From Bali to Singapore
To visit Singapore for the first time is to explore a city with a thousand facets. We all have in mind the emblematic Marina Bay Sands hotel and its roof in the shape of a surfboard, as well as the gardens of Gardens by the Bay and their giant trees, lively day and night. But, Singapore is much more than the “Switzerland of Asia” and that is what we are going to show you in this post from our travel blog. There are many direct flights from Bali to Singapore and it takes 2 hours 20 minutes.
This island is very densely urbanized, but the lush vegetation – even in the city center – has earned Singapore the nickname of “garden city”.
Direct airlines from Bali to Singapore (from DPS to SIN)
Undirect airlines from Bali to Singapore
- Malaysia Airlines (1 stop in Kuala Lumpur)
Read also: International Direct Flights to Bali
Things to do and see in Singapore
Do you want to get away from it all and are you planning to go to Singapore? This city-state in southern Malaysia is known for its very modern neighborhoods, but many people underestimate the variety of things it has to offer.
Architectural marvels, picturesque neighborhoods, cultural sites, shopping, nightlife… in this post, we take you on a discovery of the best things to do and see in Singapore. And if you don’t know where to sleep in Singapore, our article can help you.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is probably the most popular tourist spot in all of Singapore. This large park of more than 100 hectares located in the heart of the city attracts more than 5 million visitors every year.
This is where the Supertrees are located, large metal trees over 20 meters high and which have today become true emblems of the city. They are completely covered with LEDs and light up at night to offer an amazing spectacle. Walkways are located at the top of these structures, to allow visitors to enjoy superb views of the garden and Singapore.
Gardens By The Bay at night, Singapore. Mike Enerio mikeenerio, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
It is a great place to take a memorable ride, and you can also find plenty of facilities, playgrounds, food stalls, cafes and restaurants here.
Gardens by the Bay also consists of two other areas that are located under very large domes: the Cloud Forest and its incredible artificial waterfall, and the Flower Dome, a botanical garden where you can see a wide variety of floral species from Many countries.
This is Singapore’s most famous landmark. The Sentosa Merlion is a nearly 40-meter-long statue of a merlion, an animal with a lion’s head and a fish’s body, the symbol of the city-state of Singapore. Originally, “Singapore” means “the city of the lion”, and the presence of a fish body reminds us that this city was mainly developed around the activity of fishing.
This statue made in 1964 is in the park of the same name, at the mouth of the river. Along with the Supertrees, it is the most photographed site in Singapore. From this esplanade, in addition to discovering an emblematic monument, you can enjoy a superb view of Singapore Bay and the famous hotel located there. Do not hesitate to go there at the end of the day to admire a very pretty sunset.
The Singapore Botanic Garden
The Singapore Botanical Garden actually brings together 6 gardens in a large park of over 60 hectares. This exceptional garden is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and can be visited almost entirely free of charge. It is also the most visited botanical garden on the planet.
Half a day will not be too much to discover all the beauty of this park and its various thematic gardens. You can see a wide variety of flowers and plants there, but also a lot of decorations and even monuments and historical buildings. It also houses a museum and an important scientific research center which works for the conservation of plant species.
The Marina Bay Sands
The Marina Bay Sands is one of the most famous hotels in the world, to the point of having also become one of the great symbols of Singapore. In many ways it is comparable to the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. More than a 5-star hotel, it is also a real architectural feat that has made this city famous throughout the world.
This incredible complex made up of three large towers is home to:
- More than 2500 luxury rooms.
- A panoramic observation station.
- An open-air park of more than one hectare located on the 57th floor and which connects the three towers practically at their top.
- The Infinity Pool, perhaps the most beautiful infinity pool in the world, located 200 meters above sea level and 146 meters (479 ft) long.
- A huge Casino which was the very first in Singapore.
- A shopping center that is one of the largest and most modern in the world.
- The Artscience Museum, a museum where many temporary exhibitions on art, science and culture are organized.
Orchard Road, the most important shopping street in Singapore
Orchard Road is a wide tree-lined avenue where you will find several shopping malls, the most luxurious hotels and some of the best shopping in Singapore.
The name of the street comes from an orchid plantation that existed there until the beginning of the 20th century. Following various natural disasters, this plantation disappeared in less than a year.
It was from 1970 that glass buildings such as Singapore Square and the Mandarin Hotel gave shape to what is now Orchard Road: the more capitalist side of Singapore.
