I Wish I’d Had a Singapore Neighborhood Guide Like This One…

Hi guys! Before I tell you more about Singapore, again I’m going to share a couple things I’ve been up to elsewhere on the internet. First off I did an interview on Johnny Jet called “Travel Style” where I was asked fun questions like where are the meanest immigration officers? and what was my most embarrassing travel moment? Also, BackpackME put together a collaborative post with loads of travel bloggers from all over the world called “Around the World in 80 Dishes” where I was asked to share a Ugandan dish. I told them all about my favorite “g nut sauce” that we smothered on everything!

Now back to a Singapore neighborhood guide that’s severely lacking on the internet! 

Tiny Singapore is divided into many neighborhoods that encompass the diverse people of the country. In such a small place you have Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and more getting along peacefully.

The varied cultures make this an ideal destination for travelers because it allows you to see more of the world, while staying in one place. Kind of like “Beers of the World” at Disney Land, but better ;)

Singapore Neighborhood Guide

I’ve put together a Singapore neighborhood guide to help you get around. Everything is really close and easily accessible using the MRT (train), although walking might be a bit of a mission.

Little India

singapore guide neighborhoods little indiathis is not anything like India, and is definitely not dirty although on Singaporean standards it is

Stepping out of the cab into Little India was pretty funny for u.. I’d read that it’s “dirty” and “like the old Singapore” but compared to “Real India”, it was clean and crisp! They sold Indian clothing, gold, electronics, bindis, and Indian sweets/food along the roads… at much higher prices that India. I feel a little bad saying it, but most of what I saw here was junk.

singapore guide neighborhoodswe didn’t quite understand this restaurant… jungle themed but they are Native American, no!? 

singapore guide neighborhoods

singapore guide neighborhoodsI love the puja flowers, and the sticks of clothing hanging out the windows

singapore guide neighborhoods

The gems were priced literally more than 10 times what they cost in India. I was quoted 200 SD for a very small moonstone pendant that should have cost maybe 20 SD, Maybe less. She brought the price down to 50, which was still too high.

Eyebrow threading was about 15 SD whereas in India it cost me 20 rupees (about 30 cents) last time.  The guidebooks say Little India is the cheapest, but actually you can get threading done for 12 SD at the big shopping malls so don’t assume Little India will have best prices on everything. If you do get threading be sure to ask for tea tree oil after! There were signs for massage, reflexology, and Ayurveda treatments at higher than average prices, especially for an Indian market. Singapore is so far the most expensive place I have traveled.

singapore guide neighborhoods

singapore guide neighborhoodsproper Indian snacks

Little India is said to be the cheapest area to sleep. This is THE place for backpackers from bars to food. For backpackers on a budget in Singapore, the prices are still going to be a little out of reach. If you’re only passing through give yourself about 30-60 minutes here to wander around and shop.

Bugis

singapore guide neighborhoods

singapore guide neighborhoods

singapore guide neighborhoodsyear of the horse

 The next stop for that day was Bugis. Luckily Dom, Ben’s University friend, has lived in Singapore for 3 years and was the perfect tour guide. It helped that his girlfriend is Singaporean! Although small (like everywhere in Singapore), I liked Bugis more than Little India and China Town.

Be sure to try some juice here! I explain how strange Bah Long Long is in my foodie post on Singapore.

Singapore Food We got a couple snacks here. Peanut balls and a spring roll. The peanut ball had a  yummy exterior and middle, but the layer in between was very strange. The spring rolls were the freshest I have ever had!

Singapore FoodHere is where you will find the “greatest electronic mall of all time”: Sim Lim Square. I actually thought it was a lot of scams.

singapore neighborhood guideinstead of fancy electronics, I was content with this ice cream wafer sandwich (I could have had it between two slices of colorful bread too!)

