Singapore: An Urban Jungle

Welcome back to another blog of my travels! I was only in Singapore for 3 days but I squeezed in as much as possible, which you might have seen on my Instagram story!

Rather than writing out my itinerary for the few days, I’m going to summarise the key points under the headings below.

Accommodation

I originally booked the trip after seeing my sister and her boyfriend visit Singapore to stay in the Marina Bay Sands but when I priced it for myself it was over €800 for the two nights. They had also stayed in another hotel near Clarke Quay so I set my AirBnB search there.

I booked this room for €44 per night . It was the first time I stayed in a shared AirBnB but the room was self-contained with a bathroom and I didn’t cross paths with anyone staying in the apartment. It worked out a lot cheaper than the hotels in the same area and it had good reviews. The location was great. Coincidentally, it was on River Valley Road, which is where I am from in Dublin!

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Food

My plan was to try and keep my calories in check without restricting myself too much. My advice would be to eat in the malls. There is so much selection of each type of cuisine and it’s the best value. I had planned on going to a few restaurants but I was busy exploring so just grabbed some food on the go.

I should give a special mention to Grounded by Coffee Man Roasters. It is a yoga room upstairs away from the busy cafe where they serve vegan and vegetarian friendly dishes. I had the Redemption Bowl with chicken. It was delicious and filling, which you would hope for $27!

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I also had a lovely meal beside the river at Clarke Quay. It’s a busy area and a lovely place to sit and watch the city move. There are loads of restaurants to choose from. I had a steak sandwich in McGettigans the first night and Nachos in the Mexican restaurant the second night.

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If you’re in any way concerned about macros, I found it tough to get the protein in! Especially when I was eating KitKats and Icecreams but I somehow came home a little leaner due to all the walking!

Money

I was warned that Singapore was expensive. I got my flights and accommodation relatively cheap (from Phuket). The Singapore Dollar was worth about €0.68 so when I did the calculations, I didn’t feel like I was being that ripped off, compared to Irish prices. A Hendricks was $18 so about €13, and you’d definitely pay more than that in my local (although I could be wrong - it has been a while!).

I am not big into shopping but I found some great value shops so I used the opportunity to get some more ‘normal’ clothes, as opposed to the gym gear I have been living in.

Transport is great value. I got a taxi in from the airport for less than $20 but then I figured out the underground (MRT). It is so simple and so cheap to get around. Every journey I took was less than $2.

Acitvities

I landed in without much of a plan so I’m pretty happy with how much I squeezed into the 3 days. 

The first thing I did was go shopping! I was actually just out to get some food but I went to one of the many many shopping centres. There were lots of the high street names and huge food courts. They seem to have something similar at almost every train station. I ended up booking a bag on because I bought so much stuff in Cotton On!

 One of many shopping centres in Singapore

One of many shopping centres in Singapore

I took a taxi part of the way to the Marina Bay Gardens and spent some time walking around as the sunset. There are indoor gardens too and you can go up the giant flower towers (I doubt that’s what they are called - but they should be!). They were expecting a storm as I arrived so it was closed. 

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I wandered over to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and paid $20 to go up to the bar on the roof, which can be used as credit (cocktails are about $25). The view was breathtaking!! The bar at the top, C’est La Vi, had a really cool vibe and I was about to order a drink at the bar when I met two Irish girls who were travelling across Asia and on to Australia. 

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We had a drink there and then decided to head back to Clarke Quay to go to McGettigans, grab some food and watch the Ireland match. There was a great atmosphere! I jumped on the bandwagon!

Sentosa Island is separated from the mainland but you can get across by cable car, by train, or you can walk. I took the train to HarbourFront and walked across (only about 15 minutes). There are so many different attractions on the island, plus loads of restaurants, but the main reason I was heading there was for Universal.

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I wasn’t sure about going to a theme park on my own but, of course, I loved it! The hardest part was queuing for 40 minutes when I had put my phone in the locker but I did get chatting to a guy in the queue. He warned me how scary that coaster was but it was fine! I have always loved roller coasters. My favourite ride was probably the Transformers! It was like a roller coaster but in a 3D film - I loved it.

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I bought my tickets online while standing at the gate because I saved $10. I only went in to the park at 2ish and stayed until about 7pm. I think that was good timing because it got pretty quiet in the evenings with very few queues.

On the Sunday evening I continued my exploring to find Chinatown. I had heard the markets were good there but when I wandered down (it was only 1 stop from Clarke Quay on the MRT but I walked), there was a huge parade and celebrations going on the end of the Chinese New Year festivities. There was a great buzz around and the fire works were so impressive. I didn’t even get near the markets!

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I had been advised to check out the sunset near the Merlion but I completely forgot until I wandered onto the area on my run on the Monday morning. It is a lovely area of the city with an amazing view across to Marina Bay Sands.

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One thing that I really loved about Singapore, was the abundance of parks in the city. I laced up my runners and went exploring. It’s the only time I enjoy jogging. But even at that I still wanted a bit of a challenge so I found some steps in Fort Canning Park and got some sprints in. It was tough in that humidity!

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Conclusion

I would highly recommend a visit to Singapore! It is so clean, easy to navigate and full of young expats living exciting lives. The main thing I heard was that it was expensive but it can definitely done on the cheap (well, cheaper than Dublin anyway!)

Have you been to Singapore? What did you think? If I was there for longer what else could I have fit in?

Siobhan x

This travel blog is sponsored by CultureMee which is an app that was created by an Irish couple to help people adapt to different cultures in different countries. This can include things as simple as what plugs to bring with you to Singapore (the same as Ireland - which I was surprised about!) to more advanced topics like how to conduct business. You can find out more on their website culturemee.com or download the app - available on iTunes and Play Store.