Is it worth returning to Singapore? Absolutely! Here’s why…
Singapore, also known as the “Lion City” or “Garden City”, is a destination where you always discover something exciting and new the more times that you visit. For a small island country already packed with fabulous sights, Singapore is always re-inventing itself. Either expanding its fabulous activities, creating impossibly beautiful park spaces, or blending bigger and better spaces amidst soaring modern architecture.
Why is Singapore known as the Lion City and Garden City?
The name Singapore is derived from the Malay words ‘Singa‘ meaning Lion and ‘pore’ is from the word ‘pura‘ meaning a city.
So, why also garden city?
In 1967, Prime Minister Lee Yew introduced the vision for a garden city with a mission to transform Singapore into a clean environment city by introducing an abundance of lush greenery. Yew believed this would make the lives of Singaporeans and visitors more pleasing – he was right.
After a long three years sans overseas travel thanks to COVID-19, the time has come to revisit Singapore as the jump-start of a two-year travel sojourn from Australia, starting in March this year.
Singapore is an excellent stopover to anywhere in the world, especially from Australia, but also to break up a long-haul flight. My last visit to alluring Singapore was in 2014 for several days but on this trip, managed to cram more in so take a read…
What to see
A small island split into 15 main districts, Singapore offers a plethora of paid and also free fun activities and sights. Check back later for a separate post on a summary of free sights while in Singapore.
The grey ominous sky and cool (never experienced this in Singapore) drizzling weather do nothing to dampen the adventurous heart, so it’s onward and upwards as only spending four nights in Singapore.
Marina Bay Sands
The unmistakable Marina Bay Sands has interrupted Singapore’s skyline since 2010 while raking in multi-million dollars in revenue with record profits yearly (not sure during COVID though). And, is called the “world’s most expensive standalone casino property at S$8 billion, including the land costs”.
Spend some time admiring the amazing cutting edge external but also internal of this incredible futuristic ship-like architecture. Or, shop till you drop then enjoy a meal at the food court, which won’t break your purse. If you still have a little spare cash, then why not book a room at S$1,319 per night?
Spectra – Light and Water Show
While at the Marina Bay Sands, wander to the Event Plaza on Marina Bay for the spectacular nightly light and water show, next to the innovative Apple building…
…which lasts around 15 minutes. Immerse yourself in this water, light, and music extravaganza for free.
Starting at 8 pm and drawing massive crowds, aim to arrive much earlier to grab the best vantage spot along the bay’s boardwalk.
Gardens by The Bay
Another of Singapore’s iconic spaces, Gardens by the Bay (free entry) offers gorgeous lush gardens with exotic species, orchards, fluorescent green ferns, and sky-hugh trees in a surprisingly peaceful setting.
Spanning over 100 hectares in Singapore’s Central region, the park includes three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay Central Garden.
Considering Singapore’s population of almost 6 million people with over 8,000 people per square kilometre, these gardens are a serene locality.
Check this site for updated entry costs (not cheap) to the Conservatories and World’s Tallest Indoor Waterfall.
Take an easy historic stroll along Singapore’s riverbank, which has a history of some 600 years. Crisscrossing several ornate bridges including the picturesque Anderson Bridge across the murky Singapore River, this bridge was opened in 1910. Can you believe the bridge was spared from demolition and instead, became a pedestrian bridge?
Along your walk, admire the luxury Fullerton hotel, once the GPO before wandering to the white arches of Elgin Bridge, which denotes the change of North Bridge to South Bridge Road…
…before exploring the National Gallery.
City Hall, Supreme Court, and National Gallery
In Singapore’s Civic District, the transition of the old City Hall to connect as the National Gallery to the Supreme Court proved a complex task for global designers. From around 110 design entries, French designer Studio Milou’s concept of juxtaposing the old and new, won Singapore’s vote.
The ascending striking filigree metallic and glass veil connecting both historic buildings immerses the interior with soft filtered natural lighting.
