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What Not To Miss In Singapore Your First Time

For me, Singapore is my home away from home.  The things I adore about Singapore are often the things that tourists miss out on when they visit.  As it turns out, Singapore is so much more than just shopping on Orchard Road. 

Follow this list of things you won’t want to miss your first time visiting Singapore and you’ll get to experience everything Singapore has to offer.

1. Eat at the Hawker Centres

You will find hawker centres all throughout Singapore.  These are essentially government-regulated food courts where the locals go to eat. Here you’ll experience some of the best and most authentic dishes in all of Singapore.  

We would highly recommend you eat most of your meals at hawker centres and do your best to try different dishes each time!  Some local favorites include char kway teow, laksa, wantan mee, and roti prata.

2. Shop on Orchard Road

When most people think about what to do in Singapore, the first thing that comes to mind is shopping…  and Orchard Road is the quintessential spot in Singapore to do it! You’ll get the opportunity to shop at countless high-end shopping malls (with air-conditioning thankfully) and every brand you can think of.  In fact, most big brands have numerous shops on Orchard Road.

If you are a big shopper, then Orchard Road is an absolute must.  Even if you aren’t, it’s still well worth taking a few hours out of your day.

3. Visit Gardens by the Bay

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay is a stunning feat of architecture found right in the heart of Singapore.  A handful of giant supertrees tower over the park. A sky bridge extends through the grove connecting two supertrees and allowing you to walk amongst the treetops.

Two massive conservatories contain two separate ecosystems – one filled with tropical plants and another packed with flowers.  It’s absolutely worth visiting and spending the S$28, but if you are limited on time consider skipping the Flower Dome.  

The Cloud Forest is by far the more impressive of the two structures, containing the second tallest indoor waterfall in the world (after the Jewel at Changi Airport, also in Singapore).

4. Shop & Eat at Chinatown

Make sure to visit and explore Chinatown.  It’s home to some of the best Chinese hawker stalls in Singapore, plus it’s a great opportunity to get some shopping done and find some souvenirs to take back home.

Make sure to check out Sri Mariamman Temple and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.  Making it here during a Chinese festival, such as the Chinese New Year, can be absolutely stunning.  The streets will be decorated with lanterns and you can expect the locals to be festive.

5. Explore Clarke Quay and Visit the Merlion

Clarke Quay is a great spot to explore for a few hours on a nice evening.  There are plenty of upscale eateries and bars here and a river with boat rides and bridges.

A short walk will offer spectacular views over the bay towards the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Singapore Flyer.  You also won’t want to miss a photo of the iconic Merlion which was relocated here in 2002.  

6. Stroll Through Macritchie Reservoir Park

The Macritchie Reservoir is Singapore’s oldest reservoir and is a giant park found in the middle of the island.  Consider hiking the Macritchie Nature Trail, where you will find eleven kilometers of trails, with a full loop taking around four hours. 

Along the way, expect to encounter some cheeky, long-tailed macaques (yes, monkeys) that want nothing more than the food in your bags.  Make sure not to feed them – and be especially careful not to corner them. They are cute to look at, but they can be aggressive.

You may also come across a treetop walkway suspended 25 meters above the ground.  It’s a great way to experience the park from the sky, but consider avoiding it if you’re afraid of heights.

Asia

5 Easy Tips To Travel To Singapore On A Budget

As you many travelers know well, traveling is now easier because there are numerous options to save money. If you are planning to take your next trip to Singapore for a vacation or business trip, you can make things easier by staying on a budget while still enjoying every moment. The Lion City appreciates tourists, but she is not after extorting money from travelers. However, you’ll need the right tips to stay on budget because the same state has areas where you can spend all of your money within hours! Go through these easy tips to stay on budget when in Singapore.

Eat With The Locals

The first thing that many people want to do when they land in a foreign land is to taste food from the best places. Upon arrival at Changi, tourists have the option to dine in the high-end restaurants or explore the hawker’s stalls where the locals eat. The latter is highly recommended for anyone who is on a budget. The good news is that local food stalls offer cuisine that is just as good as the high-end restaurants.

Drink Tap Water

Singapore has declared all tap water to be potable! This is what locals drink on a daily basis, and they do not get sick. All you need is to bring a water bottle and refill it at any of the water points around the city. Being a hot island, the water consumption is high and bottled water can be expensive, especially if you are traveling with a big family. You should only buy bottled water when you need a flavored option.

Use MRT Tickets Instead Of The Tourist Pass

Before visiting Singapore, you should know that the rapid mass transit (MRT) is the most popular and cheapest mode of transport and that it goes everywhere. As your agent on the One Visa website is processing your travel documents, they should tell you that the tourist visa is costly and it will give you access to MRT, which you can pay many times less for by purchasing tickets at the station like the locals. This is an excellent tip for someone who is looking forward to traversing Singapore.

