What can you expect from your first trip to Singapore?
When I first landed in Singapore, I was thrilled to be in a city with such a positive reputation for being high-tech, convenient and green. Although I was exhausted from a long flight, I quickly bought a sim card for 15SGD and ordered a Grab ride (Uber equivalent) to the RedDoorz hotel (a good quality budget hotel) in Marine Parade Central. My female Grab driver, who spoke excellent English, was quite chatty and gave a quick lowdown of Singapore highlighting it was a safe and clean city known as “Fine city,” since there were heavy fines for littering, jaywalking and vandalism. This confirmed what I’d previously heard about Singapore. I arrived at my hotel around 9 pm had a late dinner and went to bed feeling proud that I was taking control of life and authentically living out my dreams. I was excited for the day ahead; this is how I spent my time in Singapore as a solo traveler.
How to Spend four days in Singapore
My formula for great solo travel involves following daily activities; 2-3 interesting sights/excursions to experience, delicious food, learning about the culture and meeting interesting people. Here are some of the activities I got up to:
I stopped at the Art science museum in Marina Bay Sands area and viewed some intriguing exhibitions for the price of 20SDG. In particular, I experienced the #futureworldASM exhibition, which included art pieces such as the ‘crystal world’ and ‘transcending boundaries’ exhibitions. Overall, the experience was thought-provoking, even mind-blowing.
I then took a short stroll across the Helix bridge to the world-renown Marina Bay Sands shopping complex. If you love luxury, then this is the place for you. The Marina Bay Sands resort is an iconic part of the Singapore city skyline. It consists of three 55-story high towers of luxurious suites. I decided to have lunch at the food hall in the ‘Shoppes by the Bay mall’ which offered over 20 options of diverse international cuisine at great prices.
As the evening approached, I decided to pay a visit to always exciting Ce La Vi Restaurant and Sky Bar at the Marina Bay Sands hotel where I decided to unwind with a glass of wine. Aside from drinks, it is a place to party, dine and enjoy a magnificent view of Singapore’s skyline.
Just a minute away by foot from Marina Bay Sands is the stunning Gardens by the Bay conservatories. It is the world’s biggest greenhouse spanning to 101-hectare of futuristic designs of greenery. You will be amazed at the Supertrees that start to twinkle at sundown. These are manmade structures of steel frames and concrete with its branches angled to the sky.
Inside the garden are two domed conservatories which are the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. Aside from these two domes, it also houses a majestic thirty-five-meter high waterfall placed next to a wall of plants. For the price of 30SDG, I spent the entire day at Gardens by the Bay and visited the ‘cloud forest’, the ‘flower dome’ and ended the with the futuristic light show of the supertrees. The whole experience was like a scene from a sci-fi film.
Just a few minutes ride on the subway from Marina Bayfront is Little India. A busy district that shows the Indian community in Singapore. With all its remarkable temples and busy shops, you truly get a sense that you are in India. Visitors come to this place to shop and try delicious curry meals.
I then took a taxi to the MacRitchie Reservoir Park which is another famous attraction in Singapore. If you love nature and likes outdoor activities like kayaking, canoeing, and hiking, then this place is for you. Bird watching is also an everyday activity here which most visitors enjoy. I bought a young coconut and took a stroll through the peaceful reservoir.
On my final day, I decided to spend the day at the Jewel complex at Changi airport before catching my flight to Malaysia. Jewel Changi is the newest complex opened at Changi Airport. It has a total floor area of 135,700 square meters. This area covers a vast indoor garden, a hotel, restaurants, and recreation space and store outlets. This creation aims to attract more tourists and strengthens Changi Airport as the transit center of travelers all over the world. You can enjoy these fun-filled attractions like the Canopy Bridge, Canopy Park, Manulife Skynets Bouncing, Manulife Skynets Walking, Mirror Maze, and Discovery Slides. Currently, Changi is the best airport in the world. I spent about 50SDG to experience the ‘Manulife sky nets’, the ‘hedge maze’ and the ‘canopy walk’. I witnessed the largest indoor waterfall which was simply incredible; the was an amazing light show at sunset. I then explored the remarkable shopping outlets and had dinner at the “Hot tomato” restaurant before my flight.
