4.5 days in Singapore

Old May 3rd, 2016, 12:36 AM
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kja
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4.5 days in Singapore

I will soon be leaving for a trip that starts with 4.5 days in Singapore and I would welcome comments, suggestions, and tweaks. Many thanks to all who have responded to my earlier threads!
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...-bali-plus.cfm
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...and-hakone.cfm
After I leave Singapore, I will visit Java and Bali – if those plans make a difference to your comments about my plans for Singapore, or if you care to comment on my plans for those locations, just click on my screen name to find the relevant threads.

As some of you know, I am a solo female traveler who is not looking for relaxation (although I'm sure I'll have some wonderfully relaxing moments) -- instead I am hoping to take full advantage of every moment I have in this enticing part of the world. In what follows, I've outlined my current priorities, but please feel free to offer your comments on ANYthing -- what I’m considering, what I’m skipping, what I might want to reconsider, etc.

One last preliminary note: I’ve never crossed so many time zones, nor have I ever been so close to the equator (but know that I am sensitive to heat ), so I’m not at all sure how jet lag or heat will affect me on this trip. I’m trying to leave a bit of latitude for my time in Singapore to allow myself to make the adjustment.

Priorities for my 4.5 days in Singapore include:
• The Botanic Gardens (including, of course, its Orchid House);
• Various museums – the National Museum, National Gallery Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, Peranankan House, maybe the Baba House;
• Various ethnic neighborhoods and their key sites (Little Inda, Arab Street, Chinatown and their associated temples, mosques, markets, etc.);
• “Modern” Singapore, including the Gardens by the Bay;
• the Colonial district;
• the Zoo, and almost certainly its night safari (unless anyone wants to dissuade me); and
• having a drink while watching a glorious view of the sun setting over the city – it seems like there are several places from which I could do that, so help me decide! And maybe a second place for a late night drink with a stunning, but different, view over the city in its night-time glory?

While in Singapore, I hope to savor some of the local cuisine:
• I definitely want at least one, if not two, dinners based on baba nonya cuisine; I’m thinking of Blue Ginger and/or Candlenut, but am certainly open to suggestions and comments!
• I would welcome suggestions for dinner restaurants in Little India, Arab Street, or Chinatown. I’m seeking places that capture the Singaporian take on the “original” cuisines, feature fresh and (if possible) locally sourced ingredients, and are on the casual (and not too expensive) end of options. The settings do NOT have to be "western" -- sitting on the floor, dining under bright lights, etc. are all fine with me if the food justifies the experience.
• I am well aware that Singapore is known for its cutting edge food scene, but don’t think my budget is up to snuff. Still, if there’s a place you think I should consider, even a place worthy of my ONE AND ONLY major dining splurge for this one-month-long trip, let me know!

Thank you in advance for any comments or suggestions!
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 02:49 AM
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Warm greetings again kja from a place you know, Seoul, and congratulations on future stay in our lovely home of Singapore. So appreciate SIN for family, work, residence. (And thanks again for your wondrous trip report on South Korea. Am back in Seoul for a few days of meetings before flying home to Singapore later this week.)

You already have a fine selection of potential activities in our city-state. A bit rushed in Seoul at the moment, so will have some additional suggestions for you later this week. I assume you have your SIN lodging sorted. If not, pleased to offer options. Never a dull moment in our ever-evolving Singapore hotel trade.

Happy for you, kja. Best from Seoul and soon, Singapore,

robert


... Singapore Airlines, You're a Great Way to Fly ...
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 09:35 AM
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Well we spent 5 days there in Feb. so for a great view and a drink try the Marina Sands Bay at the restaurant on top on the 57th. floor. This view will knock you out to be sure. You can eat there too and its costly but for treat its worth it.
http://www.marinabaysands.com/restau...sky-on-57.html.
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 10:36 AM
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I haven't been to the Marina Bay Sands, but it seems very popular for over-priced drinks. The place I've enjoyed is the restaurant/bar atop the Swissotel The Stamford. It's a revolving restaurant, so you get the whole view. The restaurant (years ago) had the best seafood buffet, but when it was taken over by the Swissotel people, they changed it and I think it is now a pan-asian buffet. I can't recommend that, but they do still have a nice bar.

You are absolutely spoiled for choice on restaurants. In Little India, we ate at Banana Leaf, which was very good. But we had better food at the Indian restaurant inside Raffles Shopping Center. I know, it sounds odd, but we were the only non-Indians there and the food was fabulous. Sorry, I don't remember the name of the place.

I think you've made a nice list of things to see/do in Singapore. One thing we enjoyed was the Jurong Bird Park, particularly the lovely atrium where the birds fly free inside a beautiful habitat. I admit I've never been to the zoo, but it gets great reviews.
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 11:14 AM
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My friends in Singapore said there are four seasons, Hot then hazy and then monsoon then followed by hottest. In March when we disembarked from our cruise in Singapore the cabdriver said his car temperature recorded 97° that day so yes it is hot though it did not seem oppressively humid or at least not when we were there. So I suggest you plan on having very warm temperatures and address accordingly and drink a lot of fluids and where a hat that will let your head breathe. Baseball style caps I do not recommend as I think they tend to hold the heat in.

