We spent one week in Singapore on our way from Bangkok to Bali. And what a busy and great week it was! There is so much to see and do in this city. We were totally exhausted after this week, and all the walking around.

Singapore is such a modern, urban and “western” city. You hardly feel that you are in Asia, but at the same time, Singapore is like a melting pot of whole Asia where you can find culture and food from both China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. It is a big contrast to it`s less slick “big brother” Bangkok.

The Little Red Dot

Singapore often gets called “Little Red Dot”. The term reflects that the total land area of Singapore is no more than 716 km² and it is only a Little Red Dot on world maps.

Originally the term was used to refer to Singapore in a disparaging manner by former Indonesian President B.J. Habibie. In 1998 he apparently did not feel that Singapore was a friend to Indonesia, whereas he pointed to a map and said: “It’s OK with me, but there are 211 million people [in Indonesia]. All the green [area] is Indonesia. And that red dot is Singapore.

The whole “Little Red Dot” remark caused an outcry as it was seen as a dismissal of Singapore. But today the Singapore citizens and politicians use the term with pride and as an expression of their success despite their physical limitations.

It is a city that has “everything”; fabulous shopping, beaches close by, top notch restaurants, legendary hotels and an endless number of cafes and bars. What`s not to like about Singapore?!

Top 10 Things To Do in Singapore

10. Grab a bite at a Hawker Food Market

Singapore is a foodies heaven! You can find all kinds of Asian and Western food here! The best place to go is to do as the locals, and head to one of the many Hawker food markets. Another good deal when it comes to food is to head into one of the many Shopping Malls and visit a Food Court, where you find plenty of different Asian food for a low price.

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A chef is making hand-made thick noodles. Yummy! 🙂

9. Have a Singapore Sling at The Raffles Hotel

The Raffles Hotel in Singapore is legendary, and it’s probably the world`s most famous hotel! It’s more than a hotel, it’s an icon, where all kinds of celebrities have visited. It dates all the way back to 1887, and it`s beauty and elegance is still breathtaking.

It’s an expensive place to stay, but it’s we’ll worth to step inside and have a Singapore Sling at the bar!

If you want to stay at this excellent hotel, click here for the latest prices.

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The stunning and historic Raffles Hotel

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The Raffles Hotel is beautiful, both on the inside and outside. Well worth a visit!

8. Chill out at Clarke Quay

The colorful Clarke Quay next to the Singapore River is packed with restaurants, cafes, and bars. Head down here in the evening and fill up your stomach! They have something for everyone, from Western to Asian food.

It is also the perfect place to go for a romantic riverside stroll, as well as people-watching.

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The colorful Clarke Quay, full of cozy cafes, pubs, and restaurants.

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It is also possible to take a boat trip on the Singapore River, from Marina Bay and Clarke Quay.

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The Marina Bay is beautiful in the evening!

7. Dream yourself away in “Avatar” at Gardens By The Bay

Gardens by the Bay is two big bio-domes, “Cloud Forest” and “Flower Dome”, containing an exotic range of flora and fauna from all over the world. The coolest and main attraction is, however, the amazing “Supertrees”. These are huge flashy and shimmering “trees”, 50 m high, that dazzle to lights and music! Pretty stunning, and as close as you are going to get to Avatar!

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The Supertrees at Garden by the Bay.

6. Visit Marina Bay Sands,  the stranded ship on top of the building

When walking around in the streets of Singapore, there is no way you can avoid spotting the amazing and crazy Marina Bay Sands. It looks like a massive ship has been stranded on top of three buildings!

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Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Although it is a hotel, it is so much more as well! You will find restaurants, cafes, and bars here, as well as a Sky Park (the world`s highest rooftop infinity pool), theaters doing shows every evening, casino, shops, and museums. The shopping mall is so vast that it has its own canal where you can go on a gondola ride! Pretty crazy! It is Singapore`s answer to Las Vegas for sure!

