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Singapore is a popular stopover destination for flights leaving to all parts of South East Asia and also to Australia. Singapore is also known as a global commerce and financial hub. But to be honest what really makes Singapore so unique is the cultural diversity of this young country. You will find many languages, religions and cultures for a country that size. On your next stopover plan to visit Singapore for at least 3 to 4 days and I promise you, you will be amazed by the many things you can do and see there.
So what to put on your must see list?
Gardens By The Bay & Supertrees
Singapore is know for being a lush and green city. This garden can be found in the heart of the city and is very easy to reach from Marina Bay. It is a nice place to go for a stroll whether it is at daytime or night. Admission to the gardens is free. If you want go inside the Flower Dome, displaying beautiful flowers and plants from the Mediterranean and semiarid areas in the world’s largest greenhouse and in the Cloud Forest, showing plants from the tropical highlands, it will cost you an entrance fee. The same goes for the skywalk where you can walk high up in between the supertrees.
Make sure to return for the changing light show where the avatar-like trees are being lit up. A great experience for young and old.
Times for the show are 7.45 pm and 8.45 pm.
Cycling on Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin is an island in the eastern part of Singapore and often considered to be the last ‘kampung’ (village) in Singapore. A short right on a bumboat from Changi village will take you back to the Singapore of the 1960’s. It is a great place to visit on a day trip going for a walk or pedaling on the island under swinging palm trees. There are secluded beaches where you can relax or climb up on a viewpoint overlooking the forest and plantations on the islands. There are also a few restaurants where you can enjoy local food.
Admission to the island is free, you simply need to pay for the boat ride.
Arab Street and Sultan Mosque
The Arab Street District is an area of Singapore that can be best explored by walking. It origin dates back when Arabic merchants arrived in Singapore and settled here. The beautiful Sultan Mosque is a highlight and there are many shops next to each other where you can buy jewelry, clothes and batik for a relatively cheap price. Bargaining is still a must here. Many street cafés invite to sit down – Zam Zam is a popular local restaurant where you should try ‘Murtabak’.
Not far from Arab Street this colorful place is a popular spot among the young crowd. Here you shop local designers, go inside art galleries, spend some time in the many cafés and bars or enjoy the street art. We went to ‘Selfie Coffee’ where you can take a selfie with different probs and get it printed on the spot on the whipped cream of your coffee. Drink yourself- literately.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
If you want to get away from the busy streets this is the right place to go. Serving as a leisure garden as well as a botanical institution, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is opened daily from 5am until midnight. The admission to is free but it is certainly worth it to spend S$5 to see Singapore’s national flower, the orchid flower, in the Orchid Gardens. Take your time to discover this huge area of natural beauty and maybe bring some food to have a picnic in the garden. Tip: Come in the morning as it can get very hot and humid during the day.
Marina Bay at night
The Marina Bay Area has a lot to offer and is especially beautiful at night when the city is all lit up and the skyline reflects in the water. Take a walk from Clake Quay up to Marina Bay and make a stop on the way at Raffles Place for a Singapore Sling, take a photo with the Merlion and walk over the Helix Bridge to the Marina Bay Sands. You can also go on a harbor cruise and see everything from a traditional boat. Each night there is a spectacular laser and water show outside by the waterfront. Times are 8pm and 9.30 pm. On Fridays and Saturday there is an additional show at 11pm.
Try local food at the hawker centers
The cultural diversity of this republic also reflects on the variety of great food. Singapore’s cuisine contains elements deprived by several ethnic groups like Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western. Actually in Singapore food is viewed as crucial to its national identity. Therefore it doesn’t come as a surprise that you can try a lot of delicious food here. There are of course world-class restaurants to choose but my favorite thing to do in the evening is to pay a visit to the hawker centre. A must when in Singapore because here you can really experience the local culture. Walking through the hawker centers feels like being on a culinary tour of Asia, plus food here is very cheap here. One of my favorite is Lau Pa Sat hawker centre in the heart of the financial district. Another great spot is Glutton Bay the atmosphere and food is amazing and you have a great view over the Marina Bay and the skyline. Try Satay, Chili Crab or BBQ Stingray- definitely some of my favorite dishes I had here.
Pay a Visit to Chinatown
Chinatown is a vibrant and colorful place to explore. I always love to come here to watch the crowds, go shopping on the market where you can find everything, eat good food and have a massage. You will see a lot of beautiful, old colonial buildings and make sure to visit the Sri Mariamman temple.
If you are lucky to be in Singapore during the Chinese New Year festivities this area really comes alive.
An explosion of color in Little India
Another great area to discover is Little India. Just wander through the busy streets, a visit to this district really feels like a short trip to India. Taste, smell and touch. A walk takes you past vendors selling exotic fruit vegetables and spices, there are hawker centers where you can try the cuisine and there are many temples to see.
A drink with a view at the iconic Marina Bay Sands
The Marina Bay Sands and is actually one of the most photographed buildings in the world. During my first visit to Singapore I stayed in the hotel for a night to be able to take a dip in the 146 meter long infinity pool. If you aren’t a guest of the hotel you won’t have access to the swimming pool, but a great way to still see the pool and enjoy the view over the skyline is to head up to the Ku-De-Ta bar and sip on a cocktail in 191 meters height.