Singapore. This wonderful country with its fabolous gardens, museums and unique architecture is to many of us a mystery, something very different compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. For me it was incredibly perfect, like a painting. The perfectly designed buildings emphasizing the importance of sustainability, the rainbow-like gardens and the colourful blend of cultures are definitely worth a visit.
It doesn’t count to the most cheapest countries in Asia, but Singapore provides something diverse: the still-asian-feeling with a dash of limitless luxury, the miniature-like empires of Chinese, Indian and Arab culture and the evidence, that creating a vibrant city – or country – full of sky-high buildings doesn’t mean that we have to destroy the nature.
The country has much more to offer, than the very „touristy” highlights only, but here I prepared an itinerary, ideas for 2-3 days. So let’s see the treasures of Singapore and let’s get lost in narrow streets and jungle-like parks, while the delicious bites of street food take you for a real „multi-culti” journey.
Take a walk around the luxurious Marina Bay
The Marina Bay is located in the most central part of Singapore surrounded by silvery skyscrapers and the most iconic architectural gems of the country. The big cities normally are not my favourite destinations, but this place can be perfect place both for relaxing by the water and diving in hustle and bustle of the city life. From getting lost in jungle through feeling like in shopping part of Pretty Woman – in Singaporian version – to getting sun-kissed you will find, what you need.
Walking around you can reach easily several points of interest, like museums and world-famous symbols of Singapore. The Merlion Park is home of one of the most important, historical marks of this wonderful island-state. The giant half lion, half fish monument is a mythical creature telling us the story about a marshland, a fishing village, from which was born this surreal, hiper-modern empire: the Lion City (Singapura).
The Esplanade is providing unique theatre and concert experience, while passing the Helix Bridge we get another fantastic view of the bay. The Art Science Museum is definitely a must! Trust me, even if you have no ideas about physics, even if you are not interested in it, this marvellous exhibition awakes your senses for sure.
There are many restaurants along the bay offering happy hours and pricy food, I preferred to enjoy the Singaporian breeze and sunset on one of the fabolous rooftop bars located in this area. For breakfast and dinner I recommend to visit the markets, which are cheaper and provide something more local, more unique than the classy restaurants.
Get lost in colours of Gardens by the Bay
This place was my very beloved part of visiting, but yeah, maybe it is not the dream-pastime of boys! Anyway, the Gardens by the Bay look like a unique, magical faerie. The Gardens are outstanding in the whole world in terms of wide and rare selection of flowers, trees and other plants, not to mention the special, architectural elements, solutions used by creating these futuristic, lush green paradises. The rainwater is collected from the surface of the domes, while the huge amount of bamboo trees – well known for their reservoir capacity – and the modern cooling system facilitate to save the environment.
The Cloud Forest Dome
Entering this misty secret world of jungle, I had the feeling, that I am again in mountains of Bali or Thailand. The temperature is between 23-25 degrees, and the humidity is around 90 %, which is perfect for plants, which can be found in tropical areas of South-East Asia.
At the beginning of my journey in this artificial „lost” world I faced the biggest indoor waterfall of the world (35m high). For taking perfect pictures in front of it I recommend to come very early. While discovering the rare jungle plants, the way is leading us to the top of the „Cloud Mountain”, which has a fantastic view. It is worth to take this „small” trip to the top walking in order to pass the small tunnels full with lianes and get relaxed by the music of waterfalls around.
The Flower Dome
The Flower Dome – as its name suggests – is packed full with different, rainbow-like flowers showing us the awesome flora of Australia, South-America and South-Africa. Colourful exhibitons and themes are telling us the kaleidoscopic story of the garden’s tiny „inhabitants”.
Tip for visiting this part of the Gardens: here the temperature is lower, than in the Forest Cloud Dome. Spending here hours, this small adventure can easily get into freezing walk, so take a hoodie with you! For foodies there is a restaurant located in Flower Dome, where we can try international dishes or just relax in the olive grove, with coffee in hands.
The Supertree Grove
It is still the part of the Gardens by the Bay, but these giant wonder-trees can be found outside of the high-tech egg-shaped glass houses. Walking among the trees, I wondered, which universe am I in, especially by night, when the Gardens are changing into glittery sky full of vivid diamonds.
The Supertrees and the show of Garden Rhapsody is definitely worth to see! The green giants „dress” every evening (7.45pm, 8.45pm) into magical, dancing lights accompained by music. I advice to come a bit earlier, if we want to get the perfect spot for the show, which can be visited for free. Another – not for free – option is to purchase the ticket for the OCBC Skyline, or spend a fabolous dinner in the fine dining restaurant – the IndoChine – housed in the tallest Supertree, while admiring the mesmerising dance of lights.
The melting pot of cultures
Sinpagore is not about landmarks and luxury shops only. It is the perfect place to get a dash of other cultures through seeing their architecture, feeling their religion and tasting their food.
