Wowwww I’m in love! I’m not sure why I had it in my head that Singapore would be all gloomy and overcast again, like the first time I was in Singapore, this time it was different.
Such an exciting buzz for this 24-hour adventure. And it was SUNNY!
Already feeling SO inspired by all the exotic plants, and the beautiful illustrations of Orchids as you exit customs.
2019 – The Pantone colour of the year is Living Coral .. but perhaps I could incorporate the tropical orchid! … WATCH THIS SPACE!
I arrived in Singapore at 7.15am, knackered as I was, I was raring to go and meet my friend Fiona and fit in as much as I could. Getting out the airport was a breeze, I don’t think you can be in a more organised and cleaner airport than Changhi!
I was last in Singapore when I was 23 on my second Asian backpacking adventure with my cousin Emmie, I hadn’t heard much about Singapore then – just that it was very expensive… in comparison to Thailand and Indonesia etc, and we had crammed in the usual sightseeing trips, you can read about my first-timers guide to Singapore here.
Getting around Singapore
It certainly is THE safest Asian city, the people are all welcoming and friendly, and the city is super clean (due to the high control on littering and fines)!
You can simply follow the signs at the airport, take an escalator, and get the MRT (Metro!), its slick and spacious carriages are so easy to navigate with colour coded floors and plenty of maps in English. Even the route lines are electronic so it lights up according to which station you are at/approaching.
I only had 24-hours, so headed straight to the Baggage Drop, Located on Level 3 of Terminal 1.
NOTE – You should check what terminal you will depart from when leaving Singapore and take your bags to the Baggage Drop at that Terminal! When leaving the next day I was departing from Terminal 3, and forgot my bags were actually in the Terminal 1 Baggage Drop (totally fine!) you just hop on the ‘Sky Train’ and it will take you very efficiently between each terminal.
FYI – Baggage Drop for 24 hours was SGD $15 for one large bag. (£8!)
I had heard rumours about a ROOFTOP POOL (!) and Jacuzzi at Changhi airport .. so went to investigate. It is located after the departures unfortunately, so I couldn’t use it to wait for my friend to finish work.
In disappointment I treated myself to a toothbrush (WILD! ..I left mine at home) and some taxi snacks – some infamous spicey Singaporean Crab + Chilli tempura bites (YUM!) from 7/11. MAN have I missed 7/11’s in Asia!
(NOTE TO SELF – Def use the Rooftop Pool before a flight next time, just ask staff to direct you to it once you have passed customs. It costs SGD17.)
It’s technically 1am in the UK and my hangover from Saturday night and my 2 hours dribbly sleep is all kicking in. My body clock is so confused.
But HEY HOE it’s 9am here and 26 degrees beautiful sunshine outside!!
NOTE – There is an awesome app called GRAB you need to download and use as Uber no longer exists in Singapore. This is a local taxi app, same principles as Uber.
I decided to get a cab straight to THE BEACH !
YESSSS, you heard, Singapore has a beach! <3 Sentosa Island is home to a number of beaches and I decided to head straight to Siloso Beach in the cab.
Normally I go for public transport and the MRT would have been ideal to get me straight into the city BUT I was tired and had a load of bags.
Everyone in the airport I spoke to was so friendly and helpful, I got directed to the taxi rank from arrivals in Terminal 1 straight to taxi lane Number 8 (my lucky life number!)
It ended up being a 30 minute easy peasy drive. Cost me $37.59 in the metered cab. (£21.77). Such a tropical drive passing the East Coast park, straight through the CBD and past Marina Bay Sands, and winding past Universal studios on Sentosa Island.
The climate is unreal, so warm and muggy, definitely takes getting used to after Christmas in the UK. I had no idea where I was dropped, but soon sniffed out the beach.
I noticed Singapore has the OFU bikes that you can get in London, that would have been fun to cycle around Sentosa if I’d had time. I hear Palawan beach is must see.
Loads of riggings and signage was already up ready for the NYE Siloso Beach Party we were going to that evening. Felt like calm before the storm, very peaceful, sun was a blazing, tropical birdies were a tweeting. Must have looked like a weirdo with my carry on suitcase and bags, but I dragged my bags straight on to the sand and stripped off.
WAHOOO beach time! 🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞
Only problem is I forgot a towel to sleep on, DAM, really wanted a dribble.
