Singapore has been Southeast Asia’s most modern city for over a century. It is a melting pot of many cultures, the city blends Malay, Chinese, Arab, Indian and English cultures and religions. With its wide array of sight-seeing attractions, and one-of- a kind culinary, no wonder it’s become one of the most visited cities in the world!
Like many other travelers, I decided to make Singapore a stopover before heading to my final-destination for my birthday trip. Singapore Changi Airport (World’s Best Airport), one of the largest transportation hubs, makes it so easy to pop in and check out everything that Singapore has to offer.
Whether you have a few hours, or a few days to explore Singapore you can certainly check off bucket list items like I did.
FLIGHT JOURNEY: BOS-DOH-SIN (Total flight time: 22hrs)
I had been eyeing flights on Google Flights forever and I wasn’t sure which airline I wanted to commit to spending 22hrs on. This was going to be my first long haul flight, so I decided on Qatar Airways, it’s my birthday why not splurge? Let me tell you this was one of the best decisions. 10/10 would recommend Qatar Airways.
Boarding: Was smooth, the cabin was spacious, clean, and fresh. Could you believe that even in economy Qatar Airways provides you with an amenity kit? I WAS SHOCKED!
Amenity Kit Included: lip balm *best lip balm ever (still trying to find a way to purchase it on amazon), a toothbrush, toothpaste, an eye mask, socks, and ear plugs.
Cabin: 3-4-3 configuration and the seats were superior to your average economy class cabins. Tip* grab an aisle seat so that you can roam around freely.
Food: The food was plentiful and did not disappoint. They had vegan and meat options. Every meal also came with desserts which was perfect for someone like me who always has a sweet tooth. Qatar offered a variety of menu options. My only suggestion is that prior to the flight you do a menu selection of the food that you want they kept running out of meat options, but it was okay because the vegetarian food was also tasteful.
Customer Service: 10/10 all my flights were on time and the flight attendants were super friendly. Throughout the flight, they were walking around to make sure that everything was okay, they even asked me if there was anything that they could do to improve my experience during the flight. I say all this to say that if a Qatar Airways flight is an option when flying I will always pick them.
Getting Around Singapore:
Singapore’s MRT is known to be the best of the best! Their public transportation system is both fast + reliable. Listed you will find a couple of passes that you can purchase for the MRT during your stay: Get a Singapore Tourist Pass (STP), a special EZ-Link stored-value card which will allow you unlimited travel for one day (S$10), two days (S$16) or three days (S$20).
GRAB (like UBER) is also a very good option! GRAB is everywhere so at times I found it more convenient to hop in a grab. Grab also has scooter options which you will be able to find throughout the city.
The app also has a GRABEats option, and I’m not going to lie I ordered McDonald’s on the app, no shame in my game.
During my stay in Singapore I stayed at:
Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium This hotel was located about 10-15 mins away from the core of downtown.
There are a variety of options for both Airbnb and hotels.
· I exchanged my money at the hotel, because they had a money converter in the lobby.
Food: The cuisine in Singapore was truly one of a kind! I didn’t visit many of the fancy restaurants that I had been recommended prior to my trip because I really enjoyed the hawker centre (authentic Singaporean food center). But I did get a chance to try a variety of hawker centres and stalls. Here’s a list of the hawker centres I tried and my rankings.
· Tiong Bahru Food Centre 5/5
· Maxwell Food Centre 3/5
· Changi Village Hawker Centre 4/5
· Toby’s Estate 3/5 (not a hawker centre but a good restaurants for breakfast and speciality coffee)
Language: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, and English.
