Returning to Singapore?

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.

Lion statue, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, SE Asia
Gardens by the Bay

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.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, SE Asia
Gardens by the Bay

Why Singapore?

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…

Apple shop, Marina Bay, Singapore, SE Asia
Very cool!

…which lasts around 15 minutes. Immerse yourself in this water, light, and music extravaganza for free.

Spectra Light and Water Show, Singapore, SE Asia

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.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, SE Asia

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.

Planet, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, SE Asia
Planet – white painted bronze, stainless steel. Sculptor: Marc Quinn (UK)

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…

Elgin Bridge, Singapore, SE Asia
Elgin Bridge

…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.

Orchard Road

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.

Somerset Road, Singapore, SE Asia

Emerald Hill

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.

Raffles Hotel, Singapore, SE Asia
Timeless Raffles

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.

Raffles Hotel, Singapore, SE Asia

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.

Classic Singapore Slings, Long Bar, Raffles Hotel, Singapore, SE Asia
Classic Singapore Slings

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”.

Water Cycle sculpture, One Raffles Link, Singapore, SE Asia
Water Cycle by Jonathon E Minns

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.

Boon Tat Street, Singapore, SE Asia
Satay street

China Town

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).

Read Street, Chinatown, Singapore, SE Asia
Tastefully renovated

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.

Around Singapore

Exploring Singapore in search of unusual photos…

#eggslut, Singapore, SE Asia
Lost in translation?
Geylang District, Singapore, SE Asia
Geylang District

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?

location map of Singapore, SE Asia
Map: Google

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.

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more global images. More posts at Image Earth Travel.

Note: All photos by Nilla’s Photography unless otherwise mentioned. No part of this post was composed with the help of ChatGPT or AI.

Returning to Singapore, SE Asia

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21 responses to “Returning to Singapore?”

  1. wetanddustyroads Avatar

    For me, the words would not be “worth returning”, but rather “visiting for the first time”! It looks lovely! I am always happy when there is a water and light show – how beautiful! I have to admit, the gardens are a surprise – I didn’t expect to see them in such abundance in Singapore. But oh my, it doesn’t seem to be a cheap place … I guess I need to read your budget post 😯. Beautiful photos – I love the mirrored pathway (it’s weird and crazy at the same time).

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      If you find Singapore expensive, imagine on the diving Aussie dollar? Each time I go to a country, my dollar dives just before arriving and only goes back up on leaving the country. 🙁
      Singapore has loads of beautiful gardens, especially for a small island exploding with buildings.
      Thank you for your comment!

  2. gillmorris Avatar

    I spent 3 days in Singapore last year on holiday, stayed on Orchard Road. While there are some awesome things to see and do like Gardens by the Bay, the water and light show at the Marina and eating at street food markets, I don’t think I’d go back. I found it rather expensive, so most of the things I did like walking around were free LOL.g

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Gill, Singapore can be expensive but there are free things to keep you occupied, which I’ll probably summarise in a couple of weeks. If you found Singapore expensive, imagine being in Singapore on the Aussie dollar.

      1. gillmorris Avatar

        I enjoyed walking around and seeing the sights – all free lol

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Always the best when it’s free, Gill. 😉 x

  3. equinoxio21 Avatar

    I absolutely adored Singapore. I need to arrange going back soon… Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      There’s so much to do in Singapore, it can be exhausting. You’ll have to return and no problem with the trip down memory lane. 😉

      1. equinoxio21 Avatar

        I try to take it easier now. One step at a time. No hurry. I’m curious to go back to the National Museum. Visit my Uncle’s tiny room with more poise… 😉

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Fair enough. I remember reading your post on your uncle’s room – so cool. 🙂

      3. equinoxio21 Avatar


  4. Avatar

    What uncannily good timing – “return to Singapore” is exactly what we are about to do. We are currently in Kampot but now only have just over a week left in Cambodia before we leave and head to Singapore for 6 days. Loved it so much last time that we cannot wait to enjoy it all a second time (and what’s more, Raffles was closed for refurb when we were there, so Long Bar and its expensive cocktails are absolutely on the agenda!) Reading this post has got us even more excited about going back.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      I really enjoyed Kampot.
      I’ll do a separate post on the Long Bar as had a great time there, regardless of the expensive drinks!
      Where are you going after Singapore? Good to be on the road?

      1. Avatar

        Always! Well after Singapore we’re going home, but only for four weeks or so. We have a plan for our next trip though which will be from late June until probably early October

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Excellent! The time home will give you a chance to catch up on all your writing before taking off again. 😉

      3. Avatar

        Ah well….we always manage to keep writing and post our blogs “live” as we travel, so there’s not usually much catching up to do

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        You guys are great! I find it a struggle when on the road, but I do have around 30 posts in my draft folder, since leaving Australia early March.

  5. Yetismith Avatar

    Singapore that most exotic, enticing of destinations! Well, it used to be. Also, as you say, a good intermediate stop on a long haul. Strangely (?) the first and the last times I was there, I arrived by ship. In 1962 I was with my mother. We travelled on a Dutch freighter from Bangkok, enroute to Penang (for baggage reasons? I have forgotten. Mum hated flying, so it may have been that.) When travelling by freighter you lay over in various ports until the unloading/loading is complete, so we were there 6 days. I remember that on one night we attended a piano concert. Even remember that it was Stanislas Niedzielski. We went to Raffles for a drink, possibly. I don’t think we ate there. It was posh even then, by 1960’s standards. We must have gone to the botanical gardens. Mum had been before. We sailed up the west coast to Penang, stopping at Port Swettenham (now Port Klang). I had my first infatuation with a blond/blue-eyed man (Dutch) I was 12. Precocious. Singapore was still a state then. Last time I was there we sailed in to dry dock as the ship was dead-heading (we hitched a ride at the end of a cruise) Don’t do this if you hope to make a fast get-away. We needed to get to the airport to stand by for flights home. Amazingly we did get cleared and we got the last seats on a Kuwait-London flight. There were 4 un-useable seats on that particular vintage of BA 747, 28ABJK….there was a reason they could not be offered to fare-paying passengers! Infants crying, people throwing up on take-off just added to the sensation. So that time we didn’t have long in Singapore. I do remember that I nearly trod on a snake. But other times I was there we did what people did in those days. There was a big food court which was fantastic. Newton Circle. One had to be impressed with the way Singapore was run. So efficient, so clean. After 2 years in Phnom Penh (56-58) my mum thought it was heaven. I loved the old Singapore but of course it could not stay that way. Good memories and it’s nice to read about modern Singapore, so look forward to the sequel.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Sorry, I missed your comment, found it in my Trash folder – WP can be so annoying at times.
      It sounds as though you went everywhere by boat because of your mother’s flying phobia but what an interesting way to travel.
      I remember you mentioned the infatuation with the Dutch blond blue-eyed chap. 😉
      Singapore is very clean and efficient but after travelling in Japan for 7 weeks, Japan is much more cleaner whilst also being efficient. Hard to believe but it’s true. Two years in Phnom Penh in the late 1950s would have been incredibly different to today. What wonderful stories you share, thank you, Carolyn!

  6. Monkey's Tale Avatar

    I agree, Singapore is a city that you could visit more than once. So did you eat at Eggslut! 🤣 Maggie

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ha, ha, no sadly, we’d already eaten when we passed the Eggslut establishment!🤣

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