If you want to stay at this luxury hotel and swim in the infinity pool with impressive view over Singapore, click here for the latest prices.

5. Soak up the busy Little India

Walk around Little India, and soak in all the smells of spices, food, and flowers, as well as the noise and Indian atmosphere. Step into one of the many Indian temples and shrines, and grab some Indian food or do some shopping at the shopping mecca Mustafa where you will find all kinds of clothes, jewelry, and souvenirs from India.

We recommend eating at the cozy Albert Court, which has some Indian restaurants with excellent food!

We have also stayed in this area, at the cozy and colonial styled hotel Village Hotel Albert Court. A very nice hotel with great service. Click here for the latest prices.

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The cozy Albert Court has plenty of excellent Indian restaurants.

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4. Stroll around in Chinatown

Walk around Chinatown and admire the beautiful and colorful small houses among all the big skyscrapers. Watch the locals play Chinese chess, and grab some Chinese food.

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Colorful houses in Chinatown.

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One of Chinatown’s many beautiful old houses.

3. Wind down at the Botanic Garden

If you need a break from the busy and noisy city, head over to the Botanic Garden. It is a beautiful and calm oasis of green and lush nature, where the best part is the Orchid Garden.

Read more about our visit to the Singapore Botanic Garden.

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Beautiful orchids at Singapore Botanic Garden.

2. Take a walk on the wild side at Singapore Zoo

The Singapore Zoo is divided in two; The Singapore Zoo and the River Safari, but are located just next to each other with only a 1-minute walk apart. The Singapore Zoo is also open in the evening (7:30 pm till midnight every day) and is then called Night Safari. Singapore Zoo is one of the world`s best and nicest zoos and well worth a visit!

Read more of our visit to the Singapore Zoo and River Safari.

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The stunning White Tiger in Singapore Zoo.

1. Shop till you drop

Singapore is a shopper`s bonanza! The city has an endless number of gigantic shopping malls, so dig out your credit card and go crazy!

The main shopping area is along Orchard street where the shopping malls seem to form an endless string on both sides of the road. Here you will find just about any fashion brand imaginable. There is also quite a few electronics and camera stores along here. We actually bought our first DSLR here back in 2005.

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The shopping in Singapore is crazy.

One of our favorite shops to visit in Singapore is the Kinokuniya bookstore inside the Ngee Ann City shopping mall. It is one of the largest bookstores in the world and it’s great fun to wander around looking their huge selection of books and magazines.

If you want to do some hardcore electronics and computer shopping then head for Sim Lim square close to Littel India.

The End

We enjoyed our week in the posh and modern Singapore. Although the shopping, food, sightseeing and parks are great, and the city is and clean, it lacks a bit of “charm” and personality in our opinion. It is a part of Asia, but it does not feel very Asian.

It is very easy to get around in Singapore, as the public transportation system is excellent (both buses and metro) and there are plenty of taxis everywhere. Most people also speaks good English, so it is an easy place to be a tourist.

If you were to choose one big city to visit in Asia (on your transfer from USA or Europe on to your next travel destination for instance), then I would recommend Bangkok over Singapore anytime. Bangkok has much more charm and personality than Singapore. Singapore could almost be a city in Europe or USA and just feels too polished and not very Asian.


Where To Stay In Singapore

There is no getting around that Singapore is a pretty expensive city when it comes to accommodation. But on the plus side, the hotel standard is very high, and there are some genuinely wonderful hotels here. Below are some of our favorites hotels at different price ranges.

Top End

Fullerton Hotel

Fullerton Hotel Singapore

The stunning Fullerton Hotel Singapore located in Marina Bay

The Fullerton is widely regarded as Singapore's most luxurious hotel. While the Raffles hotel is under renovation, the Fullerton Bay Hotel is the best choice for old-school five-star colonial style luxury and world-class service. If it is within your budget staying here is an experience in itself. The 25m rooftop swimming pool overlooking Marina Bay is truly spectacular!
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Hotel Fort Canning

Surrounded by the green and peaceful Fort Canning Park this beautifully restored old colonial fort made heritage boutique hotel is a quiet oasis in the heart of the city. The rooms are large and beautiful with high ceilings, hardwood floors, and super comfortable beds. We loved the spacious bathroom with the stylish bathtub.

