My Story: Initially, I visited the city for the people (quite a few of my closest and most beloved friends live here). Through the people, I’ve come to appreciate the city itself. The first thing you notice is that it is impeccably clean- almost cleaner than my room! The transport system works well (although locals may argue otherwise). The food is delicious and affordable. And they’ve managed to fit a lot of things to do and see in a relatively small space!
Three word description: Clean, efficient, (good) food.
Must pack: Singlets, t-shirts, shorts, sandals (change of clothes in general) – you sweat a lot.
Getting around: Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is the easiest. Buy a stored value card (although I hear there are tourist options – I’m not clued in on those). If all else fails, the taxi service is quite affordable in my books.
To eat: Chicken Rice. Anything at Hawker’s Centres (These are very clean! In fact, each stall’s cleanliness is rated and displayed from a scale of A to D, with A being the most clean)
1. Universal Studios. For someone who loves roller-coasters this is a dream. It’s the perfect size- you can comfortably fit it all into one day (barring long lines). We went on Chinese New Year and there were no lines whatsoever (there is the option of paying extra to purchase the express pass which cuts down on lining up time). Key rides include Battlestar Galactica: The Ceylon (underlined to show it is my most favourite), Lights Camera Action! hosted by Stephen Spielberg, Transformers: The Ride, Shrek 4-D Adventure and Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure.
2. I-fly Singapore. Having toyed with the idea of sky-diving for awhile but not quite having the guts to go through with it (nor the money!), this was the next best thing. This is body-flying, where you experience the thrill of skydiving without the dangers. Admittedly, half the fun of sky-diving is the thrill of the dangers. However, without the massive fear factor, I was able to focus on my body-movements which is a worthwhile self-awareness exercise. Well-worth the dollars. We also got a nice photo out of it to post on facebook (which is afterall the reason we all travel, right? cough cough)
3. The ArtScience Museum. I like Art and I like Science- so I figured this is the best of both worlds! Situated at Marina Bay Sands, it’s at the hub of where all the action is! We saw one great exhibition (The Art of the Brick) and one not so great exhibition (some photography exhibit which was so average that the name of the exhibit has momentarily escaped me). I loved the Art of the Brick not only because the lego structures themselves were amazing, but also because it was very well curated. The descriptions of the pieces were succinct but meaningful. Nathan Sawaya (the artist) was a lawyer turned artist (which hits a little close to home). That’s a story for another day.
4. Gardens by the Bay. The main attractions are the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest, with the two structures housing very different vegetation. The supertrees are also uniquely different from anything I’ve seen. For the keen learners, the architectural enthusiasts, the botanists or the average Joe Blogg who appreciates nature, this is worth a visit. My summary: it’s hands-on learning amidst an architectural feat – no wonder it has won gazillions of awards.
Don’t Miss: Shopping at Uniqlo! It has good quality clothing at affordable prices. The coloured pair of skinny jeans I bought was only 20SGD (oh I should’ve bought many more pairs in hindsight…..one for each day of the week). I also picked up a trench coat and some casual shirts. LOVE.
1. There is an Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme. If you spend SGD 100 or more then you qualify – you have to ask for the eTRS ticket and original receipt at the stores (generally it’s easier if you do it all in the one transaction otherwise you have to link it all onto one credit card). Anyway, the fine prints of what you have to do are here.
2. Chopping. At Hawker’s Centres there is a well-developed practice of “Chopping” – where you reserve your spot by putting a packet of tissues on the seat. The social norm is that you cannot claim the seat if there’s already a packet of tissues on it. Some think this practice is convenient, others think it is nonsense. I make no judgement, only that this is what it is (and to warn those who may unknowingly offend).