Shiny glass facade of an illuminated shopping mall, located 268 Orchard Road, Singapore, at blue hour. Exterior view with vertical symmetry impression. Among the identifiable shops: Off-White Singapore, Christian Dada Singapore, The Heeren. Basile Morin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Istana, the presidential palace
You can combine the visit to Orchard Road with a walk to Istana (“palace” in Malay). This palace was built in 1867 for the British Governor and is now the residence of the President of Singapore.
To get to Istana you will need to stop at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station and going up Orchard Road you will need to take Edinburgh Rd to the right. Visit official Istana’s website: https://www.istana.gov.sg/Visit-And-Explore/Istana-Open-House
Istana Heritage Gallery
While access to the Istana grounds is only open to the public five days a year, the Istana Heritage Gallery, located just across the road provides year-round insights for visitors with exciting educational exhibitions.
Across Orchard Road from the Istana on the grounds of Istana Park, the Istana Heritage Gallery offers insight into the history of the governor’s mansion and presidential palace.
National Gallery Singapore: Southeast Asian Art Museum
The National Gallery Singapore aims to promote awareness and appreciation of art and culture through a variety of media, with an emphasis on Singapore’s culture and heritage and its relationship to other Southeast Asian cultures, Asia and the world.
The French architect Jean-François Milou won the project among more than 100 proposals and undertook pharaonic works to renovate the buildings. The result is a real architectural success, fully reflecting the economic power of today’s Singapore.
The National Gallery is the result of the conservation and transformation of two historic buildings in Singapore: the Supreme Court of Justice and the old City Hall.
If you only have time to visit one and only one museum in Singapore: go to the National Gallery Singapore! Without hesitation. Nearest MRT station: City Hall. Open daily from 10am to 7pm.
Admission and ticket sales end 30 minutes before closing time. For Singaporeans / PR free admission. More information about general admission available here.
Beyond its permanent collection, the National Gallery Singapore systematically offers a temporary exhibition. The building itself is also worth a visit. Indeed, as often in Singapore, the museum perfectly combines ancient architecture and modernity.
In this post, I will also mention one of the two restaurants of the museum, the Yàn restaurant which offers Cantonese cuisine.
National Gallery Singapore Permanent Collection
The permanent collection of the National Gallery of Singapore covers the art of Southeast Asia, from the 19th century to the present day.
It houses two permanent galleries: the DBS Singapore Gallery and the UOB Southeast Asia Gallery. With its collection, the gallery presents the development of the cultures of Singapore and the region and tells the story of their social, economic and political development.
This collection brings together more than 8,000 works. These works are by artists from different countries in South East Asia such as Thailand, Malaysia or Burma.
Restaurants at National Gallery Singapore
Art-inspired venues including a suite of specially curated dining and retail spaces that offer a variety of cuisines and one-of-a-kind museum merchandise. More information available here.
Life by the River (1975), Liu Kang
Liu Kang (1911-2004) was born in Fujian Province, China and received his formal training in Xinhua Art Academy of Shanghai. ‘Life By The River’ (oil on canvas) portrays a typical, local scene of village life in the 1970s near the Pasir Panjang area, located at the western part of Singapore. He painted the way people lived in Singapore, particularly during the 1960s and 1970s.
Liu Kang (1911-2004) was born in Fujian Province, China and received his formal training in Xinhua Art Academy of Shanghai, where he was exposed to Chinese paintings. In 1928, he went to Paris where he was influenced by art movements such as Fauvism and Post-Impressionism.
Today, nearly three-quarters of Singaporeans are of Chinese descent. But the first Chinese settlers arrived in Singapore at the beginning of the 19th century, and it was here that they settled, near the south bank of the river.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
The temple was founded in 2002 and built in the Tang dynasty style. It was officially opened in 2007. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum houses a relic, a piece of tooth, of Sakyamuni Buddha.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. Night shot of The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple from the 7th floor of a nearby Housing and Development Board block. Pierrick Lemaret, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Even if this district bears the nickname of Chinatown, like this island state, it is a particularly cosmopolitan place, which shelters for example two mosques, the Al Abrar mosque and the Jamae mosque, but also the Hindu temple Sri Mariamman or even Taoist and Buddhist temples.
By visiting this essential district of the city, you will inevitably be seduced by the unique atmosphere and the beauty of the architecture of the buildings.
Of course, as in any self-respecting Chinatown, you will also find here a lot of souvenir shops, fabrics, clothes and handicrafts, and above all a good number of very good restaurants.
