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4 Days in Singapore: What to see and what to do

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Joel Fulleda
@joelfulleda
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Hello! I want to confess a "secret" to you, even if it will surely happen to all travel sick people like me.
My life takes place on 3 very fixed points:

Index

  1. Singapore in 4 days
  2. DAY 1: Little India, Promenade, Clarke Quay
  3. DAY Botanic Gardens, Chinatown, Infinity Pool
  4. DAY Sentosa Island & Gardens By the Bay
  5. DAY Arab Street, Helix Bridge
  6. User questions and comments
  1. think about where to go in August
  2. think about where to go on New Year's Eve
  3. think about where to go for easter

I literally live according to these 3 objectives (and when I can, I even stay there for a short weekend).
"Unfortunately", my job allows me to have only Sunday as a day of rest, so getting organized is not always easy.
I've always had very clear ideas about places to visit, I get inspired, I find out, read, look at photos and spend whole hours in the "travel" section in bookstores to leaf through Lonely Planet and National Geographic.
And especially I have a detailed bucketlist of all the trips I want to take in life.
A list in which she has always been present, the city of the lion: Singapore!
I've always wanted to see, at least once in my life, that skyline, those lights; breathe that air of worldliness and frenzy, feel part of all the races of the world.
And so I take flight ... in every sense!
I book the hotel, this time I take a private room. It is my first trip in complete solitude to Asia, I have not felt like throwing myself into the chaos of the dorm (even if it is almost always fun).




  • Arrival: August 12th.
  • Departure: August 16th
  • Budget: 310 euros (excluding flight)

Let's go!


Singapore in 4 days

First of all, let me tell you a couple of things:

  1. Get ready for very hot, Singapore is by far the hottest city I've ever been to. Humidity is 99% and temperatures fluctuate between 31 and 39 degrees, it's really unlivable. So handkerchiefs and wet wipes always in the backpack and please, drink as much as you can because you sweat like crazy.
  2. Comfortable shoes: miles are grinded under the sun without realizing it.
  3. Always carry something with you to keep shoulders and legs covered in places of worship (women in particular), and also for the air conditioning which is fired at indecent levels in all closed places, especially on the subway.
  4. Get around with the subway: comfortable, clean and very fast, it takes you anywhere from 6 to midnight. There is a sort of Travel Card lasting 7 days but having only 4 I paid each time the ticket which, however, never exceeds 2 dollars (about 1,20 euros) each way and is cumulative.
    You can load up to 6 trips and get refunds of up to 50 cents, which isn't much, but it helps save a little!
  5. Singapore is considered one of the cleanest cities in the world and I assure you that it is really like this: no food on public transport, no cigarettes except in marked places, no litter around, no street food.
    High fines and police patrolling every corner of the city.
  6. The food here is PARADISE, prepare your stomach and taste buds!
  7. Enjoy every second in this wonderful metropolis.
    Singapore is a city in my opinion a bit difficult, it must be understood, it can enter you as aggressive as a summer monsoon or slowly and delicately.
    It is like a dish we have never tasted before that confuses us: we can love it on the fly or take a few seconds. And for me it was like that, I realized a couple of days after leaving her how much I liked her and how much she taught me. Look at it without prejudice, without fear; if you open up to her, she will be able to give you unforgettable moments.

