Jumping out of chronological order to skip ahead and tell you about my February adventures! We’ll be back to Hawaii soon <3
When Ian and I were planning our trip to Telunas Resort in Indonesia, we were thrilled that this was a trip where getting there was going to be half the fun. Why? Because it required a stopover in Singapore! I mean, sure, technically, we didn’t have to spend three nights there on the way back to Thailand, but wouldn’t we be kind of crazy not to?
I admit it, it took me a while to get where I am today — totally obsessed with Singapore. When I was first backpacking through Southeast Asia, I didn’t really get the appeal of this sterile-sounding city, and I only visited for the first time because I had a twenty-four hour layover en route to the Philippines. Later, I returned with my friend Katie en route to catch a party cruise back to Phuket — you’ll read about that trip soon, I promise! And this trip, I brought Ian for his first Singapore swing (see what I did there?) on our way back from Indonesia.
But don’t let the fact that I only seem to visit Singapore on the way to or from somewhere else fool you. These days, I’d rank it one of my favorite cities in Southeast Asia. (Which makes me think it might be time for a Southeast Asian version of this post, no?)
Since each of my trips have been so brief — just three days or less — I’ve tried not to spend too much time treading familiar ground. And yet there is one place so special, I’ve been there every single visit. Sometimes more than once.
That place? Gardens By the Bay.
Ian, not normally one to want to play tourist, had specifically requested it. So we set off, on a white hot day, for Singapore’s Downtown Core. I’d actually hoped to stop at the Singapore Flyer en route so I could tick a new Singapore attraction off my list, but just our luck, it was down all week for repairs. At this point, I’m confident there will be a next time.
We’d barely set foot in the sprawling, maze-like Gardens By the Bay when we heard something mysteriously lumbering through the tropical brush. An enormous monitor lizard appeared, reminding us that this city of skyscrapers emerged from what must have been something more closely resembling a swamp.
I was absolutely thrilled to visit Garden By The Bay’s two conservatories for the first time. Why? (A) It was something new to do in an attraction that technically, this was my fourth time visiting. (B) I was sweating extensively and made the poor planning decision to wear a white shirt, and the conservatories were air-conditioned. Ya know, important stuff.
So I was pretty crushed when we arrived and found out that the real showstopper of the two, The Cloud Forest, was closed for maintenance. I was gutted! Our consolation prize was the smaller Flower Dome. I have to be honest — I was majorly hating on the Flower Dome.
Aside from the pretty-cool succulents and desert section and the fact that I was able to stave off sweat stains for an extra thirty minutesBut onward and upward, literally, , I was extremely underwhelmed. In Singapore, the admission fee of $12SGD (about $9) per person is a bargain, and it still wasn’t worth it.
But onward and upward, literally. After a quick snack top at Satay By The Bay — quite possibly my favorite food court name in the history of time — on the Skyway. I can almost guarantee that there has been a person who has regretted the $8SGD (about $6) admission here.
Soaring 72 feet in the air, this walkway around the magical Avatar-esque tree grove isn’t for the faint of heights. But for those with an addiction to sweeping, surreal views of otherworldly landscapes? It’s a can’t miss.
Hats off to my fellow bloggers who set their alarms for before sunrise to nab that perfect morning light and always beat the crowds. We are total failures in that — and countless other — regards, and arrived at that precise mid-day moment when the sun is at its highest and shadows at their harshest and no self-respecting photographer would be caught dead changing a lens.
After our equal parts magical and sweaty stroll through Gardens By The Bay, we walked over to the Lau Pa Sat hawker center. Singapore is widely known for these authentic food centers, and Ian was eager to cram as many as possible into our trip. From an aesthetic point of view, this might just be my favorite. It’s almost as if this historic building has been there since the beginning of time, and the Downtown Core just sprang up around its octagonal plot.
When Ian finished slurping down authentic soups, I requested a stop of a more modern and international variety. I’m essentially obsessed with acai, and so when I saw Absolute Acai pop up on our Google Maps, I knew it was a must. I flipped when I arrived and recognized the acai brand they were using from my travels to Brazil, and the girls behind the counter super sweetly inquired about our trip and let me borrow their cord to charge my phone so we could take Uber home.
There’s no question I’d be a regular here if I called Singapore home!
We actually spend the vast majority of this particular trip exploring the neighborhoods surrounding our Airnb in Jelan Besar. In my last two trips to Singapore, I’ve really discovered that as amazing as the tourist-hevy center is, I really fall in love with the city in its ever-so-slightly more residential area. We were really pretty in love with the northern neighborhoods of Jelan Besar, Little India, and Kampong Glam, and I have a post coming up about them soon!
However, we did make one other trip down south of the Singapore River.
Potato Head Singapore, the city slicker sister property to Bali’s infamous beach club, lived up to the hype and was well worth the trip. Each floor of this four-story heritage building is treated as a separate venue, and we went straight for the tiki-style, aptly-named Rooftop.
Here, we couldn’t resist splurging on our one-and-only drink of the trip each (we were detoxing from Banyan closing!) which were well worth Singapore’s exorbitant alcohol rates. We were also able to order burgers from Three Buns, the restaurant downstairs.
Whether you come for food or just a drink, I can’t more highly recommend this spot for watching a sunset over the beautiful city skyline. Who needs a stuffy old Singapore Sling, anyhow?
I love that this one-week little vacation managed to fit both an off-the-grid island retreat with overwater bungalows and turquoise as far as the eye could see and a big city weekend full of rooftop craft cocktails, futuristic art installations and skyscrapers so tall they could make you feel dizzy.
It was, for us, the perfect trip.
Singapore, I’ll see you soon. I’m sure of it!
Pssst! Don’t miss the free shipping sale on my Wanderland Waves collection with Amy Jennifer Jewellery! Enter the code “Wanderland” at checkout until Monday the 20th of March for free shipping worldwide. Read more about Amy in her recent Earning Abroad interview!