We arrived in Singapore early Saturday evening and took a cab to our hotel, another beautiful Intercontinental in the heart of the city. The InterContinental Singapore is located in Bras Basah Bugis, the cultural arts district, and has this wonderful historic charm.
It was pouring rain when we arrived, but we got lucky as it quickly let up and didn’t rain again the rest of our stay. We were armed with a list of recommendations from our good friend Alex who lived in Singapore for years (thanks Alex!). We immediately headed to the one “must do” on his list, a hawker center. A hawker center is a Singaporean staple and basically a massive food court which has hundreds of stalls that serve a variety of cuisines and food. You give them your table number and they bring the food right to you.
We had a delicious early dinner and then after a couple failed attempts at taking a bus (they don’t give change and we were 30 cents short!), we decided to walk over to Orchard Road, the premier shopping district of Singapore. The walk turned out to be nice despite the humidity as it gave us a chance to walk through some of the nearby neighborhoods.
We walked down Orchard street and stopped into Oriole, this wonderful coffee bar/restaurant where we re-caffeinated and cooled off. We then decided to continue our walk and head over to Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, a bustling area by the water with every type of restaurant you can imagine. We continued our walk along the water and eventually ended up in the main harbor. All the buildings were lit up and it was absolutely stunning. The small amphitheater overlooking the bay had a band performing and we hung out enjoying the music till they finished for the evening – it was the perfect end to our day. We then decided to walk back to the hotel as we still had a little bit of energy left in us. It was a hot and humid night, so we took advantage of the hotel’s beautiful swimming pool to cool off before calling it a night.
The next morning we headed over to Arab Street to see Masjid Sutlan, the mosque that stands out in contemporary Singapore. We also had a chance to check out the local market which was just setting up for the day. We grabbed coffee at this adorable cafe called Earlybird, which had just recently opened. We then headed over to Robertson Quay as we had lunch reservations at Publico, an Italian restaurant that recently opened at our new Intercontinental in town. They gave us the 5-star treatment and we were completely spoiled with a delicious lunch of truffle tagliatelle pasta and San Danielle pizza. The place was buzzing with expats and locals alike enjoying their Sunday afternoon.
We then headed to the neighborhood of Katong, one of the older districts in Singapore known for its Chinese influences and history. We walked down East Coast Road and Joo Chiat Road and checked out some of the boutiques and shops. We stopped by the adorable Peranakan houses and then grabbed another coffee to cool off once again (did I mention it was humid here?! Haha).
We then made our way to the Gardens by the Bay – the stunning outdoor park right near the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel. We walked around and headed up to the treetops which offered some stunning views of the cityscape. It’s definitely something I recommend spending the extra money to experience.
After we wandered through most of the gardens, we headed down to the bay to catch the last races of the regatta we had heard about the night before. After cheering on a few boats, we headed to Level 33, the highest microbrewery in the world! We enjoyed the view with a few beers and then decided to check out Dempsey Hill for dinner. Dempsey Hill is an affluent neighborhood just outside the city center and wanted to get a sense of what expat life is like here. It had 20 or so restaurants all huddled in this one area and they were all packed on a Sunday night. It definitely gave us the feel of the expat lifestyle in Singapore. We settled on a break from Asian food and tried the Mexican restaurant, Margaritas.
We then headed back to the hotel to pack before our early morning flight to our last stop of our trip – Hanoi!
Singapore was such a beautiful, green, and safe city. You could easily see yourself calling it home (although it does come with a hefty price tag!). It has more restaurants imaginable, sometimes it felt like the city was only restaurants! I am really glad we had the opportunity to explore it while we were in South East Asia and look forward to visiting again at some point.