Most of the time, when you are traveling for work, you really don’t get the chance to experience the place you are visiting. Sure, you get very intimate with the hotel meeting center but some days you are lucky if you get the chance to get outside, never mind trying to tour around the city. I stepped off the plane in Singapore at 12:30pm on Saturday, and was in my first meeting by 2pm. Even though I knew I was in for a long week, I was super lucky to extend my stay through the weekend and have Sean come down for a few days to explore with me. It was definitely worth it because directly from Singapore, I was heading off to the US for another work trip.
I was really looking forward to visiting Singapore. One of my best friends in Hong Kong, Sharon, is from there, so she gave us the insiders scoop on where to go, what to do & eat. Plus, living in Hong Kong, a lot of Expats bounce between HK & Singapore fairly often. I knew it would be easy to get around as English is one of it’s four official languages. Also the people of Singapore are so nice and Sean will swear that Singapore has the friendliest taxi drivers in the world (we encountered some funny people)! The city is great: it’s clean, orderly, and well-mannered all while maintaining it’s character. Of course, with that comes a few rules… there is a fine or penalty for seemingly everything in Singapore; for spitting on the street, for gum chewing, for being intoxicated in public areas, for walking on the grass, etc.
I hadn’t had a chance to explore the city at all during the week (besides one night work event at 1 Altitude, which was great because it’s the highest rooftop bar in the world), so as soon as I wrapped up work Friday evening, we were off. First priority: get a much deserved end of the week drink… and what better way to celebrate than going out for a Singapore Sling at the original bar it was created back in 1915: Long Bar in Raffles. This is an iconic, must do thing. Sure the drinks are overpriced, but at least it comes with all you can eat peanuts which you can throw the shells on the floor and make a mess (something which feels quite edgy to do in Singapore).
Singapore is such a fascinating city to walk around. The architecture is amazing, so futuristic. Unfortunately for Sean, my business trip was the week following the Formula 1 Grand Prix, so we couldn’t go to the race but we could still see some of the track set up through the streets. Sean has a secret love for racing, so it would have been cool to have been able to get tickets for the race. However, we are going to the Grand Prix in Macau this year, so it was not too much of a heartache for him.
After a short walk around, we officially started off our day at the National Museum of Singapore. Did you know that Japan occupied Singapore during WWII? During this time, Japan forced Singapore to sync their clocks to Japanese time, 1 hour and 30 minutes ahead. #museumfact Actually Japan occupied such a major part of Asia, and the museum gives you a great look on the British colonialism, Japanese occupation all the way through their independence and modern day city.
Little India: I’ve only been to India once, on a work trip to Bangalore, but I swear going to Little India in Singapore is like being transported back to the country. It’s so authentic, even more so than any Little Italy or China Town I have visited in other cities. Sean and I were also super lucky because we went at the start of an Indian festival Deepavali so the streets were all lit up, and there were celebrations in the temples. We had a FANTASTIC Indian lunch at Ananda Bhavan. We also did some great shopping in Mustafa Centre. Drinking laws are much stricter in Little India though, as alcohol is banned from public consumption (or buying) from 7 am Saturday to 7am Monday and on all public holidays. #stockup
Next stop: the Night Safari at Singapore Zoo. The Singapore Zoo is suppose to be one of the best in the world, and a must do when traveling there. Sean and I decided to do something a bit different, and instead of going to the zoo during the day, to do the night safari instead. It was great, because you see different animals more active at night.
We started the day with a great walk around the city. Enjoy the photos.
We also took a great boat ride around Marina Bay and the Singapore River.
Sean the biker had been wanting to rent bikes the whole time we were there. After a bit of convincing from his side (I was being a bit of a “debby-downer” at that point because I was tired), we rented bikes for 4 hours. I’m so happy we went though, it was such a great way to see the city. We went from Marina bay over to Garden by the Bay which are these huge artificial trees, which stand as high as city buildings and are beautiful when lit up at night. In the same area you can go into an indoor glass greenhouse which has stunning waterfalls and designs.
Lastly, on our way back to return the bikes, we made a pit stop at a hawker stand to try some of Singapore’s best street food. We had Satay skewers and Fried Carrot Cake (which is not made of carrots and not a cake at all!) but super super delicious. We meant to stop at another hawker stall for the chili crab, but we just ran out of time and needed to get back.
Until next time Singapore,