Singapore was so great! It was a great way to dip our toes into Southeast Asia. The city was so clean, easy to get around, beautiful to look at, and had super delicious food. Oh and the signs were in English most of the time! Really, what more could I have asked for. Let’s get into what we did with our three-ish days in the city.
After we landed in Singapore, we headed for the train to take us to our Airbnb. This became our first hurdle because the train ticket machines only took cash and we didn’t have any. (Side note: we try not to get cash out at the ATMs in the airport because the fees are a little ridiculous.) So we went back to try to find an ATM, but could only get large bills so we then had to find something to buy to get some change. A really nice cashier at the market gave us lots of coins when we told her we needed change for the train. The train itself was really nice and easy to figure out, so we got to the airbnb with no issues (except copious amounts of sweat).
Once we got settled, we ventured out to get some dinner in Chinatown. Every street and business was beautifully decorated for Chinese New Year! Our dinner was fantastic and since our flight was so early out of Australia, we opted to just relax in the air conditioning until the next day.
Our second day in Singapore got started with a great breakfast not too far from our airbnb. We then spent the morning in the airbnb while I did some computer work for our upcoming trip to India and Bhutan. Once that was finished, it was time for lunch and we headed for the Maxwell hawker. A hawker is a food court that has lots of food and drink stalls. I had done a little bit of research and picked out three places for us to try on our first trip. This was going to be our first street food experience, so I didn’t really want to just show up and try to figure it out on our own. We enjoyed some hianese chicken rice, fried pork dumplings, and tapioca cakes/mango sweets for dessert.
After lunch, we headed out of Chinatown toward the marina for a grand tour of the city of Singapore. We walked along the river toward the main waterfront area. The river itself wasn’t the cleanest, but the views of the buildings and the cute riverboats were nice. We did learn that maybe doing the walks in the city in the middle of the afternoon was definitely not the best idea considering how hot it was.
The waterfront area was very picturesque and we got to see the merlion fountain! Once we walked around the main waterfront area, we headed toward the Marina Bay Sands resort complex. We stopped in the mall area for the air conditioning for a little while before heading to the Gardens by the Bay.
I was most excited about seeing the Gardens by the Bay when we decided to go to Singapore. We were trying to time our visit to the gardens with sunset because the super trees light up and there is a cool show after it gets dark. Our timing was a little bit off, but it gives us lots of time to relax in the gardens before heading to the super trees. We toured through the Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, and the super tree grove. There were tons of people everywhere but it was still super enjoyable. The light show was pretty impressive and I am glad we stayed for it even though we had to lay on concrete for an hour.
After the beautiful light show, we got on the train to head to one of the oldest hawkers in Singapore, Telok Ayer. We had heard that this was the place to get satay in town, so that’s what we set out to do. When we go there and were looking for the satay, a lady came up to us and gave us a menu for some satay so we just went with it. I am still not sure if it was the best stall to get it from, but the mutton satay was so so good. After dinner, we walked back to the airbnb for the night.
The last day in Singapore we went out for breakfast a new place and then spent the morning working on more travel planning. Since we last minute booked this leg of our trip, I still had to spend a fair amount of time working on the computer booking accommodations and excursions. For lunch, we headed out to the Maxwell hawker again to try some barbecue and rice dishes. We sat with some nice old men who told us we got a good deal haha. This time around we had a better grasp of how choosing seats worked and the general ordering of food.
After lunch, we walked to the National Museum of Singapore to learn more about the country. They have a cool set up where you basically tour different time periods in the country’s history. We learned SO MUCH about Singapore and Malaysia — from pre colonization to when Singapore gained its independence. I felt pretty ignorant not knowing about the war atrocities that happened during WWII in Southeast Asia (I blame the history books in America). It also explained how the country became so multicultural and how it became the powerhouse little country it is today.
After the museum, we headed back to the airbnb to figure out dinner. We ended up going to a place called Dumpling Darlings and stuffed our faces with super delicious dumplings. They even had a pierogi ones that were really good. I also had a pretty nice cocktail with salted plum sauce in it.
Overall, I loved our time in Singapore. I keep talking about how I miss it and I really want to go back at some point, but I am not sure if it will happen — maybe after India? The city was such a joy to explore and I highly recommend a visit if you are planning a trip to the area. Our two-ish days spent there were great but I think maybe two more days would have been good to explore more areas outside the main city. The next post will be about our week in Malaysia!