I had a 3 night stay in Singapore in August 2017 and fell in love with the place. There is so much to see and do that it’s difficult to pick what to do if you are short on time. Here are my highlights.
Marina Bay Sands
Since opening in 2010, Marina Bay Sands has transformed the skyline of Singapore with it’s distinctive shape of 3 towers with the SkyPark in the shape of a boat on top. The highly instagrammed infinity pool on the top is only open to guests of the hotel but you can go up to Spago Bar and Lounge on the 57th floor to enjoy views across the infinity pool to the city beyond.
You need to book a table if you wish to have dinner there but you can get a tapas style bar menu to enjoy with your sundowners. I have to say that the food was amazing, a little expensive but absolutely delicious.
Gardens by the Bay
Situated next to Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay is a vast park with 2 domes – the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.
The Flower Dome has a cool, dry climate growing flowers from the Mediterranean, South Africa and California. There are also a number of interesting art installations dotted around.
The Cloud Forest replicates conditions from the tropical highlands of around 2000 meters above sea level. There is a 35 meter ‘mountain’ in the centre of the Cloud Forest with the worlds highest indoor waterfall.
Smoke and Mirrors
Situated on the roof of the National Gallery, Smoke and Mirrors is the perfect place to enjoy views of Marina Bay Sands.
This bar has a strict dress code and booking is advisable but Smoke and Mirrors has an exclusive feel and is a great venue for a special evening.
You can sit back and enjoy Singapore’s night sky light up with all the colours from the buildings around, with a cocktail and some really tasty food from the bar menu.
Little India and Chinatown
There are 3 major cultural centres in Singapore. Little India is the Indian enclave, Chinatown is the Chinese enclave and Kampong Glam is the Arabic enclave. Each of these vibrant areas celebrates its culture and heritage.
This is the Muslim Quarters of Singapore and you get a real sense of the Middle East here. Sultan Mosque sits at the top of Bussorah Street, which is lined with Turkish and Lebanese restaurants.
Around the corner is Haji Lane, a street famed for its boutique shops and colourful street art.
There are numerous cafes, bars and eateries in this area and you could easily spend a few hours soaking up the atmosphere with a beer and falafel. We ate Lebanese food at Beirut Grill in Bussorah Street and enjoyed a drink at Blu Jazz Cafe.
This was probably my favourite area, I loved it so much that I visited twice during my 3 night visit.
Situated on the southern bank of the Singapore River is Boat Quay. Once the busiest part of the port, the shophouses have now been converted to house a variety of bars and restaurants. We managed to find the strangest combination within one restaurant. Patro’s serves Mexican and North Indian Cuisine along side Japanese beer and played reggae music from the loud speakers. Of course we had to go in and sample the Mexican pizza. Surprisingly, it was delicious!
Just around the river from Boat Quay is Clarke Quay. This area is more commercial and has a number of chain bars and restaurants such as McGettigan’s and Hooters. There are loads of bars and it gets really lively in the evening with revellers.
I went there in the late afternoon/early evening and enjoyed wandering around the pretty pastel coloured buildings and a sundowner with views over the river.
I was fortunate to be staying at Raffles for my 3 nights in Singapore but non-residents can visit the bar, famed for Singapore Slings and throwing monkey nut shells on the floor.
If you prefer a more refined experience then you can go for afternoon tea in the Tiffin Room.
The service at Raffles is second to none so it is worth splashing out on a visit if you can. You can read more about my stay at Raffles here.
I am a massive fan of the sightseeing bus. In some cities it’s not suitable but in Singapore it’s perfect. If you’re short on time and want to see all the best tourist locations in the city then the hop-on-hop-off bus takes you everywhere you need to go.