Singapore Travel Guide by Bacall Associates Travel

posted on 30 May 2016 08:18 by chrisroberts2016 in Travel

I’ve been to Singapore twice (in 2013 & 2016), and spent a total of 7 days in the city — it’s one of my favorite places in Asia!   In this blog post, I am going to give you an overview of the city, and provide travel tips and recommendations for things like culture, attractions, food, nightlife and more. Everything you read is based off my own experiences.

 

GENERAL THOUGHTS ON SINGAPORE

Singapore is a bustling hub of culture, food, and all around good vibes.  It’s the most modern city in Asia.  It’s vibrant, it’s energetic, and it always leaves me fascinated.

 

If you think New York City is busy, just wait until you see Singapore.  People are always in a hurry and they walk really fast (they are actually ranked the fastest walkers on earth).  It seemed like everything was happening in fast motion, which always kept me on my toes!

 

You might be surprised to hear that Singapore is a tiny tropical island, made up of 6 million people (75% Chinese).  It’s located just 80 miles north of the equator — so the temperature is always hot and humid.  It’s tropical location provides 17 nature reserves and more than 1.4 million trees!

 

The thing that stands out most about Singapore is the extreme cleanliness.

 

Seriously — the streets are cleaner than my washing machine.

 

Why is everything so clean in Singapore?

Well, Singapore has some of the strictest laws in the world.  There are street signs all around the city reminding everyone not to litter, smoke, chew gum, run, spit, etc.  If you don’t follow the rules, then you must pay a steep fine.  But nearly everyone obeys the rules, which is why Singapore is also of the safest cities in the world.

 

Everything from the metros, malls, restaurants and residential buildings are so clean that you can eat off the floor!

 

Another thing that really impressed me about Singapore was the easiness to get around.

Despite being a densely populated city, the metro system is VERY easy to figure out and there are taxis all around that are pretty cheap to use.

 

After being in Singapore for just a few hours, I was already confident enough to navigate myself around town.  All the signs are in English (and most people can speak/understand English), so it’s almost impossible to get lost.

 

Alright, there is a downside…. Singapore is expensive.  Really expensive to travel.

In fact, the city just took #1 as the Most expensive city in the world by the Los Angeles Times.  Aside from street food, which is reasonably priced, you wouldn’t believe how a beer or alcoholic beverage costs… And if you want to rent a flat, then good luck finding a cheap price!

Bacall Associates Travel at Singapore: 10 Things to Do

posted on 25 May 2016 10:47 by chrisroberts2016 in Travel

Introduction

Singaporeans moan that besides shopping, dining and the movies, there's not a lot you can do here. Ignore them. The must-see list for the one-day visitor to Singapore, especially the first-timer, is absorbingly long. There is very little chance you'll get bored. Most tourists tend to gravitate first towards the famed retail stretch of Orchard Road. Fine, get your fix of bold-faced names like Louis Vuitton, Chanel and every other couture label under the sun. When you've gotten that out of your system, dump your purchases back at the hotel and head out into the 'burbs where the real charm of Singapore lies. We're here to guide you to the top 10 places where tourists don't normally go; in short, the places where Singaporeans in the know live and play.

 

  1. Singapore Botanic Gardens

So, you've arrived. It's early and nothing really opens for business until around 11 a.m., so how are you going to kill time? Slip on the trainers and head out to the Botanic Gardens (open 5 a.m. to midnight). At this time of the day, downtown Singapore's last remaining green lung is a cool, bucolic retreat filled with joggers, dogs and tai-chi practitioners. Wander through the swaths of virgin rainforest (the main boardwalk through it is entered from Upper Palm Valley Road) and then take in the National Orchid Garden's many-colored collection of 1,000 orchid species and 2,000 hybrids. When you're done, drop into the food court near Tanglin Gate for a traditional local breakfast of soft-boiled eggs, coffee and toast slathered with coconut jam.

 

  1. Artwork at the Ritz-Carlton

It may seem a little strange to head to a hotel to look at artwork, but the Ritz-Carlton is no ordinary hotel. The massive three-ton Frank Stella installation at the entrance and the pair of Dale Chihuly crystal glass sculptures that anchor both wings of the building kick off one of Southeast Asia's finest (and under the radar) collections of modern and contemporary art. The majority of the pieces were specially commissioned for the public spaces and guest suites. The treasures on view include Andy Warhol and David Hockney's exuberant colors, Rainer Gross's geometric compositions, Henry Moore's restrained monochromatics and the lush botanicals of Robert Zakanitch. It's all free to view, and you even get an iPod-guided tour.

 

  1. Chinatown Heritage Centre

Let the other tourist hordes charge over to the newly minted Peranakan Museum or the gloomy Asian Civilisations Museum. If you do only one cultural thing during your 24-hour Singapore layover, it must be a tour of the unheralded Chinatown Heritage Centre, where entire sets of bedrooms, kitchens and street scenes from the late-19th century and early-20th century have been faithfully recreated. It's an authentic slice of Singapore's history that's made all the more fascinating by the gleaming skyscrapers just a few blocks away. And if you must, pick up a kitschy souvenir from the gift shop on your way out.

 

  1. Plastic Surgery

In case you missed the memo, the place for plastic surgery is Asia. While many people head to Bangkok and Seoul for assorted nips and tucks, the locals make a beeline for the ultra-swish, Richard Meier–designed Camden Medical Centre. You may not have time for a full makeover, but squeeze in a spot of Botox or a non-surgical facelift with local celebrity surgeon Woffles Wu. And then adjourn downstairs for snapper pie and Pavlova at Whitebait & Kale.

