Traveling to Singapore: The Ultimate Insider Guide

You’re planning a trip to Singapore? Brilliant!

So now you want to know how to make the most out of your stay here. There is quite a bit to do, so it can be hard to plan your trip. So I’ve compiled a list of daytime and nighttime activities which includes my favourite restaurants, the most breathtaking places and hippest areas. These are insider tips I have selected and shared with many of my friends who came to visit me – handpicked and tourist proof. Just mix and match and have a great time exploring Singapore.

Any questions? Leave me a comment below!


During the Day

The Shopping Spree (Orchard Road + Soba place)

Wanna do the shopping thing? Then you should go to ION shopping center. When there, visit Isetan Japanese Super Market – they have crazy food stuff there. TANGS and Takashimaya are high-end malls which are also worth a visit. Try a Singaporean Ice Cream sandwich from one of the vendors on the street!

Where to eat: Shimbashi Soba. One of my absolute favourite food places on this planet! They produce their own Japanese buckwheat noodles and have a wonderful menu including soups, cold soba with tempura as well as many vegetarian and I believe vegan dishes. (Approx. 25 SDG for meal + drink)
How to get there: Orchard MRT
Insider Tip: Orchard area is SUPER crowded on Sundays, try to evade that

The Chinese Experience (Chinatown + Hawker Center)

Visiting China Town is a must! Check out the Buddha tooth temple as well as the Indian Temple in Southbridge Road. Then, stroll through chinatown to buy souvenirs and weird snacks and fruits. Go to a fortune teller if you feel adventurous. Stroll through Duxton Hill nearby for a coffee at The Plain.

Where to eat: Maxwell Hawker Center. This place offers many dishes you just HAVE to try in Singapore! Try some chicken rice at Tian Tian, have a fresh dragonfruit juice and order my secret favourite, raw sliced fish (like a sashimi salad, available at the porridge stall).(Approx. 8 SDG for meal + drink) 
How to get there: 
China town, Outram or Tanjong Pagar MRT
Insider Tip:
If you’re feeling adventurous, try chicken feet, deep fried frog or grilled stingray in Smith Street (also known as Food Street)

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Relaxed & Hip (Tiong Bahru + Plain Vanilla)

Tiong Bahru is one of the areas I love spending a lazy afternoon in! It’s actually one of the oldest areas in Singapore but has a handful of very nice and hip restaurants and shops. Must: go to Books Actually. They offer a great selection of books and a room filled with vintage stuff – and they have a fluffy cat. What else do you need in life. Read my full blog post about Tiong Bahru.

Where to eat: Plain Vanilla Bakery. If you like cupcakey foodporn, this is your mekka. Plain Vanilla offers a wonderful range of cupcakes, tartes and cakes. Try the Rosemary Buttercake! And if you fancy a “proper meal” before that, try one of the Chinese restaurants, PS Café or Forty Hands! (Vanilla Bakery: Approx. 10 SDG for cake + coffee) 
How to get there: 
Tiong Bahru MRT
Insider Tip:
Don’t rush through Tiong Bahru. Take your time and relax the area, wander its street and have a nice, long coffee break in one of the cafés. Besides, Chinatown is close by – you can combine these areas.

IMG_4208Artsy afternoon(SAM + Food For Thought)

Feed your soul with art! The Singapore Art Museum offers modern, mostly photography exhibitions. Not the most inspiring museum in the world but definitely worth a visit for the art-loving tourist – especially because of the old colonial style building it is located in!

Where to eat: Artichoke Cafe. Fancy a nice middle eastern place? HUMMUS <3? Complete your visit at the museum with a great lunch at Artichoke. Many veggie options available. (Approx. 25 SDG for meal + drink)
How to get there:
 Bugis MRT
Insider Tip: 
The SAM offers free tours which are usually pretty interesting. Check out their website for dates and times.

Singapore Explained (National Museum & FoodForThought)

Do you know what banana notes are? What peranakan is? Or how Singapore became independent? Then invest 2 hours of your stay to visit the National Museum’s current exhibition Singapura: 700 years. Even if you’re not the museum-kinda-girl or -guy, you will understand why Singapore is the way it is SO much better! Also, you can combine your trip with Fort Canning, a nice park which is directly next to the National Museum.

