Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Travel Tuesday :: Singapore

I ❤️ Singapore!

I've been twice, and I would absolutely recommend it to any and all travelers. It is a clean, well-situated island city-state located just south of mainland Malaysia; separated by the Straits of Johor. Due to it's location only 1.3000° north of the equator, it is hot-hot-hot all year round. There are so many things that make Singapore a phenomenal place to visit no matter what your preferred style of travel: luxury tourism, culture craver, beach bum, or city slicker : something for everyone! 

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
If you have money (or a large group willing to split it a million ways), try to stay here. It's probably the most luxurious place I've ever stepped foot into. If it's out of your budget (it was totally out of mine, I stayed at City Backpackers), check out the 56th floor observation deck. You only have access to a small portion of the deck, but the views are great and you can even catch a glimpse of the infinity pool.

The Singapore Flyer
When I took my ride on the Singapore Flyer in February 2014, it was the tallest ferris wheel in the world (March 2014, it was beat out by Vegas' High Roller Ferris Wheel). It was a cool ride and the view was fantastic. The wheel tops out at 165m (541ft), and it was neat to see the city from that height... we were even able to see a bit into Malaysia! Tickets can be purchased as a package deal, so we also took a duck boat tour- something that it cool if you have time to kill, but otherwise nothing spectacular.

The Merlion
It is exactly what it sounds like: a mermaid lion and it spits water. See it in the day and at night. Absolutely majestic.

This is a great place to just wander around. There are lots of different trinket shops and food stalls and things to look at. In the middle of Chinatown in this spectacular Hindu temple that is absolutely worth a look. While I didn't go inside, I heard good things about the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum; it's a beautiful building and you would almost have to try to miss it.

Clarke Quay
This area is really fun any time of the day. It is a cool spot on the Singapore River and is absolutely packed with restaurants and bars. If you like people watching, this is the place for you. If you're looking to kill time, but not be super-active, grab something to eat and just chill here. At night, its really cool to see with all the lights, and you can even catch a glimpse of the Marina Bay Sands all lit up!
Laser show!
If you're headed to check out the Merlion after dark, you might as well time it to see the Wonder Full laser show. On its on, it its nothing fantastic- but if you bundle it with an after-dark Merlion visit, it makes it much more worth it. Bonus- its a quick, nice walk down to Clarke Quay if you need a little excitement after the show.

If you can swing it, I recommend budgeting an extra few dollars to check out the highest rooftop bar in Singapore. 1-Altitude is 63 floors up (yup, that makes it taller than the Sands!) and really expensive. In addition to the views, it's neat to see how the richer-half live... and drink. I considered it a cool treat since I had been living out of a backpack and staying in hostels; so this was a fancy gift for myself. Like I said, if you can swing it, it's worth a thought!

Sentosa Island
So much to do here! This is a more family-oriented area, so if you are traveling with kids (or are a big kid!) its a good place to wander. Sentosa is home to Universal Studios Singapore and has a handful of attractions related to that. Because of budgets, I never took in any of those attractions- but did spend some money in the Hershey's store. If you walk from the tram and basically walk straight back, you'll pass through Universal, some of the hotels (and another Merlion), and wind up on the beach. There are a handful of beach in Singapore, but if Sentosa is on your itinerary anyway; Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach, or Tanjong Beach might be your most convenient options.

The Sultan Mosque
I went on a really cool tour a the Sultan Mosque during Ramadan in 2012. We took in a quick presentation by a 20-something guy from Canada who was in the process of converting to Islam. The tour was led by a white, female, European, convert; and it was a really interesting to hear her perspective, She was asked some really tough questions about her beliefs and if she felt repressed, and she answered them in a graceful, matter-of-fact kinda way. At the end of the tour, we were allowed to "break the Ramadan fast" and were able to sample the same foods that the rest of the worshiping crowd (I wanted to say congregation, but I feel that term isn't right... does anyone know the proper terminology ?) breaking their fast. If you want a cultural awakening, and a peek into the world of Islam- and what it was meant to be- definitely take a tour there. Be sure to have a sarong and something to cover shoulders, I'm not sure it is absolutely necessary, but its always a nice step to be mindful and respectful of more conservative practices.

I understand that this is a general term for a varied dish. However, my first experience with this dish was absolutely insanely delicious. Literally salivating right now just writing about it. My friend Sarah had tried it on her last trip, and brought me to a place she knew. If you're not one to get hung up on whether or not a place has an authentic feel, then you'll be glad to know that the place we went is conveniently located in the basement of The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands on the Canal Level. Just keep your eyes open for Rasapura Masters (hawker/local type foods). We did a "build-your-own" type bowl at Hakka Yong Tau Foo. Highly recommend checking this out towards the beginning of your trip, because I have a feeling you're gong to like it!

Walking around
I stayed near Hong Lim Park and walked almost everywhere. You'll definitely be missing out if you don't spend some quality time roaming around... even if it's only walking between destinations!

If you've been, what was your absolute favorite part of your Singapore experience?

No comments:

Post a Comment