Liveliest streets (Club Street and Duxton Hill)
In the liveliest streets (Club Street and Duxton Hill), there are also plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs.
During your discovery of this district, you will also have the opportunity to visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre, a museum housed in a historic building that traces the history of the first Chinese settlers in Singapore.
Chinatown Heritage Centre at Pagoda Street. User:Sengkang, Copyrighted free use, via Wikimedia Commons
Duxton Road and Duxton Hill consist of conservation commercial shophouses. Ground floor is typically a shop, restaurant or bar and upper floors are typically offices. The nearest MRT station is Tanjong Pagar MRT Station (5 mins walk from MRT station). Many food, retail and hotel amenities nearby.
Along with the city center and Marina Bay, Chinatown is one of the best places to stay in Singapore.
Pagoda Street, Chinatown, Singapore. User:Sengkang, Copyrighted free use, via Wikimedia Commons
This is the Indian district of Singapore. It is probably the most colorful place in the city, which is home to many colorful houses like the famous Tan Teng Niah House.
Little India is one of the most exotic places in Singapore, spending a moment at the Tekka Center, you will feel like you have traveled to India.
Finding such an authentic covered market is almost amazing in a place as modern as Singapore. There is also a museum here that allows you to learn a lot about the history of the district, the Indian Heritage Center.
Little India is an ethnic neighbourhood found in Singapore that has Tamil cultural elements and aspects of other cultures. Little India lies to east of the Singapore River—across from Chinatown, located west of the river—and north of Kampong Glam. Bernard Spragg. NZ from Christchurch, New Zealand, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Little India is also an area that is also home to many shops, especially in the Little Indian Arcade where many shops of all kinds gather.
In this district, you can also discover magnificent Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries:
- The Sri Veeramakaliamman, a temple dedicated to the goddess Kali.
- The Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya, a small monastery nicknamed the “temple of 1000 lights” where there is a Buddha statue of 300 tons and 15 meters (49.2 ft) high.
- The Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, a building dedicated to Vishnu which is one of the oldest temples in Singapore. Its imposing entrance tower is decorated with many sculptures of Vishnu incarnations.
Little India is definitely an area not to be missed during your trip to Singapore, and if you have a fairly tight budget, you can even find hostels or hotels there that are more affordable than elsewhere.
After discovering the Chinese quarter and the Indian quarter, head for the Malay quarter of Singapore. Here, you will be able to discover the Muslim culture and see in particular the superb Sultan Mosque, with its impressive golden dome.
In the streets of this district, you can make beautiful cultural discoveries, see works of street art, taste local culinary specialties and enjoy a mint tea.
One of the attractions of this area is Haji Lane. It is not a very large avenue, quite the contrary, but it is undoubtedly one of the busiest streets in Singapore. This very colorful and lively street is a place with an alternative atmosphere, where many artists have taken up residence.
During the day, it is one of the best places to go shopping, you can find many often very original shops there.
This street is also home to some upscale restaurants. and after dark, this is the place to go if you want to party and enjoy Singapore nightlife in trendy bars.
Restored shophouses on Kandahar Street. User:Sengkang, Copyrighted free use, via Wikimedia Commons
In Kampong Glam, you can also visit the Malay Heritage Center, a museum located in one of the former royal palaces and which is dedicated to the history of Singapore and the culture of the inhabitants of the city for more than a millennium.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (Singapore Opera House)
It is actually an artistic and cultural center and a huge performance hall, vast over 60,000 square meters (645 834 ft²) and able to accommodate 1,600 people.
With the idea of making Singapore the cultural capital of Asia, in 1992 the government asked for an international competition to choose the Esplanade Complex project, a cultural center comprising four halls and a concert hall.
The complex is located in a four-hectare bayside area, bordering the Civic Center and a historic area of Singapore. The site is called Esplanade and is at the end of Marina Bay promenade.
The architects’ idea was to create a complex with flexible halls that accommodate a wide variety of Eastern and Western theatrical genres, in line with Singapore’s multi-ethnic population.
With the assumption of elevating a design to represent the past and the future, the designers were dedicated to fusing modern techniques with local tradition.
From there emerged the design of the complex with its two large halls (the concert hall and the opera house) and the sea urchin shells. Also associated with the two volumes with durian, a typical Asian fruit with a bright yellow and thorny shell.
The Singapore Flyer
The Singapore Flyer is simply the tallest Ferris wheel in Asia. In fact, it rises to 165 meters (541ft) from the ground and was even for a period the highest in the world, before being exceeded by just 2 meters (6.5ft) by the High Roller which dominates the Las Vegas Strip.
