There is a lot to do in a Singapore visit and a lot of the sightseeing is at the right price. Free! Below is a list of the main sights included in this Singapore Visit blog post, starting with the all-important MRT, how to get around Singapore.
- Singapore Metro – The MRT
- Gardens by the Bay
- Little India
- Marina Bay Sands
- Singapore River
All of the above list, is to some degree, free to see. There is the option of paying extra to visit the domes at the Gardens by the Bay and go up the top of the Marina bay sands hotel but the light shows at both each evening are free and are free to wander around during the daytime. Each subheading has a brief description of each activity with a link included where I have blogged in greater detail, should you wish to find out more. All the pictures in this blog are, of course, my own, taken on our visit to Singapore.
Singapore Visit Overview
I have to confess I fell in love during our Singapore visit. With Singapore! The first thing I noticed apart from the humidity was how clean Singapore was. The second thing I noticed was how green everything is. Singapore is, undoubtedly, a garden city, it seems wherever there can be trees and flowers, there are.
The overall feel and vibe of the city are of a very modern one. Of course, there are some old bits we saw on our Singapore visit but along the waterfront and some of the main tourist areas, it is very modern. Also, it’s one of the top cities in the world for high life expectancy.
We spent, in total five days in Singapore during our visit. We broke this into two sections, one of two days and the other for three days. The gap in the middle was filled with a mini-break on Batam island which is only 17 miles south of Singapore. Only 40 minutes on the ferry.
We found this a great way to see Singapore as a short trip to Indonesia made for a real contrast between the two places. In fact, I would recommend this to anyone heading to Singapore.
We found that public transport in Singapore, and I specifically mean the Metro because that was all we used was great. We only used the Metro, because it went everywhere we needed. It was quick, cheap, and efficient and one benefit which can’t be overstated is its air conditioning! When it’s 32°C outside with over 90% humidity we were very glad for the air conditioning indeed.
Check out my separate blog all about Singapore’s MRT, which stands for Mass Rapid Transit. If you are used to the subway systems of New York or the tube of London Singapore’s MRT will be a real eye-opener. Undoubtedly, this is the Metro done right. Like the rest of Singapore, it is, of course, modern and clean.
You can use that MRT to get from the airport to the city centre station is located in terminal two of Changi Airport just follow the ‘trains to city’ signs at Changi and you’ll be good.
The next station worth remembering is Bayfront. This is the station to get off at four Gardens by the Bay and the Supertrees. And yes, of course, you simply must see Gardens by the Bay.
This was initially the main reason for coming to Singapore. The supertrees had been on my bucket list since I first saw pictures of them a few years ago and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The whole Gardens by the Bay Park is well worth a visit and budget a whole afternoon and evening to see them.
I say evening as well to watch the light shows. See the early one at the supertrees then head to the marina base’s hotel to watch the hotel light show there. But, Gardens by the Bay is not just Supertrees, oh no.
There are two giant greenhouse domes too! One is the Cloud Forest and the other is the Flower Dome. Both are amazing and very different. The cloud forest has a 30-metre high indoor waterfall which is a must see! To walk around the Gardens is free, as is the light show each evening but to go up the Supertree walkway and enter the domes costs. To visit the Supertrees is free and is certainly included in the things to do in Singapore on a budget. Entrance to the domes costs extra.
For the full lowdown on Gardens by the Bay see my blog here.
Today, it can certainly be said that little India is one of the more lively and colourful districts. The Serangoon road is the main commercial thoroughfare that goes through Little India Singapore.
The shops are myriad, with Goldsmith shops sari stores great restaurants and everything in between there is a 24-hour shopping more called the Mustafa Centre which offers everything you could possibly want or imagine.
The food in little India is amazing but it’s not just Indian food on offer. From Tapas to French cuisine there is certainly something to excite anyone’s taste buds. But the Indian food is a must try. Both North and South Indian dishes are on offer. The banana leaf Apolo restaurant offers dishes from both North and South India and is a great place to sample a bit of everything.
