Singapore

My flight landed late so I didn’t get through immigration until around 10pm and then I followed signs to the MRT (metro) to take me into the city. As usual I got some cash from an ATM before leaving the terminal but this time it wasn’t quite good enough because the ticket machine only takes tiny bill denominations and I was given S$50 notes.

Another girl, Sanna from Sweden, turned up in the dorm just after me so I asked if she wanted to join me for dinner as it was already getting late. We checked out some places close to the hostel and there are some great cheap options of either Indian or Chinese food. We are at the edge of little India so we opted for an Indian and I dove straight in for the Bindi Masala (okra/ladies fingers), one of my favourite dishes, for S$5.50 (£3.15), and a garlic naan for S$3.50 (£2), both of which were lovely.

In the morning Sanna and I went to Haji Lane for a mooch around the shops before getting brunch at Limaa, where a tasty, colourful and healthy Super Bowl and a coffee set me back S$17.40 (just under £10).

We then hopped on the MRT to go out of the city centre to the Botanical Gardens. These gardens are world famous and are a UNESCO World Heritage site, which is amazing. The ride is about 25 minutes from the centre and the station is right outside the gate.

Entry is free and most of the gardens are open from 5am until midnight with some special lit areas for an after dark experience.

Sanna and I were there for a couple of hours. Frustratingly, Sanna slipped on a step and twisted her ankle so we rested in one of the cafe areas and I got some ice. Neither of us wanted to leave without seeing everything so we just borrowed a wheelchair and I got a bit of exercise pushing her around for a while.

I enjoyed the Fragrant Garden, filled with some of my favourite flowery smells despite it not being dawn/dusk (the best times for fragrance) and the Ginger Garden.

We also visited the National Orchid Garden, paying S$5 each to get in (£2.80) which seems more than reasonable when you see just how many hundreds of stunningly beautiful orchids are flowering in there.

Then we walked to the metro and went to the Marina Bay Sands rooftop bar for sunset and cocktails.

For dinner we took the MRT two stops to Telok Ayer and walked a few minutes to the Lau Pa Sat food court. It is fantastic! The place is packed with excellent food stalls including plenty of Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian so there is something for all tastes here. I paid S$5 for a delicious Green Mango Salad (one of my favourite dishes; just the right amount of spicy) and S$4.50 for Char Siew Wanton Noodles plus S$2.50 for a drink so £6.80 for two gorgeous plates of food and a drink.

Then we made a detour to the Hard Rock Cafe so I could buy t-shirts and then we came back to the hostel. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost midnight. It was a good first day in Singapore.

To start my second full day I headed to the Wired Monkey Cafe on Dunlop Street with Sanna.

Then we took the metro round to Bugis so we could check out Bugis Market. The MRT route is so weird!! It takes you in a loop around the city to get between two stations that are only a few hundred metres apart above ground!! Don’t be fooled.

Bugis Metro Station is beneath an enormous mall so we had a quick look around there and found some great food outlets then we found an exit and crossed over the road to Bugis Market.

The market is really cool, with lots of stalls to explore. It’s definitely worth venturing in if you want to buy clothes, shoes or handbags but not from High Street stores. There’s a small food court too and I really enjoyed duck noodles for S$4.50. I’m hungry again just thinking about it.

Next we took the MRT to Raffles Place station so we could visit the Merlion, an awesome symbol of the city, featured on the dollar coins. He’s lovely!! Half lion, half fish; he just stands there jetting water from his mouth all day every day while tourists take it in turns to pose in front of him pretending to catch his water jet in their hat or their mouth.

After this we took a long walk around Marina Bay to cross the Helix Bridge for beautiful views of the Downtown business district and its skyscrapers.

From there were walked through part of the Marina Bay Shopping Centre, called The Shoppes and then through to the Gardens by the Bay to visit the Supertrees!

Crossing over the Dragonfly Bridge was exciting because I was able to see these incredible iconic structures with my own eyes!

The Gardens by the Bay is a great place to visit and it has free entry, although if you want to visit either the Cloud or Flower Dome then there is an entry fee. Sanna and I decided to pay to use the Skywalk between the Supertrees for excellent views. That costs S$8 (£4.50) and it was really fun.

We were both knackered so we headed back to the hostel for a little bit as we had planned to go on the InnCrowd Scooter Tour. Sanna’s ankle was hurting too much so I decided to keep her company and we decided to see the light shows and go for cocktails at the Fullerton Hotel overlooking the Marina. That was a great choice!! The view from the roof of the Fullerton is beautiful and we saw the first light show at 8pm from there.

I had a delicious Singapore Sling and a snack of bruchetta. I was really pleased with the portion too – there was much more food than I expected for S$17 (£9.50) and the drink was perfect and wasn’t just a glass of ice for S$23 (£13). Not cheap but it was an affordable treat.

We walked around the bay to reach the second show at Gardens by the Bay (which kicks off at 8:45pm) but we only caught a little bit of the show as it was quite far to walk in that time.

We did manage to see the second Marina Bay light show at 9pm from the roof of The Shoppes – this was an excellent view! We could see all the videos being projected onto the water and hear all the music too so it was quite a different experience to the rooftop bar.

The Gardens by night are nice and I would love to come back to see the full show.

Sanna and I did some window shopping in The Shoppes and laughed at how the super high-end shops like Gucci and Cartier managed to make Guess look more like a Primark store. We watched a whirlpool out on the terrace for a while and laughed some more at a bunch of guys who were talking directly opposite us so we could hear every word across the whisper dish. It took them ages to realise that they could hear other people talking as if they were stood side-by-side.

The Event Plaza is a great place to chill out in the evening after the light shows are finished and the views across the bay are beautiful.

I fancied some more noodles from the Lau Pa Sat hawker centre so we hopped on the MRT there before heading back to the hostel in time for my airport shuttle (S$9, £5) at midnight.

The airport wasn’t as open all hours as I had been led to believe but there is no shortage of food or duty free throughout the night. My flight to Manila is at 3:30am.

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