Singapore is an extremely clean, safe city that I unexpectedly fell in love with. Singapore is a place of man made wonders with enough to keep you busy for days on end. Want a place where you feel safe walking around at 2:00 AM by yourself? Hipster bars galore? Some of the best food in the world? This is your place. Singapore is also a major hub with cheap flights heading out all over Asia.
LANGUAGE: English, Mandarin, Malay
CURRENCY: Singapore Dollar
CLIMATE: Tropical (warm & humid), Wet season: Nov – Dec, although thunderstorms can happen anytime (they have amazing thunderstorms)
DRESS CODE: Casual; Cover shoulders and knees in temples
GETTING AROUND: MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), LRT (Light Rapid Transit), Grab
COST OF VISITING: $-$$ – Hostels start around $9 per night but can get pretty pricey depending what you are looking for. Street food is cheap starting around $2-3, Nice restaurants and alcohol are more expensive, a beer costing around $12 USD.
TIPPING: Tipping is not expected, many restaurants add a 10% service fee which serves as a tip.
SAFETY: Extremely safe, I felt safe walking around by myself at 2:00 AM, As always use best judgement
PACKING ESSENTIALS: Poncho/Umbrella; mosquito repellant
VISA: No visa required for US passport holders
From the airport, you can take a Grab or Taxi to the city which will take about 20 minutes. I found that the taxi queue had a pretty long line and Grab was much more convenient. You will have the option to select which pickup point you are waiting at. Grab will cost you around $USD.
You can take an easy bus ride from many cities in Malaysia. The bus will stop at immigration points where you will go through and then get back on the same bus.
Check out Red Bus for pricing. There are multiple bus stations around the city, most (if not all) next to MRT stations for an easy commute to any area you are headed.
WHERE TO STAY
COO BOUTIQUE HOSTEL
One of the best hostels I have stayed at and a much needed relief from all of my bad experiences with bed bugs up until this point.. Dorms are clean and pod style which give you privacy from other hostel guests. There is free breakfast and coin laundry on site. Showers are nice and hot. Such a cute area with restaurants and bars in walking distance.
WHAT TO EAT
WHAT TO EAT
You will find these often multi level food courts all over the city, filled with a variety of local affordable food. If you love Xiao Long Bao like me, check out the Chinatown Hawker Stall #02-135 for some delicious and affordable soup dumplings. Other foods to try: chicken rice, laksa, bak kut teh, hokien mee, chilli crab, and char kway tweo.
KAYA TOAST AND SOFT BOILED EGGS
A traditional Singaporean breakfast. Kaya is a coconut and egg based spread that goes on toast along with butter (Will grow on you quickly), often served with soft boiled eggs. To eat like a local, break the eggs in a small bowl, mix in a little white pepper and soya sauce and eat with a spoon. Try them at one of the many local spots offering this dish, or go to a chain called Toast Box.
Living in Los Angeles, I thought we had an abundant variety of restaurants to choose from. Singapore puts us to shame. This is a good lover’s paradise. I say skip the metro, walk instead, and eat as much food as you are able to fit in your stomach.
WHAT TO DO
EXPLORE DIFFERENT AREAS
HAJI LANE & ARAB STREET
Haji Lane is a trendy hipster area with street art, juice bars, boutique shops, and live music. Go shopping during the day or sit down for a beer and some live music on the street at night. Great place to take some colorful pics for your Instagram. One street over from Haji Lane, Arab Street is full of indie boutiques, restored shophouses, and trendy cafes.
Becoming one of the hippest parts of town to chill. One of Singapore’s oldest housing estates, this area is now home to hip cafes, iconic bakeries, and local art galleries. Start your day at Tiong Bahru Bakery, famous for it’s croissants and pastries. Spend the day exploring art galleries and book stores. Enjoy dinner and a glass of wine on one of the many outdoor patios.
GO TO A HIDDEN COCKTAIL BAR
I went on a date and at the end of the night he asked if I wanted a nightcap. Sure. He took me down an empty alley (is he going to hurt me, rob me, how thrilling!) and stopped to turn and look at the wall lining one side of the street. He walked up to it, pushed open a door (no idea where that came from!) and we walked down a few steps into my favorite type of place. A classy, dark cocktail bar. Although slightly pricey, I can’t recommend this place enough. For the sake of keeping it hidden, please message me if you would like to go there and I will tell you the location. Tell them what you like and they will use their creative minds to create a drink just for you. Great place to go to impress a date or co-workers. At least, I thought my date was the coolest.
SEE A LIGHT SHOW AT GARDENS BY THE BAY
Although a touristy spot, I still recommend stopping by to see this amazing light show. It is free and there are two every evening, one at 7:45pm and another at 8::45pm. The colorful lights are mesmerizing as they flicker and flash to the tune of synchronized songs. I recommend lying down on the ground below the trees and taking it all in
GO BREWERY HOPPING
Singapore has quite a few microbreweries popping up around town. Although a tad on the pricey side, I can’t resist sampling craft beer in most countries I visit! Check out this list of the 26 Best Craft Beer Watering Holes in Singapore.
GO ON A TINDER DATE
Single? Singapore is full of good looking, hard working, trendy men and women. Expats and Natives alike. I have found that there is no better way to discover hidden gems (like the hidden cocktail bar I went to) than to put yourself in the hands of a local. (Figuratively, or literally if that is what you prefer (just be careful as always)).