Where to eat: Have brunch at Food For Thought first. Their breakfast is heavenly and also available in “vegetarian”. What I also like about the place is that it is socially responsible and they run a great campaign for raising money for clean drinking water for people in need.  (Approx. 25 SDG for meal + drink)
How to get there:
Doby Ghaut MRT
Insider Tip:
The National Museum also offers free tours in a few languages

 Enjoying Nature (Botanic Gardens  + Pic Nic)

Inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is an absolute must. I know that visiting a garden does not sound super exiting, but you will not be disappointed, promise! The Botanic Gardens are a beautiful fusion of English gardening style and lush, tropical flora (and fauna: you can see all kinds of animals including dinosaur style monitor lizards which are pretty damn cool!)

Where to eat:
This place is MADE for having a picnic there. So, grab some takeaway food or sandwiches on the way, steal a towel from your hotel room, open a bottle of wine, buy some strange fruit you don’t know and enjoy a low-key outdoor meal. 
How to get there:
There are several busses going there – I really suggest to grab a cab though.
Insider Tip:
If you like flower stuff, check out the Orchid exhibition. Apart from that, there are free classic concerts at the Botanic Gardens from time to time. Make sure to check out their website.

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In the Evening


THE WALK (Lau Pa Sat + Marina Bay + Gardens By the Bay)

Oh wow, I’ve done that with EVERY single person who came to visit me. It’s a classic. If you have one evening in Singapore only, that is the thing to do. You start at Lau Pa Sat which is an old, colonial style Hawker Center which offers a myriad of different foods – make sure to try some of the Saté meat skewers which are absolutely fabulous there! Many vegetarian options are offered for our green friends (Indian food stalls or Yong Tao Foo). After dinner and nightfall, you just walk a few minutes to arrive at Marina Bay. It is truly breathtaking. Stroll along the bay walk whilst enjoying the modern architecture, to reach Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Make sure to enter the Lobby and have a look around ( and no, you cannot access the pool deck). Continue your walk to the Gardens By The Bay and be fascinated by the supertrees.

Where to eat: Lau Pa Sat Hawker Center, also known as Telok Ayer Market
How to get there:
Raffles Place MRT
Insider Tip:
You could have a drink at the Marina Bay Sands rooftop bar. However, if you feel like ending the day with a drink, I’d suggest 1-Altitude for that purpose, because you want to have a nice view ON Marina Bay Sands.

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A relaxed evening out (Pho Love + Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel)

After a long day of Sightseeing, you just might want to grab a quick dinner and treat yourself with a nice drink. Enjoy a chill evening at the Long Bar located in the elegant Raffles Hotel. The hotel is a BEAUTIFUL colonial building which will transport you back in time. Order a Singapore Sling (which was invented here), listen to the live band and nibble on fresh peanuts (you an throw the peanut shells on the ground!).

Where to eat:  
Nam Nam Noodle Bar. This Vietnamese “fast food” restaurant situated at City Hall MRT underpass offers really nice Vietnamese street food at reasonable cost. Try a Pho soup, the Ban Mie Baguette or a Vietnamese Coffee if you’ve never had that before! (Approx. 15 SDG for meal + drink)
How to get there:
 City Hall MRT
Insider Tip:
The Bar and Hotel also have a food menu. If you wanna go fancy, you can check out their selection here.

Let’s go for a beer! (Oriental Food + Haji Lane)

After your dinner (Nabins!), you should definitely check out Haji Lane for one beer (or many). There are several cool cafés and bars in the area, but my all time favourite is Blu Jaz Café. They often have live bands playing, you can sit outside smoking a Shisha and the food is also quite nice if you are still looking for a meal. If you have time, you should discover the area around Haji Lane a bit (Sultan Mosque)! Read my full blog post about Haji Lane.

Where to eat: 
Nabins. Arabian restaurant with a authentic interior: have a cozy seat on exotic cushions while you are dining on the floor. Shisha is offered. I strongly recommend the appetiser platter and the broad selection of exotic iced teas and drinks! (Approx. 25 SDG for meal + drink)
How to get there:
 Bugis MRT
Insider Tip:
Haji Lane is also nice during the day – you can do some serious shopping beyond mainstream fashion here! Make sure to stop by OM Café for a nice cup of coffee.

Hummus at Haji Lane IMG_0979
Quick Bits

Hope you enjoy your stay 🙂

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