A promise we made to ourselves when we left the US was to visit a different country each month, so when we had the chance we decided to head to Singapore. It’s a short flight from Phuket and offers a completely different environment with the perks of a thriving economy and a diverse culture. To be honest we also had to make a visa run, so the timing couldn’t have been better.
We absolutely loved Singapore, I had not realized how small of a country and island it is. Because of it’s size it is easy to see a lot during a quick trip. Although we definitely could have used another day or two to explore some of the more outlying areas, but that just means we have to head back! The train system is easy to navigate and runs on time, the people are overly friendly and willing to assist and the food is unique and full of flavor. The main thing that stood out to me is the diversity, we didn’t stand out as farangs (foreigner in Thai) but blended in amongst the locals. This really made us realize how little diversity there is in Thailand.
Instead of telling you about everything we did I though I would share a few places we visited that really stood out to us. If you are heading to Singapore any times soon you should check these out!
This was one of my favorite things we did. The restaurant and bar are located on the top floor of their financial tower and offers a spectacular view of the Marina Bay. From here you glimpse the amazing architecture of this city, taste their own delicious micro-brews and snack on some of the best small plates I have ever had. I will warn you that it is very expensive, but if you get there before 8pm you can catch some happy hour specials that will not hurt your wallet too much.
We had planned on just having one or two drinks, watching the sunset and heading on our way out and about. Instead we ended up staring at this view over a bottle of wine, a couple of beers and two small plates for almost three hours! I am telling you, this place just wraps its arms around you and you won’t want to leave.
Since we were only in Singapore for one full day and two half days we wanted to make the most of it and see as much as we could. So we hopped on a one-hour river cruise and sailed up and down the quays and marina and learned a bit about Singapore’s history. It’s amazing how much growth this country has experienced in the past century. The architecture stands out on its own and is well-known, but there is so much more to this island. The cruise is a quick way to learn about it and also catch some more amazing views.
This was my favorite part of town. The first time we ventured here was Saturday morning to jump on the river cruise. It was around 11am and everything was so quiet with the shops and restaurant doors still closed. This caught me a bit by surprise since I am used to everything opening and bustling by 10am at home. But even through the quietness you could see the charm. The restaurants all had “lily pads” over the water for guests to eat and people watch at and the colorful buildings stood out in a fairytale type of way. As soon as we walked through here we made it our mission to come back and spend more time here. Fast forward to 6pm and we were on our way back. The happy hour specials flow from 5pm-8pm and the live music starts around 9pm. We bar hopped around, heard some of the best live music we have come across since we left the states and almost missed the last train back to our hotel. I didn’t want to leave, the vibe and energy here again just sucked us right in.
Everyone we talked to and every guide-book we read said to seek out a Hawker Center for cheap authentic meals. I had a love/hate relationships with these…they are located throughout the city in parking deck-like structure, lined by food stands every turn and aisle you walk down. Each one has its own theme, for instance the one located in Little India consists of mostly Indian food, and Chinatown’s of Chinese food…you get the picture. The love of this for me comes from the inexpensive local cuisine they have to offer, my favorite by far was the roti pratta in the Little India center. The hate is from the infinite options and my inability to make a decision. I mean if you have three spots in every aisle on every floor that offers satay how am I supposed to know which one is the best and which one to stay away from?!?! And for the record we picked the wrong one for satay…oh well, we survived it.
Overall Singapore was a surprise, neither of us had any idea what to expect but were pleasantly surprised by everything. The only other thing I would note is that we had this misconceived conception that Singapore would be immaculately clean…with there being a strict no gum, no spitting, etc. laws…but that is not the case. It is just like any other major city just without the gum stains on the sidewalks. And they really do not sell gum anywhere here! We made it a mission to try to find some and couldn’t : )