Sometimes no game plan is the best game plan.
My dad and I have been talking about flying to Singapore for a long weekend for a few years now and finally we got ourselves organised and locked it. Normally, I am an avid pre-holiday researcher who likes to find places of interest/attractions/food places to dine at before arriving at the destination but this time, I left all of the decisions up to my dad which made for an extremely laid back four days filled with a lot of walking, taxi rides, good food and sights.
The thing I adore most about Singapore is that it’s clean, welcoming and the locals are kind. As an early riser, I find it hard to twiddle my thumbs for a few hours before the city awakes (most shops, attractions and other places of interest aren’t open until 10am) but c’est la vie/when in Singapore- you just go with the flow.
We flew in to Changi Airport on Sunday night (if you can avoid arriving in Singapore on Sunday night flight- I’d recommend it because it took almost an hour to get through customs and our taxi driver kindly informed us that Sunday nights are their busiest for arrivals).
We stayed at the Royal Plaza Hotel on Scott’s in the inner part of the city. Scotts’ Road is about a 2 minute walk from Orchard Road where you can shop to your hearts content (and credit cards dismay).
After checking in to our room and unloading our luggage, we headed out and down the road to Lucky Plaza to convert some money and then dined at Hard Rock Cafe. The food was delicious but the performers and waitress- not so much. Walking through the city at night is a treat, it’s not as humid and the lights make you feel like you’re in a city that never sleeps (well, it celebrates at night and rises late).
Day one was probably the busiest- we hit the ground running (well, to be more accurate, walking.) We caught a taxi to Mufasa’s in Little India which is a store that has multi levels of everything you could need. Next we caught a taxi to Sim Lim’s – a multi story shopping complex filled with technology galore. If you’re a tourist, be smart as the shop owners may try to sell you old products for a premium price- so make sure you do your research first and get ready to haggle! After exploring the many levels, we caught another taxi across to Clarke Quay and dined at Breworkz for lunch. They have a $15 lunch special daily with an entree, main, dessert and a beverage- not a bad price! Quality food, service and atmosphere- it’s like a bit of Australia in Singapore.
Clarke Quay is a beautiful spot during the day with the colourful buildings and you can hop on a water-boat and see Singapore from water instead. It also offers a great backdrop for your typical tourist photos too- as my dad and I discovered!
After taking our tourist photos, we walked across the road to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The uphill climb gives the ultimate calf walkout so if you get out of breath easily, maybe avoid the steep stair entry and walk around the other side of the gardens first. Within the gardens, there are several places of interest and beautiful views overlooking Clarke Quay. We walked down to Phunan’s next- it used to be a shopping destination for tourists who love technology but it seems to be more catered to local shoppers now.
We ate dinner at Alfresco Gusto’s on Orchard Road. The outdoor restaurant offers a colourful selection of meals which taste delicious. On the walk back to the hotel, we stopped in at Tangs– if you have an urge to spend some money, I’d recommend a visit to Tangs on Orchard Road. This multi level department store has been newly renovated with each section an invitation to treat yourself- you’ll find yourself wanting to pull out your card and spend some money. I managed to take a photo of some of the gowns I was in awe of (see below).
Day two included a few more typical tourist activities.
We caught a taxi out to the Gardens by the Bay and walked through the beautiful gardens. You can pay $28 SGP per adult to have full access to all that the gardens have to offer (including the aerial sky walk) or you can remain on solid ground and just walk around the grounds free of charge. The garden has different sections, all are beautiful in their own way. The tall fixtures which support the aerial sky walk give the garden an Avatar style feel- all you need is some blue paint and you’d feel like you’re on a movie set! We walked across the bridge over to Marina Bay Sands to purchase a ticket to the skypark. Tickets up to level 56 are $23 per person and you are only able to go up once per ticket. On the day that my dad and I went up, it was humid and haze from smoke was in the air BUT the views were still incredible. I’m not at ease with heights but I ventured out to the edge of the looking platform and survived. The infinity pool is no longer accessible for skypark visitors as it’s reserved for hotel guests only.
We returned to ground level and walked across the road to wander around the shopping complex before catching a taxi to Hollands Village. My dad was extremely excited to show me this small suburb since we booked our flights and after spending an afternoon there, I understand why. If you’re a person who is familiar with sonder or is content spending time watching the world pass you by (or perfect strangers), then you should consider paying Hollands Village a visit. There are bars and cafes scattered up and down Hollands’ Road and it’s a favourite spot for Expats. Dad and I were transported to Mexico when we dined at Cha Cha Cha Mexican Restaurant for lunch. The staff were friendly and the food was incredible. It was affordable and it’s honestly a dish we will remember, it was honest, authentic and full of flavour. We walked up the road and partook in happy hour and watched the world pass by, it was great.
We returned to Clarke Quay later in the evening for dinner- the Quay comes alive at night and is filled with lights, bars, music and water features, it’s a sight to see for sure. We dined at Wings Bar and the food was delicious and the drinks were worth the money too.
Day three was spent packing and getting ready to leave after we had our best buffet breakfast of the trip at Marriott Cafe. We also had a coffee at Watanbe Coffee– a small Japanese style coffee shop on Orchard Road. After relaxing in the Qantas Lounge, we left on a flight en route to home.
It’s wonderful when you get back home and realise how relaxed you can feel after a few days away and that you’ll remember the trip- the wonders of Singapore.