By No Vacation Required, on May 11, 2016

Traveling to Singapore

I’m not sure which we were more excited about, traveling to Singapore or traveling to Singapore via Singapore Airlines.

It’s safe to say that both were a huge hit for us. Our time in Singapore rates among our favorite travel experience ever.

Before we get into Singapore itself, let’s talk for a moment about getting there on Singapore Airlines. Prior to departing the United States, we had long heard of Singapore Airlines’ unparalleled reputation for modern aircraft, stellar design, upgraded cuisine across all classes of service, and personalized attention. Singapore Airlines delivered on all fronts. We were totally comfy in economy with a host of entertainment options, and we were served food that we were actually excited to eat. Really, though, it’s the service that sets this airline apart. We felt the elevated, individualized attention the moment we hit the boarding door.

Delivering on their promise to showcase the epitome of Asian grace and hospitality, the Singapore Girl (as the airline’s female flight attendants are called) is representative of the airline’s commitment to anticipate your needs and to make you feel at home. The entire crew has creating exceptional experiences down to a science. They know that true hospitality is in the little things: the refreshed beverage, the blanket, the pillow, the comforting word.

Viewfinder Tip: Consider booking a package that combines your air and hotel to save you money.

What did we love about Singapore once we tore ourselves away from the plane?

If you’ve read our other travelogues, it won’t come as a surprise that the food was our major motivation for visiting. Digging into cuisine from around the world—Malaysia, Chinese, India, Thailand, etc.—was a real treat. Our favorite dish? Chilli crab! It’s simply hard shell crab prepared in chilli sauce.

Beyond the staggering food options, Singapore’s mix of cultures extends beyond cuisine. You see it in the mix of historic and modern architecture, and in the different traditions on display throughout the city.

Singapore Skyline at Sunset HR

Our top recommendation is that you simply walk the streets, darting into the shops and restaurants that catch your eye. Don’t miss Orchard Road, a shopper’s paradise and Serangoon Road for spices.

Need more ideas? We’ve got suggestions!  Add those that sound good to you to your itinerary.

  1. Gardens By the Bay: A spectacular indoor-outdoor garden with two conservatory domes (the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest), the world’s highest indoor waterfall, and the Supertree Grove.
  2. Marina Bay Sands: An icon in the city’s skyline, this luxury hotel has a world-class spa, shopping, casino, restaurants, bars, the soaring SkyPark, and the world’s highest infinity pool. Not a hotel guest? No problem. Have a drink on the rooftop at Ce La Vie and enjoy the stunning view.
  3. Hawker Food Centers: Singapore’s authentic food scene is a gastronomic dream. Discover the exotic flavors at the city’s traditional food stalls.
  4. Little India: This neighborhood is a buzzing historic area that shows off the best of Singapore’s Indian community with its vibrant culture, delicious Indian food, and incredible shopping.
  5. Chinatown: Full of contrasts and fascinating details, this is where many of our forefathers first made their homes, where historic buildings have been lovingly restored, and where century-old beliefs are still practiced.
  6. Kampong Glam: The Malay district of the city has an eclectic blend of history, culture, and a super-trendy lifestyle scene. Colorful Haji Lane, a row of multi-label stores, quirky boutiques, as well as hip bars and cafes, is one of the most famous places to shop in Singapore.
  7. Tiong Bahru: One of the hippest and oldest neighborhoods in Singapore with boutique shopping, quirky lifestyle shops, specialty coffee bars, and modern bistros.
  8. The National Gallery: Two beautifully restored historic buildings showcase 200 years of the best in Asian art at Singapore’s newest cultural treasure.
  9. Singapore Botanic Gardens: This UNESCO World Heritage site shelters a rare primeval rainforest and boasts the world’s largest orchid display.
  10. Bumboat Cruise along the Singapore River: A bumboat cruise is a wonderful way to explore the Singapore River that runs through the city. Soak in the city sites—many of which line the river—from the comfort of this nostalgic vessel.

Clearly, you need to make Singapore part of your SE Asia adventure. Don’t make the mistake of simply stopping over. We recommend that you spend three or four nights at either the start or the end of your trip—or maybe two up front and two on the backend. That way, you have plenty of time to enjoy the best of Singapore and you get to fly on Singapore Airlines.

Eager for a more in-depth look at the best of Singapore? Check back soon to see what our interview with the Tourism Board revealed.

What’s your favorite thing about Singapore?