DAY 1: Little India, Promenade, Clarke Quay

My hotel is Rucksack's Inn 2 minutes walk from the stop Little India: comfortable, clean, wonderful staff and above all cheap.
Immersed in the colors and scents of Singapore's most "eccentric" neighborhood: incense and flowers peek out in every home and shop. Sari and colorful fabrics, Hindu times to leave you breathless.
Not to mention the extreme kindness of the Indians, open minds and a great desire to share with tourists and not their cultures. It is a beautiful area, I was completely fascinated by the bright colors and smells.
Consiglio: if you can, go there on a Sunday afternoon. It is literally overrun with people because of the market and the "blessings" in the temples. You will taste the real Little India.
Here in the middle you completely forget you are in Singapore: Indian food, Bollywood film music and… did I mention colors yet ?!
Visit it Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, dedicated entirely to the goddess Kali.
Inside you are delighted by the statues positioned everywhere, of every size and color. A riot of blues, reds, elephants, food offerings, scents of candles.
At the entrance Kali welcomes me, painted in various forms, intent on gutting the unfortunates wearing a cloth and a necklace of skulls. It is really beautiful.
Lunch time arrives very quickly and I decide to go to Chinatown just to have lunch in one of the many food market so famous. They are called "Hawker Center" and are indoor complexes (but not air-conditioned, alas) which contain many small street food stalls Everywhere in the world. Always full of people, it is not difficult to share a table with other Asians and why not, have a chat and also get advice on local dishes as it happened to me.
After a lunch of dumplings and a local dish prepared with oysters and eggs accompanied by a very fresh "Milo" (iced drink that is popular with the taste similar to Nesquik), I return to the road.
I want to move on foot so from Chinatown I go down to Downtown and walk the Promenade that passes right next to the Singapore river.
Wonderful area that borders one of the most famous skylines in the world, you find yourself in the midst of street performers, skyscrapers, fresh seafood restaurants and Irish-style sports bars.
I arrive in front of what my eyes and heart have wanted to see for years: the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Flyer el 'Esplanade Theater.
It is a show that, I swear to you, literally gives you goosebumps. One feels tiny and helpless in the face of so much beauty, such a modern and imposing architectural spectacle that it sweeps away any thought or mood.
It is disarming, breathtaking. My words can never explain it, it must be lived. It is felt in the skin, in the flowing blood and in the heart which beats faster. It is pure emotion, a desire for life and a feeling of freedom. It makes you want to stay and stare at all that wonder forever, see it wake up with the first light of the morning and turn on when darkness falls.
Unforgettable.
Seeing it at sunset is even more beautiful: the sky turns pink and the sun sets exactly behind the Marina Bay Sands, creating beautiful plays of light and colors; in this exact point there is the very famous Singapore Merlion, the creature with the body of a mermaid and the head of a lion, symbol of the city.
By continuing to walk and following the road you will arrive at Clarke Quay, the most "lively" area of ​​the city: clubs, live music, restaurants, pubs. From 18pm onwards it comes alive as never before with aperitifs, sports and fun by the river. All seasoned with the always splendid view over the heart of the city.
Very highly recommended!



Day 1 report

  • Hotel: Rucksack's Inn, Little India - Cost: € 160 (5 nights accommodation only)
  • Lunch: Hawker Center, Chinatown - Cost: € 5
  • Visits: Little India, Downtown Core, Clarke Quay; Sri Veerkamaliamman Temple: $ 3
  • Dinner: little bar in Little India - Cost: € 4
  • Tip: Visit Downtown at sunset and Little India on Sunday afternoon

DAY 2 - Botanic Gardens, Chinatown, Infinity Pool

To the north of the city center there are immense botanical gardens, considered the lung of Singapore. The underground (MRT) takes you directly to the entrance, "Botanical Gardens" stop, in about 15 minutes from Little India.
The gardens are from 2013 UNESCO heritage and it is actually worth a visit. Admission is completely free, open from 9 am, you can easily spend almost half a day there.
Walking in this immense park, between artificial swamps and shady gazebos, it seems to be in another world, away from traffic and skyscrapers.
It is divided into areas that are well marked by signs (yes, it is so big that it has signs inside for not getting lost!): The "Savage Garden" with wooden walkways over the marsh, water lilies and tropical plants; the "Perfume Garden" made entirely of flowers with unimaginable scents; "Healing Garden" with all the herbs used in alternative medicine; the reproduction of the "Rainforest", the "Jungle" and the river with mangroves.
If you are a lover of nature like me, you cannot fail to come here.
What more could you ask for than a splendid regenerating walk in nature ?!
Immediately afterwards I throw myself back into the chaos of the city and head to Chinatown, I am greeted by a Jackie Chan movie atmosphere: lanterns, almond eyes, wands, traditional clothes, Hello Kitty and Pokemon and souvenirs of all kinds.
I let myself be overwhelmed by the Chinese atmosphere of the dense and full streets until I arrive at the most beautiful place in this district: the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the most famous Chinese temple in all of Singapore.
It is a riot of red and gold pagodas, statues of Buddha, flowers, incense and monks. It is spread over 5 floors made up of museums complete with a biography of the last Buddha, botanical gardens, altars, historical finds, clothes and accessories.
But why this name? That's exactly what it sounds like.
They built a huge temple to house what (they say) should be a tooth of Buddha: it is kept inside a golden stupa weighing about 400kg on the third floor and is so bright it burns your eyes. Immense.
In places like this, one can do nothing but surrender to everything and let the soul travel free, amidst the sounds of gongs and the extremely relaxing prayers of Buddhist monks.
It is impossible not to stop for a while to observe everything, every edge, every color, every hand reaching out towards faith. And the smiles found, free and enlightened.
Places like this one come out changed, I can assure you.

