Singapore

Singapore’s proximity to Manila and its booming economy have made Singapore a favourite tourist destination with Pinoys. I find myself frequenting this small country for the food! Somehow, they’ve managed to fuse Asian flavours, and elevated it to the next level. Shopping’s pretty sweet here too!

10) Sentosa

Sentosa’s probably one of the older attractions in Singapore. You can come here via cable car or by land. Cable car’s more fun though. Especially if you’re with people who dread heights. Sentosa itself is just ok. Most of the attractions you need to pay extra to get into, and it’s quite a walk to get around. The Songs of the Sea’s pretty nice. Carting’s a lot of fun.

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9) Seeing a Show at the Marina Bay Sands Theatre

This brand spanking new theatre is in great shape and has recently seen a lot of musical productions grace its stage. Ticket prices aren’t so bad.  The mall itself is impressive, alongside the world-class restaurants owned by renowned chefs/restauranteurs.

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8) Raffles Hotel

I haven’t been back to the Raffles Hotel, since I first visited Singapore in 2004. But I recall this place being one of the nicest turn of the century hotels I’ve ever been to. Well, the caveat to that perhaps, is I haven’t been to a lot. The greeter dude, donned in a Maharaja-esque outfit befits the colonial style of the hotel. It’s been said that the Singapore Sling was born in this hotel!

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7) Singapore Street Food

Hawkers! Singapore is quite well known for its awesome street food! Head to Lau Pa Sat for one of the oldest hawker outlets in the city. Food here is cheap and tasty! Chicken rice and satay are hawker staples. The changing demographics of the Singaporean workforce is also somehow changing the variety of food available in hawker centres. I also enjoy the sugarcane juice which actually has a lot of health benefits!

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6) Merlion Park

This remains to be the postcard moment of any trip to Singapore.  The fun part of seeing the Merlion to me is observing how other tourists think of creative photo shots. The last time I was in Singapore, this half-lion, half-mermaid statue was struck by lightning. We had a nice cup of coffee after talking our fun Merlion shots at the nearby Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.  It’s a bit of a walk to get to the Merlion by foot, if you’re coming from the nearest train station.

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5) Singaporean coffee and Kaya Toast

This one proves that there is beauty in simplicity! Poached eggs with a bit of soy sauce and pepper, coconut jam on toast, and a cup of kopi. I’m a breakfast food junkie, and I can’t get enough of this treat, which you could actually have for a snack. There are small shops all over the city which sell kaya toast, and I don’t have a personal favourite. Most of them are good!

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4) Shopping in Orchard Road

High-end luxury and mid-range shopping in almost every block, for a stretch of a good 2 kilometres or so. Orchard Road was the place where I first discovered Zara. Now, there’s a Zara everywhere! GST tax refund is also great and encourages even more spending.  I love how almost all the name brands (European and Asian) can be found in Orchard Road. No H&M here though, and I wonder why!

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3) Universal Studios

I’ve always enjoyed theme parks. I did not have very high expectations of the Universal Studios in Singapore. The one in L.A. is pretty huge. But I wasn’t disappointed! The park itself is an ok size. There are enough thrilling rides for the more adventurous visitors. My favourite ride’s Transformers, which just opened when we visited last January 2012. Everything’s in HD, and there were lots of unexpected twists and turns. This isn’t for the faint hearted… nor those with vertigo! It’s one of the coolest rides i’ve been on!

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2) Cruising by Marina Bay 

Singapore is a relatively young city. But it’s a super progressive Asian city to be reckoned with. I first visited Singapore in 2004, and the skyline was super different from what it is now. The three towers of the Marina Bay Sands is becoming as iconic as the Singapore Merlion. Cruising the bay, which starts off in Clarke Quay, during the day time and the night time, offers a nice relaxing view of things not-so-old and things new. The Fullerton Hotel, the spikey rook of the Esplanade, and the new fancy buildings. At 8pm, the MBS has a nice lights how (perhaps like Hong Kong’s dance of lights) which make for great pictures.

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1) Jumbo’s Cereal prawns and Black Pepper Crab

Having a meal in Jumbo is like going to Church. It’s sacred, you need to do it at least once if you’re in Singapore, and you’re sure to sing praises to God throughout the meal. Seafood in Singapore is pretty awesome. Correction. Food in Singapore is pretty awesome. Period. Full stop. And Jumbo’s big on flavours. It’s not exactly cheap, but the prices are not too touristy either. Other awesome dishes on the menu: baby squid and chilli crabs. I’ve had cereal prawns and crabs in other places, but Jumbo’s on the top of my list.

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When I went: January 2012

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