Travel

Ultimate Singapore Guide

22. October 2017

This handy Singapore Guide includes all the information you need for your trip. I have included my personal recommendations for dining, coffee and drinks as well as the main sights to visit, my favourite museums and logistical information to make your trip as comfortable as possible. As most of the travellers I know come to Singapore for about two days, I have also made the video above on how you can make the most of your 48-hour-trip.

What to see

Botanical Gardens

The Orchid Gardens are part of the Botanical Gardens and are a must-see on your trip to Singapore.

It will be hot but totally worth the experience. My personal highlight was the Orchid Garden. The fee is SGD 5 (about EUR 3 USD 4), concessions are available. Stay tuned for my photo post and video here!

East Coast

Colourful heritage houses in Joo Chiat Road, East Coast

The area around Joo Chiat Road is beautiful and the area hosts the famous colourful shop houses. There are really cute stores inside these heritage houses, such as The Bloom Room (315 Joo Chiat Road). Enjoy the fragrant noodles with pork lard at Yong Huat – this food stall is a Singaporean institution since 1949. While most of the other stalls in this tiny hawker centre at the corner of Joo Chiat Road and East Coast Road come and go, Yong Huat is still there. And for a reason, the food is delicious.

Throughout Singapore you can find small alleys and houses.

Best View from the National Gallery Singapore

View of the Marina Bay area

Most tourists go to Marina Bay Sands, but my favourite view is from the rooftop (6th floor) of the National Gallery. While I do recommend to visit the museum (see below), you can also visit the rooftop for free.

Evening at Robertson Walk

I love having a walk along the river and end this walk at Robertson Walk – either with a dinner at my favourite Persian restaurant Shabestan (see below) or drinks at Wine Connection. This is also fun on the weekend after a brunch at Common Man.

Gardens by the Bay

Try to visit the Gardens by the Bay in the morning, as it can get quite hot soon.

Singapore is a very green city and famous for the big artificial trees near the Marina Bay Sands which are covered with all sorts of plants. It is definitely worth seeing.

Raffles Hotel

The Raffles Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Singapore and is an architectural landmark.

Entrance of the Raffles Hotel

St. Andrews Cathedral

Near City Hall and on the way to the National Gallery, there is St. Andrews Cathedral which is worth a quick stop.

Street Art

While Singapore is lesser known for its Street Art, there are quite a few really nice murals to explore. Check out my post about Singapore street art.

Sentosa

Sentosa Island is a typical tourist attraction in Singapore. It has a variety of amusement parks and also some beaches. Most of the activities can be quite pricey and usually they are crowded with tourists. Please avoid the aquarium – it was not only really expensive but also was I shocked to see dolphins in captivity…

Little India and Chinatown

These two areas are a must see. And they are also a great place to shop for souvenirs.

Shopping at Haji Lane

Check out my post about shopping at Haji Lane.

Museums

National Gallery Singapore

My favourite view is from the rooftop of the National Gallery (you do not need a ticket to go up to the roof and the bar).

The National Gallery has a beautiful permanent collection and really interesting special exhibitions. Check out my post about the Yayoi Kusama exhibition. I am also currently working on a review about the National Gallery, stay tuned!

Asian Civilizations Museums

The area around the Asian Civilizations Museum is a really nice small park with some cafés and restaurants.

Singapore Art Museum

This is another great place for contemporary art. You can read about my exhibition review here.

National Museum

National Museum Singapore

The National Museum covers Singapore’s history and is a must see if you want to know more about the country. I knew a bit about the colonial history and when Lee Kwan Yew built up today’s nation. However, I did not know much about Singapore’s history before 1900. Therefore, this is a very useful and interesting place.

ArtScience Museum

This is one of my favourite museums. Especially the exhibition Future World – I am working on another review here too, stay tuned!

Where to Eat

Hawker Centres for Local Food

A Singapore landmark is the hawker centre at Telok Ayer Market. I really like the architectural juxtaposition of old and new. However, I prefer to eat at the hawker centre at Newton Circus.

Hawker Centres are places, usually outdoors, with a variety of food stalls. They are comparatively cheap and EVERYBODY goes there – no matter if you are a teacher, construction worker or billionaire. Singaporeans love them. My favourite one is at Newton Circus.

Downtown and Boat Quay in the city centre

Shabestan

This restaurant at Robertson Walk has the best Persian food in town. (80 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-13 The Pier)

Fuel Plus
Ultimate Singapore Guide Cake Fuel Plus

Pistachio cake at Fuel Plus near Harbourfront Centre

This small café near Harbourfront centre has some of the best cakes in town. (16 Morse Road)

Muthu’s Curry

Try out the Fish Head Curry, their signature dish (Blk 7 Dempsey Road , #01-01).

Skyscrapers in Telok Ayer

Komala Villas

If you never had South Indian breakfast before, this is the place to try it. Have plain Dosai (a pancake that comes with two different sauces). I also like Idli, which is steamed bun made of lentil and rice dough. Vada which is a deep fried “doughnut” made of lentil dough. Pair the dishes with some mango lassi. Three dishes are enough for two people. (76-78 Serangoon Road)

Lucha Loco 

Best Mexican food in town. (15 Duxton Hill)

Mrs Pho

Vietnamese food at Mrs. Pho

This hole-in-the-wall restaurant serves my favourite Vietnamese food in town. (349 Beach Road)

High Tea at the Fullerton Bay Hotel

High Tea at the Fullerton Bay Hotel. Delicious snacks and a beautiful view.

