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Why visit Singapore?

My trip started in Singapore in June, a city that is well known as a stopover from Ireland for destinations further afield. The city has done plenty in recent years to promote itself as more than just a quick pit stop. Granted, you can see a lot in 24 hours but I decided to take the time and spend 3 nights in this great city to find out what else is happening.

 

Official language

Singapore, a small city state, is very cosmopolitan and quite Westernised. English is one of the official languages so cultural shock would be hard to experience here. There are many different areas of the city you can choose to stay in depending on travel style or what you are looking for from your city break.

 

Where to stay?

Chinatown

I decided to stay in Chinatown. I cannot deny the fact that Singapore is expensive, the price of a beer would reach €8 in many places. Chinatown was a bit more affordable and had great character and atmosphere. There was an MRT (fast and efficient underground rail network) station central to this borough so it was very easy to navigate and reach anywhere in the city. We arrived quite late so we explored the area and got something to eat at “Chinatown Food Street”. There are many stalls selling freshly made street food and big seating areas along the middle of the street. Other selling trinkets, plenty of restaurants and there is some nightlife close by.

Clarke’s Quay

For those wanting something livelier, there is the well known area of Clarke’s Quay, about a 15 minute walk from Chinatown and easily reached from other areas in Singapore. We ventured here twice during our few days and it is totally geared towards tourists, I found it very enjoyable. A large choice of restaurants with cuisine from all around the world. Later at night it comes alive with live music from most bars and clubs and with plenty of happy hour offers, the place is buzzing until the small hours.

 

What to visit?

Gardens by the Bay

On our first full day, we visited the main sights of the city. The well known Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Sands complex. Gardens by the Bay is one of the main attractions of Singapore and is super impressive. Huge tree-shaped installations, aerial walkways, green areas, lakes, flower dome and cloud forest are some of the things to see and even at night it is open for light and music shows with different events occurring depending on the time of year you are visiting.

 

Marina Bay Sands

The Marina Bay Sands was always the image I had in my head when I pictured Singapore. The iconic hotel and entertainment and shopping complex was worth a visit! SkyPark observation deck is accessible for $23 for some spectacular views. If you could splash out and stay a night or two here you can make use of the amazing infinity pool overlooking the impressive skyline. I’ve made it a bucket list item to return sometime and stay here!

 

Orchard Road

We spent a bit of time along Orchard Road which is the main shopping district of Singapore. There are all kinds of shopping malls and designer stores dotted along here and many nice hotels here, if I was here on a stopover again I would probably base myself around this area.

 

Sentosa

On our second day we decided to visit Sentosa. This small island off the mainland of Singapore is a purpose built resort which has everything from beautiful beaches to historic forts to Universal Studios theme park. We spent almost a full day here and it was really enjoyable. I especially liked the nature walks! This was somewhere I hadn't known much about before I came here and if you have the time I would recommend a visit. There is a train to the island or the cable car across the Bay if you're brave enough! You can choose different passes that allow entry to a certain amount of attractions during your visit to the island which includes transport around the island through shuttle or trams (for example Cable car, viewpoint, 4d movies) We chose 3 for $60 and that was more than enough. For families with children a day spent at Universal Studios and Waterpark would be a great idea!

 

On your bucket List?

What really struck me about the city of Singapore was the cleanliness. Everywhere we walked and toured was spotless and despite being such a highly populated city, it never felt crowded. Even on the MRT system getting around, there was always plenty of space at any time of day. Overall, I’d absolutely recommend adding Singapore on your bucket list and consider spending more than a night on this lovely modern city if at all possible - It truly deserves it. 

 

Ellen Farley

Travel Consultant at J Barter Travel

 




 

 


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