Singapore by Nicola

I was due to embark on a Far East cruise with Silversea from the port of Singapore but didn’t just want the usual 1 forced overnight beforehand. I have visited the city before so knew I wanted longer this time, not only to show my friend around but to revisit some of my favourite places and hopefully see some new ones.

Singapore is one of the newest, cleanest, safest cities in the world and is a melting pot of cultures which brings richness to visitors. They have a cheap and reliable underground system that is frequent and easy to use, allowing ease of travel around the city. We bought a 1-day travel card for $20.00 (which you get $10.00 back on if returned) and this can also be used on the bus routes. We stayed in the Little India area of the city which was a feast for all the senses, especially as we were there during the Hindu New Year of Diwali. There are numerous wonderful restaurants in this area and it’s handy to reach other parts of the city.

Singapore is proud of its nature and really is a city in a garden. Wherever you look you’ll find lush trees, green areas and if you’re lucky some of the local wildlife, including the famous urban otter family. You can visit the beautiful Gardens by the Bay, Botanical gardens, Orchid Gardens or various Nature Parks. If you have long enough and wanted to venture outside of the city, there are Nature hikes and mangrove forests to explore. Or you could simply grab a picnic and enjoy the view.

My favourite place to eat is Satay by the Bay which is a wonderful array of diverse and freshly made local food all in the one place. It’s loved by tourists and locals alike and is very reasonably priced. Being part of the Gardens by the Bay complex means it’s easy to reach with plenty of facilities on site. After dinner, I like to stroll along the front towards the giant supertree grove. Up to 50m in height, these amazing manmade trees come alive at night with a free sound and light show. If you fancy a visit during the day, take a walk around the skywalk between the trees for a bird’s eye view of the city.

Singapore is famed worldwide as a shopping mecca, and if you look hard enough there really isn’t anything you can’t find here. I’m not a keen shopper but couldn’t help looking in the windows along the way. My friend, on the other hand, melted her credit card – good job she could claim the tax back at the airport on the way home!

Sentosa Island is just a short hop out of the city and can be reached by road or cable car. There are several hotels here, some with beaches and some just a stone’s throw away from the Universal Studios Theme Park. There are plenty of attractions for the thrill-seeker but if you're more into a leisurely game of golf, that’s covered too. We took a birds-eye view from the Skyride up the hill then jumped on luges for a thrilling ride back down again. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, we then hurtled ourselves down a 450m giant zip line. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time for the Aquarium, iFly, Butterfly Park or Segway adventure, but I’ve got to leave something for my next visit.

The next day we wanted a bit more of the culture of the city so decided to visit some of the cities museums. First stop was the Asian Civilisation museum which is dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of Asia, especially of the Singaporeans. It stores a wealth of artefacts and helps explain the story behind the city. Next stop was the Singapore National Museum. Again a museum showcasing the culture and history of the city one of the city’s most striking buildings. This museum hosts a variety of events throughout the year from art installations to film screenings. We had time for one more museum visit and chose the Alive Museum. To be honest we didn’t know anything about this museum and had a pleasant surprise when we arrived. It’s less museum and more photography set. It’s actually an array of 3D sets where you are the star. Get your camera at the ready as you can photo yourself being eaten by Marilyn Munro, spinning in a washing machine or being carried off by Superman. Not only was it fun at the time, but looking back on my photos still makes me giggle.

We just about had enough time the morning before we joined our ship to visit Chinatown. Stepping out of the underground station felt like stepping into a different world. The streets are filled with bustling markets and a terrific vibrancy. We even had a chance to visit the 4 story Buddha Tooth Relic temple. The main focus here is the solid gold stupa where the famous relic is kept.

No visit to Singapore would be complete without a visit to the world-famous Raffles. This is where the Singapore sling was invented and you can still sip one in the colonial surroundings of the Long Bar, where peanut shells are still thrown on the floor (I’m still not sure why though!!).

Garden By The Bay
Merlion Park


We found