Battambang, Cambodia to Singapore
The cheapest way for us to get back from our last stop in Cambodia to Singapore involved a 6 hour bus journey to Phnom Penh, a Grab taxi to the airport and a 2 hour flight.
Not the greatest combination for Kel, who still wasn’t feeling great, but she managed it and a burger king, plus new Black Mirror Bandersnatch helped her along the way.
Where to stay in Singapore
Footprints Hostel (£15 a night each)
This was the cheapest we could find anywhere, and we looked absolutely everywhere!
We had considered a night in Marina Bay Sands for a short moment of time, but after getting to checkout and seeing the VAT wacked on, we kindly declined the pretentious amount of £350 for a room!
Before arrival we were a little concerned about the reviews, but our minds were soon changed after staying for 5 nights.
For the price, this place is ideal. It’s located next to a metro station, provides a free breakfast (comes in handy on a budget!) and has plenty of facilities. The place can get a little messy and it is busy, but this is hostel life!
We arrived at 2am to having 2 top bunks in a 10 bed dorm, we were knackered so this was fine for us. Even Kelly coped… ‘a top bed in a 10 bed dorm people!’, isn’t she doing well?
Highly recommend on a budget, but do not expect The Ritz!
Getting around Singapore
Being located right next to a metro station, the metro is all we used to get around this beautiful city, and the metro can get you practically anywhere you like.
We paid around $12 each for a card and it lasted 4 days. Everything is mapped and signposted and could possibly be the easiest mode of transport I’ve ever navigated.
Things to do in Singapore
Sri Mariamman Temple (FREE)
Oddly Sri Mariamman Temple is located in Chinatown, which gave us a reflection back to our visit in Madurai, India – with it’s freshly painted colourful ornate statues lining the walls. It is clear there is a big Indian heritage here in Singapore.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (FREE)
After persuading Kelly (she makes it difficult at times!), we popped into the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and were pleasantly surprised.
The inside of the temple was stunning and highly decorative. One wall was lined with 100’s of buddha statues – one holding a lavender sprig, which meant a lot to me. There was lots to feast your eyes on, and all for free!
Red Dot Design Museum (Ticket)
This was a quick, but interesting visit. The museum contained lots of prospect design and technology projects for the future.
There was a branding section which brought back memories of my university course. This was included in our ticket for Gardens By The Bay, so we couldn’t refuse the visit. Some cool, but expensive stuff to buy in the shop!
Marina Bay Sands Hotel (FREE to visit)
From the Baypoint Metro stop you can easily make your way here. On arrival we were amazed by the size of the tall structure, so big it makes taking a photo difficult. The architecture is so different and interesting to anything we’ve seen.
To get to Gardens by the Bay you need to make your way through this monster. And it was at that point we looked at each other and said we were glad we didn’t fork out to stay here.
Yes the place is stunning, inside and out, I’m sure the rooms are even better! But the privacy is something it lacks.
As we walked through Marina Bay you can see the front door of every room and the outside balcony of every room. That coupled with a floor and walkway full of photo hungry tourists (including us) isn’t somewhere I’d particularly want to stay. I’d probably be on the opposite end of the argument if I had money!
Gardens by the Bay (FREE)
After walking through Marina Bay you enter the Gardens by the Bay area, which is truly beautiful. The supergrove trees are massive and live up to the cool photos you see of these. Also, they look even more special at night when lit up.
We were lucky enough to watch the supertree show, which was still Christmas themed and a visual spectacle. If visiting, make sure you research the show times.
Surrounding the manmade trees are gardens providing information about different parts of the world including India and China.
This is a lovely area to relax and reflect, but can get busy with tourists and locals alike. If you want the place to yourself, get up for sunrise like I did. The metro runs really early which is so convenient.
Gardens by the bay skywalk (£16.79 Klook package)
We brought a package on Klook, which included an experience on the supertree skywalk and entry into both the Cloud Gardens and Flower Dome, and it was soo worth it!
Unfortunately on our first visit to the trees, we were unable to do the skywalk, due to weather conditions. However when we experienced it the next day it was fantastic.
It will only take a few minutes out of your day, and the views of Marina Bay and the rest of the park from a birds view make this worth while. It’s amazing how much more you can see by going a few metres higher.
There’s a lift up too, this put a smile on Kel’s face!
Cloud Gardens (£16.79 Klook package)
In the same area, the Cloud Gardens building becomes part of the Singapore skyline and contains so much to see!
On entry to this giant greenhouse you are confronted by the world’s largest man made indoor waterfall, as you fight for the best photo opportunity. It incredibly falls from a large green island in the centre of the arena.
Using a lift you make your way up the central island where you will find flower gardens, rocks, stunning views and even a plant garden made out of LEGO! This was my highlight.
The various international plants were fascinating and the place has a real eco feel about it. Towards the end is a cinema sending out messages about saving the planet, which I thought was a nice touch. Definitely worth a visit.
Flower Dome (£16.79 Klook package)
Following suit, we didn’t find the flower dome to be as impressive. However, it was flooded with flowers of all sorts.
As we visited after Christmas, this theme was still running and we witness lots of Disney Tsum Tsum sculptures, which was fun.
The highlight for us was sniggering at the rudely shaped cacti in the gardens… so mature I know!
Sri Krishnam Temple (FREE)
I stumbled across this colourful hindi temple when walking back to the hostel. Outside on the streets there were plenty of stalls selling offerings.
Kwan Ina Thong Hood Cho Temple (FREE)
A few yards down the road was this cool chinese styled temple. It was quite bizarre to have two different religious temples and stalls of offerings right next to each other.
