie-cutter houses that all look the same. Realizing that in many parts of Germany you are not free to paint your house pink if you wanted to I always revel in other countries where people can paint their house any color they please.
In Singapore, you will find it all. The old next to the new. The high next to the wide. Steel and wood, grey and rainbow colored. And I loved it! For some reason it also works, giving the city a really interesting and harmonious face where one extreme compliments the next.
My favorite was finding Wes Anderson locations (
Where to Stay
Let’s just be very honest for a moment – Singapore is lovely but comes with a steep price tag that is easily compared to London, New York, and Shanghai. Therefore finding cheap accommodation isn’t easy. I stayed at
If you are looking for something less pricey check out the
And if you are looking to really splurge? There is only one option in town – the incredible
What to eat
Singapore is known for its great street food and hawker centers. They are the ideal place in Asia to give this whole street food thing a go if you have a nervous stomach. Most stalls are rated by the city for quality and cleanliness (rated A obviously being the best) and are incredibly appealing.
Head to Smith Street in Chinatown for some chili crab dim sum, fresh seafood or noodles. At the Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, you will find famous Hawker Chan who makes such good noodles that the esteemed Michelin guide awarded him with a star. If you don’t want to brave the long queues of fame this award brought him, you can head to his restaurant around the corner. The same noodles will cost you $5 but you can get aircon on the side and will have a shorter wait time.
The beauty of
Some great Singapore dishes you shouldn’t miss: Kayan Toast, Chicken Rice, Carrot Cake (not what you may expect) and the oh so famous, Singapore chili crab. And of course, a cocktail with a view is in order – it doesn’t even have to be a Singapore Sling.
Things to Do in Singapore
There is much to do and see in Singapore but the city is so manageable, making it the perfect stopover destination for 24 or 48 hours. Things Singapore newbies shouldn’t miss? Here are my favorite things to do on a first-time visit:
Gardens by the Bay
I have a thing for botanical gardens in general but Gardens by the Bay took the cake. They are just insanely beautiful and the ideal spot for couples, families, and nature fans alike. The Flower Dome hosts different exhibits of plants and flowers according to the season. For me visiting in fall that meant lots of pumpkins and an overall harvest theme.
Adjacent you will find the Cloud Forest, a magnificent indoor rain forest. Fear not, photographers, it has aircon – so while there is a fine mist covering the whole dome in frequent intervals your lens will not fog!
If it wasn’t enough that the domes are open until 9pm, the Supertrees come alight at night. Every evening there is a magnificent free light show with music in the Supertree Grove outside.
Whether you are out on the town with your girlfriends or are looking for romantic date option, this is a cannot miss activity! Yes, the show is a bit cheesy and touristy – but somehow also absolutely magical.
City Streets & Shopping
For those who cannot do a city trip without some serious shopping, you must head to fancy Orchard Street or Boogies where you will find nicknacks and souvenirs.
If you are looking for cute boutiques or just a really cool Instagram location, Kampong Glam is the place to be. On Arab Street and Haji Lane, you can find anything and everything from art galleries to handmade perfumes, hipster eateries and great coffee, murals and colorful backdrops everywhere for that perfect Instagram. For those who interested in religion and culture, do visit the beautiful Sultan Mosque.
English colonialism impacted massively on Singapore and has become a big part of its history. History nerds can even take
Alternatively, you can just take a bumboat on the Singapore River leaving from Clarke Quay to learn more about the city’s fascinating history and see some of the important monuments from the water. The boat has a hop on hop off function so you can choose your destination and stops to explore more – in your own time.
Not to be missed if you wanted a fancy English experience: high tea at the beautiful, iconic Fullerton Hotel. Come hungry!
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
If you want a bit of greenery after the skyscrapers of Singapore head to the
Here you can see bats, iguanas, crocodiles, an array of birds, if you are lucky a python (lucky enough I was not lucky to see one ), and go for walks through the mangrove forests.
Naturalist Subaraj who works here is an absolute well of knowledge and passion about this green oasis and conservation in Singapore. A visit to Sungei Buloh is a great little escape from city life and an educational one at that. If you do want to see that python, come for a night tour!
Have you visited Singapore? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!