Singapore: Things to do & places to stay

So far I’ve shared a bit about Singapore; a few photos of our trip and the food {seriously, the food!} and now it’s time for the best bit – the things you need to put on your to-do list.

Singapore Zoo = amazeballs

1. Singapore Zoo

I’ve seen a Zoo or two in my time. When I was nannying one of the kids I looked after loved going to the zoo so we’d go every single fortnight. I knew the animals by name. Seriously. We didn’t get our itinerary until the night before we flew out, so I didn’t research any of the places we were visiting… which actually turned out to be a great thing as I had no expectations at all. The first adventure on our trip was to Singapore Zoo for breakfast with the Orangutans. From first walking into the zoo my mind was blown. It’s absolutely beautiful. Imagine stunning, natural scenery and happy animals. The animals seemed happy. The enclosures weren’t as obvious as some of the zoos that I’ve seen. There were animals socialising with other animals {birds mainly, so no the lions weren’t frolicking with the zebras}.

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We made our way to the dining area for breakfast with the Orangutans. It’s a buffet style breakfast with various offerings, and while the food was yummy that wasn’t really what I was interested in. I wanted to meet the little guys that we were dining with. Our table was situated at the very front, in close proximity of where the Orangutans hang out. So we sat down to breakfast and waited, they came from in the distance, navigating through trees and along ropes until they were alongside us. I loved that they made their own way there, right above our heads. They’re as sweet and human-like as I imagined and I kinda wanted to take one home, but resisted. Lacey surprised me with her bravery and held a snake. That look on her face is pure fear, with a smile thrown in.

We spent another few hours walking through the zoo. It’s designed in a figure 8 on flat ground, so for anyone that has ever had to navigate a zoo like Taronga in Sydney where it’s possible {and likely} to get completely lost and exhausted going up and down the hills, this is organised and well-planned. Perfect for my first foray into the Singapore heat.

We saw animals of all kinds, some I’d seen before and many I hadn’t. I was pretty darn excited to see pandas for the first time. They were beautiful {and not as white as I imagined}. Visit the Singapore Zoo website for more details and admission prices.

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2. Singapore Flyer

The Singapore Flyer is one of the biggest attractions in Singapore. It sits at a height of 165m and is the tallest and largest in the world. Unfortunately on the day that we visited it was pouring, typical tropical rains that we assumed we’d experience every afternoon but didn’t. The view was still amazing and it was great to see Singapore from a bird’s eye view. It was during this little adventure that I fell more in love in which the way Singapore works. So there are 28 capsules in the Singapore Flyer, and each capsule holds 28 people. Each day the Flyer does 28 complete circles, and one rotation takes 28 minutes. All in the name of Feng Shui. For years the Flyer used to travel in one particular direction, and then was changed to go the opposite way, again because of Feng Shui. I love the way they work. So apart from the way it’s created and run according to Feng Shui, it’s a great attraction. It’s nicely air-conditioned, and a great way to take Singapore in. Check out their site for more details.

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3. Universal Studios

Located on Sentosa Island, close to where we were staying, is Resort World Sentosa. It’s where Universal Studios is located, along with a few other attractions. Home to great attractions, huge roller coasters, street entertainment and loads of fun, it’s a place that you want to dedicate a whole day to, particularly if you have big kids that like to go on rides {or perhaps you’re a big kid yourself!}. The day we visited Universal was our busiest day. We were visiting the Oceanarium, the Water Adventure Park, a show, dinner and lunch, and we were supposed to go for a ride on the luge too {unfortunately we were too early and missed out on that one}, so we only had a few hours to make our way through the park. It suited us perfectly because Lacey is still not tall or big enough {or brave enough} to ride the big rides, so we hired a stroller for $10 and did the rounds. The Madagascar and Shrek areas were a HUGE hit for both Lacey and I {they’re my favourite movies}, with rides appropriate for her age and no waiting in lines either. Visit their site for details on attractions and admission prices.

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4. Sentosa Marine Life Park – S.E.A. Aquarium

Another World’s Largest, the Oceanarium was a whole heap of amazing and a little bit mesmerising. From the moment you walk through the doors you’re treated to eye-candy. A huge ship greats you, and a story is told as you make your way to the start of the underwater displays. It’s really well organised and an adventure from start to finish. With a huge underwater viewing panel, you’ll want to take up residence in one of the provided beanbags and relax while you watch the world swim by. And see those windows up there underwater? They’re hotel rooms. I’m dreaming of staying there and waking up to a shark swimming by. How cool would that be? At the time of visiting the rooms weren’t quite finished but probably are now.

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For more details, visit the Marine Life Park website.

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5. Adventure Cove Waterpark

If you’re planning a trip to Singapore make sure you set aside a day {or at least a good part of a day} for this park. Not one to truly enjoy getting in a cossie in public, I wasn’t sure that I’d get involved in the water park. But when we were doing our tour I got excited and decided that we needed to start enjoying it straight away {immediately if not sooner}. A waterway snakes it’s way around the entire park, through caves, waterfalls and past the attractions, so once you’re undressed and ready to swim you grab a huge tube, jump on and let the water take you to where you need to be. Our first stop was the wave pool. There are loads of lifeguards around, in case you’re of the worrying kind {umm, me!}. The water is super clean {yay!} and it’s so much fun.

