Where can I go shopping in Singapore?

The best tips for 3 days in Singapore

The city-state at the southern tip of Malaysia is a very interesting travel destination. Here you can find out everything about sights, districts, viewpoints, shopping and excursion destinations.

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Table of Contents

Kai Hochow lived in Singapore for several months as part of a semester abroad. During this time he had the opportunity to get to know the city in detail. In his article he leads you to the most beautiful destinations in the metropolis. Kai also has an exciting travel blog with alltheplaces.net. You can also find him on Facebook. If you subscribe to his newsletter now, you will receive a Southeast Asia eBook for free.

Basics in advance: Hotels, tours & arrival

Before you start, a few quick tips for your arrival and your stay in Singapore.

Hotels & Accommodation:

  • Inexpensive but good: The Beary Best! is a nice hostel with a popular roof terrace in the Kampong Glam district (Booking.com / Agoda). You can stay overnight in futuristic capsules in the CapsulePod @ Aljunied (Booking.com / Agoda), which has repeatedly received excellent reviews.
  • More comfort: The Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong (Booking.com / Agoda) convinces with stylish rooms and a great pool on the roof. The Jen Orchard Gateway (Booking.com / Agoda) has a great location and a pool with the best view.
  • Pretty chic: State guests also stay overnight in the traditional Shangri-La with a huge pool and great buffets (Booking.com / Agoda). At the Fullerton Hotel you live in the best location and in a royal atmosphere (Booking.com / Agoda).

Tours and excursions:

The top 3 most booked activities among visitors to Singapore are the zoo visit, the night safari and the hop on hop off bus.

Getting there:

Airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Swiss fly non-stop to Singapore. The airport there is an important hub in Southeast Asia. There are daily connections to destinations in neighboring countries such as Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore. It's best to compare prices and flight times with Skyscanner or Momondo.

And now I hand over to Kai:

Three days in Singapore

The city-state directly bordering Malaysia with over 5 million inhabitants is known as a financial metropolis above all for its wealth and has an impressive downtown skyline. The relatively high cost of living by Asian standards and comparable to major European cities, the tropical climate with no noticeable seasons and the enormous cultural diversity are further characteristics of the Lion City.

Within a very short time you can get to know the various influences of Singapore while visiting the Arab Quarter, Little India or Chinatown and gain insights into the peculiarities of the respective origins and religions. The peaceful coexistence of people of different faiths in the very limited space in Singapore is certainly unique in this form. A Hindu temple in the middle of Chinatown is not surprising either. As a cultural melting pot, Singapore also has an extremely varied cuisine. Even for the small budget, there is something for every taste in one of the countless Hawker Centers (semi-open areas with many adjacent stands).

In just a few days you can discover a lot of the city. I would therefore like to introduce and recommend some worthwhile places to you at this point.

The highest pool in the world and a lot more: Marina Bay

The area around the Marina Bay Sands is certainly the number one tourist destination in all of Singapore. But that is also justified. You don't have to like the pompous architecture and the total focus on luxury, especially within the shopping mall - but it shouldn't be a reason not to see this spectacle at least once. And should you find a way to get into the pool at Marina Bay Sands, for example. by spending a (very expensive) night in the associated hotel, you will never forget the view and the great feeling.

But even without a night in the hotel, you can at least take some of this feeling with you. There is a separate visitor platform (SkyPark) for the view from the roof of Marina Bay Sands, which costs around 16 euros. However, I recommend that you do without it and instead tell the reception on the ground floor of the tower on the left (coming from the city) that you want to have a drink in the bar on the roof. This is a little cheaper than the ticket, you have more peace and quiet than on the platform, a drink in hand and you are even closer to the pool.

Inside the shopping mall of Marina Bay Sands there is a very good food court in the basement with a huge selection of dishes from different nations. The prices are a little higher than at the Hawker Centers, but still acceptable and not as expensive as if you were to eat out in a "real" restaurant.