Visit The Free Or Cheap Parks & Places

When making the itinerary for your visit to Singapore, take advantage of numerous places that are not charged but will still give you memorable moments. Many packages only have a small charge and they allow picnic lunches that bring the cost down even further. Avoid expensive places like clubs, paid private tours, and other activities that will leave a hole in your pocket.

Do Not Be In The Wrong

Singapore has various fines for breaking the law, and this will apply to both locals and tourists! All the laws in Singapore are friendly and easy to maintain. Do not smoke, chew, or spit in public places since this will get you fined. You can research more on these laws and master them to keep friendly contact with the authorities and save money.

Conclusion

There are many ways of saving money while in Singapore. In fact, there are many more if you plan carefully. Be sure that you are doing the right thing and you will be surprised that a vacation can be so cheap.

Asia

10 Best Tourist Attractions In Singapore

Singapore has become the tourist destination of choice for many people, thanks to the top tourist attractions that it offers. This small city-state boasts of a lot of manmade and natural beauty. There is something for everyone on the country. If you are a foodie, you can try different Asian cuisines. If you bring your family along, there are so many attractions for children you may not be able to see all of them. Should Singapore be your next travel destination, here are 10 best attractions you must visit.

1. Resorts World Sentosa

This is one of the most attractive properties in the world with world-class hotels, restaurants, theme parks and even a great casino. It is located on a small island that is off the south coast of Singapore. Many people come to this place from all over the world just so they can gamble in the casino. Others bring their families here and even if you just happen to be in mainland Singapore, you can hop over to the island just for kicks. You will love attractions like filming at the Universal Studios Singapore, visiting the Marine Life Park and the Dolphin Island. Also see some of the most awesome marine animals in the water park, which also has an aquarium.

 

2. Gardens By The Bay

Gardens By the Bay one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. It has many tropical plants as well as huge treelike structures that look gorgeous both during the day and in the evening due to its stunning lightings. One thing you will love with this garden is its beauty, its outstanding symmetry and many more. If you love gardens, this one will delight you to no end. It is large and is divided into three parts and it all designed on reclaimed land.

 

3. Clarke Quay

It is a quay yes, but there is little in terms of ships and marine trade going on because today, the Clarke Quay is dominated by world-class restaurants offering great cuisines. It is also home to pushcart vendors where you can buy some great stuff at very affordable prices. You will also try to get some fashion items from one of the boutiques located there. Whether you are looking for something that is English or Asian in nature, you will find it here. At night, Clarke Quay daily business close and the night entertainment spaces open up.

 

4. Raffles Hotel

This is a hotel yes and probably you won’t even stay here due to high prices, but it is quite a sight to behold. Built in the old English colonial style and having been opened way back in 1887, this hotel has become identifiable with Singapore. It has housed some of the most popular people in the world at one time or another, including writer Ernest Hemingway and Rudyard Kipling. With fifteen bars and restaurants, you can imagine the sheer size of this building. In a nutshell, it has to be as luxurious as you may imagine.

 

5. Marina Bay Sands

What kind of edifice would you build with an amount of money close to 6 billion US dollars? You will see just the kind of awesome work this amount of money in the Marina Bay Sands. Where the Raffles Hotel has the traditional English suave and assuredness, the Marina Bay Sands explodes with the best of modern architecture, thus creating a unique character of its own. Its infinity pool is most famous for being the highest infinity pool in the world. It should be a dream come true to see the Singapore from the observation deck of this hotel. You need to pay a fee just to access the observation deck. You must be a guest at the hotel if you want to swim in the infinity pool. Prices start from $300 per night.

 

6. Singapore Flyer

The Singapore Flyer is one of the most magnificent sights in Singapore, but it isn’t anything really until you can get in one of the cars and see the city from above. It is breathtaking. With each car able to hold up to 28 people, you and family will stay together. Be ready to fly up to 541 feet high in the sky and after the ride, have a meal at one of the restaurants at the flyer station.

 

7. Singapore Night Safari

The Night Safari is just that, a safari in the night when you will get to see many nocturnal animals as they live at night. You would hardly see these zoo animals in the day. You will be taken on a guided tram tour through different geographical regions in the world as you admire nocturnal animals from that region.

 

8. Singapore Botanic Gardens

You will pay a small fee to enter these gardens, but you will love it and anyway it is far cheaper than what the other attractions would have cost you. With more than 60,000 different species of plants, there is everything to love about it, and its arrangement is incredible too. Not only are the gardens rich in plants but in animals as well. Make sure you go to the orchid garden. The gardens are children friendly, this makes them a good attraction for families.

