Singapore is one of my favorite cities in the world.
It is small and easy to navigate, and the general feeling in the city is like a leap to the future – everything is very technological and innovative. Besides, it’s a culinary paradise – there’s a huge variety of amazing restaurants, and a lot of things to see and do. I recommend that you spend five days in Singapore to see everything this city-state has to offer.
Where To Stay:
- Champion Hotel City – A small boutique hotel, clean and with a cool design that suits people who do not want to spend a lot of money on a hotel, and are not planning on being much in the room – because the rooms are relatively small. Besides, the room has everything you need and the hotel is pleasant and in a great location – opposite a subway station and close to China Town and Clarke Quay.
- Marina Bay Sands – The famous hotel can be seen from almost anywhere in Singapore because of its great height and exceptional shape. The hotel has three towers with 2,561 rooms, topped by a Sky Park with the largest swimming pool of its kind in the world (a length of 150 meters), which enables an amazing panoramic view of the city. The rooms are beautiful and luxurious, the service is excellent and the complex includes countless things to do (details on Things To Do). The hotel is considered the most expensive building in the world, and the rooms are indeed expensive but in my opinion, it’s worth the splurge. Also, if you book a lot of time in advance you can get a hotel room at a reasonable price.
Things To Do:
- Marina Bay Sands Hotel Complex– Besides its gorgeous rooms, its complex includes a shopping mall, science-art museum, two large theaters, chef restaurants, clubs, an ice-skating center and a huge casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines. You must also visit the SkyPark (there’s an entrance fee for non-hotel guests) to get the best view of Singapore.
- Gardens By The Bay– This park is an environmental development project built next to Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The park has 18 “trees” built of metal and concrete, that serve as hanging gardens (different plants are growing on top of them). They store the sun light and rain water and are connected to an ecological system with two huge greenhouses covered with glass domes: The Flower Dome and The Cloud Forest. As night falls, spectacular audiovisual performances begin around the trees. Make sure to check in advance exactly what time it starts- because you don’t want to miss it.
- The Merlion Statue in Marina Bay – The symbol of Singapore – a statue-fountain with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, that is pouring water out of his mouth to the marina. From the area of the statue there’s a gorgeous view of the Marina Bay Sands and the whole area. Because of its stunning view this place, not by accident, is a source of attraction for many photographers.
- Orchard Street – The main shopping street, dozens of malls and shops of all kinds. For those coming by subway – at the train station itself there is a shopping mall called Ion Orchard which includes all the well-known international clothing chains – Zara, Mango, Topshop, H&M, Uniqlo, Brandy Melville etc.
- Bugis Street – A large and crowded area, where there is a narrow alley where you can find shops with cheap goods and local food, in the cool atmosphere of a Chinese market. The entrance to the alley is marked by a red shed that reads “Bugis Street”. Nearby is the Bugis Junction Mall, which is also worth visiting.
- China Town – A traditional thriving area filled with markets, temples, designed spaces and authentic Chinese-style shops. Unlike most neighborhoods in Singapore with a modern mentality, the residents of China Town have preserved the tradition of the Chinese people, and the streets are colorful and happy. In the neighborhood, there is a magnificent temple called Thian Hock Keng Temple, and entrance is free.
- Sentosa Island – Singapore’s “amusement island” with a variety of family and adult attractions: Universal Studios, the world’s largest aquarium, museums, a rope course, cinemas, a park with butterflies and insects, a bird garden and a zoo. I recommend that you spend at least one whole day on the island, or stay there for the night at one of its luxurious resorts.
- A Culinary Tour of the Malay District Kampong Glam – There are many culinary tours in different parts of Singapore, but we were especially attracted by the Malaysian neighborhood, since this is a culture we didn’t get the chance to know yet. For 3 hours, the guide took us on a tour of the picturesque and beautiful neighborhood, he explained about the history of the place and took us to the most authentic restaurants where we ate the best Malaysian food you can find. The tour was organized by Wok ‘n’ Stroll.