Click here for the all the info on Little India Singapore
Chinese is one of my favourite foods, this was a must see and must eat! It’s easy to find too, just jump on the MRT and get off at the station called, wait for it, Chinatown. Of course, it’s full of little stalls to buy all the tat you could possibly need or want.
The Marina Bay Sands Singapore is a hotel on Singapore’s waterfront. Standing Majestically overlooking the Singapore Strait, at over 200 m high you can’t miss it. While you have to pay to stay at the hotel the complex that surrounds it is free to visit. Underneath the hotel is a shopping centre with over 170 stores, mostly high-end luxury places.
The must-sees for me here were the observation deck and the twice nightly light show. The light show is free but the observation deck costs to visit. For the full low down see here, Marina Bay Sands Singapore.
The Singapore River is just over 3 km long from its source at Kim Seng Bridge to where it empties into Marina Bay. The river has been beautified with pedestrianised walks down either side with bars restaurants and sculptures. Of course, it’s great for just a casual stroll. Also, a great place to have a beer or even a full-blown meal in one of the many restaurants offering cuisine from around the world.
I love the bridges crossing the river which are also lit up at night. Different types of cuisine from around the world and its general feeling of peace and tranquillity made the Singapore River a must see.
As I said our stay was in two parts and we stayed in different hotels for each part. The one thing I noticed about all the hotels is that the rooms are perhaps smaller than you might be used to. My own personal thoughts on this are because space is at a premium in Singapore.
However, saying that, our second hotel Msocial Singapore at Robertson Quay felt in no way cramped. I loved this hotel. It was clean and modern and also designed by Philippe Starck.
Now, call me a Philistine if you must but my long-suffering other half Tam had to tell me who he was. And, it still doesn’t sound right if I told you he makes plastic chairs!
No wonder he calls himself a designer, it sounds so much better than saying ‘I make plastic chairs’
I’ll put a link to his Wikipedia page so you can see, far better than I can explain, what the fuss is about.
The infinity pool on the roof is also a nice touch. As I mentioned earlier, space is at the premium it is, some Singapore hotels have Infinity pools on the roof. As we lay in ours we could see another infinity pool on a rooftop several streets away.
I also like the level of automation with this hotel they have a little robot butler who can bring water to your room. And, a personal first for me, I had a robot make my omelette one morning! Check out the video, it is amazing to see!
Also, they had a water delivering robot. If you required extra water for your room, the robot came up in the lift and delivered it to your door!
I mentioned earlier how clean everything is. Nobody seems to litter! Even the river is scooped and cleaned! The boat that can be seen below, trawls the water for floating debris. And yes, you are right, those are mainly leaves it has collected.
Happy fish! These Gourami type fish seemed more than happy swimming in the river that winds its way through Singapore.
How we got there
We flew a slightly convoluted route! Qatar Airways was having an ex-EU sale. For a full explanation of what ex-EU flights are see Booking cheap Business Class flights.
In brief, it means the main body of the flight starts in Europe so you have to take a positioning flight to get to your European start airport. You might think that’s a bit of a faff but the savings can be huge! As an example, this flight cost me less than £1000 for a Business Class return in the Qatar Airways Sale.
We took a short hop from London to Stockholm via British Airways and then picked up our flight to Singapore there.
Singapore Visit – Conclusions
These are, undoubtedly, my must-sees on a Singapore Visit. It’s also worth noting that Indonesia is just a 40 Minute ferry ride away and great for an escape from city life. The prices were great too, especially compared to Singapore! We stayed in Indonesia for 3 nights and went snorkeling in some of the most pristine waters I have ever seen! For all the Information on my snorkelling trip and how to book, see Indonesia Snorkelling.
Some Useful Guide Books – We Used the Lonely Planet one
More of our Singapore and Indonesia adventures
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