Things to do in Singapore

Singapore is a little but awesome country located in Southeast Asia. It's actually a sparkling gem shining in Asia!

Singapore was the very first abroad country I visited. Back to the day when I was just 7 or 8 years old - that when my parents took me and my brother to this country for a short summer vacation. At that early age, Singapore left nothing but all the green and natural kind of thing in my mind. No chewing gums, not even spits let alone litters on roads, truly a country at the very high top level in terms of civilization compared to the others in Southeast Asia.

Couples of months ago, there was a conference bringing me a chance to visit the Lion sea country again and again! For the second time in life! I arrived in Singapore two days earlier than the summit date - just to travel around as a solo traveler by then!

I don't know if this post would be playing as a travel guide to Singapore or just a kind of travel blog post with a chain of thoughts and feelings of mine. Whatever it's going to be, it's still a piece of writing that I'd love to share and keep it as a memo note!

WHERE TO STAY IN SINGAPORE?

Definitely gotta consider a budget option when it comes to finding a bed in Singapore. Hotels in Singapore are expensive (minimum 100 SGD++/night) so hostels would work for me. I spent hours surfing through all the hostels popping up in Booking.com and Trip Advisor and finally came up with Chic Capsule Otel in Chinatown (about 112 SGD for two nights). This hostel was actually good. I mean its cleanliness and location are everything. However, it just pissed me off a bit when I had to wait for too long to check-in. It took me like two hours to get to the hostel from Term2 Changi Airport by the airport shuttle! (Total of all the waiting and moving time). When I finally arrived at the hostel, I just wanted to check in real quick (as I already booked online before). But sadly didn't even know what the receptionist did all the way long and kept me waiting for almost one hour. Jeez. 

I got 2 nights in the hostel with the latter being just memorable. I reached in after midnight and when I came in the dormitory (the FEMALE dormitory - I have to underline this), I saw a MAN snoring in bed. I was like what? Seriously? I thought my eyes were just dumb because of the cocktail Lion's tail 🦁 - there was actually a LION'S TAIL drink at the Marina Bay sands, but no, really, there was a big man with a puffy belly snoring in bed! I stumbled over the first room to the second - where my bed was of the dorm.

I jumped in my bed, pulling down the curtain and chilling. Then I realized the bedsheet started to get wet. I looked down and BAM! A whole mess of SPURLEE. Craved for a Surplee, I got a big one all foamed. Just slurped a bit then threw it back in my backpack, creating a whole shit. Spurlee backpack made all the sheet smell. Smelt like Coca-Cola. Sounds cool but not really when it's time to go to bed. I then put all the stuff out of my pack and placed them all on the floor. It was about 2:00 AM  + + and my bed was filled with Coca Cola Sprulee. Good game.

THINGS TO DO IN SINGAPORE? 
Where to visit and what to eat in Singapore?

It's just more fun when you can find fellow travelers on the way. On the first day, I met a group of 4 fellow travelers and joined them. We were all exploring downtown together. On the second day, I met other two solo backpackers and had all the great company! I'd love to take a moment now to thank them all for spending time with me, sharing all the bills, all the good laugh and happy moments! Haha It's fun when I heard you all' stories. It's cool when you expand my knowledge with your religious beliefs and cultural quirks and stereotypes. It's hilarious when I could tell that you're an anti-laugher as Russian stereotype but still a whole lot of fun. Okay too much to say!   

Now, it's time to recall my two-day journey! Places I visited? Foods I ate? All listed below.

Chinatown Food Street & The Fried Carrot Cake

Since the hostel we were staying at was in Chinatown so every CNT sightseeing place was just within the distance walk. From the hostel, we moved to Chinatown Food Street (in Smith St.). I was in the middle of all Singaporean street foods (or Chinese foods prob) and didn't really know what I should eat. Then I scrolled up and down all the suggestions I could browse on Google. Roast duck checked, BBQ chicken checked, Oyster checked, Fried carrot cake umm... wait, what's it? At first I thought this cake would be a real cake - I mean a sweet and baked food made from flour, baking powder, and eggs. A normal cake. Fried carrot would be the topping? But no. Cheng Kee Hokkien Mee stall showed me a whole new world of what Chinatown's cake really was. I ordered a black version (I believe so) of a fried carrot plate. All the CARROTS are chopped in the shape of a rectangle, fried and soaked in sugarish soya black sauce along with garlic and eggs. When I had the very first bite of this cake, I didn't think it was carrot but one of the fellows believed it was carrot. Yet I still raised all the doubts around this food. 

Well, it turned out that both of us were fooled until I got home and looked for the core ingredients of this. NO carrot is mentioned. What we ate was a dish of rice flour and white radish cubes! No carrots at all. I'm 100% sure that I would let all the chunks of these radish carrots out if you got me this dish for the second time. Fried Carrot Cake - a disappointment. No lies. But it's still worth a try. And I still recommend you put it in your stomach if you ever visit Singapore. You might fall in love with it! Who knows, right?

