Singapore hasn’t ever been on my bucket list of places to visit, but seeing as we were flying through Singapore airport a couple of times on this trip, it seemed daft not to stop there for a few days and have a look around.
On arriving at the airport, we got the MRT (the underground train) and then a short taxi ride to our hotel, in a bid to keep costs down.
Where we slept
We stayed at the Aqueen Hotel, found just near Little India. Just a two minute walk away is the hub of Little India where we found ourselves amongst the gorgeous wafts of our favourite curries. Mmmmm mmmmm. This hotel was a treat for us. It cost a fair bit more than we have been paying for accommodation in Thailand and Indonesia, but hey, it is a city (a city famed for being expensive) and we didn’t want to stay in a shared room in a dorm. There is something available for every budget here but it really depends on what you are looking for.
How we got around
City sightseeing bus – we paid SGD49 each for a two day ticket. There are something like 7 different routes that the buses take around the city and it is a hop on hop off bus so if you see something you like, you can hop off, have a mooch around then get back on the bus a bit later. We have been on hop on hop off buses in other cities and find it the easiest way to cover a large area and to check out the architecture (if that is your thing).
MRT – If you know where you are heading and want to get there quickly and easily, then the MRT is the way to go. We found these trains so easy to use and think they are the most efficient way of getting around the city. If you are going to use the MRT a lot, then the most cost effective way to do this is to buy a card with prepaid credit (SGD13 for the card which includes SGD7 of credit), which you can top up at any station. Any leftover credit you aren’t going to use, can be refunded to you in cash.
Your feet! – Just walk around. We put on our trainers and off we went. It is free!
Where we ate and drank (on a budget)
Hawker Centres. If you google Hawker Centres in Singapore, you will come across a huge list of these centres dotted all over the city. Hawker Centres are food courts with various stalls with shared seating. We love these centres because they are cheap, there is a ridiculous amount of choice and the food is super tasty. Our favourites were the Tekka Centre in Little India and Chinatown Complex, in (yes, you guessed it) Chinatown.
So let’s set the scene. It is early evening. You have spent the day exploring the city but it is too early for dinner. It is a hot and sticky evening. Hhmmm I know just what I want, an ice cold cider or a chilled glass of white wine…
If this sounds like you, and you are on a budget in Singapore, you will need to take out a small payday loan to afford a drink! On average, a glass of wine will set you back about £10 a glass. This may not sound like much to some of you, but if you consider that our average accommodation budget in Thailand and Indonesia is around £15 to £20 a night, then you will understand how I fell off my chair when I saw the drinks menu.
Yet, fear not my fellow alcoholics. Many of the drinking establishments have happy hours which last anywhere from 5pm to 9pm where selected drinks are 50% off. Make the most of these times. Most places also have a ladies night where ladies are either given free or discounted drinks for part of the evening. If you are feeling thirsty, have a walk around Clarke Quay where there are lots of bars and restaurants all together so you can bar hop from one happy hour to another. Most bars also have live music from 6pm onwards which is great (for me as I love to drink wine and sing along. Not so much for Andy who has to listen to me wailing along!).
Where we shopped
Orchard Road – 6 kilometres of shops. Can you imagine! I’m not just talking about street level either. This is 6km of shops at street level and underground shopping centres. You can find everything here for any budget. H&M, Sephora, Zara, Urban Decay, Marks & Spencers, Gucci, Dior, Armani. The list goes on and on. There are also lots of food courts, hotels, a cinema, hair salons. Plenty to keep you entertained especially if it is a rainy day.
There are lots of other shopping centres dotted around the city so if you aren’t near Orchard Road, and don’t fancy making your way over there, you can still shop till you drop.
How we entertained ourselves (other than eating and drinking)
Adventure Cove Waterpark on Sentosa Island – we spent the day at the Waterpark. Andy was really excited about going. I was not. But I knew how much Andy wanted to go so I bit the bullet and off we went. We got the MRT then hopped onto the monorail which takes you to Sentosa Island. The waterpark tickets cost SGD38 each for the day. It isn’t a huge waterpark but it was lots of fun (mainly for Andy). I’m not huge on these sorts of rides and whilst Andy convinced me to go on 4 of the rides, I did not enjoy it. He tried so hard to help me think I was enjoying the ride (weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee he joyfully sang into my ear as I felt I was dropping to my death down a giant plughole) but sadly, it did not work. Whilst the rides weren’t for me, I did love watching people’s faces as they came out of each ride either laughing away or looking somewhat shocked.
There is also a Universal Studios on the island but we didn’t go.
Gardens by the Bay – this is a really nice area to walk around. 101 hectares of beautifully manicured gardens which you can walk around for free. They have a few conservatories with flowers and a cloud garden but there are entrance fees for these. The Supertree Grove is also free to walk around and at night, there is a light show.
Just behind the Gardens you will find Marina Bay Sands. This marina front has some exclusive hotels together with a shopping centre for those with deep pockets. It was nice walking around the area and looking in expensive shop windows. My favourite shop here was the cake shop – everything looked amazing!
Overall I really enjoyed our visit here. Definitely worth a stop if you are in the area or passing through the airport.