Singapore may be a small city-state, but it’s full of attractions for tourists around the world. Whether you travel for business or leisure, Singapore has something for you.
You could also visit:
I did not have time to explore all of Singapore, however, I have recommended below places I would also like to visit on the next trip:
- Sentosa: an Island resort with amazing beaches, the Universal Studios’ resort, and an adventures park
- Singapore botanical gardens: a beautiful tropical garden
- Singapore Zoo: a wildlife reserve with a safari and bird park
Cost of my trip
- Flight: one way 424 CYN (49GBP) Philippines to Singapore booked on Trip.com
- Hotel: 4 nights 874CYN (100GBP) RedDoorz Hotel booked on Trip.com
- Transport: 122 SDG taxi and public transport (69.63GBP)
- Food: 188 SDG (105.28GBP)
My opinion of Singapore
Although one of the most expensive cities in SE Asia, I loved the atmosphere, the people and the ease of staying and traveling there. It is also quite a small place and can be explored within a week. The only downside is the cost of travel, however, there are a lot of wonderful activities to get involved in, I would definitely recommend Singapore to new travelers.
Planning a trip to Singapore can be costly, but there are ways where you can cut expenses and still be able to enjoy the sights and attractions the country offers. For budget travelers, you have the option to stay in less expensive accommodations like the backpacker’s hostels, and budget hotels. Most of these accommodations are in Little India, Bugis, and Chinatown areas. Just make sure to choose a place where it is close to MRT station since most of Singapore’s attractions can be reached via MRT.
On a less glamorous note, while on this trip I had a bad flare-up of cold sores which were really persistent and aggressive. I had to visit a Doctor at Changi Airport. Unfortunately, and I would not recommend this, I did not have medical insurance so I had to pay cash for my treatment which was affordable luckily enough. Here are some useful health-related tips that you might need while traveling:
- Vaccination: Visit your local medical center and get vaccinated before you travel, this includes vaccination for, Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus and Diphtheria, Cholera, etc… This list is basic and can be different depending on the region you’re going; you need to seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional
- Stock up on medication to treat minor ailments such as… Painkillers: Paracetamol and Ibuprofen or equivalent, there’s nothing worse than having a head/stomach or any ache but with no good quality medication available.
- Diarrhea relief medicine: Imodium or equivalent.
- Rehydration therapy: Dioralyte or equivalent to rehydrate yourself after a bout of dysentery.
- Bug spray and insect bite ointment: Jungle formula, Anthisan respectively or the equivalent.
- Anti-histamines for unexpected allergic reactions.
- Hand sanitizers, gloves and face masks: to maintain cleanliness. It’s vital to constantly keep clean & wash hands regularly to prevent yourself from contracting any illness.
- Food: only eat food from reputable restaurants or food that is freshly cooked to avoid food poisoning.
- Water: always drink bottled water, sometimes even brush your teeth with it, wash fresh fruit and veg with it.
- Insurance: make sure you have travel and medical insurance. Unexpected illness can become very expensive very fast and its crucial you have access to treatment immediately.
When you’re on the road even minor illness can be exaggerated if you don’t have access to proper healthcare.
My experience in Singapore gave me an opportunity to live life on my own terms. I could be my authentic self and take on an unfamiliar environment successfully. If there’s anything you do, I encourage you to own everything about yourself including the things you don’t like. Owning the things that you don’t like about yourself could enable you to achieve your wildest dreams. Be honest with yourself as people can see through a façade, there’s nothing to fear when you are being yourself. This is a lesson that took me a long while to fully grasp. You know you’re being authentic when you are at peace with yourself, you feel content with life, you’re confident and not even the sky is the limit. It becomes easier to figure out what you want in life, and you create healthy boundaries. You can achieve truly unique and remarkable things because there is no one else in the world like you.