Singapore – September 2016
Flight: $692* (via AirAsia/Philippines Air)
Hotel: Fragrance Hotel Imperial ($72 /night)
*We flew from Bali, so this doesn’t reflect a roundtrip price from LAX.
Singapore, aka The Lion City, which is really a state and also its own country; and there were actually never any lions that lived there. Wait. What?
Now, first things first. Singapore is expensive, and we were warned by fellow travelers in Bali during the days prior, but I sure wasn’t expecting to go from my $2 Bintang beers to $26 Singapore Slings. We spent 3 days here, and my expenses were close to the amount I spent for 8 days in Bali — so be warned. The good news is that there are a lot of free things to do, and I’ll share where we were able to save some money during our visit.
Day 1: Botanic Gardens and Marina Bay Sands
The day we arrived we started our trip by checking out the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Entry into the gardens is free, but you will need to purchase a ticket to walk through the National Orchid Garden – $5 SGD (Tip: Bring a student ID for a discounted entry – only $1 SGD). There weren’t as many orchids blooming as in the pictures I saw on Pinterest, but, nonetheless, it was still extremely beautiful.
At night, we went to Marina Bay Sands. It’s a huge hotel and is the best place to see Singapore’s skyline. You have to be a hotel guest to visit the infinity pool, but there are a couple different restaurants/lounges/bars that you can visit for the amazing rooftop city view. When we found out that Wednesday was “Ladies’ Night” at CÉ LA VI Club Lounge, we knew that was our best option, because not only did we get free entry and a free drink, but it also meant that the minimum age for girls was 18 but 25 for guys; and Hello. Can we start that in America?
Day 2: Tree Top Walk and Gardens by the Bay
It didn’t take long to find out that it randomly rains in Singapore quite often, which is also the reason I don’t have many pictures with me in them. Can you say “frizzy hair”? Why we thought our next stop was a good idea in the rain is beyond me, but we headed to Singapore’s Tree Top Walk anyway. I think in my head, I saw this bridge that you just walked off the street and crossed and it was super easy, and that was it — even though all the pictures clearly depicted a vast jungle. So here I am, in a dress and sandals, unknowingly starting a 4.5-mile hike… in a thunderstorm… and let’s not forget about all the wild monkeys. It’s also highly recommended to not cross the bridge if there are any signs of lightning. Hearing thunder isn’t a sign; right? I figured someone would stop us if it was that unsafe, except there wasn’t anyone around to do that even if it was. We, eventually, made it out alive, and the view along the way was absolutely breathtaking. Just remember to dress accordingly and be safe. (Tip: Here’s a guide to help you get there.)
Later in the evening, post-thunderstorm and an attempt at fixing my hair, we went to see the Gardens by the Bay. I have no idea what these weird “Supertree” things actually are, but I would describe them as electrical trees, and they put on a crazy light show every night at 8:45 p.m. There are many different things to see here, including another suspension bridge and a flower dome. The show and wandering the gardens are free, but you’ll need to pay an entrance fee for the other attractions – ranging $8 – $28 SGD. Most paid attractions close at 9 p.m., so plan ahead.
Day 3: Sentosa, Tanjon Beach Club, and Raffles Hotel
We had a mission to swim with some dolphins during this trip, and since it didn’t happen in Bali, it needed to happen in Singapore; so we headed down to Sentosa, a small island resort filled with beaches, shopping, and a Universal Studios. Being an island, I assumed we’d be swimming with dolphins in, ya know, the ocean, but that wasn’t the case at Resorts World. Raja the Dolphin was cool and all, but we were, basically, at a SeaWorld/water park crossover.
After paying for some very overpriced pictures, we took the free monorail from the resort to the beach. We walked along the coast until we found Tanjon Beach Club. Daybeds usually have a $375 SGD minimum, but if you’re lucky, you might score one for free on a slow day like we did. Naps, tanning, and cocktails. Doesn’t get much better than that. (Tip: Ubers are not available in this area. You will need to return back to the resort before requesting one.)
On our last night, we headed to Raffles Hotel. How could we go to Singapore and not have a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel? Don’t worry… I hadn’t heard of it either, but over 100 years ago the bar captain at the hotel created this drink, and now it’s a thing. Next round of Slings on me! Just kidding. Those bad boys are $26 each; so anyone trying to split one?
Antoinette – I am not exaggerating when I say we ate every meal here. It’s the cutest little French-themed restaurant/café and was located right outside of our hotel. The food was amazing, especially all the macaroons. I did a lot of research on this one, so I can accurately report to you all that every single flavor is delicious.
Attica – This club can be found in the Clarke Quay area. You’ll find a few different options for bars and clubs to bounce between here.
Canvas – My absolute favorite club that I’ve ever been to… ever. I can’t explain it, but it was awesome. Everyone is dancing, everyone is having fun, and everyone is so trendy.
(Tip: Tons of clubs have “Ladies’ Night.” Check websites beforehand for details.)
I’ll admit, when we were first headed to Singapore, I wasn’t thrilled. I was by no means mad, but it just wasn’t on the top of my bucket list. Come on. What kind of place makes chewing gum illegal? I didn’t know what to expect, but sometimes that’s when you end up with the best memories, and, let me tell you, I’d take all the surprise rainstorms, terrible hair, and expensive drinks all over again and again. Party on, Singapore.