Placed at the edge of the water in the heart of the city, it inevitably recalls the London Eye, but the Singapore Flyer rises still 30 meters (98ft) higher than the London wheel.
If you want to be able to enjoy an amazing panoramic view of Singapore, this observation Ferris wheel is by far the best place.
From one of its 28 gondolas, you can see the whole city of Singapore, but also part of the Malaysian islands. Here too, you can be in the front row to watch the sunset.
Unlike Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, Sentosa is not an artificial island, but it’s all about entertainment. More than 5 million visitors come to this island every year to enjoy the many tourist attractions.
This island, which has more than 3 km of coastline, is home to three popular beaches:
- Siloso Beach, a well-appointed beach, the busiest of the three.
- Tanjong Beach, located a little away to the east and which is the quietest beach.
- Palawan Beach, a beach with a pleasant atmosphere. It’s less lively than Siloso and where there is a point that allows you to reach the mainland.
But even if these beaches are very pleasant, it is above all for the many entertainments offered that so many people visit Sentosa:
- Universal Studios Singapore, a large amusement park opened in 2010 and composed of different areas (Hollywood, New York, Sci Fi City, Ancient Egypt, Lost World…)
- Adventure Cove Waterpark, a large water park with slides and wave pools, where it is also possible to do diving and other water activities.
- The S.E.A Aquarium, Singapore’s superb aquarium that houses more than 100,000 animals of more than 1,000 species, in tanks and vivariums that best reproduce natural environments.
- HydroDash, a small water park with inflatable structures located on Palawan Beach.
- The Tiger Sky Tower is an observation tower with a rotating platform located 131 meters above the ground. After the Singapore Flyer, it is one of the best observation spots in Singapore.
- The Sentosa 4 D AdventureLand, a very modern theme park that combines attractions and virtual reality, for even stronger sensations.
Pulau Ubin is a small island just northeast of the main island of Singapore. It is the ideal place to find yourself in the heart of a wild and preserved nature, just a few minutes by boat from one of the most modern cities in the world.
To get there, you will need to reach the Changi Point Ferry Terminal, easily accessible by metro from the city center.
Sinking into the dense and lush vegetation of this island, it is hard to believe that the tall buildings of the business districts, the metro, the shopping centers and the major tourist sites are so close.
The island can be visited on foot or by bike, and you can discover different types of vegetation, with a real jungle and to the south Chek Jawa Wetlands, a wetland with a mangrove of several hundred hectares, where there is also a small traditional village.
This island is also home to a variety of wildlife, and if you keep your eyes peeled, you can see wild pigs, macaques and tropical birds.
We recommend that you visit this island in the morning if possible, so as not to be bothered by the temperature and humidity.
During your hike, do not hesitate to climb to the top of the Jejawi Tower to admire a good part of Pulau Ubin.
The Southern Ridges, hike in the heart of the city of Singapore
If you want to do a real hike in the heart of the city of Singapore, you can follow the Southern Ridges, a great path about ten kilometers long, which connects several of the largest parks of the city-state: Mount Faber Park, HortPark, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Kent Ridge Park and the Labrador Nature Reserve.
By following this path which is easily accessible by several entry points. You can admire superb natural sites. Discover also the fauna and flora of the region, observe birds, learn more about the history of Singapore and above all relax and quiet in the heart of the city.
The Henderson Waves Bridge that connects Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, its wooden structure alone is worth a visit, and it is another of the must-see sites for enjoy very beautiful views of the region.
Henderson Waves is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore (a 274-metre (900-foot) long pedestrian bridge). It connects the Mount Faber and Telok Blangah Hill. The Soon, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Just before this bridge on the side of Mount Faber Park, you can also take the cable car to reach Sentosa Island. During the journey, you will enjoy the best view of all the attractions on the island.
Food in Singapore
The local cuisine reflects the diversity of populations: Chinese, Malay, Indian, Indonesian, English, Peranakan etc. There is a great offer both in terms of street food and more gourmet restaurants.
The country offers an impressive array of food options that evoke the multiple nature of the city-state. Asian dishes from different countries can be expected to feature on the Singaporean menu, but there is also a great assortment of Western dishes that enrich Singaporean gastronomy.