A green oasis: Gardens by the Bay

Probably one of the most famous photo opportunities next to Marina Bay Sands is the Gardens By the Bay area with its supertrees, directly behind Marina Bay Sands. These artificial trees and the associated park are part of the multitude of futuristic attractions in Singapore and are both at Day as well as in the dark, the visit is more than worth it.

To India and back: Little India

The point in time at which you move through Little India in Singapore plays a significant role in the way you experience this part of the city. If you want to stroll through the markets in peace or to eat something, you can do this every weekday or Saturday. But if you also want a “real” Indian feeling, I can recommend a visit on Sunday evening!

At this time, a large part of the (predominantly male) Indian population of Singapore meets in the streets and lets them burst at the seams. As soon as you step out of the MRT station, you suddenly seem to be in the middle of India. Most Indians in Singapore have Sundays off and gather to exchange ideas or to queue in one of the seemingly endless queues in front of the money transfer shops in order to then send their hard-earned money to their families during the week, mostly on Singapore's construction sites . If the hustle and bustle seems too crowded or too narrow, you can always find your way out by a short walk and enjoy the more contemplative Singapore. So if your visit extends over a Sunday, Little India is a must.

Good food and culture: Chinatown

In addition to Little India, Chinatown is also on the list of sights in Singapore. Here you can visit both the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (Buddhism) and the Sri Mariamman Temple (Hinduism). Both structures are only 100 meters apart. If you get off at the Chinatown MRT stop, you will immediately encounter an abundance of stalls and restaurants. More recommendable, however, is the Maxwell Road Hawker Center, about 200 meters away, opposite the Buddhist temple. There is a large selection of good quality dishes here, which is also reflected in the fact that many Singaporeans eat here. Here - and in many other places in Singapore - there are also very tasty, freshly squeezed fruit drinks that are a welcome cooling off in the heat of the city.

The city in detail: Singapore City Gallery

After eating at the Maxwell Road Hawker Center, I highly recommend a visit to the Singapore City Gallery, located just behind the food court. Admission is free and the gallery provides information on the history of the city and a great overview with many detailed miniature buildings. Many of the rooms are interactive and very modern. Here it becomes clear where Singapore comes from historically and, above all, how it would like to develop further. Buildings that are currently or will be built in the future are also integrated into the miniatures made of wood.

The best travel credit card for Singapore

You can save a lot of money on your travels with the right credit card. Here you can find out which cards you can use to withdraw cash free of charge worldwide and pay in local currency at no additional cost. And who is currently the only provider who reimburses you for the foreign fees at the machine, for example in Thailand or Vietnam.

Here is the credit card comparison

Hovering over the city: Singapore Flyer

The Singapore Flyer is the ferris wheel in Marina Bay. Here you also have the opportunity to admire the city from a bird's eye view. The drive is especially worthwhile around sunset. In order to fully enjoy this, you should leave in one of the gondolas about half an hour before sunset, and then arrive at the highest point of the Ferris wheel at the right moment. You should take care of the tickets a little earlier so that this experience does not fall victim to the queue.

Lights off - spot on: Helix Bridge & laser show

Even after sunset, it is worth staying in Marina Bay for a while. From the Singapore Flyer you can take the beautiful Helix Bridge to the complex around the Marina Bay Sands and watch the daily laser show with background music either here or on the opposite side.

The times for the laser show can be published on yoursingapore.com.

Arab Quarter / Arab Street

The Arab part of Singapore is not too far away from Little India and can be reached either on foot or by MRT (the metro) - for example from the Bugis or Bras Basah stop. Here there is the Masjid Sultan, a mosque that is accessible to visitors (at certain visiting times).

In just one day, you have the opportunity to get to know Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam better in just one city.

In the area around the mosque and Arab Street there are also many small cafes and designer shops by local artists. So if you are looking for valuable souvenirs, you will surely find it in one of the shops. You can end the day in the streets and shops in a cozy atmosphere with a water pipe.