There are two large swimming pools and a well-equipped gym. It has a very central location, within walking distance to both the main shopping street Orchard Road and the Colonial District with all the main museums and sights.
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Parkroyal on Pickering

Parkroyal on Pickering is something as rare as an eco-conscious five-star hotel. It shows through in everything from the small touches like the daily refilled glass water bottles to pens made of bamboo to the architectural marvel of the green hanging terraces that decorate its facade.

The rooms are modern, spacious and very comfortable. The view of the Singapore Skyline from the room and also the bathtub is amazing! There is an infinity pool as well as a well-equipped gym. The breakfast buffet is spectacular, and the location is excellent with both the Chinatown MRT Station and the Clarke Quay MRT Station very close by.
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Mid Range

Jen Orchardgateway

If you want a modern, comfortable hotel that is close to the shopping along Orchard Road, then look no further. Occupying the top floors of the Orchard Gateway mall the location just simply can’t be beaten. The rooms are very comfortable, but the real standout is the enormous infinity rooftop swimming pool with its spectacular evening views of the city. We also loved the room service robot (yes, indeed a robot!) 🙂
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AMOY by Far East Hospitality

Amoy Hotel Singapore

The entrance to Amoy Hotel used to be an old Chinese Temple

If you are looking for something unique, then the Amoy Hotel might just fit the bill. This renovated old temple building at the edge of Chinatown has become a world-class boutique hotel.

Every room is unique, and the old building creates a special and cozy atmosphere.

The staff is always friendly and helpful. There is an MRT station, Telok Ayer MRT Station (blue Downtown Line), right across the street, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes around.
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Budget

Lloyds Inn

Swimming pool at Lloyd´s Inn Singapore

The beautiful garden and pool at Lloyd´s Inn Singapore

Located in a quiet residential neighborhood only a few minutes walk from the main shopping street of Singapore, Orchard Road, Lloyd’s Inn has a perfect central location and is excellent value for the money.

The rooms are small but stylish and well decorated like out of an Ikea catalog with some unique touches. Our room had a fantastic open-air shower. It is worth paying a little extra for a garden facing room.

The garden is beautiful and contains a lovely wading pool and resting area. Breakfast is served in a local Kopitiam (coffee shop), Killiney Kopitiam, on the adjacent road, Killiney Road. This road has plenty of affordable restaurants serving everything from Vietnamese to Indian food.
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Hotel G

Hotel G Singapore

Our nice room at Hotel G

Hotel G was a positive surprise to us! While the rooms are tiny, the standard is excellent for the price with clean, modern and comfortable rooms with flat-screen TVs and private bathrooms with rainwater showers.

We opted for a slightly larger room since we were traveling with a lot of luggage and we were extremely comfortable.
Downstairs is a classy and cool wine bar, and the burger bar "Twenty Five Degrees" on the corner serves some of the best burgers in Singapore. Try the truffle chips, they are heavenly!
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Click here to read our complete guide on Where To Stay In Singapore, with tips on how to find the best hotel and area to stay in for you

Guide Books

We used Lonely Planet`s Singapore guide book on our trip. You can buy that and other great books at Amazon:

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PIN IT FOR LATER!
Hoover over the pictures below, and press the green PIN IT button that pops up:

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Have you ever been to Singapore? What are your top things to do here? Please leave a comment in the comment area below, thank you! 🙂

Travel Guides

We used the Lonely Planet`s Singapore travel guide on our trip. You can get that and other great books by clicking on the pictures below:

Singapore Lonely Planet   Singapore Pocket Travel Guide   Singapore Rough Guide   Singapore Top 10 Travel Guide

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