“Singapore in 72 hours”
By: Sondang Grace Sirait
With multiple direct flights everyday to and from Yangon, Singapore makes an obvious getaway destination. After all, what’s not to love about this great modern city that always does things bigger and better. Expect no pollution and a low crime rate to begin with, highly efficient and conveniently interconnected public transportation, and not to mention, amazing tourist attractions.
As a cultural hub, Singapore represents a pleasantly surprising blend of Asian and Western cultures, whose influence is both visible and edible.
“The amazing thing about Singapore is that we as a country, do not have our own ethnic group. We have Chinese, Malays, Indians, Eurasians and everyone with their own religion all living in harmony. When you visit Singapore, you get to experience all these different cultures in one small city,” say Alvin Soo and Nicole Chua, Singapore-based travel writers who run livelaughtravel.net.
Not only is Singapore rich in culture, it is also home to abundant charms—something its citizens take pride in.
“Within our small island, we also have areas dedicated to our greenery. When we travel to various countries, you are either usually thrown into a metropolitan city of high rise buildings or into suburbs, where you get away from the hustle and bustle and connect with nature. Never has any other country done what we did and be able to seamlessly combine both into a small area like ours,” Nicole continues.
Enough said. To make the most of your trip, we’ve listed an all-inclusive itinerary with help from people who know Singapore best—their very own locals! Our panelists include travel writer/professional emcee Jenita Darmento, award-winning beauty blogger Elrica Diona and senior advertising executive Sarah Lim. Enjoy your trip!
9 AM – Start with a traditional Singaporean kopitiam breakfast of kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs and a cup of coffee or tea. For Elrica, her favorite breakfast spot is by Balestier Road, where she vouches for the minced meat noodle at Kai Juan food court, but first, a cup of Kopi-C (coffee with sweetened evaporated milk).
10:30 – Stroll by Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands and if time permits, check out the Merlion (Esplanade).
12 PM – Calm those hunger pangs by devouring a bowl of fish noodle soup at Lau Pa Sat, a historic building on Raffles Quay known for its striking architecture and scrumptious local food. Hawker centers are a must, when you’re in Singapore, and Lau Pa Sat, also known as Telok Ayer Market, makes a perfect starting point.
2 PM – Continue the day by visiting local heritage trails, like those in Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam or, for a change, try Changi Airport. “This might seem like a weird recommendation but we are known for our world fame airport for good reasons. Too many people use it just as a place to take the airplanes and miss out all the awesome things it has to offer!” says Sarah.
5 PM – Wind down in the cool, air-conditioned shopping malls along Orchard Road, taking time to relax and browse at its endless selections of goods. Mustafa Centre also makes another great shopping destination.
7 PM – “The best way to enjoy Singapore would be to eat like a local, shop where the locals shop and travel like the locals do,” says Sarah. If you like her advice, trail behind any queue you see at any local hawker center. It’s also a good idea to look up recommendations online and on social media.
9 PM – End the day by soaking in some evening fun. “If your pockets are lined, go to some fancy restaurants or buffet at Marina Bay Sands and then head up to party at the club there. That will cost a minimum of $150 but the view is definitely worth a visit if one can afford it!” urges Sarah.
730 AM – Start the day early by heading to the Universal Studio Singapore, where you can indulge in many movie-themed attractions. Most people would spend all day here, but we want you to make the most of your short visit, so why not keep it to half-day?
1 PM – It’s time to sample some more local delicacies. Among must-try dishes are chicken rice, chili crab and laksa (Peranakan noodle cooked in coconut milk).
4 PM – Enjoy your afternoon coffee, perhaps even extending it until dinnertime, at one of the trendy cafes at Ann Siang Hill or Dempsey Hill.
7 PM – “If you’re up for some adventure, try hiking Mount Faber at night,” suggests Jenita. Overlooking the Telok Blangah area, its summit is accessible by car, but there are many footpaths or trails leading up the hill. Start from Marang Road at the Harbourfront MRT Station.
8 AM – Eating at a local kopitiam promises more than just a good start of the day. “It also lets you up three things at once: food, sights and sounds. Hear out for how the coffee lady shouts your order to her colleague, but be warned, even though locals can be friendly they can be very shy upon approach,” Sarah says.
9:30 AM – Foodies would definitely appreciate learning how to make classic Singaporean dishes. Food Playground in Chinatown is the place to go for a short local cooking course.
1 PM – Since you’re in the area, why not stay for lunch? Known for its heritage architecture and winding streets, the area is also home to an excellent dining experience, whatever you may fancy.
3 PM – Head to the stunning National Museum of Singapore, where you’ll find intriguing stories about how the country was founded and developed, as well as more contemporary display. Stick around for early dinner of fusion Asian dishes at Food For Thought, a café located at the museum.
6 PM – Let’s burn off those extra calories you’ve been heaping in these past three days. At East Coast Park, bicycles are available for rent for as low as SGD 10. Cycling around Singapore at night would definitely introduce a different perspective of the city, and makes you feel good too as you bid adieu to the Lion City.
Seasoned travel writers and true blue Singaporeans Alvin Soo and Nicole Chua share some tips on making the most of your stay in their hometown.
#1 Pick up a little Singlish (Singaporean English)
Most people think that by ending lah behind a sentence it means Singlish. But using lah is very different form using leh, lor or meh. For example, can lah means “Yes”; can meh means “Are you certain?” and can hor means “Are you sure?”
#2 Go off the beaten path
There are quite a few hidden gems in Singapore such as the Henderson Waves Bridge. But more notably is the Treetop Walk, a 10-km walkway on a freestanding suspension bridge that allows you connect with nature and walk amongst the trees, literally.
#3 Share some fun with the little ones too
Head to the award-winning Zoological Gardens and the world’s first wildlife night park, Night Safari, the Singapore Flyer or the amphibious duck tour.
#4 Look for accommodation deals
Avoid staying at high end branded hotels with rooms that could easily cost you an arm or a leg. You can either use AirBnb or stay at hostels such as Adler Hostel, which promises that your relatively cheaper stay does not mean that you would have to compromise on comfort or luxury.
“Inside A Singaporean Mind”
On the streets, social media and beyond, Singaporean youth are finding ever more platforms to express their thoughts. One of them is popular blogger Tiffany Yong, whose writings depict her animated mind trip, often self-deprecating humor, quirky observations about life and endless positivity. Listed among the Top 50 Bloggers in Singapore, she talks to Myanmore InDepth about what makes her country special.
Some people believe cities are like people, each bearing their own personality. What’s Singapore’s personality?
I think Singapore is a broad-minded, adaptable, practical, sociable yet reserved country. Singapore is a huge cultural melting pot with loads of “fusion” of personality. With the different races and religions in Singapore, we are receptive and adaptive to all sorts of trends and changes. Yet, for political and economical stability, we are reserved and slow to changes in many ways. Our leaders are careful to introduce bold changes hence, the slow development in various aspects.
What are some common misconceptions about Singaporeans?
I believe one common misconception about Singaporeans is that they are boring and like to complain. I think Singaporeans can be fun loving when they want to be. As for complaining, who don’t grumble or whine about their day when it’s bad! It’s only human!
What makes you a proud Singaporean?
I don’t think I need a reason to love my country. It is safe, we have our own unique English, we have the best airlines, great passport, delicious food, stable economy, best education system and also given the fact that there are so many celebrities who want to be Singaporeans, like Jet Li, Gong Li, Vicki Zhao, Eduardo Saverin, Vivian Hsu and more! Oops, did I just list a series of reasons?