There are hundreds of thousands of things to do in Singapore.
Singapore is the New York City of Asia except much, much cleaner (like you could eat off the floor in the subway) and without the crime. So really, its only similarities to New York City are the epic shopping that one can partake in and the many vendors hawking gastronomic ecstasy.
Things To Do In Singapore – Explore The History
Shops line the roads from Orchard Street to Haji Lane and thousands of stores can be found sprawling miles underground as well. Singapore is a hub for business of all types. A financial powerhouse, in just 50 years, this country has been cultivated from poverty and instability to one of the most prosperous nations the world has ever seen.
Founded as a British trading colony in 1819, since independence it has become one of the world’s most prosperous countries and boasts the world’s second busiest port (after Rotterdam).
Well-placed at the entrance to the Straits of Malacca, straddling the trade routes between China, India, Europe, and Australia, Singapore is a hub for business. 5.5 million people live in the city, it is second only to Monaco as the world’s most densely populated country.
The island became independent on August 9, 1965. That means Singapore celebrates it’s 50th year as a free country in 2016. When we take into consideration all that this country has accomplished in such a short period of time, it is astounding.
1.5 degrees north of the Equator, Singapore’s weather is generally sunny with high humidity. The monsoon season in Singapore is from November to January. During this time, sudden, heavy showers will breakout, pouring water over the city. These rain falls typically do not last longer than an hour.
A multicultural melting pot. Singapore’s cuisine is influenced by many cultures. Singaporeans are gourmands who love to eat. You will find quality Chinese, Malay, Indian, Japanese, Thai, Italian, French, American and other foods in this city-state.
Of the things to do in Singapore, the number one thing to do is to eat.
The cheapest and most popular places to eat in Singapore are hawker centers. Basic noodle and rice dishes start at $3.00 a bowl. The vendors in the hawker market were once street vendors who sold satay or other delicacies for those passing by. Due to government regulation and to promote higher standards of hygiene, vendors now take up residency in what Singaporeans refer to as hawker markets.
You want to stop and enjoy a meal at these three hawker markets: Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, Tiong Bahru Market and Newton Food Centre. Seating at all hawker markets are first come. When you find a table, place the package of napkins you brought with you on the table; this will reserve your spot while you order. If you forgot to bring your napkins, you can purchase a packet of tissues for $1.00; napkins are not provided. Tipping is generally not practiced.
Things To Do In Singapore– Eat, Eat and Eat Some More
Pretty much every meal you order is guaranteed to be delicious. Here is a checklist of foods you do not want to miss.
- The traditional peanut pancake, also known as min jian kueh. This is no ordinary pancake. With a crisp outside and chewy inside this pancake is doused with roasted, finely ground peanuts. The mixture of sweet and savory makes this dish perfect anytime of day.
- Chili crab. This dish is not for the faint of heart. A whole crab will be delivered to your table drenched in hot chili sauce. As you eat, the heat compounds until your mouth becomes a fiery inferno. This dish is messy, so have lots of napkins on hand or order the alternative peppered carb.
- Satay. Barbecued skewers of meat (chicken, beef or mutton) can be found at nearly every restaurant.
- Kampong. Aka “carrot cake”. Made of daikon radish and stir-fried in warm seasonings this sweet dish is reminiscent of the taste of carrot cake. Once you try it, you will never be that same and it will be a meal that calls you back for more. It can be ordered black or white. I prefer black kampong.
- Noodle bowl. With endless possibilities of flavors everyone can find a noodle dish they will love. At the hawker markets you can pick the vegetables, meat or noodles you want in your custom bowl. A meal will cost you between $3-5.00.
- Traditional Ice Cream Sandwiches. This is not your average ice cream sandwich. A block of ice cream in the flavor of your choosing is placed in folded slice of bread. Eat it quickly or you will have a mushy mess on your hands.
- Bubble Tea. My favorite is the Ginger tea with aloe and coconut bubble.
It’s not always easy to find vegetarian food. However, Indian stalls may have a number of veggie options. Some hawker centers will have a Chinese vegetarian stall or two.
If you want to splurge on a meal, Samy’s is a place you wont soon forget. Instead of using plates your meal is served on a banana leaf. Every dish is served family style and the portions are generous so when ordering be prepared to eat…a lot.
Things To Do In Singapore- Take In The View
Singapore is best viewed from the sky and the New Asia bar paints and impressive picture of the bustling city below. The Divine Wine bar is another must see foodie attraction. The exterior of the building is reminiscent of Gotham City. Once inside, order a bottle of wine. Women wearing fairy wings ascend a tall wine rack to retrieve your bottle of wine before serving you. The wine is pricy however the experience is with it.
Things To Do In Singapore- Go Shopping
Shopping is second only to eating as a national pastime in Singapore. Miles of shopping malls line the streets from Orchard Road to Suntec City.
The Marina Bay Sands towers over the city. This hotel, casino, shopping mall, convention centre and museum all rolled into one boasts the beautiful Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. This oasis of nature in the midst of the city is a great place to spend an afternoon. If you are looking to spend time in the casino you will enter the most profitable casino in the world. Locals have to pay $100/day or $2,000/year just to get in. As a foreign visitor you can penter for free when you present a passport.
Things To Do In Singapore- Explore The Amenities
Singapore’s transportation system is easy to navigate. The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and bus system quickly and cheaply gets you around town. Single-trip ticket will cost from $0.80 to $2.20.
The most expensive part of your trip to Singapore, after the plane ticket will most likely be your accommodation. If you are willing to stay at a hostel and book in advance you could get a bed for about $20 a night. For a low to mid-range hotel you will pay $100-$300 per night. Luxurious hotels will cost more then $300 a night.
A food lovers paradise, Singapore should be on every food lovers travel list. Stop for a few days to eat to your hearts desire and then eat some more.