Travel Diary – Singapore

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Marina Bay Sands Hotel

I visited Singapore towards the end of last year for a friend’s wedding and finally got around to posting about my trip.  Singapore is known for its melting-pot culture, convenience, cleanliness, and delicious food.  People usually plan this as a stop of their trip to Asia since it’s ex-pat friendly and a small enough country where you can probably see most of it in 2-3 days.  I was there for 3 days and 3 nights and felt like I had seen and eaten a lot 🙂

Activities / Sightseeing

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Famous Merlion (Mermaid + Lion) at the Merlion Park

Merlion Park.  My very first knowledge of Singapore as a kid was actually the Merlion so I was on a mission to find this tourist trap 😛  The one you see in most tourism materials is located at the Merlion Park.  Not only can you see the statue here, it’s also strategically located against the backdrop of famous Singaporean landmarks such as the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Gardens by the Bay, and various skyscrapers of financial institutions.

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Gardens by the Bay at sunset 

Visit the Gardens.  Goto the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Orchid Gardens or Gardens by the Bay. All really gorgeous.  Gardens by the bay is stunning at night where the trees light up.

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Raffles Hotel.  It’s an icon that play an integral part in Singapore’s history…gorgeous architecture.  Have high tea here if you’re feeling fancy 😉

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Drinks at Aura Sky Lounge.  Nice way to relax and you get a breathtaking view of Singapore’s skyline.

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Sentosa Island is the local Singaporeans’ version of “staycation”

Visit Sentosa Island.  If you have an extra day, I recommend going out to this small island located literally 10-15 min cab ride away, locals go there for “staycation”.  It has a country club feel to it where it’s relaxing and you get to take a break from the city scene.

Other cool things to do but not pictured:

  • Go for a swim at the infinity pool of Mariana Bay Sands Hotel
  • Night Safari at the zoo.  I didn’t do this but people who have and friends who live/have lived there say it’s worth it
  • Singapore Flyer – Giant ferris wheel that’s like Singapore’s version of London Eye
  • Chinatown – lots and lots of great food…more on this later
  • Hawker Centers.  There are large outdoor food courts.  I recommend Maxwell Road Hawker Center as it’s the cleanest hawker center IMO and recommended by Anthony Bourdain

Now onto my favorite part about Singapore…FOOD

There’s no shortage of amazing food in Singapore at all price points.  Because it’s a hub for international businesses, Singapore has a lot of high-end restaurants that cater to Western flavors.  When I visit a foreign country, I gravitate towards local food so the recommendations are based on the local food I tried.

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Cheapest Michelin starred meal – Soya chicken noodles for $2.50 USD only!!!

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle ($).  The cheapest Michelin starred meal in the world is located in Chinatown of Singapore.  I was happy to see that Michelin is branching out to more affordable local eats.  This plate of soya sauce (soy sauce) noodles is only $2.50 USD and I kid you not, best chicken I’ve ever had.  Glad that Chef Chan’s hard work has paid off – apparently he didn’t take a single day off in many years!  You can read more about his journey to earning his well-deserved Michelin star here.

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Tian Tian Chicken Rice ($). This is one of the most famous food stalls that serves Hainan chicken rice located in the Maxwell Road Hawker Center, people start lining up for it before it even opens.  I went at off-peak hour like 4pm to avoid the line.  The rice is extremely flavorful and chicken is super tender.  Be careful of the hot sauce though, it’s no Sriracha, Singaporeans take their spiciness quite seriously!

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Song Fa Bak Kut Teh ($).  One of the best/most famous bak kut teh shops in Singapore.  Bat Kut Teh is a spare rib-based soup combined with Asian spices and lots of garlic.  Bottom line is that it’s delicious and a must try in Singapore!

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Mellben Seafood ($$)  One must try Singaporean crabs when visiting Singapore…unless you’re allergic.  The most famous one is chili crabs (top picture), the bottom picture is butter crab which is also equally delicious.  Makes me drool just thinking about it 😛

General Travel Information

  • Languages: Official langugages are English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil.  You can get around easily speaking English.
  • Currency: Singapore Dollar (SGD) Not exact, exchange rate is approx. $1 USD to $1.4 SGD
  • Voltage: the standard voltage in Singapore is 220V/240V. The outlet has two round holes which is the same type used in France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Turkey, and some other European countries. If you’ve traveled to the aforementioned countries, pack your power adapter with you for the trip.
  • Data: you can purchase a SIM card at the airport or convenience stores.  I didn’t find WiFi to be that readily accessible.
  • Transportation: The subway in Singapore is clean and takes you to most major attractions. Uber and cabs are also very easy and the drivers speak English. On top of it all, it’s a pretty walkable city.
  • What to wear: Singapore is located near the equator which means it’s hot and humid!  For frame of reference, I went in December and it was averaging 70-80F.  So pack short sleeves, shorts, light jeans, light jacket, comfortable walking shoes, hat, and sunscreen.  Also, due to its humidity, Singapore is mosquito-prone so pack bug repellent.

Would definitely love to be back to this wonderful country again next time I’m in Southeast Asia.  If you have any recommendations for Singapore, comment below!

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