A last look outside and back through the alleys, between shops and hawker center before giving me one of the best gifts in life.
You all know that Singapore is also famous for its nightlife and, above all, for the highest swimming pool in the world: the Infinity pool, on the roof of Marina Bay Sands.
Unfortunately, the entrance to the swimming pool is reserved only for hotel guests, but on the other hand you can "settle" at the bar next door.
My dispassionate advice is to go around 18.30pm, perfect time to enjoy the sunset from the 57th floor.
The view is breathtaking, one of the most beautiful things ever seen. The sky goes from blue, to yellow, to red, to purple and dark blue.
The skyline almost lights up the atmosphere and the view of the Infinity Pool right next to it is tremendously impressive. Below me is downtown with its huge skyscrapers, the river, the durian-shaped Esplanade Theater, Gardens by the Bay and everything reflects perfectly in the water creating a creepy scenery.
The bar is called C'Est la Vie, until 19pm there is an aperitif (forget the Italian happy hour, there is no food here) and from 21pm onwards it becomes a restaurant.
Prices high enough for Asia, but I tried to pay the same in Milan too (I spent about 17 euros for a glass of red wine), once in a lifetime you have to do it!
The Gardens by the Bay "lights show" starts every day at 19pm, lasts about 45 minutes and seeing it from above is certainly a beautiful thing!
In the evening it is also highly recommended to take a quiet walk on the boardwalk that runs along the bay, on the Olympic Walk, and be invested by a splendid feeling of freedom just a few meters from the very high skyscrapers of the city.
What a sight this Singapore.



Day 2 report

  • Lunch: Hawker Center, Chinatown - Cost: € 6
  • Visits: Botanic Garden (free entry), Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (free entry), Infinity Pool (from 8 euros upwards for each drink)
  • Dinner: Malaysian restaurant, Clarke Quay - Cost: € 7
  • Tip: the Infinity Pool is absolutely unmissable, go there from 18,30 pm onwards so you can enjoy the sunset and also the night view. Dress code at the entrance (not too strict).
    Try the "char siu bao", they are heavenly!

DAY 3 - Sentosa Island & Gardens By the Bay

Today I take you to the land of toys:Sentosa island.
Located south of Singapore, it is connected to the mainland by a bridge only and is easily accessible by subway and the Sentosa Express, the train that takes you from the Harbor Front MRT stop to the island's entrance.
It is also very feasible to go on foot with a comfortable walk on the pedestrian bridge over the sea about 20 minutes long.
It is a sort of artificial and very touristy town but which in my opinion is worth seeing: there are two very large beaches, the sea is not that great since it is a sort of bay but it is a good location to relax away from the city.
There is the possibility of taking walks or sporting routes in the perimeter of the island, in fact there are signs indicating the kilometers and "stops" with lots of recommended physical exercises and timing; there are resorts, hotels, shops, amusement parks such as Universal Studios (price around 50 euros), aquarium, restaurants and bars.
A real holiday destination for those who live here and want to enjoy a weekend of rest and fun even for the little ones.
Very beautiful and fun is the Tibetan bridge that connects the island to an atoll in the middle of the sea in which there are two turrets from which the panorama of the entire island is visible: this is the southernmost point of all continental Asia .
I forgot, admission to the island and to the beaches is obviously free and free; I was here walking on the sand and relaxing until the early afternoon and then I returned to central Singapore to see another wonder.
Il Gardens By The Bay is a set of 3 parks located right next to the Marina Reservoir artificial lake, in the center of the city, easily reachable from the MRT at the stop of the same name.
The price is about 23 euros for the full ticket which also includes the entrance to the two greenhouses "Cloud Forest" and "Forest Dome" and is open from 5 am to 2 am. With 3 euros more you will also have access to the internal golf-kart service to turn everything faster, I did it but practically never used it except to return to the exit when I was on the other side of the park.
This place is truly wonderful, the "Forest Dome"is a gigantic greenhouse that recreates the climate of areas such as South Africa, Spain, Italy and California and therefore with flowers and plants used to being born and growing with mild temperatures, in a tremendously hot and tropical part of the world.
It is made up of paths with numbers and also an audio guide, very interesting, recommended, especially because it is really strange to see certain plants such as the baobab grow quietly here.
If this greenhouse is very beautiful, the "Cloud forest"far exceeds it: here the nature found at altitudes between 1000 and 3000 meters is recreated; in fact it is a sort of mound of about 42 meters high, covered with grass in which one moves through spiral staircases or internal elevators.
On the façade there is a wonderful waterfall, breathtaking, so beautiful it seems real.
At the top I find an external walkway at about 30 meters above the ground that runs around the entire perimeter of the mound, really impressive especially because the greenhouse is completely made of glass so even the view outside is not to be underestimated.
After this tour, too, I approach what I have always called "mechanical trees": tree-shaped structures made entirely of lights. Just to be clear, the idea is very close to the tree of life at the Milan Expo. Or rather, the Expo Tree of Life is very close to Supertrees of Singapore.
There are benches right at the foot of the trees and I sit to observe, it is an imposing and majestic thing, a scary mechanical and technological spectacle.
On the trees, between the highest branches, there is a glass walkway that you can walk along to admire the trees up close and also the panorama, the OCBC Skywalk. It is about 70 meters long and costs around 5 euros.
I have to say that height is quite an issue above, especially as being glass I can see pretty much everything. I am about 50 meters high walking among these wonderful trees, it is almost sunset and I have Marina Bay Sands straight in front of me. Do I really have to comment?
Every word or every photo will never be enough to explain how beautiful all this is, I swear.
I get off after about 20 minutes, find a place on a lawn and lie down, waiting for 19pm for Gardens Rhapsody.
There are so many people, children, young people, adults, all races and all religions. Right now we all love the same thing.
Darkness begins to fall and the show begins: the trees light up with wonderful colors, the music begins and it seems to be at a concert.
Me lying on a lawn, nose up looking at this work of art with the fully lit Marina Bay Sands. It is one of the best moments of my life.
The lights go in rhythm with the 80s music. Oh Singapore, so unfriendly and modern, you scratch me and then you hug me, you make me angry and then you apologize, how can I not love you if you give me these things?
Don't miss the show, it lasts just over half an hour, it's free and it's FABULOUS!

