Monday, July 11, 2011

My Singapore top 15

I think it’s about high-time that I write my Singapore travel experience. Having traveled thrice to Singapore or SG as it is fondly called makes me no expert about this quaint city but I always have a grand time whenever I’m in SG.  I’ve developed my own list of favorites and must-go’s when visiting the Lion City. 

1) Universal Studios Singapore
. The movie-themed park just opened last year 2010 and is probably the most visited tourist spot in Singapore right now. Movie fanatics will be delighted to try all the movie-themed rides and attractions.  I personally liked Revenge of the Mummy. It’s an indoor roller coaster ride on a high-speed with unexpected drops and turns in the dark. The sound effects sounded real and you could feel the wind blowing or sometimes heat warming you.

This ride scared me the most – that’s why I had my eyes closed throughout the 4-minute ride. Three thumbs up!

Revenge of the Mummy!

Explosions everywhere at Waterworld

Madagascar at USS
Visitor Info
How to get there

2) Merlion Park. You haven’t been to Singapore, if you haven’t been to Merlion. The merlion is actually a head of lion and a tail of a fish. It is Singapore’s national symbol.

Merlion at night

3) The Esplanade (Theaters on the Bay). Famous for its durian-shaped dome, the Esplanade is Singapore’s performing arts venue featuring local and international performances.

the half-lit Esplanade
Inside, you’ll find out that this theatre offers not only performing arts but  shopping and dining experience as well. 

I wanted to try Orgo Bar and Lab at Esplanade's roof terrace for their organic mixed drinks. But due to exhaustion from our day tour, we didn't get to.

4) Marina Bay Sands (MBS). The Marina Bay Sands is an iconic structure on the Marina Bay Waterfront with a skypark which actually looks like a ship on top of three buildings. It houses the ArtScience Museum, luxury hotel, mall, theaters, celebrity chef restaurants, ice skating rink and the most expensive casino property.

Meanwhile, the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck
is open to the public.

Hello Marina Bay Sands!

5) Singapore Flyer. Nope, it is not a ferris wheel as commonly mistaken but an observation wheel standing at 165m just surpassing the London Eye. This makes Singapore flyer the tallest observation wheel. If you’re up in the flyer, don’t miss the great views of the city and neighboring Indonesian islands, Batam and Bintan.

Singapore Flyer at dusk

Visitor Info
How to get there

6) Sentosa . They say Sentosa stands for So Expensive Nothing To See Actually. Haha. Funny but I don’t agree. Back then, when Universal Studios isn’t built yet Sentosa was probably the place tourists flocked for rides and attractions. Sentosa is still a good place to go for the rides, dining, beach, or simply a stroll.

For beachcombers, Sentosa has three beaches you can go. Well, their beaches are not exactly for swimming and never mind if the sand actually came from Boracay and Palawan.

Siloso, the fun and hip beach, is the place for beach activities like volleyball, kayaking, skimboarding, etc. It has also the most restaurants in the whole Sentosa.

Siloso Beach

Palawan Beach, on the other hand, is known as the family beach. Also, you can find here the bridge linking to the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia. Cool lah?

Palawan Beach and the suspension bridge to the southernmost point of Continental Asia
Tanjong Beach is probably the most tranquil beach of all.

Songs of the Sea is a water and light show that you really shouldn’t miss. 

Spectacular Songs of the Sea show

7) Orchard Road. Stretched along the Orchard Road are a number of shopping malls to choose from high to low end shopping.

If you can afford all the signature clothes and bags, then you’re only problem will be choosing what to buy. But if not, you are free to take a souvenir picture outside the stores hehe

At Ion Orchard

8) Nightlife. In the mood for some party and booze? Head to Clarke Quay and dance and drink the night away in the city’s trendiest night spot. If you’re looking for action-filled night, try the GMAX Reverse Bungy or Extreme Swing while there.


Not for the faint heart

If you’re looking for ambiance, I suggest you try Chijmes (pronounced as chimes) for a more intimate and sophisticated night. Chijmes itself is a visual treat, with its impressive architecture. It was actually a Catholic convent school converted into a commercial center. 

Night out at the church errrrr Chijmes

9) Kampong Glam. With Bugis station as the nearest MRT station, Kampong Glam is a Malay quarters with mosques and old shophouses selling textiles, and Muslim religious items.  Muslim presence is still predominant in the area particularly in Bussorah St and Arab St where you can see  art galleries, souvenir shops, camera houses, and other businesses.

Sultan Mosque

While there, we took advantage of entering the Sultan Mosque. It was my first time to enter a mosque by the way and I was required to wear a robe since I was in shorts. We also had a chance to witness a Malay wedding.

Inside the mosque
10) Haji Lane. Don’t miss Haji Lane, which is just a few steps away from Bussorah and Arab Streets.  Haji Lane is tiny lane where you can find dresshops and boutiques of emerging and independent fashion designers in Singapore. It is a fashionista’s paradise indeed!

11) Hawker food courts. Singaporean food trip, anyone? You can never go wrong eating in hawkers. For around SGD 3 you can buy a decent meal.

To start your day, have a Singaporean traditional breakfast of kaya toast and kopi. For a real treat, try laksa, Hainanese chicken, beef hor fun, satay, chili crab, bak kuh teh..whew the list could go on :)

Start your day right by eating a good breakfast :)

Famous hawker centers include Lau Pa Sat, Makansutra Gluttons Bay, and Newton Food Center.

12) Train rides. Transportation is Singapore is extremely efficient; it makes me wanna curse our LRT/MRT here in Manila. I simply enjoy traveling by train in SG.  Switching lines and transferring interchanges easy breezy as  1-2-3. SG’s MRT ride is an experience in itself.

I love train rides in SG

13) Street shopping at Bugis. I love good bargains, who doesn’t? Being cheapskate that I am, it’s no wonder I enjoyed shopping in Bugis. You can also find here some malls like Bugis Junction, Bugis Point, and Iluma.

Bugis Village

Read my full entry on Bugis Street Shopping.

14) Changi Airport.  Changi Airport has been consistently voted as the best airport in Asia. It was also voted in Time Magazine for airport’s biggest surprise – a swimming pool complete with changing rooms and gym amenities.

Check out 10 Ways to Pass Time at Changi Airport.

15) Gadgets. Gadgets are cheaper in SG : ) Funan DigitalLife Mall or simply known as the IT Mall tops the destination for IT, electronics, and gaming needs.

Sim Lim Square is a shopping haven for bargain hunters and tech addicts. Practice your haggling skills here.

If there’s one thing I learned about shuttling to- and from- SG, it’d be to never to underestimate this small city. You think three days are enough for a tour? Nah. SG constantly changes; new attractions being developed, tallest of the tall buildings on the rise. Yet, it remains a very livable and clean city. It was dubbed by Discovery Channel as the New York of Asia in the next 20 years or so.

How about you? What's on your Singapore list?

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