5 Unique Things Everyone Should Experience in Singapore

5 Unique Things Everyone Should Experience in Singapore

After my 42-hour journey getting there, my five days in Singapore seemed to be just enough to do and see everything I wanted to. I spent the better part of each day walking around the city seeing all it had to offer. The major take-away from the trip is that the Singaporeans love their food! Including food, here are five ideas of activities you can experience in Singapore.

Eating at a Hawker Stand

experience in Singapore
One of Singapore’s Many Hawker Stands

A Hawker stand doesn’t sound like a very appetizing place to grab a meal, but it is! The city is full of little food centers that have numerous hawker stands within. Each stand has a specialty. Hawker stands are so prevalent in Singapore that in the inaugural Michelin Guide for the best food in Singapore, two hawker stands were included. I tried to eat at one of the Michelin starred stands, but unfortunately, when the food runs out they close, and I just missed it.

These food centers and hawker stands are often located near MRT stations or bus stations and are designed to give locals a chance to grab a quick, inexpensive meal on the way to work and on the way home. If you are going to Singapore on a budget, you could eat at the hawker stands for less than $5 per meal. I ate at the food stands for all my meals one day here’s how it broke down.

Breakfast – Tanglin Halt Original Peanut Pancakes: 2 pancakes $1.16

Experience in Singapore
Peanut Pancakes

Lunch –  Biryani at Satay by the Bay: Mutton Biryani $5.11

Experience in Singapore
Mutton Biryani

Dinner – Hainanese Chicken Rice on Chinatown Food Street – $2.92

Experience in Singapore
Hainanese Chicken Rice

 

Total cost for three meals – $9.19, not bad for some pretty delicious food!

 

Night Safaridsc00875

The Singapore zoo has three attractions on its campus. The zoo, a river safari, and a night safari. A unique activity to experience in Singapore is the world’s first nocturnal zoo. Within the zoo, there is a tram ride that takes you around, but then there are also walking paths that let you get a closer look at the animals. Since it is a nocturnal zoo they discouraged people from using flashes when taking pictures, so, unfortunately, my photos didn’t turn out great. It was a pretty neat experience though.

 

The Domes at the Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay entrance
Gardens by the Bay entrance

After you’ve seen the animals at the night safari and zoo, head over to the Gardens by the Bay. Situated right behind the Marina Bay Sands hotel the 250-acre nature park is sure to impress. As you approach the first thing that will catch your eye are the super trees, which are vertical gardens that also capture rainwater for the gardens’ water displays and solar energy to power the trees’ lighting system.

The supertrees
The supertrees

Walk deeper into the gardens, and you’ll find the dome conservatories. The idea of the conservatories is to showcase not only all of the beautiful plants but the efficient, sustainable operation of these complexes.

The Domes and Supertrees
The Domes and Supertrees

 

I was blown away by the two domes. The flower dome was full of beautiful trees, flowers, and other plants from all around the world. When you enter the cloud forest, you will be immediately impressed by the 115ft waterfall on a 135ft “cloud mountain.”

The Cloud Forest Waterfall
The Cloud Forest Waterfall
Me in front of the Cloud Forest waterfall
Me in front of the Cloud Forest waterfall

The cloud forest dome replicates the climate of a tropical mountain. My favorite display in the cloud forest was the carnivorous plant display featuring pitcher plants and Venus flytraps – complete with Lego replicas!

One of the many beautiful flowers
One of the many beautiful flowers
The cloud forest mountain
The cloud forest mountain
My favorite display carnivorous plants with lego replicas!
My favorite display carnivorous plants with lego replicas!

 

Walk through 3 distinct cultures in Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street

Doing a tour of the three prominent cultures in Singapore is pretty easy thanks to an efficient metro system and the neighborhoods being situated right next to each other. I didn’t do each neighborhood in one day but did Chinatown one day and Little India and Arab Street the next.

Chinatown
Chinatown

In Chinatown, you will find streets lined with vendors selling nicknacks and souvenirs. You will also find some great food, fresh fruits, and other stores. In one store I got to watch a woman make a pearl necklace. When you’re in Chinatown stop by the pagoda- a small Buddhist temple then head to the Chinatown food center to grab a bite to eat. You will find over 200 hawker stands in this food center, and it was by far the largest one I visited.