Day 3 report

  • Lunch: Kiosk at Gardens by the Bay - Cost: € 8
  • Visits: Sentosa Island (free entry), Gardens by the Bay (full price, with admission to the greenhouses: € 23)
  • Dinner: Chili's Clarke Quay - Cost: € 9
  • Advice: take at least 3 hours for Gardens by the Bay, in Sentosa go early and if you want to enter Universal Studios be prepared for the kilometer queue.

DAY 4 - Arab Street, Helix Bridge

Today I have to check out at 10 and meet a local girl for lunch before I leave tonight, so I only have half a day left.
I meet Chelsea on Arab Street, a very nice and young area.
There are hostels, ethnic restaurants, bars and mosques; one of them is the Sultan Mosqueas beautiful outside as wonderful inside.
It reminds me of Aladdin, golden domes and embroidered carpets, drop shaped windows and stained glass ... a marvel!
After having lunch I decide to go inside, bare feet and covered shoulders.
The entrance hall is a majestic and airy open space, pray on the ground, there are no chairs or the like; it is very bare and simple, there are no statues or images.
Classic and elegant, somewhat in contrast with the external architecture.
In here I had the best chat since I've been in Singapore, with a girl with a burqa of which I could only see two beautiful black eyes who tells me: "Islam is not hate and terrorism, Islam is love and respect. Don't be afraid of us. "
He left me so much in just under half an hour.
I go out of here and turn around Arab Street a little more, there is a nice atmosphere of peace and relaxation.
Tonight I have to be at the station at 23pm so after dinner I still have time to go and see the Helix Bridge, with this name precisely because its shape is very reminiscent of a propeller.
It's right next to the Ferris wheel, it's dark and it's all lit up in purple; it's curved so you can't see the end, it's quite long and it's gorgeous.
I stay there for a while, looking at the city, the last few hours in this place that has given me so much.
It was very tough in terms of the climate, really too too hot, but how beautiful this metropolis is.
Goodbye Singapore, see you soon!

Day 4 report

  • Lunch: Food Market, Arab Street - Cost: € 4
  • Visits: Arab Street, Sultan Mosque (free entry), Helix Bridge
  • Dinner: Chinese restaurant, Food Court Clark Quay - Cost: € 6,50
  • Tip: visit the Helix Bridge at night to see it lit up and don't miss the Sultan Mosque.
    Taste the best Smoothies in the city in this neighborhood, fresh and made at the moment. (about € 1,30)
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