January 23, 2023

We went from a total rest and relaxation state in Bali to the hustle and bustle of an exciting new city (/country), Singapore! Singapore is beyond cool. It’s a super modern melting pot of a place. There is everything you could ever want or need right at your fingertips. It’s beautiful, safe, clean, and orderly and the native language is English (even though the majority of people are Chinese), so you wont experience any language barrier here. We spent 4 days exploring this new city state and loved every bit of it. Here are some highlights:

The National Orchid Garden, which is located within the Singapore Botanic Gardens, is an absolute must see! It’s a UNESCO world heritage site and incredibly special. There are thousands upon thousands (~60,000, I believe) of varieties of orchids situated amongst beautiful winding pathways. The gardens are separated into different sections, all show casing different species and varieties of orchids. There are all kinds of hybrids that are truly jaw dropping! We spent a couple of hours wandering around and it was by far the highlight of our time in Singapore.

Marina Bay Sands is a gigantic complex with entertainment, shopping, and a hotel. It’s 57 floors high, with an infinity pool at the top. There are three restaurants on the rooftop, so I would recommend heading up to one of them to grab a bite or just a drink to check out the view. The best one for the view is the Ce La Vi SkyBar because it’s right next to the pool, and you basically have an unobstructed view of the city. We were last minute in making a reservation, so unfortunately weren’t able to get in there, so we opted for Spago. It’s super spacious and comfortable with good food and drink options (nothing spectacular, but remember, you’re there for the view). Once you’ve seen the view, make your way to the shopping mall. It feels very Vegas adjacent with a river and gondolas running through the middle of it. Everything is extremely You will find a storefront for every single luxury brand you could ever imagine, and it will be huge. This is a shoppers paradise, and even if you’re not interested in dropping a pretty penny on material things, it’s definitely worth it to just stroll through and window shop.

Gardens by the Bay is part of the Marina Bay Sands complex and is a big indoor garden exhibit. In the spirit of being completely honest, this is something I would skip. It doesn’t hold a candle to the beauty that is The National Orchid Garden, in my opinion. If you have kids with you, this would be a good option as it had lots of interactive Avatar things going on. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very cool and impressive, but it is less of a natural oasis (National Orchid Garden) and more of a Disney-fied experience.

You must go to a Hawker Center and grub out! These are like indoor food halls with a wide selection of different types of food, and it’s really cheap (and really good!). One of our cab drivers, who was born and raised in Singapore, recommended we go to Maxwell Food Centre for the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice. This dish – OMG. It looks like absolutely nothing special (and is served on throw away plates), so I didn’t take a photo of it, but the flavor is so so good. Simple, but comfort food in the best form. Tian Tian is a stall that is most famous for this dish, however, it was closed when we went, so we went to a nearby stall, Ah Tai to try and we LOVED. Ah Tai is actually rated higher on google but Tian Tian has more recognition. I’m sure they’re both great, but do with that info what you want. :)ut comfort food in the best form. Tian Tian is a stall that is most famous for this dish, however, it was closed when we went, so we went to a nearby stall, Ah Tai to try and we LOVED. Ah Tai is actually rated higher on google but Tian Tian has more recognition. I’m sure they’re both great, but do with that info what you want. 🙂

Another must do dining experience is Chili Crab! We were recommended Jumbo Seafood, which is a well known chain. This is quite the experience. You suit up with gloves and a bib and go to town, eating with your hands, and devouring crab drenched in a delicious chili sauce. We also ordered rice on the side as well as some sauteed garlic and greens. Oh, and don’t forget the deep fried mini steamed buns to sop up all of the sauce at the end.

There are tons of Michelin starred and recommended restaurants in Singapore, and with so much to see and do and eat, we didn’t even scratch the surface. We knew we wanted to try at least one of the Michelin restaurants, and so we landed on Candlenut. It’s a tasting menu with more traditional Peranakan (which refers to a person of mixed Chinese and Malay/Indonesian) fare. A type of cuisine that is completely new and unusual to me, so I was very excited to check it out. Since we were in Singapore in January, they were celebrating the Lunar New Year. We had the choice between their regular seasonal menu or their Chinese New Year menu. We opted for the Chinese New Year menu and it did not disappoint!

If you go one place for a drink, make sure it’s Atlas Bar. Not only are the drinks perfection, but the atmosphere is beyond stunning. You feel as if you’ve been transported to a Gastby party, in the best way. There are giulded murals and curiosities everywhere you look. Austin got the martini flight, which I think is a must.

Another spot worth checking out is Raffles. It’s a stunning colonial style hotel with a rich history, and their bar, Long Bar, is where the famous cocktail, the Singapore Sling, was created. Austin took one for the team and ordered one, while I opted for something less sweet. They don’t accept reservations, so expect to wait in line a little bit (or a lot – we got there during an off time and were able to nearly get right in, but the line quickly grew shortly after). Once you’ve had a cocktail or two, make your way down to the Raffles gift shop. They have a collection of beautiful homewares, teas, and Raffles merch, but I’m telling you – it’s good!

A few other things to note about Singapore…their rail system, the MRT is so clean, efficient and easy to figure out. If you’re not up for using the MRT, download the Grab app, which is just like Uber over there. We used both!

Another area for tons of shopping is Orchard Road. It’s just malls on malls on malls, and even though they still look huge from the street, they all have several floors underground. Yes- underground! A more quaint and quiet area is Dempsey Hill. It’s a beautiful outdoor retail space with lots of restaurants. A more neighborhood feel…it was giving me Highland Park in Dallas vibes.

Overall, I can’t say enough great things about Singapore. The people are kind and helpful and there is so much to do in such a small area. I think 4 nights was the perfect amount of time. I would go back in a heartbeat!