This was my first foray into Asia and I’m officially obsessed. It’s tropical all-year round, the cleanest city I’ve ever visited, and the public greenery throughout the city is astonishing. Did I mention it’s home to four of the top 50 bars in the world? None of these recommendations are sponsored -- just little gems I've discovered during my travels.
Food & Beverages
Manhattan | The #3 bar in the world for a reason. They have someone behind the bar dedicated to hand shaving and stamping ice cubes on demand. The level of service and attention to detail is remarkable here.
Atlas Bar | The Great Gatsby on steroids. Don’t make the mistake of wearing flip flops, as they do have a strict dress code at night. We returned mid-day and got seated right away in front of their multi-story bar. One of the trip’s highlights. #8 bar in the world.
28 Hongkong Street | Speakeasy that’s well worth the search. Highly recommend sitting at the bar to watch the action. Plus, the burger was delicious.
NATIVE | Yet another adult beverage place we wanted to try but ran out of time (they’re also closed on Sundays). Inventive cocktails served with locally foraged ingredients. #13 bar in the world.
Operation Dagger | Another speakeasy that we unfortunately didn’t make it to (they’re closed on Sundays), but this will be my first stop when I return. The most nondescript door (we circled the block twice to confirm we were actually at the right spot), but it looks magical inside. # 23 bar in the world.
Note: Based on the 2018 World’s Best Bar rankings.
Neon Pigeon | We promptly sat down and the waiter poured sake straight from the bottle into our mouths. We knew we were in good hands. Shareable plates, everything we ate was delicious.
Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice Noodle | At $3.50 USD per plate, this is the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world. The soya chicken was incredibly moist (I detest that word with every fiber of my being, but it’s an accurate descriptor…). Best for a quick lunch (the atmosphere is nothing special).
Hawker Food Stalls | Our one big regret was not having a big food stall feast a la Crazy Rich Asians. Maxwell Food Center & Newton Food Centre came highly recommended.
Singapore Botanic Gardens | Even on a rainy day, this sprawling landscape was stunning to walk around. Entry was free, and it’s the first and only tropical botanic garden on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Plus, it was close enough for us to walk to Manhattan afterwards for a cocktail.
National Orchid Garden | Located within the Singapore Botanic Gardens, this exhibit steals the show. The best $5 I spent (and it’s only $1 for students and people over 60!).
Gardens by the Bay | A 250 acre nature park of reclaimed land in the center of the city. Both conservatories were worth visiting, but I highly recommend the Cloud Forest (pictured to the left) — the wait wasn’t too long and the cascading floral mountain was truly stunning. Plus, the outdoor trees light up at night and there’s a light show played to music.
Marina Bay Sands | This iconic hotel you probably recognize from skyline photos (first photo on the left) has the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool (open only to hotel guests), a casino, and ginormous shopping malls. It was fun to stroll through on our way home from Gardens by the Bay, but not worth a dedicated visit in our opinion.
helpful tips / Fun Facts
Taxis are the fastest and most convenient way to travel from Changi airport. Cabs should run you approx. $20-$35 dollars and takes 25 minutes to downtown.
There is an underground Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway system for getting around town, but we opted to walk most places.
Currency is the Singapore Dollar and most people accept credit cards.
This is a VERY hot and humid city. Bring comfortable walking shoes!
Singapore has increased its land mass by 22% since independence in 1965 through reclamation.
There’s a ban on gum chewing (unless for medical reasons), and you’ll be fined $500 for feeding pigeons.