I also love to indulge myself with my girlfriends at the High Tea at the Fullerton Bay Hotel. The desserts are bit sweet but the beautiful view compensates for it. And the coffee is really good (sorry, I am not a big fan of tea and I cannot resist a cup of coffee, even at High Tea)

Best Coffee Places

Check out my post on the best coffee places in Singapore.

Brunch

To limit the length of the post, I am currently working on a separate one on brunch places. Stay tuned!

Sculptures at the river front of the Fullerton Hotel

What to Eat

Try Popia

You absolutely have to try Popiah – it is a type of “spring roll” or “wrap” filled with lettuce, shredded carrots, chopped peanuts and some other ingredients. You can also get it at the Hawker Centres but usually only during the day, as they are sold out quickly. Another typical dish is cereal prawns.

Eat Nasi Goreng

The best Nasi Goreng in town is at Spize in River Valley Road. This place is also quite cheap. Be prepared to wait in line and for rude staff – but still, the place is always packed.

Chocolate Fish Pancakes

This is soooo good!! I accidentally discovered those chocolate pancakes at Takashimaya mall.

I have no idea what these pancakes are called but they are so yummy! It is basically a pancake filled with chocolate! There are also plain ones or you can choose read bean (not really my favourite…). You can find them in the basement of Takashimaya mall on Orchard Road. It is a small stand in between all the cake and coffee places (before the atrium).

Downtown at night

Drinks

The first thing most people plan to do is a visit at the Raffles Hotel where the Singapore Sling was invented. However, this has become quite a tourist trap.

Chijmes is a beautiful courtyard with a lot of restaurants, cafés and bars. Inside there is also a church.

I prefer to have drinks at nearby Chijmes – it is a beautiful courtyard with a broad selection of restaurants and bars.

A lot of people love to have after work drinks at one of the places in Club Street.

A boat passing by Boat Quay, a popular nightlife area.

A beautiful view and cool vibe is also at the rooftop bar at Southbridge (80 Boat Quay – Entrance is from South Bridge Road, after 7-Eleven)

Cé La Vi is also very popular for the view, it is a bit pricey but the view is nice. (Marina Bay Sands)

How to Get to the City from the Airport

View of Boat Quay and Downtown from the Swissotel

Changi Airport is one of the biggest and most efficient airports in the world. You can reach the city by taxi, which will cost you between SGD 25-30 (EUR 16-20, USD 20-23), depending on the location of your hotel. When you leave after the baggage drop-off, the doors with queues to the taxi stands will be right outside. Uber also works really well and is cheaper than taxis. There is also Grab, a local competitor. Make sure to meet the car at the right location – usually there is a dedicated drop-off point in the dropdown menu of Uber/Grab at your terminal.

Currency

Singapore uses the Singapore Dollar (SGD). As of October 21st, the SGD-USD exchange rate was 0.73.

I really like the beautiful architecture in the city centre.

Language

Singapore has FOUR official languages – English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. It is very easy to get around with English anywhere.

Beautiful street lamps

Climate – What to Pack

Singapore has two types of climates – hot and hotter. If you plan to spend the day outside, definitely wear shorts and a shirt. I would bring a thin cardigan or jumper for inside, as the buildings are notoriously cooled down. If you go for dinner or drinks, you can dress to impress. I usually wear flip flops on my way to the restaurant or bar – as a thunderstorm can appear any minute – and change into my fancy shoes before I enter the place 😉

 

Note: this guide does not include any recommendations for accommodation, as I did not stay at hotels during my stay.

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10 Comments

  • Reply Ha 22. October 2017 at 12:35

    OMG this is so useful! I plan to visit Singapore and didn’t know where to start. Thank you for sharing such a handy post 🙂

    • Reply Liz 23. October 2017 at 3:57

      Oh great, I’m so happy to be able to help you. Enjoy your trip to Singapore!

  • Reply Amanda Koh 22. October 2017 at 13:12

    I’m singaporean and I must say this is an amazing list 🙂 there’s just so much to see and do here in this tiny city! Hope you had fun in Singapore! P.s I must admit there are some places that even I haven’t been :p

    • Reply Liz 23. October 2017 at 3:57

      Wow, this is such an honour to hear this from a Singaporean 🙂 It’s a beautiful city and a lot of fun indeed!

  • Reply Selma 22. October 2017 at 13:25

    Great post. Enjoyed reading it 🙂

    • Reply Liz 23. October 2017 at 3:58

      Thank you so much!

  • Reply Emily 22. October 2017 at 15:38

    Great tips! I’ve never been, it appreciate how you covered everything from currency to weather! Can’t wait to visit here some day.

    • Reply Liz 23. October 2017 at 3:58

      Thank you! I’m so happy you find it useful!

  • Reply Karolina 27. October 2017 at 23:19

    I’m so glad I’ve found this post! Singapore is incredible! It’s been on my list for a long time – I cannot wait to go:) Beautiful blog btw – love what you’re doing here:)

    • Reply Liz 29. October 2017 at 3:49

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment, I’m so happy you look my blog!

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