1. Where’s the hustle & bustle?
For us, Singapore felt like the New York City of Asia. You just can’t help but being impressed by the buildings, famous Marina Bay, and the crazy luxury mall that is attached to it. It also feels very organized and safe and has a great MRT (metro) infrastructure, so it’s quite easy to get to places. It’s also a big cultural melting pot in which people from diverse backgrounds seem to live together peacefully. We visited Chinatown, Little India, Lavender neighbourhood, and the Arab quarter in Kampong Glam. In each area you will find temples, shops, and food courts, however we missed real city centers where locals and tourists would hang out in the evening for food and drinks. Although there were different interesting places, it seemed like there was no ‘place to be’, or maybe there was but we just never found it. If there is a center, please let us know and we’ll go back to check it out! 😀 One big plus though, we were impressed how green Singapore was! The streets almost felt like paths in a botanic garden, with a large diversity of plantation that is well taken care of. Many buildings have terraces full of plants too!
2. What’s the fuss about Lavender?
Before booking a hotel in Singapore, we went through various online reviews of neighbourhoods. According to those, Little India and Lavender were the colorful backpackers spots. Unfortunately, we did not discover any special bars or hang-out places for backpackers during our stay in Lavender. In fact, we didn’t spot any backpackers at all. If you are about to go to Singapore, we’d recommend you to stay at Kampong Glam. There we found some cool looking cafes and bars. Although they weren’t packed with people during lunchtime when we were strolling through there, they might fill up in the evening 🙂
3. Didn’t they say Michelin star street food?
The quantity and variety of street food in Singapore is amazing! Period. You won’t have to walk long before a food court is popping up on the side of the road, filled with tens of food stalls offering anything from fishball soup to slimy ice desert with red beans! And of course the famous hawker food
markets like the Thekka food market in Little India or the Chinatown Complex Food Center in Chinatown. You will find a wide range of Chinese, Indian, Malay, Thai, etc. food priced with 1 to 5 Euros a dish. But here comes the ‘but’… When you hear so much about something, your expectations become huge! And as little foodies, we expected our tongues will be delighted with flavours they have never tasted before, which unfortunately didn’t happen.. 🙂 The food is good (especially for the price) but don’t expect to be knocked off your plastic chair :p
For more check out our post about Singapore must eats.
4. Night Safari or a zoo in the dark?
Lonely Planet is recommending the Night Safari as one of the highlights in Singapore. Why ‘Night’ safari? Because you can see nocturnal active animals. The entrance fee is not a joke with 47 Singapore Dollars p.p. (approx. 29 EUR per ticket). You can get there by public transport (metro and bus), but we would recommend to take one of the shuttle busses. They cost 1-2 EURO more per person but take only 30 min (half the time of public transport). It’s a nice setting, there is a welcome fire show, they have a cute animal show, and the animals seem to be kept in rather good conditions. However, it’s not more than a zoo in the dark after all. We imagined a safari in a large terrain, but eventually it was a 40 min tram ride through the park. When taking the so called trails, you walk on a path and see the different animals in the dark as you do in most zoos. It is also not always so easy to see the animals as all the lights are very dim. It’s not bad for an evening program, but just make sure you know what to expect.
All in all
If you are nearby or have the chance to plan a stop-over in Singapore, you should definitely go there to check it out and make up your own mind! For us, it was an interesting, even though not super spectacular, beginning of our travels. Or maybe we just didn’t take enough time to discover the full charm of Singapore?! Let us know what you think in the comments section below!