Singapore, an island city-state off southern Malaysia, is a global financial center with a tropical climate and multicultural population. Fly directly into Changi Airport Singapore (SIN).
I’d say you need about 5 days on the ground.
Explore the temples
Visit Sentosa Island
Shop until you drop
A day trip to visit the suburban areas outside of the city.
And the last day to just do nothing but take it all in, maybe hang by the pool.
I wouldn’t recommend renting a car as they drive on the opposite side of the road. That’s one thing I haven’t done yet and I wasn’t trying to experiment this go round. Just download the Grab App to get around. It’s just like Uber, but they allow you to pay in cash so keep some handy.
Where to stay:
Marina Bay Sands Hotel & Gardens - This is the place to stay and a main attraction! The views, rooftop pool and beautiful gardens are a must. This hotel is always booked to capacity so if you aren’t lucky enough to get a room we also recommend the Hilton Singapore.
Hilton Singapore - this hotel is all about location as it has a great spot on the famous Orchard road, in the heart of the shopping district. You can walk to all the malls and there are a plethora of restaurants with late night options right at your doorstep.
Things to do:
The Singapore main attraction is shopping. If you want to shop till you drop, Orchard road is the fashion incubator and the place to go! The street is lined with ALL the high end fashion you can dream of! The same stores are just kilometers away from each other. I mean there are about 3 Chanel stores on Orchard rd, they went so far as to have pop up shops on the street right in front of the mall so you don't have to go in! They even make it easy for you to shop in the hot, rainy climate with underground, air conditioned tunnels that take you from one shopping mall to the next. These tunnels also connect you to the subway and are what you use to cross Orchard rd at some intersections. Remember this is the main shopping district so prices are marked up substantially due to location for basic items. If you have more time, save a few bucks and venture outside the city and head to the suburbs for better prices. If you are a vintage lover, check out the top thrift stores in Singapore. You can get gently worn high-end merch for a fraction of the price. You can also do a day trip to Jakarta for discount shopping, it’s about a 4hr drive one way to/from Singapore city center.
Singapore is also know for custom, tailor made suits and clothing at the Far East Plaza. What’s amazing is you can provide a photo and most tailors/seamstresses will make it to your specifications. Years ago my husband searched long and hard for this navy blue James Bond tuxedo for our wedding day. He was on a business trip in Singapore and heard about the custom suits made in 48 hrs. He hand picked the fabric and all the trimmings on the first day, then went back early the next day for a fitting. By that evening the tuxedo was hand delivered to his hotel room! We even emailed our sons measurements and had a his tuxedo made as well. From the time they received the photo and measurements, they shipped it to the states in 72 hrs turnaround time. There are at least 15 custom shops and stores where you can get one of a kind pieces in the Far East Plaza located just off Orchard rd.
We took a day to explore the temples and to pray for good health, wealth and of course more passports stamps! If you plan to visit, keep in mind you are going to a place of worship. You will have to wear bottoms that cover your knees and tops that cover your shoulders. The Big Buddha Tooth Relic Temple has cover ups you can borrow upon arrival. You will also have to remove your shoes when you enter some temples. If you are one of those people that don’t like to walk on foreign floors barefoot, bring or wear socks, they do not have those to borrow. We encourage you to leave a donation, which helps with the upkeep and restoration of the temples. We visited three temples that are within close proximity of each other.
Sri Thendayuthapani Temple (also known as Chettiars' Temple) is one of the Singapore Hindu community's most important monuments. It was gazetted as a national monument on 21 October 2014. It was built in 1859 by Nattukkottai Chettiar community.
Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple - located in China town. Constructed in 1925 by Hindu Chettiers from South India, who came to Singapore mainly as money-lenders, this temple was intended as a shrine for Vinayagar – another name for Ganesha, the Elephant God. It was frequented by workers from the nearby hospital (which is still there) and prison (which is not). It’s still popular with worshipers at weekends, as is evident from the hundreds of pairs of shoes left in the street. When the doors open, you will see people remove their shoes and start walking in a large circle around the shrine. They will walk around as many times as needed, some stop and drop to their knees to say a prayer as others keep walking.
Singapore Buddha Tooth Relic Temple- Also located in Chinatown is a 5 minute walk from the Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple and we got there just before prayer started. It is claimed that the relic of Buddha from which it gains its name was found in 1980 in a collapsed stupa in Myanmar. We were able to observe the entire ceremony. People also walk around the large Buddha or find their shrine and pray there. With 4 levels and an outdoor garden space, worshipers have many places to pray.
If you are looking for a relaxing and fun day, head over to Sentosa Island. You can drive over the bridge or take a cable car across to the island. We chose a round trip cable car experience to get the best overhead views. Pay the extra $3 dollars to take the other cable cars to get to the attractions. That way you don’t need wheels to get around. There is also a free tram that takes you to the different areas between cable car stops. It’s also the perfect location for families traveling with children of all ages. You can explore the amusement parks, like Universal Studios.
There are several pristine beaches like Palawan and Tanjong. We spent the day at Tanjong Beach Club soaking up the sun, sipping signature drinks and eating the freshest seafood.
Where to eat: Hawker Stalls - Late Night Eats
Orchard Towers Hawker - Seafood & Taiwan Porridge
For the foodies: Singapore is a melting pot of people predominantly of Asian and Indian decent. One of the things we love about this blend of cultures is their food! A great feature of the Singapore food scene is the late night eats! You will find many food court style establishments called "Hawker Stalls". Typically open late you can get a variety of ethnic foods and fresh fruit juices in one place. Orchard Towers Hawker was right across the street from our hotel. It was very clean and service was amazing. They actually serve you and remove your dirty dishes, unlike most US food courts. Most of the after hours hawkers only take cash, so keep some handy if you tend to eat late.
Trunk Bar & Bistro
One of the best things about traveling is being able to embrace our friends around the world. We met up with our Singapore crew for dinner at a great Indian fusion spot called the Trunk Bar & Bistro. Specializing in traditional Indian dishes with a twist this place is great. The staff is friendly and attentive, the food is authentic and well prepared while the drinks were perfectly made. The atmosphere is ideal for small groups and not to loud allowing us to enjoy conversations with ease while catching up. So glad we got to spend some time with our Singapore homies over a great meal.
Fun facts about Singapore they taught us over dinner:
A random guy that’s about 20+ yrs older than you can be referred to as “Uncle” in Singapore. For example, nobody knows the waiters name, so we called him Uncle to get his attention.
Nurses in the hospital are referred to as “sisters”, for example Nurse Diane would be Sister Diane. So if you see ever in Singapore and you hear people refer to others as uncle and sister, they probably aren’t really related to them🤣.
The word "la"..this word can be randomly be added to the end of statements, questions or phrases like .. "Ok, la" , "are you going to the store la?", "I don't see it la!". So when you hear it don't be confused la! 🤣.
Singapore Travel tips:
Time Zone: Singapore Standard Time (GMT+8) or 12 hours ahead of Eastern Time
Exchange rate- you get a little more bang for your USD with a variable rate, so be sure to check the rate during your travels.
You can get cash directly from the ATM or currency exchange at the airport when you arrive.
Download the Grab app to get around. It’s just like Uber, but they allow you to pay in cash so keep some handy.
Also have cash for the late night food spots as most Hawker stalls don’t accept credit/debit cards.
Pack light weight, breathable clothing. This is a hot, sticky tropical climate. Also bring sneakers or flats for all the walking and shopping you will do.
Hope this helps your future Singapore Travels!