Singapore was a welcomed, albeit short addition to our trip to Malaysia. Given that we’d already visited a few years back, we only planned for two days in Singapore, which would otherwise deserve at least a week.
This meant we needed to up our game and act as a Swiss clock; not exactly the mood you’d like to have while on holiday, especially not after a 20h flight. And given our shortage of time, Grab proved to be the perfect choice in mobility. I’ll tell you all about that soon.
So, what did we end up doing with our two days in Singapore? Here are the essentials:
Gardens by the Bay
The Super Tree grove, The Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome. No caption needed, because anyone who’s ever heard of Singapore knows these landmarks by now.
Just strolling by the sea next to the Flower dome, maybe you’ll see some playful otters, if you’re lucky. If all else, you’ll have the view. What a view.
You’ll also want to save some time before you fly out, to check out the newly launched indoor waterfall at the Arrivals terminal.
SEA Aquarium, located on Sentosa Island, is one of my favorite spots in Singapore.
When we first visited four years ago – and we had more than two days in Singapore then, you could have a full experience at the Open Ocean tank, the largest tank in the aquarium.
So we were unpleasantly surprised to learn that nowadays,close encounters come with a fee. A rather steep one, too, at 25 SG$, considering that the entrance fee to the aquarium was 35 SG$
I do however understand the reasoning behind their decision – and to some extent, I welcome it. In the age of selfies, vloggers and shallow influencers, this entire observation space would have become outrageously crammed (probably what led to this decision);the all annoying space hogging preventing visitors from equally enjoying the amazing experience.
What amazing experience, you ask? The Open Ocean tank is huge: 36 meters in length, 8.3 meters in height, more than 18,000,000 liters capacity and 50,000 animals. I mean Huge.
While you will be able to see and admire the tank in full splendor from the otherwise cozy amphitheater area, your standard entrance ticket will only get you as close as 4 meters from the tank, then the area is cordoned off. You can buy the extra ticket on the spot.Of course, I paid the steep price. After all, the aquarium was one of the main reasons we had added two days in Singapore to our Malaysia itinerary.
OPEN OCEAN – Premium entrance fee
As it turns out, the premium entrance scheme proved to be so much better! Access also included a dolphin encounter, but what I absolutely loved was the full uninterrupted hour of solitude next to Open Ocean .
Sitting on the broad, comfortable windowsill watching the majestic manta rays, playful sting rays and abundance of fish swim by me was pure bliss.
I also didn’t have to worry about monopolizing the view, since the entire space was completely ours (we were 3 ppl). I could’ve stayed there the whole day long, honest to god. If you go to the SEA Aquarium, you should really consider paying the extra cost.
I’ve read reviews on TripAdvisor that said the Open Ocean tank is the only highlight to the SEA Aquarium. I respectfully disagree, but I suppose it comes down to each person’s own points of reference. Singapore’s SEA Aquarium tops my own experiences (San Diego, Barcelona, Pairi Daiza, Zaragoza).
Open Ocean is by far not the only highlight:
- SEA aquarium is one of the few places where you can see Leafy sea dragons.
- over 100 sharks, from silver-tip to sandbar to hammerhead sharks, swimming above your head in the aquarium tunnel
- colorfully lit Jellyfish tank
- crazy, entertaining octopus
There’s also an 8000-liter column aquarium with terrific corals. If everything else didn’t impress you, you’d have to be made of stone not be wowed by the coral aquarium.
After the aquarium visit, half of our group went on to Universal Studios next door; not being much of a fan of attraction parks, I chose to chill by the beach, beer in hand.
Sentosa Beach Time
Sentosa island has 2 lovely beaches you can enjoy, regardless of the weather (it often rains at these latitudes, short bursts or otherwise). This time around, we visited both
Siloso Beach is a nice wide sandy beach, where you have a good selection of bars and restaurants to lay back and relax, after some good walking.
Palawan beach is the more famous one though, as it connects Sentosa Island to the tiny Palawan island, where two multi-story wooden platforms mark the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia. The views here are priceless.
The Sky Bar Experience
After a quick summer rain on Sentosa, we headed (Grab, of course) to Spago Skybar at Marina Bay Sands. Our group of 9 was nicely accommodated on short notice (I had booked in advance for 2 people) , though we didn’t have the sprawling view of the city skyline framed by their iconic infinity pool which welcomed us the first time – it had been raining, so some of the tables were cleared.
Service was impeccable. Few years back I had ordered the Tainted Love Gin cocktail but forgot the name and mistook it with another cocktail, which I didn’t know contains egg white. The waiter made sure to flag this to me – I am in fact allergic to egg white – and at his recommendation, I ordered the newly added cocktail called Rough Love.
Rough Love mixes Champagne, Tanqueray No.10 gin, Japanese plum wine and raspberries, and comes served in a XL wine glass, with a big ice cube plopped for effect. Perfection called Rough Love – you’ve got to try it.
A nice touch: you’ll get water on the house and someone will always refill your glass, so you don’t get thirsty – or I’d add, tipsy. Believe me, on 30 Celsius and humidity/heat index real feel of 40C, you’ll need all the hydration you can handle.
The views are the obvious reason one goes to Spago. But their award winning cocktails will be the highlight.
On our way out, the waiter suggested that I bring my friends during weekdays, since Mon-Thu from 4 PM, they have great Sundowner cocktail promos (buy one get one)
Feel free to also add CÉ LA VI SkyBar or Level33 on your list of bars with a view.
Helix Bridge Panorama
Walking back to the hotel from the SuperTree Grove, we got to see a bit of Singapore by night.
As you cross the Helix bridge, stop by the waterfront and take it all in: the flashy red helix lights, the orchid shaped building of the Art Science Museum and the towering, boat shaped Marina Bay Sands building reflected in the waterfront.
Little India & Arab Street
After checking out of the hotel, my friends went for a shopping tour in Little India. I had suggested the location, but I’ll admit to ulterior motives: Little Damage. Little Damage’s tagline is, and I quote: Made for the ‘Gram!
This L.A. California business with an outlet opened in Singapore is true to their tagline – that’s how I came across this devilish treat myself , browsing Instagram.
Black waffle cones made with activated charcoal (why does everything these days have activated charcoal in it?!) topped with soft serve Unicorn Tears turquoise ice cream, for 7 SG$ . You can add more flavors but trust me, there will be just too much ice cream for you to eat.
The obvious success is 100% thanks to Insta-worthy snaps. The Insta-wall with neon lights does say ‘I licked it so it’s mine’ , but Little Damage ice-creams are made for sharing, that’s how big the servings are. Also, the hype is real – their ice-cream is so tasty, you won’t leave disappointed.
Founder Bah Kut Teh
If there’s one thing, and one thing only that you have to eat in Singapore, I urge you to try out this little food joint next to Hotel Boss, called Founder Bah Kut Teh. The star of the show is the spicy mushroom soup. To Die For!
As you can see, you’ll want to plan for more than two days in Singapore. But if you’re absolutely short on time and only have the 2 days, hope my must-see essentials help you out.
Have fun in the City of the Future!