When I was boarding the plane in Bali, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I came back to the Indonesian island. It was a short holiday, but I loved Bali and even though I haven’t explored that much of it yet, I still found it beautiful and fascinating. But the final leg of our trip beckoned – next stop, Singapore!
You might remember us visiting Singapore before, when we stayed at Marina Bay Sands. This time we are back to explore the entire city, and not just one amazing hotel!
How to get to Singapore
There are several options to get to Singapore. You can come by boat from Indonesia or you can take a bus from Malaysia like I did. The most popular way to get to Singapore though, unsurprisingly, is to fly. Flying is even more exciting because you have a high chance of landing at Changi. Did you know that this is often called the world’s best airport?
We booked our flights from Bali with Scotts – Singaporean low-cost, long-haul airline. The journey didn’t take long – about two hours – so we were back at the famous airport for a second time very quickly. I am not sure if I landed at the same terminal as I did coming from Tokyo, but this place wasn’t anything like I had imagined. All you can find on the arrivals side is a place with some strange sandwiches and taxi stands. Without much to interest us, we were soon off to our hotel.
Where to stay in Singapore
Marina Bay Sands might be iconic, but Singapore has a whole lot more to offer on the hotel front, too. We decided to stay in So Sofitel near the business district. This is a very modern area of Singapore and the hotel was close to the main attractions with a very nice pool (although we never used it!).
The hotel surprised me from the beginning. While we were checking in, the very nice receptionist was joined by the hotel manager to welcome us! I have to admit that it was the best designed hotel that we stayed in on this trip. From the furniture to the accessories and even the colour schemes, it was perfect.
Our room was very modern, with iPhone to iPhone communication, a very comfortable bed and even complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic drinks in the mini bar. It was a very cute and dreamy place and I would definitely stay there again.
The best places to visit in Singapore in 3 days
Day 1 in Singapore: Eating in Chinatown and partying in Clarke Quay
We arrived pretty early and I realised we weren’t far away from Chinatown at the hotel. Our stomachs were rumbling, so we made that our first stop. The walk took about 30 minutes because we got lost for a moment or two, but in the end we spotted a beautiful street with many restaurants. It was hard to decide which one to choose and unfortunately, I think we could have chosen better. The food wasn’t too bad, but we’d definitely had nicer meals here before.
After fuelling up for the afternoon, we checked out Chinatown on foot. I have to admit that Chinatown in Singapore is the cleanest I’ve seen. This used to be the city’s beating heart, bustling with people, gambling and clubs. What was once a dirty and cramped area has become a quiet, characterful place since most of the initial residents moved out to cheaper, new apartments around the country.
Now Chinatown is full of old stores that sell anything and everything that can be made from plastic, as well as clothes and souvenirs. It was a great experience to walk around and take it all in.
When evening arrived, we headed to Clarke Quay. This is a district by the river that is home to many restaurants, bars and clubs. We were lucky because we chose a weekend when a festival was taking place, so we got to see some live DJs for free too!
Day 2: Exploring museums and marvelling at Gardens by the Bay
We kicked off day two in Singapore with a walk to the ArtScience Museum, which is an eye-catching lotus flower building near to Marina Bay. It was built for international exhibitions and was inaugurated with the first Singapore show of works by Salvador Dali.
We got tickets for Future World, which was amazing. Most of the art was for kids but I really wanted to see the crystal universe display and it looked magical! Here is a link to the museum where you can see a video.
Next up was a walk to Gardens by the Bay – one of the most famous gardens in the world. It occupies 101 hectares and is divided into three parts: Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central, worked on by architects from 24 countries. You can walk around it for free, but there are a few paid attractions too. We bought tickets to enter two huge greenhouses – Clouds Forest and Flower Dome.
Flower Dome is one of the biggest botanical gardens in the world. It houses plants from the Mediterranean, as well as from Australia, South America and South Africa. Some of them are so beautiful you could stare at them all day, but don’t, because you need to see Clouds Forest too!
Clouds Forest is in my opinion more impressive. It was created under a glass dome. By the entrance, you can see a 35-metre green construction with the world’s largest artificial waterfall. You can walk around metal bridges on this structure, with the walls around you completely covered by plants.
It takes few good hours to see it, especially if you keep stopping to take photos. We didn’t wait for the light show as we were planning to go back to Gardens by the Bay the next day. When we got back to hotel we noticed that they had closed a road nearby to set up tables and street food stands connected to Telok Ayer Market, a historic building that is now an Asian food centre.
Day 3: Singapore Zoo and light shows at Gardens by the Bay
I’ve heard so many positive opinions about Singapore Zoo, so that was the plan for our third day in Singapore. You can get a ticket for four attractions, the Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park. We decided to just visit the zoo during the day, with it being one of Singapore’s star attractions.
When you walk in, you get the feeling that you’re in a tropical park. There were no cages at all and you got much better views of the animals as a result. Some of them were completely free or only separated a little bit for protection. Some of the animals were hiding or sleeping during our visit, which was unlucky, and some people recommend visiting at night to see more.
After exploring Singapore Zoo we returned to Gardens By the Bay. The plan was go on the Skyway Bridge, but we were warned that the queue was very long. We didn’t want to be stuck in the queue and risk missing the light show, which only happens twice each day.
Instead, we found seats near to the Supertrees. They are manmade structures resembling stunning trees, which create ecological garden facilities, providing rainwater as well as electricity. Soon afterwards, the The Garden Rhapsody show began. It was a great experience watching the Supertrees flashing with a thousand colours to the beat of the music. Because our visit was so close to Christmas, we even got to hear Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’ in the display!
Our three days in Singapore went by very quickly. Before we knew it, it was time to go home! On our last day we had to find a clinic to get a vaccine after our adventure in Bali (read about it here) and then we headed to the airport.
This time we had more time to explore the airport, but because we got upgraded to business class for the flight we spent most of the time in a lounge. But again, the airport didn’t impress me. I know there are a few attractions, but based on my experiences, the terminal wasn’t any more special than those I’ve seen elsewhere.
Singapore was a wonderful city with many, many attractions. It was also really clean, felt very safe and the locals were very nice too. There were things I still wanted to see and do but I didn’t have enough time to, so yet again, I can’t wait to go back!
What would be top of your list for three days in Singapore?
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