Posted on January 9, 2016
Are you traveling to South East Asia or you’re flying through Singapore or you’re going to for a quick visa run from Bali? Singapore is a good place to stop at and stay for a few days. As my friend Zuzana told me “it’s something like a gate to Asia.” It’s an interesting mix of western and asian world. What is fascinating about Singapore is the multiculturality and the offer of asian food. Amazing! Take it as a culinary exprience and go from one neighbroughhood to another and test all kinds of food.
Short information about Singapore
Singapore is an island city-state off southern Malaysia. It is a global financial centre with a tropical climate and multicultural population. In circa-1820 Chinatown stands the red-and-gold Buddha’s Tooth Relic Temple, Little India offers colorful souvenirs and Arab Street is lined with fabric shops.
Dialing code: +65
Currency: Singapore dollar
Population: 5.399 million (2013) World Bank
Official languages: English, Tamil, Malay, Standard Mandarin
My experience in Singapore
I arrived to Singapore after a long flight from London (British Airways rocks!). It was in the beginning of December of 2015. I was on my way to Bali and I decided to stop in Singapore for 2 nights. I wanted to get a bit used to the timezone before flying to Bali. I don’t have a good experience with jetlags, so I decided to take it easy and relax in this tropical island city-state. Moreover, whenever I fly through a new destination, I like to stay there for some days and explore the touristy and non-touristy stuff.
The first immpresion was that it was so hot and humid when I walked out of the perfect and super clean metro. Singapore has very strict rules about garbage and making the public area dirty. On the picture below you can see the fines that you’ll have to pay if you smoke or eat in the metro. So take it easy. There are cameras everywhere 🙂
I found my hostel easily and I wanted to do nothing else than eat and sleep. I went to a local food court (hawker center) that was two blocks from the hostel and I was positively shocked about the great offer of asian food. And about the prices! Singapore is not a cheap destination to travel to, but if you go local and you don’t eat in fancy restaurants, you can find delicious meals for e.g. 4USD. My first meal in Singapore was a tasty green curry with shrimp (I loved it!).
The next day I challenged myself and although I felt very dizzy from the jet lag, I decided to do a full sightseeing day. It was not easy and sometimes I felt like on a boat, because my head was spinning around from the heat. Well… the pleasures of traveling!
I would like to give you some tips about what to do in Singapore in 24 hours. You don’t have to see it all and I think that these could be one of the best options. For all of you who love shopping, you can get lost in one of the huge shopping malls, however, you can do it wherever in the world, so do some cultural stuff instead 🙂
Frequently asked questions
Where did you stay? In a hostel dorm. I’m not going to recommend this hostel, because I didn’t like it.
How did you move around? By metro.
Was it safe in Singapore? Yes, very safe.
How did I get the local money? Using ATMs, no problem at all.
How where the locals? Polite. I spent there very short time to find more about them and make some conclusions.
What to do in 24 hours in Singapore
The Botanical Gardens
My favorite spot in Singapore! I am also conviced to say that these are the most beautiful botanical gardens that I’ve ever visited. Get lost in the streets of these gardens, observe the flowers, trees and local animals. I saw a black swan for the first time in my life and the best of it all was to visit the orchard garden. Don’t miss this part of Singapore.
Chinatown & Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Chinatown was a great experience. Why? First off all it was interesting to observe that it’s possible to have a buddhist temple, hindu temple and a mosque on one street and very close to each other. Second point was that it was very colorful and I found some local goodies that I haven’t seen before. Third reason was the beautiful Buddha Tooth Relic Temple where I stayed for a while and I tried to absorb the magical combination of colors. Fourth and maybe the main reason was food (ok, you know now that I love to eat). It’s been a long time since I had chinese food, so I was looking forward to try my first chinese food out of Europe (I don’t count tons of chinese noodels that I ate in New York City ten years ago haha).
My tip: There are some very touristy streets with many chinese restaurants. I’m sure that it’s ok to eat there. But if you want to go really local, enter the market opposite to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and walk up the stairs to the second floor. You will find a great food market. I bet you that I was the only tourist there. I found a “vegetarian” only food stand and I ate for 2USD (sounds unreal in Singapore). It was so tasty and it was the first time that I tried a lotus root so I was happy to discover someting new.
Later that day I walked through Arab street, but I was so tired from my jetleg that I forgot to take photos. You can find all kinds of shops selling crafts or textiles there and you can observe Sultan Mosque.
The more I travel, the more people I know around the world. An old colleague of mine moved to Singapore and he hit me up so we met for a dinner. We went to Little India so this was my third ethnical or culutral neighbroughood in 1 day! I love indian food and the one that we had was perhaps the best meal that I had in December. The restaurant’s name is The Banana Leaf Apollo and I recommend you to eat there.
Eat Street Food
I’m conviced now that by the time you got to this point of my article you are hungry. Me too, as I’m writing these words 🙂 Visit some of Singapore’s hawker centres (food courts) and try their Hainanese chicken rice. I don’t eat chicken, but I heard from friends that it’s a must to do in Singapore. Well, whatever you’ll eat there it will be tasty or an unique exprience.
Wonderful lights, water show and Singapure’s skyline in Marina Bay Sands
I finished my 24 hours of sightseeing and eating in Singapore by visiting Marina Bay Sands and watching the light show. It was spectacular. Witness a stunning 13-minute showpiece of visual effects by the waterfront, where the universal tale of the journey of life is told through the use of electric light and laser effects.
I had a great time in Singapore although I was terribly jet lagged. It was a good choice to stay for two nights and invest my energy into sightseeing and trying all kinds of asian food. It was very easy to move around with metro and everything felt very safe. When I watched the stunning lights show at Marina Bay Sands I suddenly realized that I was in South East Asia and my new travel/digital nomad adventure was about to start. I took a selfie that you knew how I felt haha
Safe travels nomads! Talk to you soon.
About the Author
Thanks for reading this article! My name is Silvia and I’m from Slovakia. I’m passionate about entrepreneurship, marketing, traveling, surfing, photography and I’m in the search of the best ways how to combine it all. Over the past 3 years I changed my lifestyle completely. From an employee in a larger company I started freelancing and working online to be location independent. What drives me is the idea that if I want to, I can book a ticket and go surfing anywhere in the world and stay as long as I want. Also, I gathered lot of content and ideas inspired by beautiful people, places and products. I blog and organize presentations about these topics. Safe travels!