Singapore. Depending on how you phrase it, it’s 20 hours away, or 9,359 miles. It’s my furthest journey from home yet, but I’m pleased to report it may just be my favorite.
We squeezed a lot of meals and sites in just a few days and walked until our feet were sore. Here are five of the things we did, food we ate and sites we saw.
1. Marina Bay Sands
The Marina Bay Sands hotel is an iconic part of Singapore’s skyline and likely the most famous hotel in the country. You may have heard about the mesmerizing infinity pool on the top–open to guests of the hotel only. We were able to make our way to the top by visiting Spago Bar and Lounge.
We enjoyed the “Sunset” happy hour special, which was essentially a reduced-price menu during the sunset from 4-7 pm. The drinks were refreshing, just like the view.
There is a lot more to do at the Marina Bay Hotel. There’s a casino, and countless other restaurants from famous chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck. In addition, there’s a huge (and I mean HUGE) shopping mall right across the street. You could easily spend a whole day in this area–emjoying the view, eating, and spending money in all the high-end shops.
About 75% of Singaporean are of Chinese descent so a visit to Chinatown in Singapore is an absolute must.
Here you’ll find plenty to see, buy, and eat. Stall after stall of colorful souvenirs almost scream for you to come inside. T-Shirts, bags, hats, jewelry and more line the streets in every direction.
Walk down the main road for about a half-mile and you’ll come upon the Maxwell Street Hawker Center. A Hawker center is essentially an open-air complex with various food stalls, and Singapore is both famous for and filled with them. We heard that trying Hainanese Chicken rice in Singapore was an absolute must so we did just that.
All it is is rice, chicken, garlic, ginger and if you like, chili sauce on top to add a little heat. So simple yet so delicious. You can find it at most Hawker Centers, and you’ll see it advertised on many stalls. We ordered from Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, which actually has a Michelin Star–the first given to a food stall anywhere in the world.
3. Little India
There is a prevalent Indian community in Singapore as well. While I don’t remember much from that Hindi class I took in college, I’ve always been fascinated and enamored by the culture. So we took a stroll down Serangoon Road to check out the sites.
As a lover of Indian food, I had to have Indian food in Singapore. We found a restaurant off the main road. We were actually looking for a specific restaurant that we saw in a recommendation online, but it had since closed down. We picked another place nearby instead.
I ordered my favorite Indian dish, Butter Chicken.
The flavors were authentic and delicious.
4. Ya Kun Kaya Toast
If it seems like this list is heavily influenced by food, that’s because it is. Singapore is known for some of the best cuisine on the planet. Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a Singaporean chain and Kaya toast is considered a staple there. What you get is toast with kaya, a mixture of sugar, coconut milk and eggs, pandan (a tropical plant used in desserts), and butter. The toast is served with a soft boiled egg for the purpose of dipping your toast into the egg. They also serve coffee.
Authentically Singaporean, the flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine make this a must-try if you’re in Singapore. Delicious, filling, and inexpensive.
5. Gardens by the Bay
Singapore is known for its cleanliness and also the vast amount of greenery and beautiful gardens. One of the most well-known perhaps are the Gardens by the Bay. Not far from the Marina Bay Sands hotel lies 250 acres of various gardens.
Our favorite was the Supergrove Tree Highway
Two of these large structures, with winding plants crawling up all the way to the top, are equipped with elevators that take you up to the top, allowing you to walk between the trees and making for an incredible view of both the gardens and the city itself.
After you’re finished at the Gardens, you can mosey on over to the Marina Bay Sands area for shopping or get a bite to eat at Satay by the Bay. Satay is another Singapore staple.
Wash it down with a fresh fruit smoothie, or stick a straw right in a fresh coconut–which is absolutely delicicious and very refreshing.
I hope one day I can go back to Singapore and explore even more of this wonderful place. I’ve heard it referred to as the “melting pot” of Asia. It’s so cool to see so many different cultures coming together and you can definitely taste that element in the food.
Also–on your way home–be sure to spend some time in the airport. It’s beautiful and has a movie theater, a butterfly garden, and the world’s largest indoor waterfall.
Until next time, Singapore!