13 November 2017

7 things I learnt about travelling in Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore
1. Never go to the restaurants in the shopping malls. 

Strange as it may sound, this is pretty much the very first thing I learnt when I arrived in Singapore. Considering it was our last day together, me and a group of friends decided to treat ourselves to one of the many (and I mean many) restaurants in one of the swanky Singaporean shopping malls. After trailing around for what seemed like hours, trying to find one that catered for vegetarians, I ended up just deciding to get a Subway after the meal. Although I didn't know it at the time, I had effectively just dodged a massive 50$sd bullet. Everyone settled on a fairly fancy, but seemingly reasonably priced at 25$sd, all you can eat sushi restaurant. It was all very high tech and efficient, with what seemed like a never-ending menu and multiple platters being rolled out in seconds. Needless to say, the Ipad menu was basically the perfect over ordering machine. It was only at the very end, when everyone was gulping down their final Californian sushi roll and lazily licking up the soy sauce residue, that they realised that the 5$sd over-order charge was probably the least of their worries. The bargain original price of 25$sd had suddenly morphed into a huge 50$sd each. All I can remember is the unanimous "shit this can't be right," turns out it was, we had all just blissfully neglected to notice the +++ next to the price. Yep, not just one plus... three. 

After a few days I noticed this was a pretty common occurrence in Singaporean restaurants, especially those in the shopping malls. If you do want to eat in a mall I would recommend the food halls which serve a huge variety of different foods at a reasonable price. Of course if you want really cheap, good food, I would definitely check out the hawker food stalls.  

2. Gardens by the Bay is best at night


It probably comes as no shock that Gardens by the Bay is one of my recommendations, being an essential tourist attraction it's definitely one of the most recommended places to go in Singapore. However as much as I loved the gardens in the daytime (although, I also found they burnt a giant hole in my pocket), I found the real excitement came at nighttime. The light show is completely free and starts at 7:45pm. It is quite honestly magical, almost like stepping into another world. You can also choose to buy a walkway pass to be on the trees while they light up, as I was conserving money I didn't get a chance to do this, but I imagine it would be amazing. I would recommend getting there early as it gets crowded quickly and you'll want to get a good view. Being an idiot I spent so much time trying, and failing miserably, to get photos and video footage which also resulted in a very blurred Polaroid of one sad measly pink light in a sea of black. It's fair to say, I wish I'd just sat down and really watched the damn show.   


3. Little India is the place for cheap great food...


As I mentioned before I wouldn't really recommend central Singapore for cheap food, but the areas around are definitely cheaper and have pretty great food. I found that Little India had a great selection of hawkers, food markets and even restaurants to choose from. One street stall was selling freshly made chapatis, aloo and dahl all for around 3$sd! I was pretty sceptical at first, with the equipment looking a little rusty and some of the curries merging into one odd looking greenish gloop, but after trying it I was instantly impressed. I didn't even get any tummy problems afterwards, which, let me tell you, is the trademark of a good hawker/street stall. 

I also found that the Little India area was much cheaper in terms of shops and hotels/hostels. Rather than staying in a dodgy hotel in the red light district (and then only being told by your taxi driver as you're pulling up to the derelict looking building), I would suggest checking this area out instead. They also have tons of cheap gold/silver jewellery stores and sell some interesting tropical fruits in the shops. It is definitely the place to go for food and interesting exotic souvenirs. 



4. ... but also some awful restaurants, check reviews before going to a restaurant. 


That being said, Little India also has it's fair share of shitty restaurants. For our last Contiki Group dinner we all went to this little Indian restaurant. We immediately noticed something was wrong when the one waiter, led us up the narrow dingy staircase to the top floor of the four story building... 2 floors away from the kitchen. And before you ask, no there wasn't a lift and nope it was just him serving 25 people. When we arrived the room had several suspicious looking stains on the floor and an even stranger scratching noise coming from above, this was accompanied by some awful load tinny music. Despite one of the group getting up to turn the music down several times the waiter insisted on it being at ear drum breaking levels, so loud at some points I wasn't sure whether I was at a shitty rave or a restaurant. The high spirits from the promising menu were instantly dampened by the 3 hour wait for our food to be cooked, plated and carried single dish by single dish up the 2 flights of stairs. And even then about half of our group didn't get their food, they were basically left to eat a plate of freshly cooked air. Don't get me wrong, i'm not heartless, if I hadn't known the waiter was also the owner I would probably have felt sorry for him. This paired with our continuous pleas to have at least two waiters, made me realise that we were basically in the perfect restaurant for Kitchen Nightmares. 

Basically just make sure you check restaurant reviews first. 


Universal studios Singapore
5. Hands down cleanest underground I've ever been on. 

It looked like someone had meticulously polished every surface continuously for the past five years. Even the trains seemed to glow. Not to mention there was actually people in charge of getting people on and off the trains safely. 

6. Hostels on the quay are nice, but very noisy. 


We stayed in a lovely hostel called '5 Footway Inn' right on the Quay. Aside from the strange slightly pee smelling entrance located in front of a fish restaurant it was surprisingly nice. It had a large room with a line of apple macs and a rooftop bar. If you don't mind lots of noise I would definitely recommend this hostel and others on the quay.  



7. Taxis are fairly cheap & the drivers always have great stories.


With the immaculate underground I don't even know why you'd want to take a taxi, but I was surprised to find that most people do take taxis. After taking one I realised why, they're so cheap! Not only that but the drivers have absolutely stellar stories, one of my drivers told me about how once he snuck in some chewing gum and felt like a total badass. Another one explained how he was called to take a lone 6 year old about 2 hours across town, which is another thing, Singapore feels so safe. I think I could happily roam around at 3 in the morning and still feel safe, it actually has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. 

✈ Next Australia

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Sorry for the lack of photos, I only realised afterwards that I hardly took any!


16 comments so far

  1. I've only visited Singapore once, and it was for a swim meet, so I didn't have very much time to explore! More importantly, I wasn't able to eat all the wonderful food because I needed to eat well for the meet :o I definitely need to visit again! Gardens by the Bay is so beautiful <3 <3 <3 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

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    1. Beautiful pictures!

      www.jessicabroyles.com

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    2. Oh that sucks! You definitely need to go back, You missed out on all the best things! <3

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  2. Aw so beautiful! Your snaps are so dreamy, I'm longing to visit :D if I do, I'll be sure to remember your heads up about the mall restaurants! xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara
    (I would love to follow each other on bloglovin if you like! :D)

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    1. Aw thank you! It was definitely an interesting experience xx
      (I love your blog!, I followed you on bloglovin)

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  3. This is a really interesting post! I’ve always wanted to go to Singapore. I went to Thailand a few years ago and LOVED it. Now I want to see more of Asia. These tips are really useful, especially the one about not eating in shopping malls. I’ll remember to check out Little India if I ever visit too. Thank you for sharing & your photos look amazing! xx

    Bexa | www.hellobexa.com

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    1. Yes Thailand is amazing too! Asia is probably one of my favourite continents to go to, can't wait to go back soon! Thank you xx

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  4. That first photo of you with that yellow taxi is so cool! I always read reviews before going to a restaurant when I'm travelling :)

    x Charlotta
    www.charlottaeve.com

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  5. I miss Singapore so much! I agree with the underground being super clean! Also, the gardens are indeed magical at night!


    www.desiringsme.com/reasons-appreciate-smartphone/

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    1. So clean right !? It was beautiful!

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  6. Thanks for these tips. I'll be going to Singapore next year so these will come in handy.

    Joy to the World

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    1. Great, so glad you found them useful.

      LoneTeenTraveller | Travel Fashion Lifestyle

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