 

9. Orchard Road

Beautiful name for a road and when you get there, you will see that this road is reminiscent of an good productive orchard. Orchard Road can correctly be referred to as the shopping district of Singapore where you can find anything, from incredibly cheap items to some of the most luxurious brand names in the world. But do not just shop for items. Venture into the restaurants, try some of the bars and the nightclubs and you will be swept off your feet. If you should go there in December and catch the Christmas displays, including reindeers, you will be glad you went. The president of Singapore lives along Orchard Road too, and that counts for something.

10. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Buddhists are just some of the popular religious groups in Singapore and to honor Buddha, there is the magnificent Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, which is actually home to a tooth relic from none other than Buddha. You will marvel at the architecture of this temple. You can shoot awesome pictures with the temple in the background.

 

Conclusion

Singapore has so many other world-class tourist attractions. Actually it depends on your budget and time you will be staying in Singapore to decide how many more you can see in a single visit. Many people fall in love with the wonders and beauty of this modern city state and consider moving here to live as an expat. Expats living in Singapore can earn handsome amount availing many different kinds of jobs. Say for example, there are high paying tuition jobs Singapore that you can available if you love teaching. Singapore has to be one of the best places to live as an expat.

Airlines Hotels Luxury Reviews

Hotels We Love: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore + Insider City Tips

The Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore is the first hotel in the Shangri-La hotels group and is a true oasis located in the heart of an urban jungle. The hotel recently revamped its Tower Wing with the help of Japanese interior studio, Bond Design and the results are simply breathtaking. Three wings offer a style for every type of traveler: the elegant and timeless Valley Wing, the lush Garden Wing and the modern Tower Wing, which is where we had the pleasure of staying.


Tower Wing
From the moment we walked into the lobby of the Tower Wing, we immediately felt the tranquil and serene atmosphere thanks to its nature inspired art. The design is modeled after five key elements: wind, which is found in the whimsical art installation hanging from the ceiling, water, inspired by the unique sculptures and infinity pool in the middle of the lobby, wood found on the accents of the furniture and walls and finally, stone on the lobby’s grand centerpiece facade located at the bar, measuring 9 x 6 meters and made out of 350kg of basalt stone flown in from Australia.


Room
We had the pleasure of staying in the brand new Horizon Grand Premier Room and it was an absolute dream. Expansive, sleek, modern, yet still comfortable, the room was larger than my NYC apartment! It also had stunning views from both the living room and the desk view which can also be admired from the bed. This particular room is great for a larger party or families as it has a small kitchenette and dining table.



Horizon Club
The newly renovated club lounge is such a convenient pleasure to have access to with complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, cocktails & canapes, coffee, teas, juices and more served on a daily basis. It also offers stunning views overlooking the hotel’s grounds and the city of Singapore on both sides of the lounge. My favorite part of the day was heading up to the lounge before dinner to have wine, cheese and crackers as we watched the sun set over the city.



Grounds
The grounds are made up of 15 acres of lush gardens, exotic flowers, plants, herbs and ponds that house over 200 Japanese koi fish! The hotel even has its own orchid hybrid, the Dendrobium by Shangri-La, Singapore which can be found inside the newly built Orchid structure, a greenhouse that towers 22 feet above ground.




Dining

Shangri-La restaurants are known to be some of the best in the hotel scene and the dining at Shangri-La, Singapore is no exception.

The Lobby Lounge
Our lunch experience was one of my favorites as the restaurant offers authentic Singapore hawker style dishes inspired by the long time heritage street food dishes such as Bak Chor Mee (chef’s favorite), Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa and more.


The Line
The resort offers an all-day casual dining experience for guests, equipped with 16 kitchens offering a variety of cuisines for every taste.

The Waterfall Ristorante Italiano
Another favorite of mine was The Waterfall Italian restaurant led by Chef Marco from Napoli. Chef Marco’s passion for cooking shines through, so much so that he even makes his own pasta, available for purchase at the restaurant!



NAMI Restaurant & Bar
Overlooking the city from the 24th floor, NAMI, which means “wave” in Japanese, this fine art dining experience is a sushi lovers dream.

Shang Palace
The hotel’s Chinese fine dining experience offers authentic Cantonese cuisine and is one not to miss.


Spa
CHI provides a variety of services from Swedish and aromatherapy massages to specialized facials using local ingredients.

Activities
The hotel is located in the heart of the city and there is so much to do in the surrounding area but one of the highlights during our stay was the Bespoke Heartland tour conducted by the hotel‘s Chef Concierge, Rajkumar. The four hour tour gave us an in depth look into local life beyond the highlights that most tourists stick to. We learned so much during this tour and it left us appreciating the great country of Singapore even more than we did coming into it. Outlined below are some of the highlights we experienced during the tour:

Little India
We started the morning off by receiving blessings from Rajkumar’s family Hindu temple, Sri Veeramakaliamman as we learned about the HIndu faith.