All tips for your Singapore trip

Inspiration: Most beautiful destinations ✭ Flights: cheap flight tickets, arrival & onward travel, airport ✭ Travel planning: Singapore packing list, visa & entry, best travel credit card ✭ Traveling with a child ✭ Health: first-aid kit, travel health insurance ✭ On site: finding hotels, excursions & Tours, Train Tickets, Bus Tickets, Ferry Tickets ✭ Our Singapore Facebook Group

To the Singapore blog

Jungle Fever: The MacRitchie Reservoir

The fact that Singapore was still in the middle of the jungle a few decades ago can be seen on a trip to the geographically centrally located MacRitchie Reservoir. The natural area with large areas of water and forest is also used by the local population for excursions or for sports. If you want to experience monkeys in the wild and have a little jungle feeling, you should plan a full day or half a day for the MacRitchie Reservoir including the beautiful Tree Top Walk. If it rained before, sturdy shoes are recommended.

Tips for planning the evening

First of all: Singapore is certainly not the best place to go to partying or drink cocktails when it comes to budget. Still, I don't want to ignore a few tips.

Aiming high: 1-Altitude Rooftop-Bar (One Raffles Place)

The tallest building in Singapore at 280 meters (together with two other structures of the same height) has a rooftop bar and even makes the Marina Bay Sands look small from there. Usually you pay an entrance fee of around 14 euros in front of the elevator and receive a drink token with which you can pick up a glass of wine, a mixed drink or the like at the bar upstairs. As usual in Singapore, the dress code is rather chic, so the flip flops and Bermuda shorts should be changed beforehand.

Bars and Drinks: Club Street

Contrary to the name, you won't find so much "real" clubs on Club Street, but rather some chic bars. This includes, for example, the bar The Screening Room with a great roof terrace.

Riverside: Clarke Quay

For the sake of completeness, I am including the area around Clarke Quay. Personally, I didn't really like the area because it is very touristy. However, you can sit on the opposite side of the bars on the riverside and drink the beer you bought in the supermarket, which is great and completely free of charge. By the way: Singapore is known to many for its immense penalties, but drinking alcohol in public is not forbidden!

If you still have more time:

In the Singapore Zoo, all animals move in open enclosures, which makes a visit to the multi-award-winning zoo a pleasantly different experience and differentiates it from conventional zoos. The night safari is particularly recommended!

The Southern Ridges is a park area where, among other things, the absolutely impressive and unique Henderson Waves bridge can be found. Not far from here and within walking distance is the cable car station at Mount Faber, from which you can drive towards Sentosa Island. Sentosa is a man-made island with its own sandy beach, Universal Studios and many other ways to spend money. It wasn't my case, which is why it stayed during a visit, but if you fancy a little beach, this is in good hands.

Shopping in Singapore

Speaking of spending money: THE shopping mile in Singapore is Orchard Road. From the Orchard MRT stop you can walk the entire street in the direction of Dhoby Gaut and scour countless shops from very kitsch to very classy and very, very expensive.

Boat tour on the Singapore River

Still haven't had enough of Marina Bay? Then I can recommend a boat tour from the front of Marina Bay Sands, which takes you inexpensively over the Singapore River along Esplanade (a theater with the shape and outer structure of the »stinky fruit« durian) and through the Colonial District with beautiful buildings.

Conclusion

With its western standards, Singapore is the perfect start for those new to Asia. When the travel bug has seized you, you can dive deeper into the diverse continent from here at a reasonable price. Whether Indonesia, Cambodia or Vietnam, the number of destinations that can be reached quickly is almost innumerable.

What are your recommendations for Singapore?

Here you can find tips on hotels in Singapore.

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About the author

Stefan has been traveling to the countries of Southeast Asia since 2006 and often spends several months there. In 2013 he founded Fascination Southeast Asia and since then has also written several eBooks and books on the subject (including the insider travel guide “555 Tips for Bangkok”). Between his travels he lives and works in Düsseldorf.

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