Where To Eat:
- Din Tai Fung – A pretty cheap chain specializing in Dim Sum and Chinese style pastries with Michelin star and many branches throughout China and Singapore. The restaurant can be found in almost any mall and the food is always tasty and authentic.
- Wing Seong Fatty’s (Albert) – An authentic, cheap Chinese restaurant that made us feel like we’re a part of a Chinese family’s dinner, that cooks for us from a variety of traditional recipes. We took a beef stew that was spiced amazingly and didn’t taste like anything I had eaten before (ask the waiter for the beef with gravy). We also ate beef slices with garlic, and rice as our side dish. Honestly, everything was no less than perfect. There’s no need to make a reservation ahead.
- Foc Restaurant – Spanish tapas restaurant with a fun atmosphere and excellent food and cocktails. We ate watermelon “Gazpacho” (a cold soup) & olive oil ice cream, “Iberico” ham, toasted bread with tomatoes, and mushroom and ham croquettes. Even though everything there is amazing, you must save room for dessert – we ordered a Spanish french toast that reminded me of churros and was warm, soft and yummy. Reservations are recommended.
- Non Entree – Paradise for sweets lovers. A super cool cafe serving desserts that look like main courses or in the form of objects – a noodle soup with vegetables dessert, a rice and fish dessert, a dessert shaped like a plant, etc. Besides the cool looks, everything there is also super sweet and delicious. In addition, there are very tasty “regular” desserts. I ate a hot chocolate cake with ice cream that was served in a very cool way – look yourself in the picture.
- Bread Street Kitchen – The famous American chef Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant is located in The Shoppers area in marina bay sands. We visited there when we wanted a relatively light lunch, and ate Mac & Cheese and for dessert a fluffy, soft and addictive pancakes with berries and ice cream on top.
- DB bistro & oyster bar – French-American cuisine by chef Daniel Boulud, the restaurant is also located in The Shoppers. I highly recommend making reservations for the excellent Sunday Brunch the restaurant offers. The meal includes a first course of soup or salad, a main course and dessert. I took a delicious creamy wild mushroom soup for the first course, Steak Frites- which are strips of beef fillet in cream and pepper sauce, and for dessert a trio of crepes that came with hot chocolate sauce, dulce de leche and whipped cream. All this pleasure cost me only 45 Singapore dollars(!)
- Ce la vie – a luxurious rooftop restaurant on top of Marina Bay Sands (57th floor) offering modern Asian cuisine of a very high standard. The main attraction at the restaurant is the breathtaking scenery, and basically it makes this restaurant worth the visit before you even ate anything. We ate rice flake crusted whole lobster and steak in cream and pepper sauce, and for dessert a warm hazelnut & Valrhona chocolate cake. Reservation is required
- Osterria Mozza by Mario Batali – An authentic Italian restaurant by chef Mario Batali, in the Marina Bay Sands Shoppers area. I ate spaghetti in a spicy tomato sauce with sausage, and for dessert Torta Della Nonna – an amazing Italian cake that is hard to describe in words because it is unlike any other dessert I have ever tasted.
- Pizzeria Mozza – Next to the Italian restaurant, there is an amazing pizzeria from the same chef. I only eat there a margarita pizza, but despite its simplicity its taste was different and surprisingly good.
- Bake Cheese Tart ION – A bakery that sells only one pastry – a cheese tart based on crispy dough and a warm sweet cream filling. This is one of the most delicious desserts I have ever tasted, and it is no coincidence that at the entrance to the bakery there is a long line every hour of the day. The bakery is located at the Ion Orchard Mall at the Orchard St metro station.
- Awfully Chocolate – a chain of confectioneries that can be found in almost every mall, serving delicious chocolate desserts. I ate there on two separate visits, a flourless creamy chocolate cake, and a layer cake made of crepes stuck together with chocolate cream.
- Club 55 – If for you cheese and chocolate are a go to dinner choice – you should try this place. In the restaurant, there is one buffet of cheeses accompanied by pastries, nuts and crackers, and another buffet of all kinds of desserts imaginable. It is located on the 55th floor of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, overlooking stunning Singapore. Reservations are required in advance.