With only two days scheduled in Singapore, there was a lot to fit into those measly 48 hours. Mainly chicken rice. And okay, some friend catch ups too. I slotted back into the Far Eastern way of life easily- lots of snacks, and second lunches and dinners. It was a flurry of food, hawker centres, gorgeous weather, and hitting 10,000 steps a day at least. For this visit, we weren’t able to fit into a trip to Sentosa but should you ever be in the same boat and have a limited time to explore the city, then I hope this speedy little guide through Singapore is of some help!
Singapore is super easy to navigate and even at rush hour, isn’t offensively over crowded *ahem London*
The MTR: Head to a ticket booth inside any station and purchase an EZ-Link card that you can use to top up. We had $7 credit on each of our cards and it lasted the whole time we were there. You can also pick up a little MTR map at the ticket booth to help navigate your way around. Tap in and out, just as you would with an Oyster card.
Taxi: there are so many taxis in Singapore you’ll never have to wait for long. Look out for an official taxi rank to hail one down.
My parents met in Singapore, and as I walked through Chinatown I wondered if this is what the Lion City looked like back then. With quaint colonial style buildings and cute window shutters, before the skyscrapers arrived and multiplied.
All over the city, lush foliage and trees melt into the urban landscape reminding you that this is still a tropical island. It’s a characteristic of this place that I adore- you’re in the middle of a bustling city but it’s no concrete jungle.
Where to start? I would recommend heading towards…
Orchard Road is to Singapore as Oxford Street is to London. It’s a long road full of malls and shops. You’ll find everything from high end designer shops at one end to the quirky and kitschy boutiques down the other.
Full of old world charm and pretty window shutters, this is the place to bar hop or indulge your foodie ways. Try P.S Cafe on Ann Siang Hill Park (but best book ahead)
An indoor market full of trinkets, street food. Pick up a few giant sized siu mai dumplings for $3 or sticks of fruit.
I guess the Shoreditch of Singapore? Cool boutiques, bars and street art overlooked by the Sultan Mosque.
With only two days to cram in some sights, must eats, and to see friends we had to reluctantly be a bit brutal with our sightseeing plans. We skipped Sentosa and the waterfront and instead explored the Gardens by the Bay, somewhere neither of us had been before. That needs an entire post of it’s own because it is vast!
You can’t go wrong anywhere in Singapore, but for the really good stuff, head to a hawker centre.
Maxwell Food Centre
Maxwell’s is famous and the most famous stall of all is Tian Tian Chicken Rice- especially since Anthony Bourdain gave his seal of approval. Go at midday before the queue gets out of hand.
Newton Food Centre
This open air hawker centre is known for it’s barbecued stingray and seafood. Pick a table and let someone take your orders. They’ll go to each stall for you. I ordered the cereal prawns- crispy, sweet and salty.
Once I satisfied my chicken rice cravings, I began to focus on the other lovely nibbles that I love and miss back in the UK.
Satay- the real, sticky, smoky grilled kind with the kind of spicy peanut sauce made from scratch and not watered down peanut butter. (The smell of the meat grilling against the hot charcoals is phenomenal)
Enormous crispy dosai (similar to a French galette crepe) that I watch being flattened and fried in front of me and dipped into a dish of vegetable curry.
Oodles of noodles- all kinds! I love a good old fried bee hoon but Robin usually likes to tuck into the flat rice ones. You can’t go wrong with noodles.
There are stalls selling sticks of fruit, little dumplings, and sweet treats (get Kaya flavoured anything, it’s pandan/coconutty goodness)
Days seem to last longer in Asia than anywhere else. The sun rises early and sets late into the evening, not to mention everything is open until late into the night anyway (even malls)
Another good thing Singapore has nailed (beside air conditioning everything, everywhere) is the free wifi- I never had to struggle to find a connection. Just a handy little tip.
On our final day, we spent the majority of it down at the Gardens by the Bay. It’s that big, it took most of the afternoon to see all the exhibits, explore the grounds and then we stayed until well after sunset to watch the light show. That’s for another post!