Saturday, November 17, 2012

One Day in Singapore

What does one do for one day in Singapore? We had the chance to figure this out on our 18 hour layover in Singapore while flying to Bali for our epic "Premoon" trip. Our flight  arrived in the evening and we flew out the following day in the afternoon. This gave us exactly one night and one full morning in Singapore, just enough time to get in some serious exploring on a long layover.

We chose to stay at the Conrad Centennial Singapore, mostly due to its very central location. I booked a Club room and am very happy with that decision because they are located on the highest floors. Check out this killer view!

Good thing I'm not that afraid of heights.

Booking the club room gave us access to private check-in on the club floor and access to the club lounge which includes evening canap├ęs and drinks and well as breakfast. For the start of our "Premoon" it was absolutely worth it.

While booking I was sure to mention that it was our Honeymoon. Therefore we received the cutest little gift, the bride and groom Conrad bears along with a congratulatory cake.

That cake was to die for, by the way. We ate every last bit of it.

The Conrad is well located in the downtown area close to the Bay, so in the evening we went out for a stroll and explored a bit of what the city had to offer. 

We sampled some local street food,

and of course the beer.

We returned to an even more stunning night view from the room. 

The next morning before our flight, we had enough time for one tourist attraction. I chose to take a trip to the National Orchid Garden for a taste of the tropics, and also who doesn't love orchids?

The garden is a 15-20 minute cab ride from the Conrad. Luckily Singapore is not that big, so it's perfect for a long layover. Entrance is around $5. Once inside you are free to stroll around and check out all of the lovely flowers and take lots of photos, of course.

This guy was out for a stroll as well.

We unfortunately did not have time to see a lot on our one day in Singapore and chose to visit the National Orchid Garden, but there are tons of other things to do. This isn't even one of Singapore's top attractions, believe it or not. Here's a list of great activities you could choose to do if you only have one day in Singapore:

1. Go on a Street Food Tour

This is a great way to sample the local cuisine, check out a local market and visit the famous 'Hawker centers." When I visited a Hawker center we had little time and were completely clueless on what to order and from which vendor. Having an expert with you would be a great way to sample the best dishes on offer. When I ever return to Singapore, I fully plan to take one of these food tours. Here are a few great options:

2. Do some Museum Hopping

When it comes to museums Singapore has no shortage of options. You might even have trouble choosing which one(s) for your one day activity. Some of the more popular museums include the ArtScience Museum - a favorite of instagramers; the National Gallery - for 19th century South Asian Art, as well as some kid friendly exhibits; or the Asian Civilization Museum for an immersion in Asian history.

3. Shop on Orchard Road

If shopping is your thing, you can head to the luxury shopping district at Orchard Road. Unlike what you might be used to seeing in Europe, this street is lined with giant shopping centers and department stores instead of boutique shops. For high-end to mid-range shopping, head to the 60,000 m2 ION Shopping Center, its next-door neighbor Ngee Ann city, or Paragon just across the street. Between these malls you'll find all the high end fashion designers designers from Chanel to Balenciaga, Hermes to Moncler, and Louis Vuitton to Ferragamo. 

4. Have Lunch with a View

How about a fancy lunch and some day drinking with a magical view over the city? Head to Vue on top of the OUE Bayfront Building. Open for lunch and dinner every day, they also have an open-air Charcuterie & Spritz Bar.

5. Tour China Town

Visit Singapore has a great self-guided walking tour of China Town on their site. You can follow their guide to see everything from temples and museums to street art with a splash of local food sampling. Don't forget to visit Sago Street for some moon cakes.

6. Enroll in a Cooking Class

Take the flavors of Singapore home with you by learning to cook some traditional dishes. Food Playground offers a cultural heritage cooking class each morning where you can learn to cook up some local family recipes and later enjoy the fruits of your labor for lunch (my favorite part, by far). Or you can take one of the tourist cooking classes offered by Palate Sensations culinary school which includes a trip to a local market to pick out fresh ingredients to cook with.

7. Explore Gardens by the Bay 

Gardens by the Bay is one of Singapore's top attractions and could easily take up an entire day. Here you can explore flowers and tropical plants galore in each of its three indoor conservatories: 
the Cloud Forest, Floral Fantasy and Flower Dome. Outside you find the ever-so-instagramable Supertree Grove, and if you are there at night you can stay for the spectacular Garden Rhapsody light show.

8. Treetop Walk

For a more adventurous day head for Treetop Walk, part of the MacRitchie walking Trails at Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Leave plenty of time because a round trip hike including treetop walk can be anywhere from 7 - 10 kms or longer depending where you enter the park and which trails you take. But don't worry, there is plenty of wildlife and nature to behold along the way.

photo: @matt_tow
photo: @matt_tow

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