“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
PRINT & GO
Before your departure, do not forget to check/bring with you :
– Boarding Pass and Hotel Reservation
– Visa (if applicable)
DAY 1: LITTLE INDIA, ARAB STREET, DOWNTOWN
After 4 days in Malaysia, I took a flight and I landed in Singapore. If I have to be honest, before arriving to Singapore I had no clue of what I was finding there. Since for me it was considered just a “quick stop before heading to Indonesia”, a sort of “ok since it’s on my way I will have a tour, just for fun”, I didn’t read further on the place, I had just heard friends and colleagues saying how modern and developed it was and in my mind I was saying “ok another boring city…I will just stay there 2 days and run away as fast as I can”. Well, sometimes it is true that if you set your expectations very low you will always get incredible surprises! Because yes, what I found there was above of any expectation, a fantastic place that I miss everyday and where I would have loved to spend more time. Singapore is simply and purely magic! Every corner has its own charm. Beautiful, dynamic, multicultural, business, clean, safe, romantic, wealthy, noisy, peaceful: Singapore is everything except boring! You can enjoy every minute of your day by doing something different. There is place and time for every kind of mood: places for party, for working, for shopping, for romantic tete-a-tete, for harmony with nature. I can keep on listing why I loved Singapore so much and I can go on for many many pages, but I will just say that you can understand my love for this country just by being there. I stayed in Singapore only 3 days, but I wish I could have stayed more. The main city has a lot to offer in terms of attractions and escapade as well. Shopping, monuments, parks, beach, you will not risk to get bored there. Most of the attractions are at walking distance, whereas for the rest you must take the MRT, the very modern metro system that works efficiently. For the accommodation, whatever area you choose it is very safe and easy to move around, although bear in mind that, compared to the other Asian countries, Singapore is extremely expensive in terms of accommodation. My accommodation (which was a capsule hotel – first time in my life and finally not so bad!) was in Arab street, therefore I started the exploration of the city from there. Arab street is the main street of a fantastic neighborhood with Arab influences: Turkish restaurants, Persian carpets stores, a very beautiful mosque. This set of streets includes all features and charms belonging to the Arab countries and culture. It is also a great place for a delicious lunch break. For the meals, bear in mind that prices can change drastically in Singapore: having lunch in some areas might be ridiculously expensive, whereas in others it is quite affordable. You can choose between standard restaurants with food coming from all over the world or my best suggestion is food street, it is very varied, delicious, affordable, and in good hygienic conditions (please note also that water in Singapore is drinkable). In Arab street for instance you have a mixture of both: you can either enjoy restaurants either street food.
Walking around 20mins from Arab street, you will run into the fantastic colors of Little India. This is the Indian neighborhood and it will make you jump into the atmosphere of Indian cities: colorful buildings and decorations, restaurants, temples, and stores with Indian food, music, and beautiful clothes.
After a short break at the hotel it is time to hit downtown. The reason why I left it for later is because the downtown area is very beautiful during the day, but at night it is wonderful! So take the MRT again and get off in Bayfront or Esplanade and you will arrive to the fantastic Marina Bay. This is the place where you will find the most amazing skyscrapers facing the bay. You can start from the Theaters on the Bay (this is usually what you see when getting off at Esplanade) and have a nice walk all along the waterfront.
From the city side you will first bump into the symbol of the city : Merlion. Its name combines “mer” meaning the sea and “lion“. The fish body represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means “sea town” in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore’s original name—Singapura—meaning “lion city” or “kota singa”.
From the Merlion’s location you will have an amazing view on the Floating stadium (a football stadium floating on the water…amazing!), the Theatres on the Bay, The Marina Financial center (the area including all skyscrapers), the ArtScience Museum (a very interesting museum inside a flower-shaped building), and the Luxury hotel Marina Bay Sands (a dream hotel formed by 3 skyscrapers and a spaceship-shaped building on the roof linking the 3 of them). In order to reach this place you need to cross the New Bridge and once there another fantastic view will be presented to you: the view on the city, the view on the skyscrapers reflecting their lights on the water. From there you will also be able to see the famous Singapore flyer.
Once you are on the side of Marina Bay Sands you need to take the path behind the hotel in order to see what is in my opinion the coolest thing I have ever seen in a city! Gardens by the Bay is a fantastic park of more than 100 hectares with an amazing view on the waterfront. Besides the nature, the park includes plenty of attractions, such as food courts, terraces with breathtaking views; but the biggest attraction of this park is definitely the super-sized trees. They consist of tree-shaped vertical gardens all linked by a suspended walkway from which you can enjoy a stunning view. The best moment to see them is during the night, when you can enjoy a choreographed lights and sounds all through these trees. I have had the chance to see many cool things in my life, but this was definitely one of the best. A night in Singapore can be simply magic!
DAY 2: THE MODERN SINGAPORE
If you thought that on the first day in Singapore you had already seen everything then wait to be astonished on the second and third day. On the second day we will see the very modern part of the city with a small break in the fantastic nature. For the shopping enthusiasts, we will start with a walk in Orchard street. This is a huge street surrounded by massive shopping malls and restaurants. If you want to experience shopping in Singapore, that is the place to be (honestly speaking, there is nothing different from all other big cities in the world, but ok at least you can enjoy seeing how big and luxurious shopping malls can be).
After a long walk in Orchard street, you can take the MRT and stop in a place that is not very famous from a touristic point of view. Actually I bumped into this place just by chance, by taking the wrong direction of the MRT…but it is definitely worth a visit. I am talking of the Chinese and Japanese gardens. Located a little far from the city center, on two islands in Jurong Lake, these gardens are reached by an overpass and joined by the Bridge of Double Beauty. The Chinese Garden dedicates most of its area to “northern style” landscape architecture, the style of Imperial gardens, integrating brightly colored buildings with the surroundings. While the Chinese garden is more visually stimulating, the Japanese Garden is intended to evoke feeling. Marble-chip paths let you hear your own footsteps and meditate on the sound. They also serve to slow the journey for better gazing. Walking in these gardens will take you far away from the city noise and let you enjoy some rest and harmony with the nature.
After this nice stop in the nature, time to go back to the “city” and head to downtown. Artistically speaking, there is nothing amazing there, it is just a financial district. Nevertheless it is always surprising for a European to see big streets with big skyscrapers and very modern structures around. So you can have a walk there and perhaps stop for a short lunch break. Afterwards, you can go back to the hotel for a rest and get ready for the great Singaporean nightlife. This time we go back to downtown and in the waterfront area, but in a new fantastic place: Clark Quay. This is a great destination for restaurants, bars, entertainment till late night. In Clark Quay you can enjoy a nice dinner and drinks along the romantic waterfront. Definitely another great experience in Singapore!
DAY 3: SENTOSA
For the last day in Singapore, you can go to Sentosa, a very popular island resort in Singapore. Although it is an island, it is easily connected to the rest of the city by bus or by car or taxi. This island includes a lot of attractions, such as a long sheltered beach, golf courses, restaurants, and the theme park Universal Studios. You can easily spend an entire day in the island and enjoy each corner of it.
For the evening you can explore Chinatown. Beautiful streets full of Chinese decorations, restaurants, food kiosks, one of the best Chinatowns in the world is in Singapore and is certainly a great way to say goodbye to this dreamy small country with a lot of charm.