Chinatown Pagoda - Buddhist Temple
Chinatown Pagoda – Buddhist Temple
Chinatown Merlion
Chinatown Merlion

If you want to head right over to Little India, hop on the MRT in Chinatown and about four stops later you’re there!

Little India MRT station
Little India MRT station

I spent less time in Little India because it didn’t have the same feel as Chinatown. The streets were busy, and the shops were selling mostly food and electronics. The Mustafa Center is Singapore’s version of Walmart except it is much larger, much more crowded, and overwhelming. I walked in and was immediately overwhelmed. The building I was in had four floors of tightly packed shelves. After taking an escalator up to the souvenir floor, I had enough. It was so crowded and unorganized I had to leave.

Entrance to Little India
Entrance to Little India

The smallest neighborhood is the Muslim neighborhood with the main portion consisting of 2 short streets – Arab Street and Haji Lane.

Cool Wall Mural at Haji Lane
Cool Wall Mural at Haji Lane

Haji Lane seemed to be a trendy street full of little shops with a bit of a hipster vibe. On Haji Lane you find little cafes and bars that serve only craft beer. The sides of the buildings were covered beautiful graffiti murals. I sat down, and people watched here for about an hour and definitely saw some characters.

Arab Street Mosque
Arab Street Mosque

 

Take in the View from the Sky Deck at the Marina Bay Sands

Experience in Singapore
Marina Bay Sands

Last, but not least if you have a chance head up to the Skydeck at the most iconic building in Singapore, The Marina Bay Sands. The ship or surfboard shaped building has an observation deck and an infinity pool on the 57th floor. If you don’t want to pay $17 for a ticket to the observation deck, head over to tower one and take the elevator up to the 57th floor where there is a bar and restaurant. Have a Singapore sling while taking in the sunset over the beautiful Singapore skyline. I had dinner at the restaurant one night, but that’s another blog post.😉

View of the Singapore Skyline from the Sky Deck
View of the Singapore Skyline from the Sky Deck

My Experience in Singapore

This list by no means covers my stay, but instead gives you some highlights or ideas on what you can experience in Singapore if you plan on visiting the city-state soon! Also worth checking out is the National Gallery to take in a collection of modern art from Singapore and Southeast Asia. I hope this post helps give you ideas if you’re visiting Singapore or inspires you to plan a trip to Singapore. Remember I only paid $429 for the roundtrip ticket from New York to Hong Kong then 40,000 Citi Thankyou points to get to Singapore from Hong Kong. I also got a great deal on the Conrad Centennial for my stay in Singapore. Trips like this can be within anyone’s budget with some smart planning and the right credit card bonuses!

Have you ever been to Singapore? What was your favorite thing you saw or did? Let me know in the comments below!

5 Comments

  1. I just got back from Singapore this summer. I could live there! We went to Lau Pa Sat Hawker stands that were amazing. The Indian place in the Hawker stand under Marina Bay Sands was so good (maybe where you went). My friend and I shared Naan and 4 dipping bowls for $4. It was huge!
    We also walked around through the underground walkways of the Fullerton Hotel and the River Center. There is so much history there. There are old photos everywhere of the hotel as it used to be (customs house, post office, etc.). The architecture of the city is amazing! We walked up the old street off Orchard where there are houses and a bar from the 1800’s.
    I liked China town too…I love the windows and all of the hidden temples. We ate at Spago one night for a treat at sunset. It was a Tuesday night and they had an amazing drink special so we had one of those and an appetizer so we did not break the bank.
    Our last day we went to Sentosa. We hit the water park which was so fun! Then we went to the beach area for sunset. There was a rope bridge that led to a little island which is actually the southernmost tip of continental Asia which was cool (and is now my FB photo. At night they have a “crane dance” which is unlike anything I have ever seen. They are mechanical cranes that do a dance/story to music and lights with water.
    All of the night laser shows are cool and we watched a fun band at the amphitheater next to Marina Bay. Of course we had a drink at the Raffles Hotel. We did so much…a great city to see a lot in a short amount of time!!!!
    I heard you on the radio this week so wanted to check out your blog.

    1. WOW! You definitely made the most of your time in Singapore! I didn’t have a chance to do quite a few of the things on your list, which just means I’ll have to go back! Thanks for sharing!

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