Joo Chiat
We walked the colorful streets of Joo Chiat and had lunch with local Zizi at Kway Guan Huat. Zizi carries out her father’s 70 year long tradition of making the most authentic (and delicious) handmade popiahs in Singapore. The shop is located in a modest storefront where everything is made fresh. We learned how to stuff the popiahs and were taught how important it is to roll the skin with love and prayers during the process to pass on blessings to the person you make them for.



Chinatown
We made our way to the Chinese Heritage Centerin Chinatown where we learned about Singapore’s early pioneers and discovered the personal stories of people who made Chinatown their home.

Toa Payoh Estate
Rajkumar also took us to visit this diverse community living in harmony in a place where Singapore’s first MRT station, first bus terminal, first supermarket and police post are located. It’s also a place where citizens in Singapore go to plan their public housing plans and to establish their housing and development plans.


Visit our insider guide for more tips on what to do and see in Singapore.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.I was invited as guest by the Shangri-La, Singapore and Singapore Air. As always, all opinions are my own. #Sponsored

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Asia Journal

A Year in Singapore

The day before I moved to Singapore a wise friend warned me “Just remember, the body always arrives before the soul”. At the time, I thought it was an odd piece of advice. After all, I was more than ready to embark on a new adventure and the only thing left to do was board my flight the next morning. But the truth is, it’s been a much longer journey than I expected to truly “arrive” in Singapore (and I don’t just mean the 20 hours of flying from my hometown of Vancouver).

I first visited Singapore when I was 18 years old after traveling around Southeast Asia for 3 months. I instantly fell in love with the colourful, shuttered shophouses, the rickshaws and incredible variety of food. Singapore was foreign enough to excite me yet the colonial traces were familiar enough to make me feel comfortable. After many more years of traveling the world and living in a few different cities, I found myself happily living in London and expected that after a few years I would be ready to return closer to home.

But when the time came I didn’t feel ready at all. Instead, I felt a bit of remorse; something tugged at my heartstrings and I knew deep down that I wasn’t ready to give up living abroad. I could see myself too easily slipping back into my former life, only traveling once a year, trading my regular adventure fixes for the daily grind. So when a job opportunity in Singapore was presented to me I jumped at the chance. I’d never imagined that I would live in Asia but once it became a possibility it instantly felt like the right choice. So I accepted the job offer, packed my bags and prepared for another international move. I was confident with my decision: I’d already been living abroad for a few years and felt reassured that I knew the expat routine.

But I over-estimated how easy the transition would be. London life had been easy adjustment: I had a safety net of a small group of friends already living there, there was no language barrier and the time difference to chat with family and friends back home was manageable. Singapore was different. Despite my enthusiasm to settle quickly, it still took months to start to feel like home and instead felt more like an extra long layover. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it: no language barrier, decent wifi, lots of friendly expats, clean and safe, warm weather all year, cheap foot massages… what’s not to love?

I’ve always been the “Type A/Over-planner/Life goal tracker” type. But my usual approach just wasn’t working in Singapore. Despite its reputation as the “golf course of Asia” and as an easy country for foreigners to settle in, I was forced to acknowledge that Singapore is very much a foreign country! So I decided to take a deep breath and embrace the uncertainty rather than try to dictate the terms.

Encounter one of Singapore’s notoriously long queues? Pull out my kindle to catch up on reading. Hazy weather? Put on a mask and get on with life. No friends? Join one of the million social clubs. Crazy humidity every day? Be thankful I can wear flip flops and use my pool all year. Can’t find the ingredients for my favourite recipe? Try a new dish (or in my case, a new restaurant) instead. Each weekend I wandered new neighbourhoods like Tiong Bahru and Little India, took in the views of my new home from the top of Marina Bay Sands or Mount Faber, tasted chicken rice at a Hawker Food Centre, dodged monkeys and lizards while hiking through the MacRitchie Nature Reserve and enjoyed plenty of time relaxing by my condo pool.

But the most effective thing I did to make Singapore feel like home? I left. Over and over again. I travelled around Asia any chance I could get: Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Japan, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China… so many incredible destinations are within easy reach of Singapore. Each time I left Singapore I began to appreciate the life I had started to build for myself a little bit more. And without warning, one day as my plane touched down at Changi airport I realised that it finally felt good to be “home”.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still many aspects of Singapore life that I haven’t adjusted to yet ($35 cocktails anyone?). But for now, I’m happy that my soul has finally caught up to my body and I feel lucky to call Singapore “home”.

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