There was only one other Asian family on holiday sat on the beach near me, so opened my bags up and laid out an odd collection of tops to lie on top of.
I later found out I had plopped myself right at the tail end of Siloso Beach by the Zipline and Gondola station, if you keep walking around and along the beach you will find other beach resorts and restaurants, for example OLA Beach Club, where you can buy food and drink and use their sunbeds. Ideal. I would definitely rent out a SUP Board from them next time when I have more time. I’m still shocked you can do all these watersports just outside of the city! In the distance outside the beach zone you can see so many tankers crossing the Singapore Strait.
Where to stay in Singapore?
Good question. Luckily I had Fiona’s apartment to crash at in the Geyseng district.
I was to meet her after she finished work midday, so didn’t have too long to catch up on my Z’zzz, and I could seriously feel myself falling deep into a dribble zombie coma once I had found a sun lounger at Ola.
Anyway, if I was to arrive into Singapore without knowing anywhere, I would use good old Google and Booking.com to hunt for a bargain bed for the night. Last time I stayed in Singapore with Emmie, we went to Happy Snail Hostel – probably because it had a good free breakfast, and it was near enough to the CBD. However, I heard City Backpackers Singapore located on Hong Kong street is also a good bargain, with the most basic accommodation but will help save you money if you LITERALLY just need a bed to lay your head. (Useful for NYE if you aren’t planning on sleeping much!)
Time to visit the NETFLIX Headquarters.
Cab from Siloso to Marina One West Tower, 9 Straits View SGD16 – (£10)
Finally reunited with my lovely Fiona! We have known each other five years since living in London together back in 2014. We last went on an epic adventure to Cuba together, which you can read about here.
Had a nosey around her new office … only at bloody NETFLIX! Quite cool to see all the individual board rooms for all the TV shows and films such as Narcos, and Stranger Things, also the view was amazing overlooking the Singapore Strait and busy harbour.
So anyone that knows me, knows I am Liability Laura, I can’t go anywhere without losing or “misplacing” something, especially my goddamn phone. So low and behold it only took me 15 minutes after being reunited with Fiona and walking to the CBD, to realise I have lost my phone. Scatty tired me with bags all over the place, fumbled around and felt the sheer shock of “FUCK its gone we need to go back, SORRY!” … feet already hurting from sandals, make it all the way back to only find it was actually in my bag all along. SOZ FIONA!!
I am EXHAUSTED. And delirious. So we get a cab back to where we had got to.. The CBD baby! Right to Marina Bay Sands.
Marina Bay Sands is a tourist must-do.
Trick is to find the right elevator and get yourself up to the 58th floor for a free goosey-gander. Last time in 2013 I remember we snuck on up the lift, went to “buy a drink” at the bar, looked too busy and pricey, so snuck a peak at the epic city view then went back down.
Alternatively you can pay to have an actual drink at the CÉ LA VI Club Lounge, a rooftop bar on the 58th floor.
Ce La Vi is located in the highest level of Marina Bay Sands. It just a small bar with a dance floor, and a terrace that overlooks the beautiful cityscape of Singapore. The location is near the outdoor swimming pool of Marina Bay Sands hotel, which you can see but you can’t pay to use unfortunately – unless you’re a hotel guest!
The price is $20 a head but (usually!) worth it because of the amazing view. However, IT RAINED, as soon as we got up to the top floor, heavens literally opened! So funny really, you can only laugh, trust it happening to us! We honestly couldn’t see a thing, we were so high up we were in the middle of the rain clouds!
After a good catch up and nursing our free glass of Sauv Blanc, we skipped buying another .. (seeing as it was $16 for a beer!) and went to go check out the Sky Gardens and grab some food.
FYI – on the way out, there is a sneaky viewing platform some people miss, this gave us the best views of the day! It overlooks the wonderful Sky Gardens and the Singapore Harbour.
Oh my, the heavens didn’t stop pissing it down! I collected my luggage I was wheeling around, and we got in Q for the taxis. I was wavey and exhausted, poor Fiona hadn’t eaten all day and it was gone 4pm so we headed to a local Hawker near her work.
Where to Eat ?
WELL! Where can travellers have good local food at reasonable prices in Singapore?