 

  1. Electronics for Cheap

Tokyo may have the latest in electronic gadgets, but Singapore has the widest range, and luckily for the time-pressed shopper, they're all clustered in two massive multistory emporia. Handicams, portable DVD players, mobile phones, hi-tech cameras, MP3 players and laptops in just about every imaginable configuration are up for grabs at Funan Digitalife Mall and Sim Lim Square. The prices are usually about 10% to 20% cheaper than at other commercial outlets. At Sim Lim Square especially, good deals can be had with some serious haggling, and many retailers will knock off a few extra dollars if you pay in cash.

 

  1. Haji Lane

This tiny lane, hidden away in the heart of the Muslim quarter, is a fashionista's paradise. With very little fanfare, the collection of narrow shop-houses have, in less than a year, been transformed into an aggressively hip retail stretch recalling Le Marais in Paris or New York's Meatpacking District. Know It Nothing is a stylish industrial space that stocks beautifully tailored dress shirts stitched with silver skull buttons by Japanese label Garni. Next, pop into Pluck for its shabby chic collection of Austin Powers–inspired cushion covers and a cute ice-cream parlor. A few doors down, Salad boasts a range of home accessories like laser-cut table mats and Hong Kong–based Carrie Chau's quirky postcards. If you're feeling peckish, have an authentic Middle Eastern lunch around the corner at Cafe le Caire.

 

  1. The Singapore Flyer

The 165-meter-high Flyer is Singapore's answer to the London Eye. For the moment, it is the world's largest observation wheel (that title will go to Beijing when its version opens in 2009). Despite much fanfare and hype, the locals have never really taken to the Flyer, grousing that it's too far from anywhere (it's not) and S$29.50 is a lot of money to pay for a 30-minute ride. Lucky you, since this means you'll almost never have to wait in line. The best time to hitch a ride is at dusk when the entire row of downtown skyscrapers is softly lit. Back on the ground, head for a dinner of chili crabs at Seafood Paradise.

 

  1. The White Rabbit

Back in the '50s, Dempsey Hill was home to the British Army. These days, the former barracks, set amidst lush jungle, have been transformed into a fine collection of restaurants, bars, art galleries, epiceries and spas. Recently, the long abandoned garrison church was reopened as the White Rabbit, a restaurant and bar serving up Euro comfort food. After extensive renovations, its lofty interiors are now a mood-lit bolt-hole that heaves with tout le monde. When people aren't busy air-kissing and waving to one another across the crowded dining space, they're tucking into chef Daniel Sia's cleverly re-imagined classics, like macaroni and cheese drizzled with truffle sauce and a deconstructed Black Forest cake. After dinner, head up the hill for a chilled mojito at Margarita's.

 

  1. Geylang

Once upon a time, Bugis Street was Singapore's premier red light district (and forever immortalized in Peter Bogdanovich's Saint Jack), but the crown has long since passed to Geylang, an atmospheric quarter on Singapore's east coast that bristles with great period architecture, leggy street walkers and some of the best local food on the island. On offer is a greedy grab of Peranakan, Indian, Malay and regional Chinese standards including the coconut rice and curry chicken at Bali Nasi Lemak, spicy noodles with roast pork and prawns at Kuching Kolo Mee and the Hakka favourite of rice, vegetables, tofu and peanuts in a tea-based broth at Lei Cha Fan.

 

  1. Zouk

Despite its prim, straight-laced reputation, Singapore's nightlife is actually quite racy, though compared to Barcelona or New York, the party ends early (around 3 a.m.). After nearly two decades, Zouk is still the throbbing heart of the action. The pulsating institution is a strobe-lit, rambling warren of dance floors, figure-hugging outfits, swagger and seasoned moves. For many of the pretty young hipsters here, it's a rite of passage. If it isn't enough to satisfy your urge to groove, drop into the mammoth Ministry of Sound for a quick shimmy.

Bacall Associates Travel Singapore Insider Tips from a Local

posted on 23 May 2016 14:06 by chrisroberts2016 in Travel

When I visited Singapore for the first time I instantly fell in love with this city-state: its futuristic design, the combination of different cultures and the diverse food. I was lucky to meet Jaclynn Seah there, who is from Singapore and writes on her blog „The Occasional Traveller“. She showed me around and we had a great time. She tells you her insider tips for the Lion City — the best time to travel there, accommodation, restaurants and sights.

 

Jaclynn is The Occasional Traveller, a Singaporean girl with a full-time day job who loves to travel. She started her blog in 2010 to encourage fellow deskbound wanderlusters like herself to remember to take that time off and get away. She is always looking forward to that next trip!

 

Here are her insider tips for Singapore:

Why should everyone travel once in a lifetime to Singapore?

There’s nowhere in the world quite like Singapore!

 

When is the best time to visit it?

Singapore is hot all year round and we hardly have any seasons. Year end tends to be cooler but also more rainy, though really it can rain any time of the year.

 

June and December are school holiday periods in Singapore so your tourist attractions will be more crowded with families, so you might want to avoid those periods.

 

Which attractions of Singapore are worth to see?

The Marina Bay area (which you usually see on TV during the F1 Grand Prix in September) is a tourist hotspot but for good reason — Singapore is prettiest in the evening when the buildings are all lit up.

 

I recommend starting from the Esplanade, walking clockwise around the bay area across the Helix Bridge until you reach Marina Bay Sands.

 

Other tourist attractions that I think are worth seeing are Gardens by the Bay (18 Marina Gardens Dr) — the alien-looking Super Tree Grove is mostly free (unless you want to go on the Skywalk, a rickety walkway suspended near the top of the tree structures).

 

But it is worth going into the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest as well — beautiful and cool, a good way to spend your time ‚indoors‘ if Singapore is being all humid or rainy.

 

If you want a proper outdoor garden, Singapore Botanic Gardens (1 Cluny Rd) is centrally located in the downtown area and was just awarded a UNESCO award.