Singapore is normally seen as just a city for a quick stopover, but there are plenty of things to keep you busy as we soon learnt during our four nights here. I had a very long list of places to see and like every trip, not everything was ticked off, but that’s just more reason to come back for another stop over. We were initially planning a trip to just Hong Kong, but when we noticed Jetstar’s flights included a stopover in Singapore, it was the perfect reason to add two destinations to the trip!
What to see and do:
National Orchid Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens
This tropical oasis is one of the best places to escape all the concrete and skyscrapers of Singapore. Over 4 million people visit these Botanic Gardens every year, but given the size of the garden (74 ha), it never feels overly busy or crowded. The best part of the garden is of course the National Orchid Garden, which houses the largest display of orchids in the world!! It’s the only part of the park that requires an entrance fee, but at SG$5 for adults and free for kids, it’s definitely one of the cheapest attractions in Singapore.
Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is easily Singapore’s most popular attraction and something not to be missed. The area actually consists of a few different sights that you could spend an entire afternoon and evening exploring. The major attractions include Supertree Grove, OCBC Skyway, Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. Supertree Grove are those giant tree like structures with vertical gardens that you’ve no doubt seen photos of. The best time to visit is in the evening during their free Garden Rhapsody sound and light show, which happens every night at 7.45pm and 8.45pm. If you only have one night in Singapore, make sure you plan your night’s activities around those performances.
Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay
Cloud Forest was another surprising favourite, housing the world’s tallest man-made waterfall that cascades off a mountain covered in plants. There are multiple levels to walk up and down, or you can just take the elevator to the top and walk down using the suspended paths. You get spectacular views of both the garden inside and the surrounding city of Marina Bay Sands, the Singapore Flyer and Supertree Grove. It’s also fun watching the gardener’s abseil down the mountain as they plant new flowers. Flower Dome is the other conservatory housed in the big dome next to Cloud Forest. It has a variety of gardens that represent different regions around the world, but not nearly as impressive as Cloud Forest. We didn’t spend much time there, but it came as a packaged deal when buying our tickets.
Future World at Art Science Museum
This is a permanent exhibition that is basically a digital indoor playground for kids, where they can interact with the digital art installations on display. The main reason adults (without children) come to Future World would have to be for the Crystal Universe, which is easily the most beautiful and Instagrammable part of the entire exhibition. We arrived about 10 minutes before the museum opened to make sure we were one of the first through the doors. It seemed like we were the only ones who had actually pre-purchased and printed our online tickets, so we went straight through to the exhibition, walking all the way to the end where Crystal Universe was located. We had a good 10-15 minutes of this place all to ourselves, which I can’t image happens very often.
Orchard Road Christmas Lights
If you find yourself in Singapore at Christmas time, this is the place to come to see over-the-top lights and decorations. Every year the displays change and become even bigger and better than the previous.
Residence of Tan Teng Niah in Little India
If you needed a reason to visit Little India, this is it! Though the building is actually Chinese, the local Indian community have proudly made it their own with this rainbow display.
Colourful Shophouses on Blair Road and Koon Seng Road
Both these colourful streets are where I believe many people would dream of living. The heritage shophouses here are all painted in pretty pastels with instaworthy floral Peranakan tiles, making them definitely worth the wander around.
Where to Stay: Hotel Indigo Katong
Hotel Indigo is perfect for travelers looking to stay in a more authentic and heritage-rich area, surrounded by lots of cute colourful shophouses (including the very popular ones along Koon Seng Road) and an endless supply of trendy eateries. The local vibrant Peranakan culture has been very influential in the design of the boutique hotel, with all of the interiors and artworks very reflective of the surrounding area. The first thing you notice when walking into your hotel room is the black and white mural design on the feature wall, showing a scene from a traditional Singaporean hawker stall. Very Instagram worthy indeed. The bathroom tiles (that even go up the wall) are probably the best thing about the hotel room, and not just because I’m a sucker for tiles that match my nail polish! I love hotels that have floor to ceiling windows, and these just so happen to be right next to a giant round bathtub. Perfect for people watching on the street below, just remember if you can see them, they can see you! Like any good hotel in Singapore, there’s also a rooftop infinity pool, making it the perfect place to relax after a long day of sightseeing.
Where to Stay: The Sultan
The Sultan is another charming boutique hotel located within the Malay-Arab cultural precinct, which means one thing… lots and lots of amazing food any direction you walk. The glowing golden domes of The Sultan Mosque are just around the corner, with plenty of restaurants and shops selling exotic goods from scarves, carpets, perfumes, Turkish delight and everything else you can imagine. Haji Lane is another popular street with dozens of cute and colourful boutiques selling lots of unique finds you might not see elsewhere in Singapore. If you need even more variety when it comes to food or colourful buildings, Little India is just a short walk up the road. This really is such a multicultural area to stay, with plenty of nearby exploring to be done.
With thanks to Jetstar for making this trip possible. As always, all opinions expressed remain my own.