Singapore surprised me for its combination of skyscrapers, tropical climate and the cultural mixture of Chinese, Malay and Indian influence. This Garden City is an oasis compared to the rest of Asian cities I visited during my nine months trip.
Whether you end up in Singapore on a stopover or a visa run, don´t miss the chance to explore it. There is always a way to get around even on a tight budget. There are free tours from the airport for those who have longer tan 8 hours stopover. Click here for more info.
Where to stay: Footprints Hostel is the cheapest in town, you can stay in a 10 bed dorm for 8€ a night. It is located nearby Little India and walking distance to the Malay historical district and the shopping area of Bugis, the cheapest in town.
How to get around: a bus ride costs less tan 1€ and the subway between 0,50€ up to 2€ depending of the length of the journey. Singapore is an ideal city to walk around as it has large and clean sidewalks, is not polluted and has plenty of shade.
Where to eat: the food stalls with local dishes called Hawkers can be found almost everywhere in the city, you can eat for as little as 3€. If you are a curry lover head to Little India and don´t be shy to eat with your hands at any of the local cheap restaurants . When in Chinatown join the queue to enter Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, a Michelin starred food stall where you can eat the signature dish for less than 4€.
Tip: for a skyline view of Singapore go for a drink at Swisshotel, free entrance and they have happy hour.
My top 3 free things to do in Singapore:
3. Botanic Garden
A great escape from walking around the busy and urban streets of Singapore city, the Botanic Garden is the perfect place for those seeking some nature and fresh air. This UNESCO World Heritage site dates to 1859 and comprises 740 000 square meters. It is open from 5 in the morning until midnight and is free to enter, except for the Orchid Garden.
You should visit the small tropical rainforest which is older than the gardens themselves and the Evolution Garden which tells the story of plant life on Earth throughout the ages. The Ginger Garden and the Lakes are also not to be missed.
2. Tooth Relic Buddha Temple
If you are seeking for a bit of culture while in Chinatown don´t forget to visit this colorful four story building. They provide scarfs and skirts at the entrance on the ground floor, where you can find the main temple. I would highly recommend visiting the museum located on the second floor, the Sacred Light Hall on the third and the rooftop garden with the giant Buddhist prayer wheel. Click here for upcoming events at the temple.
1. Gardens by the Bay
This impressive futuristic park is my favorite place in Singapore for its design, nature and art. The entrance to the gardens is free but there are 3 areas where you must pay to get in: The Flower Dome, The Cloud Forest (17€ the combined ticket for both conservatories) and the OCBC Skyway (5€). I would highly recommend visiting the Skyway to get one of the most amazing views of the city, specially at sunset; and enjoy the Garden Rapshody that plays daily at 19:45 and 20:45.