The best way is to start in Chinatown, in one of the most beloved district of Singapore. Here we can find literally everything: the wonderful, old buildings and traditional temples let us go back in time, while the antique medicinal halls take us into the mysterious world of Chinese healing, or simply into the empire of magic. I have to mention, that the Chinatown of Singapore is the only one in the world possessing a Buddhist temple, a mosque, and a Hindu temple in the same street.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is a real architectural gem hiding a secret rooftop garden with atmosphere of tranquility and harmony. Other points of interest can be the Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple of Singapore and the Masjid Jamae, built as a religious place for the district’s Tamil Muslim population. Of course, there are much more enchanting places, temples hiding in tiny streets of the Chinatown, so just let get lost, and enjoy!
For gastro-lovers the Chinatown Food Street is a real paradise of heavenly good bites. My advice is to visit it and jump into the taste-orgy late evening, as most of the food stalls are open its „doors” at this time, and we can enjoy this colourful tour of senses under the mesmerising light of Chinese lampions.
Little India brings us a quite laced and vibrant piece of India with its mind blowing ambiance. Except the beautiful temples and mosques, vendors of garlands, shiny jewellery and dresses faced with gold are waiting for those obsessed with these treasures of the incredible culture of India. After shopping we can not miss the vegetarian delicasies of South India as well as the typical North Indian tandoori dishes like the layered bread (Lacha Paratha) or the famous round pancakes (Roti Prata).
Enjoy the Singaporean sunset
As Singapore is a real kingdom of sky-high architectural wonders, rooftop terraces, there are countless places for enjoying the sundown painting the horizon into gold. If you want something really unique, I have collected for you couple of the must-see spots for sunset and – by chance – dinner.
One of my favourites is located on the top of the world-famous Hotel Marina Bay Sands, which is – I guess – on bucket list of many of us. The Marina Bay Sands has the world’s largest infinity pool stretching among the clouds, which is the most mesmerising place for relaxing, falling in love with the pinky dusk or siping a cocktail under the stars. But here comes the bad news: earlier there were many possibilities to „snake in” and get a dash of the 57th floor’s luxury, but nowadays there are two „legal” options only: either you book a room – even for one night is worth it – or you pay the entrance (20 SGD) for visiting the rooftop bar CÉ LA VI offering spectacular views.
There is no dress code and you can purchase your ticket with entrance to the Skypark. The price includes one free drink, which you can choose from the menu. I assure everyone: this is 100 % worth to see, as the panorama is breathtaking 200 meters above sea level. Gazing at the city’s magical lights, I had the feeling, that I am looking at a glittering picture of stars creating this surreal city.
The Singapore Flyer is one of the Singapore’s highlights, not without reason: it is one of the iconic architectural jewels of the island-state, towers 165 meters above the city, higher than the famous London Eye. It is possible to visit it all day long, but I recommend to book the ride for the evening in order to delight in fabolous, colourful shades of sun going down. For those, who desire something fancy, a four-course dinner is provided above the city in small capsules. It has to be booked in advance and the check-in time starts at 7pm.
Another good idea is to spice the evening with a superb view of the restaurant located on the top of the iconic Supertree. It is simply fantastic, how the descending sun colours the surroundings, the astonishing trees into thousand shades of gold and purple. While admiring this wonderful performance of the nature, we can taste the specialities prepared by the Indochine Restaurant.
As you see, there are countless cool places to dive into the pinky-blue sky. Your job is just to be there and enjoy it to the fullest.
Taste of the Beach
The Sentosa Island – located in the central part of Singapore – could be an independent, little empire, something like the enchanted world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but unfortunately without the weird Umpa Lumpas. Anyway, if you want to escape of the hustle and bustle of the city centre, visiting Sentosa is the perfect choice.
This is the endless paradise for those, who are seeking for adventures, thrills and relaxation at the same time. The S.E.A Aquarium is home of more than 100.000 different marine animals, while the Sentosa Nature Discovery Park let us to take a look into the local wildlife.
The Universal Studios provides great fun for little ones and big ones alike. If you need something for your blood-pressure, the Mega Adventure Park or the indoor skydiving – which has the world’s largest indoor wind tunnel – can be the best „adrenaline-bomb”.
The themed beaches of the island present diverse forms of recreation. The Siloso Beach is more for watersports, whilst the Tanjong Beach is place of tranquility and peace. My personal favorite was the Palawan Beach. Not only because of its name referring to the Philippines, but because of its tiny „jungle-feeling”. It has a cute lagoon with crystal clear water and crossing the suspension bridge we reach the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia. Unfortunately I have to give one bad point for the beaches: enjoying the sun, laying in the golden sand, the view in front of me was kind of sense illusion. Instead of the never-ending blue sky and turquoise ocean giant cargo ships were floating on the water, like huge sentinels at the fortress’ gate.