Singapore remains to be one of my all-time favorite destinations, so I was ecstatic to fly back earlier this year. It had been a year or two since I was last in the Lion City, and fortunately, this year’s trip gave me a week and a half to enjoy Singapore, the longest duration I spent therein. In the last decade, I’ve probably gone to the city for more or less ten times, so there was a lot I’d seen and returned to time and time again; but up to that point, there was still so much I wanted to see. So when I came up with our itinerary, I made sure to include my favorite places to visit, as well as those that had long-been on my list.
Where to Stay
To begin, let me start with hotels and areas that I highly-recommend staying in; with an abundance of hotel options to choose from, it can be quite difficult when looking for a place to stay in. Of course, location and quality are those I always look at when choosing hotels, and the ones I’d be noting herein are those that don’t fall short in both areas. Surely, choosing one of these three hotels will be one of the best decisions you’ll make while planning your trip to Singapore, which I’ll be categorizing based on areas of interest & possible visit purposes.
1) Culture: Kampong Glam & Bugis Area – ParkRoyal on Beach Road
ParkRoyal on Beach Road was the hotel I stayed in during my most recent trip, and it definitely did not disappoint. Situated right across Kampong Glam and within walking distance of the Bugis area, it’s one of the best accommodation options if you’re looking to experience a more laid-back and cultural trip. For more details, visit my Hotel Review: ParkRoyal on Beach Roach Singapore.
2) Tourism & Business: Marina Bay – Marina Mandarin by Meritus
There’s just something that about staying in the Marina Bay area that I’ve always loved; possibly its proximity to Merlion Park, the financial / business district with its towering buildings, Gardens by the Bay, or even the Esplanade, which has always allowed me to enjoy walks from the hotels within the vicinity. If you’re in Singapore for tourism or business, then Marina Mandarin is one of the best options, as it is nestled within walking distance of Marina Bay and is easy access to the financial and business districts of the country. Aside from its excellent location, the hotel boasts of gorgeous architecture and superior quality for its accommodation, which you can read about on: Hotel Review: Marina Mandarin Singapore by Meritus.
3) Shopping: Orchard Road – Mandarin Orchard Hotel
What has long been on our list of hotels in Singapore to stay in is Mandarin Orchard, one of the sister hotels of the previously-noted Marina Mandarin. Its location within the bustling and commercial stretch that is Orchard Road proves to be the best location if your main priority for your trip is shopping. With a wide array of shopping malls, retail and dining areas within the vicinity, you won’t go wrong with Mandarin Orchard. Not only does it boast of one of the best locations in Singapore, but it also boasts of its fantastic service and amenities. To know more, visit my post from a few years back: Hotel Review: Mandarin Orchard Hotel Singapore.
What to See: My Top 6 Places Not to Miss
1) Universal Studios
As most of you already know, I am seriously in love with any and all things related to theme parks, which is one of the many reasons why I love visiting Singapore: Universal Studios on Sentosa Island, which I wrote about a while back in Universal Studios Singapore.
It was my third visit to the theme park, but I felt like it had changed in some aspects since then, particularly: there are a ton more people compared to when I first visited in 2011, and take note that we went there on a Monday! Given this, I highly-suggest that you get the Unlimited Express Pass, which gives to unlimited access to all express lanes for the ride – this definitely saved us a lot of time.
As touristy as it may sound, Universal Studios Singapore will always be my favorite place to visit in the city.
2) Gardens by the Bay
Do I really need to explain why visiting the Gardens by the Bay is must? The Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest and the Supertree Grove are some of the finest pieces of landscape I have seen to date; and this time, I’ll let the photos do the talking.
3) Singapore Botanical Gardens
Despite having been to Singapore several times, it was my first time to visit the 160-year-old Botanical Gardens, which wasn’t really on my radar, until a friend who had recently moved to Singapore suggested that we save a few hours for a visit. Located in the outskirts of the main city centre, we had to take a cab going there; though a bit more costly than usual, it was worth every penny!
Spanning through more than 200 acres, this hidden gem is surely a must-visit. Therein, you’ll find the National Orchid Garden, Swan Lake, Symphony Stage, and so on. So if you do find yourself in this part of the world, do save some time to visit the Singapore Botanical Gardens!
The Esplanade is a performing arts theatre that’s located right beside the mouth of the Singapore River. Though its main function is that of a theatre, with a few food & retail establishments inside, it is the surrounding areas that I highly-suggest you don’t miss out on; such as the park, depicted below.
Situated right by the Singapore River, the foyer fronting the Esplanade is one of the best areas to take a stroll in, as you make your way to Marina Bay Sands with a fantastic view of the skyline.
5) Kampong Glam
This cultural & ethnic area in Singapore is one of the places you should make time for when visiting the Lion City. From gorgeous architecture to colorful side-streets, and lovely cafes & restaurants, I enjoyed visiting this area both by day and by night.
6) Marina Bay Sands & Shoppes | Helix Bridge
Last on this list would have to be one of city’s most iconic attractions, the world-renowned Marina Bay Sands.
Attached to this five-star hotel is my favorite mall in the world: The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, both equally must-sees while in Singapore. Right in front of these two landmarks is the Helix Bridge, yet another architectural must-visit while in Singapore, from where you can get a fantastic view of the city.
What to Eat
Though I missed-out on taking photos of when we dined in Merci Marcel, this restaurant specializing in French dishes is the perfect brunch place, which is why it always gets packed on weekends. We dined in the branch in Tiong Bahru, but they’ve opened another one along Club street; so make sure you don’t miss-out on this dining gem.
If you’re looking to have some fine Italian cuisine, then look no further than Positano in Kampong Glam. This restaurant specializes in open-faced calzones, thin crust pizzas, and impeccable pasta dishes; their seafood chowder is a must-try too!
Fancy some Mexican food & drinks? Then Piedra Negra on Beach road is the place for you! With cool & chic interiors, margaritas & mojitos on point, delicious guacamole, nachos, burritos, quesadillas, and any other Mexican dish you’re craving for, Piedra Negra offers a great laid-back night out that you shouldn’t miss-out on.
Singapore’s Hawker Centres, like Makasuntra Gluttons Bay, is a dining experience you’ll surely never make a mistake in choosing, as it serves a wide array of options for local and Asian cuisine of top-notch quality. Honestly, there is no specific Hawker Centre that I would recommend, as I don’t think you can ever go wrong with any of them, as we surely didn’t!
Why Visit Singapore
Evident throughout my posts and possible my few other posts about Singapore from a few years back, I’ve always loved the country, and though I’ve visited several times, I’m still itching to go back. From a dynamic dining scene, world-class retail, top-notch entertainment, and an endless list of activities to do therein, this small country just has everything to offer. And as I’ve said before, there’s always something new & exciting in store throughout every visit to Singapore – no matter how frequent you fly to and from!