Lacey and I spent almost an hour splashing about in the big beach above {sometimes it has waves, and sometimes it doesn’t – they’re switched on and off in equal intervels}, while Hubby lined up to enjoy some huge water slides. Boys! We then made our way to a smaller pool where Lacey could splash about as she pleased with water only up to her knees. I loved that it wasn’t crowded {a huge turn off for me with these sort of places} and did I mention clean? It was so nice and clean. You can also snorkel in the fish pool or find a water adventure perfect for you. Once you’re done, there’s no need to walk back to the change rooms you just grab another huge tube, and join the waterway – letting it take you back to where you need to be. For more information visit their site.

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6. Gardens By The Bay

The Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome at the Gardens By The Bay were a welcome change of pace for us after a fairly crazy day the day before. It’s a nature spectacular, with two areas of flowers and trees. The Flower Dome replicates the cool-dry climate of the Mediterranean regions, while the Cloud Forest is a world of mist, waterfalls and lush vegetation. Visit their site for more information.

Other places to visit:

  • Chinatown – filled with sweet markets stalls and bustling streets, it’s a great place to visit to grab a bargain or a beer {like we did}.
  • Chinatown Heritage Center – take a walk back through history and see the Singapore of years gone by. It’s a great look into what life was like back then. There are rooms set up just like they were so many years ago. It’s an interesting way to learn and feeling like you were actually there.
  • Songs Of The Sea – Grab a monorail while you’re on Sentosa Island and head for the night performance on the beach. With music, actors, fireworks and water displays – it was a great way to spend the evening.
  • Hajii Lane – Hidden away in Singapore is a little street called Hajii Lane. It’s filled with boutique stores and interesting finds. I definitely recommend setting aside some time to do this.
  • Vivo City – One of the shopping malls in Singapore, it’s easy to get to from Sentosa Island. Our hotel {Rasa Shangri La} had a free shuttle there every half an hour, and I saw a lot of other hotels did the same. There are great eateries, shops and more.
  • Orchard Road – This is one place I wish we had more time to spend. Because we were visiting at Christmas time it was like a street of magic, with beautiful lights, singers, entertainers, Christmas trees, shops and so much more. It had this magical feel about it. For the more upmarket shopper, there were some brilliant designer shops {a little out of my budget unfortunately} and there’s also shops for those who like it a little less pricey.
  • Merlion – The Merlion is the mascot of Singapore. Part mermaid and part lion, you can find a huge version near Sentosa Resort World while you’re there and the smaller, original version in the marina area.

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Where to stay

During our stay in Singapore we stayed on Sentosa Island at the Rasa Shangri La. It’s a beautiful place with it’s own beach, and beautiful pools. I actually can’t rave about this place enough – I sent my friend Rowe there last week {well, I suggested she stay there} and her family loved it. The food was delicious, the rooms perfectly sized and the service was wonderful. You know a place is good when regulars seem to come back every year. We noticed during our stay that families were very familiar with the staff {you know, first-name-basis-type-mates} and it was just a welcoming place to be. It’s very kid-friendly with a children’s pool play area, kids club and a day spa for weary mamas to retreat to.

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I just want to share this photo, however not really relevant to this post on what to do. Oh well, I guess it is; put meeting the people on your to-do list. We spent an hour or so in Resort World Sentosa just passing time. Lacey discovered this little boy who understood no English and played with him for an hour. I loved that they were different ages, couldn’t communicate other than through their body language and gestures but they had the best time together. They made each other laugh, followed each other around and just played. It was kinda wonderful.

So it goes without saying, I guess, that Singapore has my heart. We have close friends moving there later this year, so we’re already planning our trip back. Plus we’re mates with Toon Hee {our guide} so we have to see him perform at some stage, right? Most of all I love that it’s not a terribly long flight away from home, the flights are affordable and if you budget well you can spend little and have a great getaway.

Lacey and I traveled as guests of Singapore Tourism Board. We paid for Shane to come along for the ride.

Comments

  1. says

    We went to Singapore in 2000 and then again in 2002, loved it, now that we have a family I am dying to go back again with them, it has changed so much, thank you Chantelle for sharing, have pinned this to help with our holiday planning!! x

  2. says

    We have been to Singapore twice with our kids and we absolutely love it there. We are planning another trip for the end of year. I think it is an awesome place to holiday and have loved reading your posts about it.

  3. Bee says

    You are making me want to plan a trip there, maybe we could combine it with a trip to bali…..looks like you had an amazing time.xx

  4. Naomi says

    Your post has just reinforced the beauty of Singapore that I saw on better homes and gardens on Friday night. I went to Singapore 25 years ago and it’s changed a lot. I hadn’t considered going back but have changed my mind. What a wonderful place to go and take my daughter. Thanks

  5. Jaynie Edwards says

    good timing – we’re going there at Christmas next year and we have a 4 year old. I was looking at the Shangri-la and deciding between Sentosa/Singapore accom Looks like perhaps Sentosa is the go, there dont seem to be many hotels with kid friendly pools.

  6. Kitteh says

    My brother moved to Singapore at the end of last year, I’d love to go and visit with my Fiance and our son, but I’m guessing flights from the UK are slightly more expensive than from Oz :(

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