Feeling like I was hallucinating after no sleep and 13 hours on a plane did not stop me from enjoying a glass of Champagne 636 feet in the air with my darling mother, oh no. Welcome to Singapore.
We had a lot to cram into three short days in one of the world’s most exciting cities. The Singapore Airlines route from Heathrow to Bali changes at Singapore so it would have been criminal to not delay our visit to Indonesia and absorb all that this great city had to offer.
Our travel tips came direct from my mum, who lived in Singapore as a child and has returned almost every year since then. Her and my stepdad were our walking, talking guidebooks for 36 hours.
Here’s what we got up to, some recommendations you can take forward if you decide to visit for yourself:
- 1hr Singapore River Cruise leaving from and returning to Clarke Quay area: rivercruise.com.sg
- Shopping and lunch at Raffles City Shopping Centre (on the top level with amazing views is a bar called 1 Altitude: 1-altitude.com)
- Evening food at Violet Oon, one of my mum’s favourite restaurants and the food was outstanding: violetoon.com
- Spent almost the entire day in the paradise that is Gardens by the Bay (there are various different attractions and areas to explore – I could have lost myself for days in the Flower Dome). You cannot come to Singapore and not do this: gardensbythebay.com
- There are loads of nice places to eat at Gardens by the Bay, but we took the short walk down by the river to Satay by the Bay to try the street food experience (feels very less touristy and is good, cheap, local food served in a food court arena): sataybythebay.com.sg
- From anywhere in Singapore you can see a cruise ship that appears to be balancing on three buildings in the sky. This is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel (with its famous infinity pool). You can pay to go to the official observation deck, or do what we did and pay entrance to the rooftop bar which is set just a few metres back from the edge, Cé La Vi Skybar – this costs around £20, but then you get that back in drinks once you’re up there, meaning entrance is essentially free and the view is just as breathtaking: celavi.com
- If you’re a fellow runner, head off down the waterside in the morning, from Clarke Quay all the way to Marina Bay Sands, passing views of the financial district and the famous Merlion statue (on a sunny day, the views are beautiful)
- A restaurant we just missed the chance to experience which had been recommended to us was CreatureS (it looks incredible): creatures.com.sg
Lastly, it’s OK to not feel pressured to knacker yourself out trying to do everything, just because you’re visiting somewhere for a short period of time. We spent one of our days here doing nothing but reading and relaxing by our hotel pool (Swissotel Merchant Court: swissotel.com), hiding from thunderstorms, absorbing the glorious heat and sipping countless iced coffees whilst my mum giggled at me and my (yes, also grown up) partner as we took turns to hurl ourselves down the ‘kids only’ slides. The spontaneous experiences are often more memorable than the ‘must-see’ things.
There was so much more we could have done but with such a quick turnaround I think we did very well. The staggeringly tall buildings combined with tiredness meant that the whole trip felt like a dream to me… oh, a very good dream, one in which anything is possible.
Next stop, The Island of the Gods.