Five Days in Singapore

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.

Singapore Swing: Waiting for a Bus

waiting for a bus

Singapore Swing: Train Stations

amusing myself with train station names

Singapore Swing: Traveler

random dude I spotted on the train on his way to the airport

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.

Singapore Swing: hello, Merlion!

not the Merlion I’m looking for

Singapore Swing: Universal Studios

hanggang tingin na lang muna

Singapore Swing: Sands Hotel

Sands Hotel is disorienting. Which way is up?

Singapore Swing: Sculpture

sculpture in plain sight

Singapore Swing: The Show

Sound and Lights Show at the Marina Bay Sands

Singapore Swing: Rain Oculus

Rain Oculus with Vietnamese boats in the canal below

Singapore Swing: Rain Oculus

Rain Oculus in action

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.

Singapore Swing: bah kut teh

bah kut teh

Singapore Swing: kaya toast

kaya toast from Ya Kun Kaya

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.

Singapore Swing: Marche

Marche at Vivo City Mall

Singapore Swing: Skinny Pizza

Skinny Pizza at Wheelock Mall

Singapore Swing: Japanese meal set

I forgot which resto at the food court this came from.

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.

Singapore Swing: Lining up

Pila, pila lang! Buendia, Buendia, Buendia!

Singapore Swing: Strawberry

strawberry forever

Singapore Swing: Canele macarons

Canele macarons

Singapore Swing: before I bite

before I take a bite…

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!

Singapore Swing: it's a steal!

It’s a steal!

Singapore Swing: long escalator

Ion Orchard’s long escalator

Singapore Swing: Aesop

Aesop skincare

Singapore Swing: excess baggage

guess which bag was the extra one?

In other words, my trip was bitin. This only means one thing: I’ll be back soon, Singapore!

Singapore Swing: that's just an escalator!

that’s just an escalator!

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