After a few great days in Bali, we flew with Air Asia to Singapore. Since we have acquaintances who live in this vibrant city-state, we took the opportunity to make a short stopover.
Singapore in short
.Singapore lies on the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula and consists of a large island surrounded by several smaller islands. Despite being barely 697 km² and equipped with immense skyscrapers, it is one of the greenest cities in the world.
Singapore became a colony of Great Britain in 1819. After the British gave them independence in 1963, they joined Malaysia, but in 1965 they became an independent country.
The humidity is very high, causing a lot of rain. So make sure you always have an umbrella at hand. We were surprised the first night by a gigantic shower and arrived as drowned cats in the restaurant.
The population is a mulicultural mishmash. Almost 80% are Chinese. The official languages are Malay, Chinese, English, and Tamil. The unique mix of all these languages is 'Singlish'.
The economy is regarded as one of the strongest in the world. The emphasis is mainly on electronics, chemistry, and finance. Tourism is now also very important.
Where to stay in Singapore?
Where do you stay if you are in Singapore? Plenty of options in all price categories, but we chose the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel. I recently watched a documentary on TV and was very curious if it could meet the expectations.
It is obviously a very impressive building. The rooms are spacious and there are numerous dining options. By the way, all equally pricey. The hotel's eye-catcher, however, is the spectacular infinity pool 'Ce La Vi' on the roof. In the evening we immediately took a look and from the roof you have a beautiful view over the city
Expectation vs reality
The next day we went in bathing suits to the 57th floor for the mandatory swimming pool photo. I expected we wouldn’t have the pool for ourselves, but what a shock. It was really too crowded. We immediately abandoned our plan to drink a cocktail on the roof. I really cannot relax here. After the obligatory photo, we looked for quieter places.
If you are not staying at the hotel, you can access the Skypark Observation Desk on the 57th floor for 23 Singapore Dollars. However, the swimming pool is only accessible to hotel guests.
The location of the hotel is top! It is located on the Singapore River and from the hotel you take the elevator to the Gardens by the Bay. The ArtScience Museum is in front of the hotel. Also the Singapore Flyer (Ferris wheel) is within walking distance.
Conclusion: Marina Bay Sands is a hotel that you really must see once, but one night is enough.
If you love the grandeur of past times, you must be in Raffles hotel. This legendary colonial-style hotel opened its doors in 1887. Grandiose parties have been given every since, including such guestss as Joseph Conrad, Charlie Chaplin, and Michael Jackson. The Singapore Sling first made its appearance here in 1915.
The Fullerton Hotel is located opposite the Marina Bay Sands and is one of the classic, stylish hotels of Singapore. A few doors further you will find the Fullerton Bay hotel. We enjoyed a great dinner on the roof terrace in their restaurant The Lantern.
My husband already stayed at the Swissotel Merchant Court hotel at Clarke Quay. The hotel is beautifully situated and has very nice rooms.
During a previous trip to Singapore we stayed at Grand Hyatt on Orchard Road, THE shopping street of Singapore. I especially remember the great breakfast and the fantastic shops. Bad for the credit card, but that is a problem in Singapore anyway.
Top 5 activities in Singapore
The best way to explore the region around the Singapore river is a river cruise.. Water B River Cruise takes you on a beautiful, environmentally friendly electric boat. You can get on and off at different places. Along the way you will pass some beautiful old bridges, the parliament, boat Quay and Clarke Quay. Clarke Quay is a perfect neighborhood to get out and stroll along the cozy restaurants and terraces. Here is also the old prison.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is one of the new showpieces of the city and fully fits the strategy to make Singapore a garden city. The park is right behind the Marina Bay Sands and is an oasis of green with impressive water features. The main attractions are:
- Super Tree Grove: A collection of 18 supertrees, sculptures that resemble trees, and are now almost completely overgrown with all kinds of plants. They are a kind of vertical gardens. In the trunk of one of these supertrees you take the elevator to enjoy the amazing view from the OCBC Skyway at 22 meters.
- Cloud Forest: A little further you see two futuristic-looking spheres. The highest is Cloud Forest. Inside you imagine yourself in an exotic rainforest.
- Flower Dome: the second bulb houses a collection of flowers from all over the world. In 2015, the Flower Dome was the largest greenhouse in the world in the Guinness Book of Records.
Furthermore you will find beautiful artworks everywhere in the park. It is the perfect place to escape the crowds and just relax completely.
A round with this ferris wheel takes about 40 minutes and you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city on the way. Try to do this especially in the evening, because then the city is at its best.
The museum, next to Marina Bay Sands, is inspired by a futuristic-looking lotus flower. Here you will find art exhibitions, but also sciences, technology, and culture are discussed extensively. Thanks to numerous creative activities, it is also fun for children.
Looking for more tips? Read this Singapore Travel Guide.
If you are in Singapore, you MUST shop. From the Marina Bay Sands Hotel you come straight into The Shoppes via an underground tunnel (no spelling mistake), a gigantic shopping mall. Here you will find all the big brands, numerous restaurants and a wine trade where my husband went crazy. Here you absolutely must visit the Louis Vuitton store. After the flagship store on the Champs Elysee in Paris, this is the largest Louis Vuitton in the world. In the shopping mall you enter the shop and through an underground tunnel you enter a glass store that is located in the middle of the Singapore river. For fans this is the Walhalla. Do not forget your credit card (or leave it for safety at home).
Kate Spade designer bags! Irresistable!
The most famous shopping street in Singapore is Orchard Road. Big brands and small shopping centers alternate here.
Singapore for foodies
I think Singapore is a culinary paradise. If they do not have it here, it does not exist.
Streetfood is also lifted to a different level here. Be sure to visit one of the many hawker centers. This is a collection of food stalls. You walk past the stalls, choose a dish, and place yourself at one of the plastic tables. We visited the Hawkers center diagonally across from Marina Bay Sands (walk outside on the waterfront and turn right). You cross the beautiful purple lighted bridge and pass just behind the seatings for the formula 1. The peking duck, seafood rice, chicken satay, ... Delicious! Afraid to get sick? No need at all.The stalls are under strict supervision and are super hygienic.
Of course there is much more to experience in Singapore. You can easily fill a week here. However, since it is a perfect stopover during a trip to all kinds of Asian destinations, we chose a short visit. We will undoubtedly come here more often in the coming years to discover new things.
Singapore in 2 minutes.