We were very excited to get to Singapore, the largest city on our 6-year circumnavigation. We were staying in the beautiful One15 Marina on Sentosa Island, and after over 100 days cruising Indonesia the big city was exactly what we needed; a bit of luxury, plentiful shopping, and convenience!
Tip: Sign up for the free Marina Bay Sands lifestyle membership to receive discounts at specific attractions.
This was David’s first time to Singapore but my second. I went to Singapore on an Asia tour over Spring Break with my Dad when I was a teenager – in 10 days we covered Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo. I was so excited to come back to Singapore – it was my favorite city of the trip and I remembered it being green and beautiful. My memories held true – Singapore is my favorite big city.
My cousin Sarah flew into Singapore from Kuala Lumpur to stay with us for 10 days and tour Singapore. She’s with us in all of these activities.
The bus from One15 Marina in Sentosa dropped us off right at the Harbourfront Centre and VivoCity Mall. It’s super easy to hop on Singapore’s MRT subways from there. While Google usually suggested the bus for faster transit (i.e. less walking time) we opted to use the MRT instead, walking a bit further but enjoying an easy transit. Everything is in English and tickets are easy to purchase at a kiosk. One ticket is good for 6 trips, and the trips were very cheap to get around.
The MRT is SO clean and organized!
Public transport is very cheap, and dining out is very inexpensive if you stick to delicious street food. There are many activities that are free, but Singapore is one of those cities that’s worth a bit of a splurge. We also didn’t book a hotel room – we stayed on our boat in One15 Marina, which was far cheaper than any hotel room in Sentosa (I think).
Singtel has a tourist package available: $15 SGD for 7 days and 100 GB of local data.
Officially opened in June of 2010, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel changed the landscape of the Singapore skyline and became the most prominent icon on the horizon. Walking from the Marina Bay Sands MRT station to the hotel is completely indoors, and is like walking through Las Vegas: designer shopping, large marble atriums, and neck-craning views. The lobby was decked out for an elegant Christmas and we made our way to Tower One to ride the elevator up to the SkyPark.
There are two choices for non-hotel guests at the SkyPark: the Observation Deck or CÉ LA VI SkyBar. You can pay $23 SGD per person to go to the Observation Deck, or you can pay $20SGD for a drink credit up at CÉ LA VI SkyBar. We opted to go up for drinks, so with my cousin Sarah, and our friends Carlos, Linda and Shelley, we popped up to the top. Sadly it was a cloudy day but we enjoyed the drinks and people watching. The drinks are very expensive, as we all used our vouchers and still had to pay another $20 SGD for our bill.
Marina Bay Sands Lifestyle members get the $20 fee waived.
The view was well worth it. The SkyBar opens up towards Marina Bay, looking out onto downtown and the Merlion statue. To the left is the infinity pool, jam-packed even on a rainy day, and just across from the hostess stand is a small platform looking out over the shipping anchorage, Gardens by the Bay, and the Singapore Strait.
In 2016, the Michelin guide awarded a small food stall located in the Chinatown Food Complex a Michelin star. Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice And Noodle (now known as Hawker Chan) was already famous for its namesake dish and is one of Singapore’s great cheap eats at $2 SGD per plate. We waited in line about 40 minutes to get four dishes, which were, in fact, delicious.
Hawker Chan has now opened three sit-down locations around Singapore.
Another food stall was awarded a Michelin star as well: Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles.
After your lunch at Hawker Chan, walk off some of those calories by touring Chinatown. Shops line the streets selling everything from tourist trinkets to fresh fruit, and the sights and smells border on overwhelming.
Slather on sunscreen to check out the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore’s number one attraction (according to TripAdvisor). Admission is free, and no trip to Singapore is complete without walking through the Supertrees.
One of our highlights, the biodomes at Gardens by the Bay – the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest – offer a break from the heat with an artificially created Meditteranean climate in the world’s largest columnless greenhouses.
The Flower Dome was filled with bright flowers and towering trees, plus a rotating exhibit of sculptures. I absolutely loved the sculptures that were on display for us – driftwood!
The Cloud Forest contains a 35-meter mountain with a waterfall, orchid display, carnivorous plants garden, and two walkways suspended off of the mountain.
As night fell, we meandered back to the Gardens by the Bay and seated ourselves at 8:30 on seats at the base of one of the supertrees. At 8:45 pm, the show started. I was expecting a classical, dramatic light display. Instead, the show was a flashback to disco! It was a bit cheesy, but fun to watch the 15-minute show.
Shows are at 7:45 pm and 8:45 pm every day. Admission is free.
This is the most famous dish we’ve heard about in Singapore. Friends recommended a few places, Jumbo Seafood or Palm Beach, but we opted for convenient instead and ate at Dancing Crab in VivoCity. Sarah and I shared the Chili Crab Bread Bowl. It was amazingly good and very filling for a hefty $97 SGD. It could have been split between three people, but the Chili Crab, in general, is just an expensive dish.
David had a Maine-style lobster roll with mayonnaise and buttered, toasted bread. It was very good chili crab. I wish I’d had the room to try one of their Cajun dishes, to give my expert, Louisiana-born opinion.
While it poured rain outside, we visited the ArtScience Museum with Linda and Carlos. The Future World exhibit is based on digital interactive displays and was entertaining and impactful. It’s great for kids (or the kid at heart). Be prepared; we went down slides, crawled through tunnels, colored with crayons, and played with giant rubber balls, all while mostly in the dark.
Marina Bay Sands Lifestyle members get two adult tickets for the price of one.
With the Marina Bay Sands Hotel on one side and the Merlion statue on the other, Marina Bay is a spectacle to see at night.
The Spectra Light and Water Show happens every night for free.
It’s easy to see why Singapore is my favorite city. There’s so much to do and it’s a truely beautiful and clean city. I can’t wait to go back and explore more!