Top local dishes from Singapore
Below are some of the delicious specialties of Singapore cuisines:
Whether cooked with pepper, chilli or any other way, crab is the most typical dish in Singapore. Crab chili is a popular seafood dish in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Mangrove crabs are commonly used for its preparation. They are fried and served with a tomato and chili sauce. Despite its name, crab chili is not a very spicy dish.
Marinated chicken or pork skewers served with peanut sauce. It is certainly the favorite dish of international tourists.
The term “sate sauce” regularly used to designate, in particular, an accompaniment to fries is an abuse of language passed into the usual language: indeed, the sate is the skewer itself.
Peanut sauce whose real name is bumbu kacang is just one of the many varieties of sauces that can accompany skewers.
Sate or satay (word from Malay and Indonesian) is a dish invented in Java in the 19th century by street vendors from the island’s big cities like Yogyakarta.
Char Kway Teow:
Rice noodles cooked in garlic with meat, shrimp and served with various sauces.
Char kway teow, literally “fried rice cake strips”, is a popular noodle dish in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, as well as Indonesia.
It is a dish made from flat rice noodles (河粉, hé fěn in Mandarin) approximately 1 cm or, in northern Singapore, 0.5 cm (1.96) in width, fried with soy sauce, chilli, a small amount of belacan, prawns, shelled Tegillarca granosa, bean sprouts and Chinese spring onion. The dish is also usually mixed with egg, sliced Chinese sausage, and fishcake. Char kway teow is traditionally fried in pork fat with bacon bits, and served on a banana leaf.
Char kway teow. Elizetang, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Vermicelli soup. It is a rich and complete soup made with coconut milk, noodles, prawns, fish or meat, flavored with curry paste, chilli, lemongrass and coriander. Laksa is mainly consumed in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. There are three main types of laksa: curry laksa, asam laksa and sarawak laksa. Curry laksa is a coconut curry soup with noodles, while asam laksa is a bitter fish soup with noodles. We use thick rice noodles (or “laksa noodles“), but we also find rice vermicelli (bee hoon or mee hoon).
Singapore Laksa. ProjectManhattan., CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Hainanese Chicken Rice:
Steamed chicken with rice and various sauces. The chicken is boiled whole with pork and chicken bones, prepared according to a traditional Hainanese recipe. Another chicken broth is prepared specifically for making the rice, giving it an oily texture. The dish is usually served with several dips and sauces.
Although an original dish from India, Roti Prata has become a classic for Singaporeans. It is a kind of pancake that can contain different ingredients. It is served with a sauce dish, usually curry.
Roti prata (left) and egg prata (center), with a bowl of chicken curry (right). No machine-readable author provided. Jpatokal assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Singapore Sling Cocktail
The Singapore sling is a fancy drink type cocktail. It was created in 1915 at the “Long bar”, one of two bars in the Raffles hotel in Singapore, allowing women to deceive when they were prohibited from drinking alcohol in public.
Recipe of Singapore Sling Cocktail:
- 3 cl of gin
- 1.5 cl cherry liqueur (Peter Herring)
- 0.75 cl of Benedictine
- 0.75 cl of Demerrara syrup
- 1 dash of Angostura bitters
- 6 cl of Selz (or Perrier) water
- 1 dash of orange bitters
However, it is also possible to observe variants of this cocktail, which may include, in particular, a mixture based on Pastis and Get 27. This without losing the Singapore sling.
Historical hotels in Singapore
Opened in 1887, it was named after Briton Thomas Stamford Raffles, the town’s founder. In colonial style, the heritage of which it transmits, the establishment is the property of Raffles Hotels and Resorts, which developed from this site. The hotel was founded by four Armenian brothers, Martin, Tigran, Aviet and Arshak Sarkies.
Goodwood Park Hotel
The Goodwood Park Hotel opened in 1900 as the Teutonia Club, a social club for Germans living in British colonial Singapore. After that, due to the effects of World War I, Germans living in Singapore were treated as “enemy aliens” and the building was confiscated.
The building was put up for auction in 1918 and purchased by the Manasseh brothers, Jewish traders in Calcutta, who named it ‘Club Goodwood Hall’ after ‘Goodwood Park Racecourse’. Opened in February 1922, it was used as a wedding hall, movie theater, and dance hall .
Later, due to a shortage of hotels in Singapore, it was reborn as a hotel in April 1929 and named ‘Goodwood Park Hotel’. At the time, the Brunei Suite (now the Rose Marie Suite) was described as “one of the most beautiful rooms east of Suez”.
Goodwood Park Hotel. User:Sengkang, Copyrighted free use, via Wikimedia Commons
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