We stopped in Singapore as a layover destination on the way to Indonesia. I had been there before as a layover en-route to Australia when I was a child, and I was glad to visit Singapore again as my great grandpa had been archbishop there in the 1960s. Singapore is the perfect place for a futuristic 2 or 3 day stop en-route somewhere else, and although it does have a lot to do in its own right, I don’t think you need more than a couple of days there to see the main sites.
It’s really easy to get around in Singapore; it’s a small country and the metro system is good and easy to navigate. There are also river boats to take you up and down the Singapore river. We used the metro and the boats to get around, and had no problems at all. We spent 2 nights in Singapore and managed to see a lot of interesting things while we were there.
1. Gardens by the Bay
One of the most iconic areas in Singapore, Gardens by the Bay are insane. There are two main ‘domes’ – the cloud dome and the flower dome. The cloud dome was by far my favourite; built to replicate the tropical mountain regions of Asia and South America and with a massive waterfall in the middle, it really was spectacular. I was less enamoured by the flower dome, which is actually the largest greenhouse in the world. In total we spent about 3 hours going round these 2 domes.
2. National Museum of Singapore
I know not everyone wants to learn about the history of a country when they visit it, but Singapore’s is really fascinating. From the pre-British area, to Raffles landing and colonisation, to Japanese invasion, to becoming part of Malaysia to full independence. This museum tells the whole story and it’s both horrific and full of hope at the same time. Again we spent about 3 hours in the museum and were glad we allocated some time to it.
3. Haji Lane
I loved Haji Lane. It was full of boutique shops, cool cafes, bars, restaurants and street art. I thoroughly recommend going there for lunch one day and just spending an hour exploring the area. You can combine it with a visit to Little India and Chinatown.
4. Supertree Grove
Combine this with a visit to Gardens by the Bay as the two are right next to each other. This group of trees are vertical gardens and provide environmental engines for the Gardens themselves. There is also a skyway walk between the trees to get views over the Gardens and a light show every day at 7.45 and 8.45pm called Garden Rhapsody where the trees light up and music plays.
Finally there is a restaurant up one of the trees, called IndoChine. In nice weather you can sit outside for panoramic views and the food there is delicious.
5. Little India
The Little India area of Singapore is nice to walk around, with beautiful mosques, temples and tasty food. Some of the architecture is really impressive and it makes for a nice hour exploring.
6. Bumboat ride from Merlion Park
The Singapore River is lovely to cruise up an down on. Bumboats are effectively local water taxis and we went on one from Merlion Park up to Clarke Quay for dinner. Merlion Park is a good stop to get on at, as it also enables you to see the famous Merlion fountain. Half fish, half lion, this sculpture spits out water from its mouth with the Singapore skyline as a backdrop, facing in to the bay where Marina Bay Sands sits.
A bumboat in the harbour and on board
Chinatown is a fun area of the city with narrow roads, Chinese street food and cool wine bars. It’s also home to the impressive Buddha tooth relic temple.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
8. Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Another Singapore icon, Marina Bay Sands Hotel is the ultimate in infinity pool views, as you look out over Marina Bay and the Singapore skyline. It was so busy when we went we didn’t actually go in the pool, but it looked amazing and perfect for anyone wanting a slice of the luxury life.
9. Raffles Hotel and Singapore Slings
Raffles is a Singapore institution. In the Long Bar you can have a Singapore sling with a bag of peanuts. Tradition is, you peel the peanuts and sling the shells on to the floor. I’m allergic to peanuts so this wasn’t an option for me and we sat in a side bar, with no nuts, instead. The Singapore slings are still epic though. You can get Singapore Slings all over the city, but Raffles serves the original.
10. Orchard Road
This street is the retail centre of Singapore with loads of discount outlets, huge shops and boutiques; along with luxury hotels and apartments. It’s great for shopping and exploring.
There is also a really amazing shopping mall next door to Raffles (called Raffles City), which has an amazing food hall offering all kinds of delicious treats (I think we settled on Thai in the end), and then so many shops with designer clothes at good prices. We spent about 3 hours here shopping and eating.
We did a lot in 2 days. If we had had another day we would have visited the Botanical Gardens and seen all the orchids, plus gone up to the Marina Bay Sands deck for drinks with a view, but we just ran out of time. Have you been to Singapore? Did you get more in than us? Let me know in the comments below! Stay safe and happy travelling all.