Time of Year: January
Must Bring: Clothing for humid equatorial weather. Packets of wet wipes/tissues (for the Hawker Centers). Swimsuit. Sunscreen. Cute dinner outfits. Download Grab (Singapores’ Uber).
Accommodations: Both times I have traveled to Singapore I’ve found amazing and affordable Airbnbs. My favorite location to live is near Club St, naturally.
Singapore has shot to the top of my favorite places in South-East Asia. I initially traveled to Singapore to use it as a launching pad to travel to Bali, which I think a lot of people do. I managed to add on time to the end of my trip to explore more of Singapore. There’s no place in the world like it in my opinion.
It’s an easy place to travel to with safety being of little to no concern and it is one of the cleanest places I have ever encountered. Once, I watched an older man hock a loogie and walk over to a trash can before he spat it out. For someone who lives in NYC and is constantly leaping over god knows what this small action gave me real life heart eyes. Everything is state of the art. Some would even say extra. The museums, parks, hotels and restaurants go the extra mile to be gorgeous. The hawker centers, however, care less about the bells and whistles and more about giving you the most delicious food for as low as $3, without compromising quality. Singapore once was a fusion of the best things from the surrounding Asian countries and has grown to make it its own. The melting pot of the East. And as melting pots require a lot of heat, be prepared to sweat! Here’s my list!
Maxwell Food Centre – right around the corner from Club St. where we stayed making it the centre we frequented most often. People say that this is the least touristy centre and prices reflect that. We had full dinners with (numerous) drinks for less than $15 and the quality and taste were better than some dinners we paid hundreds for. My wallet shed a tear on that one. Here are my favorite stalls.
Zhen Zhen Porridge– Seriously, I am becoming a congee connoisseur and this spot has earned the Best Congee Eskimoves Award. A title with huge merit, clearly. Comes with some fixins on top that make it extra special. I order the chicken with an egg. Eat with white pepper and add a few of the killer red peppers. Ate here almost everyday for breakfast since it opens right when the jetlag wakes you up, 7am! $3-$5 @ Maxwell
Tong Xin Ju Special Shangai Tim Sum – Order a plate of dumplings fried and boiled and top with hot sauce. These pockets of flavor are made fresh throughout the day. $3-$6 @ Maxwell
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken – Probably the most famous stall at Maxwell. Michelin starred chicken and rice. And that’s exactly what it is… chicken and rice! The sauces are really great but if the line is too long for you to wait, indulge in the one of the two spots mentioned above or choose another of the numerous chicken and rice locations. @ Maxwell
Chinatown Complex Food Centre – Tons of Mala spicy stalls and obviously, Chinese food.
Chang Jiang G1 Claypot Frog Porridge – The first stall I make a point of going to when in Singapore. Frog legs, they taste like chicken (I swear), cooked in a claypot drenched in a sweet ginger or chile brown sauce. It’s so flavorful and the meat is absurdly tender, falls right off the bone. Order with a bowl of rice so none of that mouthwatering sauce goes to waste. @ Chinatown Centre
Newton Food Centre – The seafood centre! Come here for Chili and/or black pepper crab, stingray covered in Sambal and cockels (tiny clams). There were tons of stalls to pick from so I would just take a walk around and look at peoples’ orders and see what looks best to you. Make sure to get sweet buns if you order chili crab for the sauce.
Long Beach King Seafood Restaurant – If you want the seafood experience in a restaurant rather than a hawker centre I would go here. Known for their chili and black pepper crab. The black pepper crab was unbelievable. It’s on the pricier side.
Tiong Bahru Market – Located in what several people told me is the “hipster” part of town. I came to this market for Jian Bo Shui Kueh. Rice cakes covered in fermented radish (I think) and chili paste. Have only encountered these in Singapore and they’re the perfect snack.
The Coconut Club – Located at the top of Club st. A popular restaurant with great vibes. Said to have the best Nasi Lemak!
National Kitchen by Violet Oon – Incredible Peranakan Cuisine! Outside of the Hawker stalls, this is the best dining experience I had in Singapore. Make a reservation in advance and if possible for the location located in the National Gallery (they have several). I had dishes here that I’ve never seen on any menu before and each one was incredible. Try everything!! You can’t go wrong.
Beauty In the Pot – Hot Pot spot with amazing soup broth, you won’t want to leave a drop. Reservation recommended! Get one collagen and one spicy broth. There’s a trend that says collagen bone broth is amazing for your skin. Hence, “beauty in the pot”. Yeah you better believe I’m slurping down that beauty broth. After you’ve ordered your base and ingredients, go crazy at the make-your-own dipping sauce station. Place is open until 6am so if jetlag or a wild karaoke gets you hungry at an odd hour in the night – go here!
Ce La Vi – Located at the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Entering Marina Bay area immediately bumps prices way up for, well, anything. But the views from the top are world class and gets you those harbor views. Go at night for dinner here and ask to sit outside. The food is good and seeing the lights from the infinite boats/container ships in the bay is pretty incredible.
Potato Head – Fun rooftop for drinks and burgers
The Joint – A whiskey bar with cozy vibes and a big Japanese whiskey selection
Employees Only – A dim lit bar to get drunk at that also has great food. Randomly ordered a kale salad that hit my fresh greens craving that I occasionally get when traveling. The chicken crackling was the perfect bar snack.
Skinny’s Lounge – Fun bar with a secret Karoake room. The ceiling is decorated with drawings of penises on napkins so that’s pretty, pretty, pretty cool…
Merlion – See Singapore’s iconic mascot, a half-lion, half-fish!
ArtScience Museum – Museum had some amazing exhibits on while we were visiting. See if there’s something that peaks your interest during your trip!
Cloud Forest – A massive greenhouse that exhibits different plants and flowers from around the world in a man made cloud. Houses an impressive indoor waterfall. Insta opp…
Gardens By The Bay – Check out Singapores’ Supertrees grove and walk the skywalk above the trees. I’m a little scared of heights and def had some sweaty palms on the skywalk but it was a beautiful view and cool to get so close to the supertrees. Come for the light show at 7:45 and 8:45 every night.
Singapore Botanic Gardens – Huge pretty park. Nice place to run in the morning if your jetlag wakes you up and you’re into that sort of thing.
MacRitchie Reservoir and Treetop Walk – Go on a hike on a suspension bridge over the treetops. It’s about a 3-hour hike (getting to the bridge and making your way out after included) so I’d go earlier to avoid the afternoon sun. It was such a cool and unique experience. We saw monkeys, monitor lizards, snakes and wild hogs! Bring mosquito repellent, sunblock, water and don’t take food out in front of the monkeys. The Treetop course is closed on Mondays.
Sentosa– An island resort that has a long list of attractions including universal studios, aquarium, golf course, beach clubs, etc.. just pick what you want to do!
Tanjong Beach Club – One of my favorite days in Singapore. It is a vacation after all, so a chill day at Tanjong was just what the doctor ordered. Bottle of rose, good food, swim, sun and the tan folks back home will be asking you about for weeks when your vaca is over. Make sure to bring sunscreen!!
National Gallery Singapore -Pretty museum with cool rotating exhibits. If you buy tickets at ArtScience you can use them here as well!
Sungei Buloh Wetland Centre – This is about a 45 minute drive from the city center. If you are in the mood to see some more animals in their natural habitat this was pretty crazy. Even spotted a creepy Croc!