Let me tell you 22hrs of travel time is rough! Luckily since my flight left Boston at 11:05 PM EST, it didn’t take me long to fall fast asleep. After 12 hours of flying, we made our first stop in Doha where we caught our connecting flight (the heat slapped me so hard all I could say is and I oop). After a “quick” 8 hour flight, we arrived in Singapore around 9 AM local time. In total I spent around 16 hrs of the 22 in deep slumber. We quickly called for a Grab, checked into our hotel, and took care of an urgent matter: finding food. I did my research on the Hawker Food Centres in Singapore and decided this would be my first experience of the local cuisine. We searched around for ones close by and found one about 10 minutes away from the hotel! I kid you not when I say this place had over 100+ food stalls to choose from. After browsing and looking at the various stalls for 10-15 minutes, I made my choice and decided to give the chicken and rice a try! It was yummy yummy in my tummy and exactly what I needed after a long day of traveling.
After we had our fill, we headed back to our room with plans to explore. However, jet lag had other plans for us and we ended up falling asleep until 4 AM. Although we were upset we fell asleep, it at least meant we would be well rested for day 2’s adventure.
We decided to hit the ground running early since there were a lot of bucket list items that I wanted to check off. We headed to Tiong Bahru Food Centre for breakfast. This time I opted for chicken and noodles, pastries (salted bread), and soursop juice. I now have a new-found love for soursop juice and I am ashamed to tell you how many I had while in my short stay in Singapore, LOL. We then hopped in a grab and made our way to Marina Bay Sands. First stop was the Art Science museum, at the time they only had 2 exhibits open and of course the exhibit that I really wanted to visit was closed for repairs. BUMMER. So, we decided on visiting the Alice in Wonderland exhibit. It was so cool I felt like I was in the movie going through all the different doors. They even had a tiny door to crawl through. After that we took a walk around the Marina Bay Sands mall. This mall is HUGEEE and it had every single store that you could imagine. Then we made some stops at different must see attractions when in Singapore(Helix bridge, Merlion, Singapore flyer, Infinity Pool at Marina Bay Sands). After walking for what felt like two hours we cooled off with some gelato and headed back to our hotel to rest. We planned to see the light show at Gardens by the Bay at 7:45pm so we rested until then. I was so stoked about visiting this attraction. Many of you may not know, but the movie Crazy Rich Asians had a major influence on why I decided to visit Singapore. It was just as beautiful as I imagined it to be but I couldn’t really enjoy it because it was extremely crowded. I would suggest getting there early to explore to get the best experience. After the light show we decided to leave and get something to eat. Another day, another Hawkers Centre. This time we decided to visit Maxwells Hawker Centre (which is a very popular one in the area). This time I got duck and noodles. Thanks to Singapore I am now addicted to noodles and I try to recreate them every now and again. The night is done and we head back to our hotel.
Day three: REST, REST, REST. On day 3 we Netflix and chilled and enjoyed the pool at the hotel. Burn out is real, and after all this is a vacation, so relaxation is just as important.
Day four: On Day four we made our way to UNIVERSAL STUDIOS!!!! Now it’s not as big as the one in Orlando but it was still enjoyable and we ended up spending pretty much half the day there. The park has 15 rides and a ton of restaurant + bar options. My favorite ride was Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. If you get a chance and have a free day I would add Universal Studios to the list. Pack an extra change of clothes and beach wear so that after Universal you can take a quick shuttle ride down to the Senosta Islands. Talk about relaxation and great way to end this portion of the trip. The Senosta island was way better than I expected it to be and the pictures do not do it justice. There are also other activity options at the Senosta if you don’t want to just sit in the sand. Some of the options include:
· Skyline Luge Sentosa
· playgrounds for kids
This was a great way to end our trip in Singapore. We headed back to the hotel, not before stopping to pick up chicken and rice though, and packed so that we could head to our next destination in the morning.
More Recommendations for Singapore:
· Changi Port Boardwalk
· Explore Boat Quay, Robertson Quay, then get down to Clarke Quay for restaurants, bars and other fun spots
· Singapore Botanic Garden
· Arab Street
· Joo Chiat/Katong
· Book a walking tour
Let us know in the comments below if Singapore is on your bucket list. 💜