My friend Julia and I headed to Singapore at the end of June just in time for the Great Singapore Sale. We’d booked our flights six months in advance to take advantage of promo fares, hoping to scrape together enough savings to shop with. Thankfully we didn’t need to pay for lodging due to some kind friends who had settled there and offered to host us during our stay.
We had two hosts for the trip: spent two nights with one family in the Mount Faber/Harbourfront area, and another three nights with an old school friend in Tampines. If you’ve seen the Singapore SMRT map, you’ll know that’s almost on opposite sides of the island! Taxi fares are expensive and most of the SMRT is underground, so I didn’t get to see how all the streets and areas connected with each other. I did try to map out a run route once and was surprised that it would be almost 21 kilometers just to get from Tampines to a nearby beach and back. People say Singapore is so small you can tour it all in a day. After my trip, I doubt that’s really true.
I would say I probably experienced Singapore like a resident would: the commutes, the busy lunch and dinner hours at mall food courts, shopping at the street market and bargain stores, Sentosa on a weekend without entering Universal Studios. Not a lot of touristy things except for the few hours we spent at Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands.
I’m very thankful that my tour guides and hosts helped me get a taste of the different kinds of food available in Singapore, even though I didn’t set foot in a single hawker stall. (Filing that as part of my to-do list on the next trip.) For Singaporean cuisine, I had some homemade bah kut teh (clear beef stew) and kaya toast with the traditional milk tea and runny eggs.
Some of our meals were international in nature, such as the Swiss banquet at Marche (Vivo City), healthy Italian fare at Skinny Pizza (Wheelock), and Japanese set meals at a food court.
And yes, I lived on the edge and had ice cream! Not just any ice cream: this was Cold Stone (Orchard Central), which people would line up around the block for. I also had some macarons to die for from Canele, which according to Julia is the best she’s tasted.
Let’s not forget the real reason I went there in the first place: to shop! When I arrived in Singapore, I had one suitcase and one carry-on. When I left, I had another bag full of clothes!
In other words, my trip was bitin. This only means one thing: I’ll be back soon, Singapore!