Singapore is like a plate of rojak – best defined as a very harmonious combination. If you have never tried the Singaporean rojak before, you are obviously missing out in life! The mix-match of tropical fruits, vegetables, and dough fritters are tossed together in a bowl, drizzled with a generous amount of shrimp paste belachan sauce and sprinkled with chopped peanuts. Singapore is made up of the Chinese, Malays, Indians, Caucasians as well as other nationalities that come together and live in harmony on this little red dot. These cultural differences from the different races all congregate together to form an identity of the nation. Just like the analogy of the rojak dish, all the different ingredients are thrown in the bowl together creating the unique flavor that stays true to Singapore.
Singaporean rojak salad. Photo by Artit Wongpradu.
While the island state is just slightly less than half the size of Los Angeles at approximately 716 square kilometers, there is so much to cover, and you don’t have to worry about getting bored! From Orchard Road to Sentosa Island to East Coast Park, there is always something buzzing. And judging from the size of this land, getting lost in Singapore requires a whole lot of effort! The roads are pretty easy to navigate around, and they have an efficient island-wide public transport system, the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), which is nothing compared to the complicated London’s subway lines. But make sure you read up on their various laws and regulations before you make the trip because Singapore has a notable reputation for being a real fine city! Check out the article on bizarre Singaporean laws here.
Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit Map. Photo by Calvin Teo.
If you haven’t realized yet, Singapore is an absolute foodie haven! Apart from the Singaporean rojak which is a local creation, the Singaporean Sling is another favorite item on the menu among the tourists. The Sling, originally named as the gin-sling, is a gin-based cocktail invented by a Hainanese bartender at The Raffles Hotel in Singapore. With pineapple juice as the main ingredient, it is mixed with 1-ounce gin, 1-ounce Benedictine, 1-ounce fresh lime juice and to give it the signature pink hue, another ounce of Cherry Heering is added to the mix and is best served chilled in a Collins glass.
Singapore Sling cocktail. Photo by katushOK.
Short of saying, there is always something suited for each person’s taste buds. For all the seafood lovers out there, the Chili Crab is a die-die-must-try (Singapore slang for something you absolutely have to experience) dish in Singapore. You cannot say that you ever visited Singapore if you haven’t tried this dish. The chili crab is stir-fried with a sweet and spicy tomato sauce and often come with complimentary mantou buns for you to dip with.
Singapore Chili Crab dish. Photo by Nishihama.
This is absolutely shiok! ‘Shiok’ is a slang term used to describe how delicious something is. Remember to jot this down in your notebook because you will hear it often when you’re there! Locals will be impressed with how fluent you are with the slang term! Also, you don’t have to worry about getting hungry because there is always food places open 24/7 all year round. We have a list (*adding link here) of best places to eat in Singapore. We promise that you will be spoilt for options.
Gardens By The Bay in Singapore. Photo by Toru Takeda.
If you had to name a place where you can spend next to nothing and still have a real-time, that is Singapore. There are plenty of attractions with free admission, and you don’t have to burn a hole in your pockets for them. Check out the supertrees at Gardens By The Bay where nature meets urbanization. Or you could visit some of Singapore’s oldest temples like the Thian Hock Keng temple in the heart of Chinatown where you can admire in awe at intricate carving details on the walls and pillars of the sacred place.
Merlion statue by the Singapore River. Photo by Casper1774 Studio.
Spend a day at Universal Studios Singapore and don’t forget to try out the Transformers rollercoaster ride or get a few pictures taken with Megatron and BumbleBee! But you certainly cannot miss a shot with the Merlion, Singapore’s iconic half-lion half-fish monument by the Singapore River.
Aerial view of Sentosa’s Siloso Beach in Singapore. Photo by FuaadRCD.
Thinking of taking a break from all that hustling and bustling around the city? Why not spend a day at Sentosa Island away from all that crowd? There are bike rentals available at the beaches, or you can just chill out under the palm trees and absorb all that Vitamin D from the sun.
Infinity Pool atop the Singapore Marina Bay Sands. Photo of Namthip Muanthongthae.
Take a free art tour at one of the island’s most artsy districts in the Marina Bay area and sip on wine as you go. Perhaps you could get to the top of the 57-storey Marina Bay Sands and relax at the Infinity Pool as you enjoy the city skyline. You can head over to the Singapore Botanical Gardens and enjoy a free concert conducted by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra for a chill evening with a few peacocks and white swans by the pond.
The average rate for hotels in Singapore could range from anywhere between SGD$200 to more than SGD $500 per night. Be sure to book your accommodations very well in advanced because tourist traffic is all year round. Well, that’s the perk of living in a tropical climate! Every month is summer in Singapore, and there isn’t any hibernation period at all!
The Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Photo by Gordon Bell.
If you are looking for something in your budget, you can head over to the Geylang Serai area where you can find boutique hotels at very reasonable rates. Hotels like the M Social adopt a contemporary-loft style with big windows and an open concept. If you are a fan of the minimalism, you can try out Lloyd’s Inn with black and white colors as their central theme throughout the hotel. Boutique hotels can range around the mid-100s price point per night, and you can expect more or less the same quality as big players like The Ritz Carlton Singapore or even Raffles Hotel.
- If you want to chew gum, don’t do so openly in public!
- Singaporeans might seem intimidating at first glance, but they are actually amiable folks.
- It is the right-hand drive in Singapore, so don’t go on the wrong side of the road!
- Address taxi drivers as ‘Uncles’ or ‘Aunties’ and adopt the vibe that everyone is your family.