For the shopaholics that must shop at discount outlets, department stores, and expensive boutiques or stay in luxury hotels, then take the MRT to Singapore’s retail heart – Orchard Road. Large pavements overflow with shops and is a shopper’s dream.
As my partner is from the lovely county of Somerset, in England, had to take the MRT to Somerset station and take photos under the Somerset Road sign.
After your fill of shopping at Orchard Road, venture to the wealthy neighbourhood of Emerald Hill, which is also a conservation area boasting an abundance of original Chinese Baroque architecture.
Originally covered in primary rain forest, the land was occupied by the Chinese in the early 1800s growing pepper and exhausting the land. Changing hands numerous times over the years, the area was then subdivided and sold. Straits-born Chinese (Peranakan) bought much of the plots and by 1925, most of the beautiful terrace houses were built.
Fort Canning Hill
Strolling to the impressive Fort Canning Hill and its graceful well-maintained parklands (free entry) while dodging a day of rain and seeking a little serenity from the second most densely populated city in the world.
Also named Bukit Larangan (Forbidden Hill) by the Malays, the hill was believed to be haunted because ancient Singapore’s kings were buried there, and it’s believed that a palace also graced the hill in the 14th century.
Raffles Hotel and the famous Long Bar
Of course, you can’t visit Singapore without at least visiting the famous, legendary Raffles Hotel for its gorgeous architecture. Sumptuous rooms are available at upwards of S$1,500+ per night, should you wish to indulge.
If you decide to relish in a Singapore Sling at the iconic Long Bar, then be prepared and bring a bucket of cash because you will spend all of it as the Long Bar will definitely lighten your purse.
Spending a couple of wonderful hours at the Raffles while sipping very expensive cocktails (S$28-32), is an excellent way to evade the gloomy drizzle outside.
Eat your body weight in complimentary fresh peanuts that you’re obliged to shell yourself while throwing shells on the floor, and mooching with eager tourists at the bar.
The bar service is impeccable and this is a great place to people-watch in this famous eccentric atmosphere – very entertaining. Check out my separate post on the Raffles Hotel and its Long Bar and learn why peanut shells are still thrown on the floor.
If in the One Raffles Link building taking the Raffles MRT link, then stop by the impressive sculpture Water Cycle, depicting the “timeless and vital solar energy-driven global circulation of water”.
Making your way back from Raffles to the western end of Raffles Quay, Boon Tat Street is another hawker centre and is also a heritage site. The street comes alive at night with stalls selling delicious satay in the closed part of the street.
Walk off a couple of expensive Raffles cocktails (if you still can) with a heritage walk in China Town close by, which is split into five precincts and developed between the 19th and 20th centuries: Telok Ayer (1820s), Kreta Ayer (1830s), Bukit Pasoh (early 1900s), Tanjong Pagar (1920s).
Each district offers exceptional architecture including colourful “death houses”, temples, heritage trails, and poignant street sculptures…
…Singapore’s oldest confectioneries, cafes and restaurants, street food, and souvenirs – easily spend a day soaking in China Town.
Museum of Ice Cream
Typically, I keep maps of a destination until I finish writing a post. Sadly, only noticed on the Singapore map after landing in Japan, that the world-famous Museum of Icecream was missed – gutted. The museum offers free admission to the Dessert Bar and Retail Store only.
Exploring Singapore in search of unusual photos…
A little Singaporean street art
A little disappointed as not too much street art in Singapore (unless I missed pertinent areas), but managed to stumble across these…
Where is Singapore?
You can certainly pack loads to see in Singapore across only four days.
Check Singapore Sequel for free travel tips on how to get around Singapore on a budget. Also, where to sleep and great places to eat in Singapore’s unique Geylang District, which won’t break your purse. Singapore can be expensive if you’re not careful.
Note: All photos by Nilla’s Photography unless otherwise mentioned. No part of this post was composed with the help of ChatGPT or AI.