Don't forget to see Singapores iconic Merlion. MSB is another Singapore icon and is very close to Gardens by the Bay. Dinner, two drinks and two desserts at the Sky on 57 was $225.00 and yes I know that's costly but then again compared to a similar setting in Chicago it's pretty close to par.
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 01:06 PM
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Larry was the $225 US dollars or Singapore dollars?
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 01:28 PM
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USD. The funny thing was the concierge at our hotel who made the reservation said dinner there is a minimum of SGD. When I saw her afterwards I chuckled how easy it was to do that. .
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 01:29 PM
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Sorry it was a minimum of 100 SGD.
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 01:52 PM
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Yipes! I knew it was expensive, but didn't realize it was THAT expensive. Thanks for the info, Larry.
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 02:04 PM
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Kathie that was our big treat and the views of Singa. at night from the wrap around terrace were unforgettable. So was the bill. .
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 02:19 PM
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lol.
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 02:21 PM
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I recall one other nice meal we had which was at the Rang Mahal Indian restaurant in our hotel the Pan Pacific. There are several RM's in Asia including one in Bangkok which unfortunately we did not get a chance to go to as my wife was ill during our stay there. Anyway IIRC this one was about roughly say $120.00 USD so way less. The food and service was very good but you did not have that fantastic view like from Sky on 57.
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 06:14 PM
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How I love Fodorites! So much helpful information.

@ Robert / AskOksena: Yes, I do have a hotel lined up in Singapore -- the Adonis, which sounds like it should meet my needs well enough, and even meets my budget (if just barely). As I recall, I came upon it while researching one of the places you recommended, so indirect thanks! If you have a chance to send some thoughts on dinners, timing, sightseeing, etc., I know it will be great advice. If not, I appreciate that you touched base and hope you will raise a glass to my wonderful experiences in Seoul while you are there.

@ jacketwatch: Wow, the Merlion had escaped my notice – thanks for bringing it to my attention! As for Sky – I’m very glad that you were able to enjoy a special meal there. I think I’m going to settle for living vicariously through you. ;-) I’ve taken grateful note of the Rang Mahal. Breathable, UPF-protecting, wide-brimmed hat, complete with chin tie (I lost my last one to an unexpected gust) ready to go. I’m sure I will find being in that climate dreadful; I’m also sure that my memories of what I enjoy will persist LONG after memories of the weather have faded.

@ Kathie: The revolving restaurant atop the Stamford sounds perfect for a sunset drink – thanks so much! I appreciate your suggestions of the Banana Leaf and Indian restaurant in the Raffles complex, too. Oh, and good (and much appreciated) catch on the Jurong Bird Park! I do want to see it, and don’t know how it slipped off my list.
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Old May 4th, 2016, 05:18 AM
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Do enjoy your stay there and I am sure you will be impressed.

I think there is a HOHO bus but really public transportation is cheap.

There are plenty of places to eat economically and hawker centers are clean, just like Singapore itself.

There is a mega store in Little India called Mustafa. It's packed with just about any kind of merchandise you can imagine.

Be wary of the bike cabs. That's the only hassle we had. We were a bit confused about how to find Raffles City Mall and this guy offered a ride. B4 getting on I asked the price and he said "don't worry about it." Then we went one block to our destination and slick asked for $70.00! I gave him $20.00, more than enough and basically told him to get lost. However you will find most people there are very polite.

Cheers, Larry.
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Old May 4th, 2016, 08:43 AM
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If you're flying to Singapore on Singapore Air, the Hop On, Hop Off bus is really cheap. Just show your boarding pass to the conductor after getting on the bus and pay him there. It was only S$8.00. The discounted price is good for one month after flying on Singapore Air.

I fly from L.A. to Singapore, but do other countries in Asia first and then do about a week in Singapore at the end before flying home. In January 2016, I flew back to Singapore, on Singapore Air, from Kuala Lumpur. That's the boarding pass that I used for the Hop On Hop Off bus.

Although I've been to Singapore a lot, I tried the Hop On Hop Off bus for the first time in January 2016 and enjoyed it. It was also great to just sit and ride after long days of walking around as I'm usually there on vacation for about a week at a time. Plus, there's a Hop On Hop Off stop directly across from the Four Seasons Hotel where I was staying part of my stay.

Happy Travels!
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Old May 4th, 2016, 06:39 PM
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Thanks again, Fodorites!

@ Larry / jacketwatch: Thanks for the warning about bike cabs! And kudos for managing your situation effectively.

@ Guenmai: I will definitely consider the HoHo option – thanks for suggesting it!
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Old May 5th, 2016, 08:34 AM
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Have a great time!

Happy Travels!
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Old May 5th, 2016, 11:08 AM
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Yes, have a great time. You will enjoy it!
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Old May 5th, 2016, 01:02 PM
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“Modern” Singapore, including the Gardens by the Bay are at the top of my list.You will be in culture shock - Singapore and then Bali. The only thing in common is Hot! Hot! Hot!
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Old May 5th, 2016, 06:12 PM
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@ Guenmai & jacket watch -- thanks for the good wishes!
@ dugi_otok -- and none will be much like Croatia, I'm going to guess!
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