Gardens by the Bay

After having the best carrots in the world, I visited the best indoor botanical world on planet! This time, no sarcasm. It's incredible! No words could describe how amazed I was! Just Wow. Really. We went to the Cloud Forest, which is a spectacular domed conservatory of a 35-meter-tall mountain covered in lush vegetation. All the stunning plant life covering all the species of plants in the world from tropical highlands up to 2000 meters above sea level is under one roof made of more than 2.5 thousand glass panels. How awesome flora diversity in front of my eyes!

Light and water shows for the night

There are three light shows held in Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, and Sentosa - often known as the three tourist highlights in Singapore. As Marina Bay sands is in close proximity to Gardens by the bay, I could see the two in a row. After leaving the Cloud Forest, I approached all the man made huge trees lighting up colorfully. Singapore is so smart when it creates an extraordinary blend of technology, engineering and natural beauty. Well, Gardens by the Bay!

Few miles away, Marina Bay sands offered a light and water show but we were not lucky enough to see it "properly". It was expected to come out vibrantly as a majestic entertainment - as I came across a video leaked on Youtube. However, what I saw was ehh. Laser lights brighten up over the sky from the ship-like rooftop of Marina Bay Sands shopping center together with the small outburst of water on display for a couple of seconds (not even in a full minute) then failed. No music was accompanied as well. When I got back this place in the next day, it welcomed us back next month. Ok. Out of order. 

A drink in Rooftop Marina Bay Sands

No light and water show. Then a drink up at the rooftop Marina Bay Sands played as an alternative for me. Plus I'm always interested in views up high. I insisted the fellows on reaching out to the Marina big ship above there, sitting and chilling on top of the world after the "no-show" but one of them was sooooo afraid of height then I had to make it to the Marina Bay sands again on the second eve - that's why I got the water show picture to show you above. Thanks that I got another company! (It's just kinda boring if you drink all by yourself, right?). We entered the Hotel lobby, asking for the way to the rooftop bar and they told us to go up to level 57. When our feet were right on the ground of this iconic and luxury hotel, we glanced at each other's khaki shorts and sneakers, laughing: "Are you sure we'll be allowed to enter? Any dress code? How much does a drink cost there?" Multi quests popping up in our minds but we still made it to the top anyway! Had no idea which restaurant or sky bar would be the best. Had no idea if level 57 is where the ship would appear or not. We just walked and walked. Through the skyline through the night. Then we stopped by Sky on 57. A waitress welcomed us and requested to know our room number. No... we're not well-heeled VIPs haha just the nearby neighbors, not the hotel guests. She told us the minimum spend, which is 30 SGD/person (already in discount as we came on Sunday, for the other days it'd cost you 50 prob~ I don't remember ~ well if you say it's expensive, just relax - you pay for the drink and the location too), feels like she making sure we could afford for the drinks. She took us to a small table in the balcony facing towards awesome views of the city skyline. I believe Marian bay sands rooftops are the best photo shoot spots for the glittering skyline through all the 360-degree panoramic views taking your breath away and blowing your mind off the bat! I thought we were at the top where I could touch the ends of the ship but I realized my head was still under the ship. Oh no so this bar is still below another one! Didn't get to see the highest rooftop infinity pool in the world. Cé La Vi would be a better choice if you wanted to sip on some wine in the beat of DJ while gazing down on the skyline and floating in the pool. However, I was still at the top with my eyes sticking on all the spectacular views so the Sky on 57 didn't let me down much. The very first thing my travel mate pointed on the menu is Lion's tail cocktail. Seriously? Haha I didn't really know what it really is but I knew I must try this. A lion's tail cocktail in a Lion country. A glass of bourbon and fresh lime dotted with sour salt. A good drink worth a try after all. My friend ordered 1 beer for 12 SGD and me 1 lion's tail for 24 SGD but didn't reach 60 SGD yet. We laughed, flipping all the pages of the menu, trying to figure what to order next to hit the minimum spend. Then he ordered another beer for 12 SGD but we calculated and still missed 12 SGD. But no room in our bellies for the beers so we decided on a desse cake. I didn't remember exactly what we got but it was a small plate full of whipping cream and crunchy cereals. It's soo good. We ended up with a bill 70 SGD+ to close up for the backpacking day. All the services, all the drinks, all the food and above all, all the impressive views. Paid for what's worth!