I think this just shows how diverse Singapore is, and culture plays massive importance.
Marina Bay Light Show (FREE)
On the Marina every night there is a free light and water show which is fantastic. It lasted over 5 minutes and presented synced lights, holograms and mist.
Star Island 2019 New Year’s Eve Show (£30 each)
After drinking our single Chang beers (it’s all we could afford) on the green at the esplanade and watching the light shows and crowds gathering around the marina, we made our way into Star Island.
Star Island was a warm up show for the fireworks and having a seat sold it for us.
It was actually a really fun show and the special effects, glowing wristbands, music, motorbike stuntmen and numerous fireworks actually beat the 7 minutes of measly fireworks at midnight.
We don’t normally celebrate NYE, and this time we really celebrated in style!
Universal Studios (£40 each)
Kelly had treated me to Universal for my birthday, and it’s probably one of the best presents I’ve ever had!
We booked through Klook for the cheapest price we could find and this gave you a free transfer to Sentosa Island.
Arriving at opening time we rushed to Battlestar Galactica (the main ride) and was on in 20 minutes. Hands down, it was the best rollercoaster ride I have been on – and Kel agreed. It had it all – twists, turns, upside down, height, acceleration and mist!
Queues for this ride later reached up to 2 hours wait. Along with most of the main rides, so get there early.
We then rode Battlestar Human, the human equivalent, but this wasn’t as good. Robot wins.
Somehow I managed to get Kel on the Mummy Returns, and she actually enjoyed it. She just needs that little push at times!
With the main rides under our belts, we opted for Shrek 4D Adventure which we giggled along to with the present 7 year olds and parents.
The Waterworld show and Lights Camera Action by Steven Speilberg were then great spectacles of pyro technics and acting.
All in all a really fun, needed day. The theme park is very well layed out with it’s different themes and well maintained. The only let down was not getting a photo with Elmo and Cookie Monster, who turned us down for a photo on 2, yes 2, occasions! Must be an age thing.
Singapore Night Safari (£20 each)
Our fun day didn’t stop there, as we managed to fit in this new experience on our last day. To get to the Singapore Night Safari we took a 40 minute metro and bus.
Firstly we opted for the 35 minute safari tram, which was nice and chilled as we listened to commentary whilst passing the various animal encounters. It was a struggle to spot some of the animals, it was dark after all!
We then watched the Thunbuaka Fire Dance Performance at 8pm which was cool, but only lasted 5 minutes. Because of this we missed the 8.30 show for the Creatures of the Night, which fill up very quickly (30 minutes before).
The trails are worth checking out as we spotted many animals and got close to the enclosures. The highlights for me were the gliders and fruit bats.
We rushed back for the 9.30pm showing of Creatures of the night and it was worth it.
We got to see binturong bears, civets, white sand fox (so cool!), otters sort recycling items, racoons, owls and a giant snake. The show lasted 30 minutes.
Areas to visit in Singapore
The MRT stop here is so busy here, but when exiting you are introduced to a bustling street of chinese/oriental shops. The architecture is charming, with pastel coloured buildings and shutters.
Marina Barrage Pump House
A little walk from Gardens by the Bay and you will find this area which is popular for joggers and cyclists alike. There are sculptures and fountains to splash in. I used this place for getting an awesome view of the Singapore skyline.
This bridge offers a great panoramic view of the marina from a height. It was interesting to see the area being set up ready for the New Years Eve party.
Around the marina there are so many interesting places to visit, I found this little gem, a statue of Sir Stamford Raffles in camouflage fashion…
Unfortunately Kelly didn’t get to see this area, as I went for an early morning sunrise stroll.
The place is full with colourful buildings and plenty of bars/restaurant, all situated alongside the river. I’m sure this place gets lively of an evening. It even has a Hooters!
The indian food and offerings smell is so distinctive, a smell that brought back our visit to India earlier in the trip.
Little India is a gem to visit here in Singapore. There are colourful buildings including the Tang Teng Niah House, temples and lots of places to grab cheap Indian streetfood… 2 samosa’s please.
This was a very glamorous area, within walking distance to Little India. The area bursts with Middle Eastern culture in the architecture, restaurants and the giant Masjid Sultan.
Walking around the streets here were fun, even if we couldn’t buy anything (damn you 20kg luggage and a travellers budget). So many quirky shops.
Across Marina Barrage Bridge is a little promenade that gives you the best views of the city skyline that I could find. I chilled here for an hour watching the sunset fall behind the skyline.
After hearing some alerting sirens, I was then watching the city skyline, a sunset and a thunderstorm open up in front of my eyes. I had front row seats on quite a spectacle.
Crossing Benjamin Sheares Bridge I then got a glimpse of the Singapore F1 pit and track.
Where to eat in Singapore on a budget
Eating in Singapore on a budget proved to be fairly difficult, but 7-eleven’s come to our rescue. However even these were more expensive than those we visited in other parts of Asia.
7-eleven’s are everywhere, we even managed to find one near Universal Studios, which saved us a bomb!
Al Bismi Indian Restaurant ($21 for two)
Situated near our hostel this was one of the cheapest places we could find to eat. It was busy most nights and the food was good value.
We found ourselves eating in McDonalds on a few occasions because it was 2x cheaper than the cheapest restaurant we could find.
Singapore worth a visit?
Yes, yes and yes! Singapore very quickly became one of our favourite places of all time.
Although expensive (if you can’t control spending or can’t eat McDonalds), it is full of so much culture and so many things to do and see.
The gardens are spectacular, the views are superb and the transport is second to none.