The answer is simple – hawker centres (also known as food courts). These down-to-earth culinary destinations are where you can find a wide variety of local dishes, from Chicken Rice, Fried Kway Teow, Hokkien Mee, Bak Kut Teh, Satay, Laksa, and Chilli Crab to the vegetarian Yong Tau Fu dish. Read more on the BEST Hawker Centres in Singapore here.
Despite the cheap prices (from S$2.50 to S$5.00), the quality of food is actually decent.
I walked in circles trying to decide what food to order – there isn’t just Singaporean food, you can indulge on Indian, Malaysian, Thai etc … for a easy win I went for Pad Thai. ($5).
Literally nodding off here, poor Fiona, must have been awful company .. 5pm in Singapore but my brain and body thinks I’ve pulled a double all nighter and it’s 9am in the UK.
Power nap. Let’s go!
We headed back to the quirky Geylang district to get glammed up for NYE.
Fiona’s apartment is awesome, such a good spot with a cushty pool on the roof.
So funny seeing FROG PORRIDGE for sale in restaurants around here, apparently it is a Singaporean delicacy and the place opposite Fiona’s is THE BEST place to try it.
… NO, safe to say I didn’t. So adventurous I know.
A few Vodkas later and we are back in another cab to Fiona’s mate Liz’s apartment in the CBD.
Now this pad was awesome, each elevator in the swanky building opens up right inside the flat. Nice open kitchen and lounge that opens up to a balcony with a view facing Marina Bay Sands. Fiona met this chick on Bumble friends, LOL, both straight, and both expats just looking for some homies.
SMALL WORLD – I later find out Liz is good friends with my lovely Aussie mate Sally who I met in Guatemala! .. Read more on those Euphoric Escapades in South America here.
NYE prees commence…
The house was packed with a load of locals and expats .. some even French, so there was an epic selection of cheeses I kept attacking. A dozen drinks, shots, and selfies later we hear fireworks starting …
NYE Singapore – Where to go?
The Marina Bay Singapore Countdown is a signature countdown event in the Civic District that draws both locals and travellers from overseas. The Marina Bay light shows are not to be missed, and for NYE the show is even more extravagant. You can
TIP – Get down to the harbourside early! Either purchase a ticket to be part of the harbourside event or book a spot at a restaurant or CBD party. Marina Bay Sands is easily the best spot to watch it from… but be prepared to fight the crowds and spend a fortune! Not all tables will guarantee a prime viewing spot, so book early to avoid disappointment.
(Ce La Vi and Altitude are the most obvious tourist options, so consider an alternative nearby!)
Seeing as I didn’t plan my NYE what-so-ever, here is a good site with some of the best things to do in Singapore at NYE.
Everyone in the house party we went to were all dispersing and going to different parties and club nights, there is just SO much you can do.
Popular choices: Bang Bang, Potato Head etc…
If only we had Bernard’s watch! …
Fiona and I drunkenly decided to run into the crowds about half an hour before the midnight countdown started …. GOOD ONE … NOT!
It seemed like a great idea at the time, as the apartment we were drinking in was slightly too far around the corner from the main Civic District firework view (we could only see the shiny reflections of the fireworks on the opposite skyscrapers!)
The crowds were insane, and sods law we had a shit view on the ground, behind some trees, squeezed in-between asians living the entire night through their mobile screens. It was a joke, but we saw the funny side and managed to lean up on a fence to see the main countdown firework display, then we RAN!
Back to Sentosa I go!
Siloso Beach Party is the latest rave we could find to party the night away after the hectic crowded countdown.
Here’s some more info if you’re planning on going one year. Surprisingly we caught a cab quite easily using the Grab app again, and ended up getting there around 1am. There was literally no westerners and the hard house was hilarious (well, shit). And I mean everyone knows Asians can’t handle their drink…it’s just common knowledge… but this was a joke, literally quite a young crowd getting on the sauce. We danced the night away as they say, but it wasn’t half as messy as nights I’m used to back home haha …I guess after Burning Man, everything seems tame in comparison.
FYI – Singapore is completely “drug free”, it’s not just some hefty fine but the death penalty if you are caught with them on you out here.
I think about 4am we called it a night, (via Maccy D’s of course!) the queues for taxis are insane, so definitely worth pre booking to get the F home. (We hadn’t!).
The journey from Sentosa Island to Geylang took about 45 minutes.
Stumbled past the all night Frog Porridge pad, then hit the hay baby. First bed in two days!