The hidden bar: The library bar

There is a bar called The Library. Actually, it's more like a pub. It's located in Chinatown, 10-minute-walk from the hostel. It's really a hidden bar as it's not too obvious to see. On the first night, after all the fun with bubble tea (there is a Gongcha bubble tea that you could see in the first floor of Marina sands bay shopping center), our tummies roaring for food. Then after we got back to the hostel, we quickly went to this pub. There is no number sticking out on the door. Google said The library bar #47 Keong Saik but we didn't see any. We walked back and forth the street but the number 47 was really missing. We stood between 45 and 49, mingling in the store between. Looking through the window, we found this house more likely a Chinese drugstore. All the plants ~ medicine plants ~ just a plain guess though. Then we saw some Asian sexy lads coming out from the door to the next room inside (the room linking to the drugstore). One of my friends got a bit frightened asking me: "Are you sure there is a library bar here? Sure not a club?" Haha no idea, just go. If it sucks, just get out then. No problem. Then I pushed in the entrance door and met a stylish "pharmacist" ~ he looked pretty cool with his dyed brown yellow hair and black buttoned shirt. I asked him for help on the Library bar address and he smiled: "This is the library bar." I was like really? Rolling my eyes: "I'm sorry but where are the beers?" He laughed, pointing at the door to the next room There's a hidden bar here. Oh fine, the hidden room - the hidden bar. "To get inside the bar, you have to give me the code of this bar, you can find it on our FB page, or if you don't want to, you have to play a game." Cool, I like games so I would rather go with the second option. I thought it would be a quiz or something cool and challenging, getting my brain involved. But no, it's simply just a silly one asking for our taste on drinks then they'd advise us what to order. It's not really a game ... It seems like a list of questionnaires for their product survey. Singaporeans are funny. They got a radish plate called carrot and they got a survey called a game. 😂 Cool Sing. After the game, he opened the door and let us in. It was a small dungeon with 4 glass-walls and all the pink lights lighting and flashing back to each other. We thought after this room, it would be a club with all the DJs and music and dancing but no. It's a pub. Silent pub with fast and efficient service. Very nice, chilling and cozy, pub surrounded by shelves with books on. Real books on display. Almost all guests here are Westerners, either expats or tourists. Some local people I talked to before didn't know about this hidden bar. Travelers are more likely to find all the hidden gems as much as they could since they do know they don't have much time to explore the country like the locals do so yep. We then ordered some good food and beers. The crabs are good tbh. 

The neighborhoods

Before heading to Singapore, I got a pen and scribbled down all the areas in Singapore worth visiting for my 2-day-trip. I got the downtown core and the neighborhoods. Singapore is known as a multicultural country including the diversity of distinct pearls hidden in the shells. Little India, Arab Quarter, and Chinatown are the pearls I explored. I walked around the neighborhoods, stopping by just a few locations. Each area boasts its own feature in the real contrast to each other, letting you feel like you're lost in another country; it's like today in India but tomorrow in China. Sometimes, I asked myself Is there anything Singaporean? It's a melting pot or a salad bowl?

To wrap up, I'll write down briefly about the neighborhoods I been to.

Chinatown:
- Where to go: Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (7:00 AM - 7:00 PM daily)
- What and where to eat: Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle at 78 Smith St. The hostel receptionist suggested me eating here. The Soya sauce chicken rice is perfect! Soft chicken slices and tasty sauce. I went there at 2 or 3:00 PM, off the lunchtime so luckily there is no long queue.

Arab Quarter:
- Where to go: Haji Lane - a beautiful road with the walls in two sides painted in awesome graffiti. Sultan Mosque - the first mosque I have ever been to. It looks pretty cool from the outside.

Little India
When I got out of the station, I jumped down off the road in the India world. I was like wow! It's 100% different from all the areas I went to in Singapore. I felt like I just landed in a whole new world. It's a real Indian area. All streets filled with Indian flocks and all Indian and Hindi style reflected in the architecture. What surprised me most is that I could hardly saw any Indian girl here. All are men flocked in. They laying down on the pavements, they strolling up and down, they having some curry in hand - they are all men. Seriously seems like it was a male neighborhood. I was a bit nervous and scared at first though.
- Where to go: Tan Teng Niah house: I have no idea why some fellow bloggers recommenee me this destination. I stood in front of the house for a while, wondering what it really was. Nothing interesting really. Then an Indian guy approached me and I asked him about the house. He said this was a tourism agency company but it used to be a museum. I then asked him if I could enter but another man interrupted us and talked in Hindi. The man I was talking to said: "He says this street, this place belongs to him. I am standing here and he doesn't allow me to stand here! What? You understand it?" I was like hmm what's happening right now? I saw them talking to each other in Hindi. I then left and went to Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple and Little India Arcade. I saw people who went to the temple kissed the floor at the entrance. All the Indians in this temple are dedicated to their Gods.

Bugis
For the shopping lovers. I didn't like shopping much so my trav fellow and I just dropped by here for a moment then left. We got some cream puddings which were really sweet!

Soo that's all about my trip to Singapore!
If you have any questions about traveling to Singapore, feel free to contact me! I'd love to help!:)

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