Singapore wasn’t really part of the plan. I had planned to spend the long weekend in Barcelona, but unfortunately my plans fell through. At a loose end, I messaged my friend in SG who has a spare room. A few hours later, I was up and frantically packing (as always) and in a fast cab to the airport. Here’s my guide to SG, so that you can do it with even less effort. After all, I’m all about the minimal.
First of all, the flight time out of Dubai is actually seven hours or so, a little bit longer than anticipated, meaning that when I got there, I pretty much crashed. My friend lives in an area that is popular among expats called River Valley. It’s within walking distance of Robertson Quay – a cool area for food and drink. But incase you don’t feel like walking or the humidity is too much, taxis are dirt cheap and relatively easy to flag down. They all take cash, but some also take card. (Double check first if you’re going to be using your card).
My first port of call after a lie in was breakfast. I found a really good place close to where I was staying (and also near Robertsons Quay) called Common Man Coffee Roasters. With tiles on the floor, and avocados on the menu, it was already looking right up my street. The added bonus points came when I noticed they offered G&T’s. Now I did not have a G&T with my breakfast, but it did briefly cross my mind and I wouldn’t judge you if you did… After all, you’re on holiday, right? This place had a great atmosphere. Full of young professionals taking advantage of the free wifi and the great coffee, the place was really busy.
I came across lots of places that looked really good to eat actually. Here’s a few that I didn’t quite make it to, but that still look really decent. I found that most places had very small menu’s but it actually works out well for someone as indecisive as myself.
- Monacle – technically more of a shop, but worth it if you’re a fan of the Monacle Magazine and fancy just a coffee.
- The Fabulous Baker Boy – this place looks pretty good for breakfast.
- Fat Lulu’s – a basic menu but not for your standard ‘basic bitches’.
- Food Rebel – recommended to me by my health conscious gal pal.
- My Awesome Cafe
- The Book Cafe – for those who like to read.
- Din Tai Fung – just because it’s Asia, and Dim Sum are THE BEST
On my second day, battling a hangover that ranged a 7.5 out of 10 on the hangover scale, I plodded along to Super Loco (a Mexican cantina style place) at Robertson Quay for brunch. I can’t recomend this place enough. Great service, great menu and bright and colourful, just like you’d expect a Mexican eatery to be. Definitely get a banana smoothie while you’re there (if you’re having breakfast of course).
- Jigger and Pony – Can’t recomend this place enough. They even do a happy hour with some sort of Apérol & Prosecco cocktail (that’s not a spritz), although I am pretty sure we should have been drinking Singapore Slings…
- Employees Only – just a few doors up from the Jigger and Pony, and a little livelier later on.
- Atlas Bar – if you want to feel like you’ve just stepped into a Fitzgerald novel, then definitely go for a cocktail here. In fact, this might be one of those places where you definitely get that Singapore Sling.
- Kinki – a good photo opportunity to get a great picture of the Marina Bay Sands in the background. Plus it’s an outdoor roof bar, which is ideal on cooler nights.
- Lulu’s Lounge – there’s even a guy with a saxophone, and dancers. What more do you need!?
- Kilo – if you want to dance around handbags pretending you’re Beyoncé then this for sure isn’t going to be your scene. But good nonetheless.
- Ce La Vi – located in Marina Bay Sands, it’s great for views over the city for your instagram, and it’s ladies night here on a Wednesday. (wink wink)
Neko No Niwa is the original cat cafe of SG. $12 for an hour, you can have a coffee and some cake (this trip involved a lot of cake) while you can cuddle some of their beautiful fur babies. All of the cats housed here are rescues, and you can make an extra donation to them if you like. There are some house given to you upon arrival rules alongside a little sheet of background information about the cats and the wifi password.
Upon telling my dad I went to Singapore’s National Gallery, he said, “Only you could travel halfway across the world and spend a day in an art gallery….!” And of course he was absolutely right! When out of Dubai, I like to get my art fix, and luckily for me, the Yayoi Kusama exhibition, “Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow” was in full swing. You can find the exhibition of her works at The National Gallery for $25 entrance fee. (The trick here is to go early and not on a weekend if it can be avoided, because due to it’s popularity, queue time to see some of the works can be quite long.) I highly recomend this, because even if you’re not really into art, I still think it’s one of those exhibitions that can be appreciated.
Yong Siak Street in Tiong Bahru is one of the oldest neighborhoods in SG, and from what I’ve heard, after a bit of an overhaul, has recently become one of the cooler areas to hang out in. Mainly thanks to a cute coffee shop and some hip book stores.
Buy yourself something different to read at independent book store Books Actually (they even have an in house resident cat) or at the cute children’s book shop, next door. I couldn’t find a name for it, except for “My Grandfather Bookstore” painted on the pavement outside the entrance. Then grab a coffee and cute cake at Vanilla Street Bakery – an eco friendly bakery that is anything but plain, like it’s name suggests. They do amazing cupcakes and ice cream, as well as super healthy foods, where you can sit on a little grassy area or a hammock and enjoy it. This is their flagship store, and you can check out their instagram here.
- Chilli Crab
- A ‘Singapore Sling’
STILL ON MY LIST:
- Sentosa Island – Cycle round it, hike up it, go to the beach, or visit Universal Studios. Plenty to do here!
- Visit the Singapore Science Centre.
- Buy yourself a tourist sim card so that you can easily book Ubers and navigate Google Maps. They’re pretty cheap and you can buy them from any 7/11 store. You’ll need to take your passport with you though when purchasing one.
- An umbrella will definitely come in handy. I had to go buy one after a freak thunderstorm and downpour, but once again, 7/11 have got your back, selling cheap and cheerful ones for $3.50 (that’s Singapore Dollars).
- Don’t buy water in the airport to take on the plane with you – they make you empty any drinks or water out, or bin water bottles right before the gate.
Back in Glasgow, me and one of my best friends used to always go to an independent cinema that showed films from all over the world in other languages. I’ve been missing that, so instead of picking a blockbuster movie, I tried to watch something a bit different.
- “Radin!” – A French comedy about a guy who is so tight with his money.
- “The Reconquest” (La Reconquista) – A movie about first love. Don’t watch it if you’ve just been dumped like me. (Poor choice of movie, all round actually…)
WHAT I READ:
- “The Wrong Knickers: A Decade of Chaos” by Bryony Gordon (read this if you’re despairing at how tragically disappointing your twenties have turned out to be, a bit like myself… )
- “This Modern Love” by Will Darbyshire (Don’t read this if you’re suffering from a bout of unrequited love or if you feel a bit bitter towards anyone who may be in love) but it’ll 100% look cute on your bookshelf.
WHAT I WORE TRAVELLING:
- Skinny Jeans from Zara
- Adidas long sleeved retro top
- Black sweatshirt from COS
- Vans Old Skools in black and white
- Sunglasses (always got to hide the tiredness)
IN THE SUITCASE:
- Instax camera & film
- x2 <going out> dresses
- x1 pair of heels
- x1 day time sandals
- x1 linen shirt & x1 denim shorts
- x1 denim pinafore dress & x1 stripey tshirt
- x1 shift dress
- x1 YSL Classic Monogram (small)
MY SG SOUNTRACK:
- The xx
- Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Emirates fly here several times a day from DXB International Airport, with direct routes available, as well as a flight via Colombo.
And that’s my last minute girl guide to SG! (for the girl guide’s who aren’t ever prepared!) Until the next adventure! (Who know’s where is next….!)