China Town

singapore neighborhood guideThe boys were worn out from touring around with me, so they sat at one of the street bars to down some Tiger beer, while I wandering through China Town. I have to say I was mildly disappointed. Maybe I’m just over shopping in tourist places, but it is really overpriced junk. T-shirts, plastic crap, Chinese slippers and robes made from bad material but priced as if it were real silk. There was such a variety of chopsticks I was almost tempting to buy some.

Shopping Singapore

china town singapore neighborhood guide

Two things I did want to buy, but never got around to it:

  1. The waving cat. Too cute! And I don’t even like cats. 3-10 SD.
  2. My name or Ben’s written in Chinese. I know it’s something you do at amusement parks… but it looks so beautiful when illustrated. 20 SD.

singapore guide neighborhoods

singapore guide neighborhoods

singapore guide neighborhoodscrappy watches and “perfume” trinkets… drunk Ben and Dom bought 40 dollars worth of watches and wore them the rest of the day.

Arab Street

singapore guide neighborhoods arab street

As you can imagine from the previous places, this is all Arab! The street is lined with delicious food and people smoking hookah. I’m partial to Persian food, but we saw Moroccan, Turkish, and many other countries represented. There are bars here with live music. We spent one evening here for dinner and drinks. Check out the huge Sultan Mosque- it’s beautiful at night.

Orchard Road

Shopping Singapore

As for Shopping you have the famous Orchard road with 20-plus malls and Vivo city, which is on the way to Sentosa. Because shopping is one of my favorite ways to burn money, and Massy, my friend and local fashion designer told me the ins and outs, I’ve written up a separate post dedicated to shopping in Singapore.

Clarke Quay & Robertson Quay

singapore guide neighborhoods

Singapore Nightlife Backpacking Budget Near each other, these both have bars and restaurants along the river. There are loads of expats here, delicious brunch, and great spots to watch soccer games or people watch. More on what we got up to here in my post about Singapore’s food.

Marina Bay & the Financial District

singapore nightlifephoto credit: flickr

singapore nightlife

singapore nightlifephoto credit: flickr. I took some but none turned out well :(

This is talked about in more detail over here on my post about Singapore’s abundant nightlife, but you can go to the Marina Bay Mall during the day and see the Gardens by the Bay. We chose to go at night so we could see it all lit up after the laser show! This is one of the most memorable times I had in Singapore when we went to The Lantern in The Fullerton Bay Hotel for drinks and to see the show, then after went to Ku-deta, the most well-known bar in Singapore on top of the most well-known building.

Sentosa Island

singapore neighborhood guide sentosa Sentosa Sinagpore

We took a cab from Dom’s place to Vivo City Mall, were we caught the Sentosa Train out to the beach for 4 dollars. There are 2 stops on the way, the first being Universal Studios. At the last stop called Beach Station you will get off if you want the beach, pretty self-explanatory. We only spent an hour at Sentosa. We live on a beach, so I didn’t want to waste the small amount of time I had in Singapore getting a tan. It’s completely man-made and seems a lot like an amusement park. Prices are much higher than in town- and that’s saying something.

singapore guide neighborhoods singapore guide neighborhoods

There are loads of activities to do at Sentosa:

Skyline Luge, starting at 8 dollars looked fun but a little to slow for us. WaveHouse looked very cool and Ben was all set to try his hand until he was informed he couldn’t without a passport.

singapore guide neighborhoods wavehouse

singapore neighborhood guide

 TIP: Take your ID with you!

 Other options include trapeze, rock walls, and resorts that offer spa services.

singapore guide neighborhoods

singapore guide neighborhoods

singapore guide neighborhoods

You can stay the night there at one of the resorts and the beachside restaurants have many intercontinental options. Sentosa was not my favorite place; I found it strange how artificial it seemed. There were trolleys taking people around like at Cedar Point between the two beaches: Siloso and Palawan. I think if I lived in Singapore I’d go on the weekends because it’s a nice break from city life, but as a tourist with limited time, I do see it as a little bit of a tourist trap. If you have the money go there and drink all day and the time to chill out by the sea, then you should definitely go. If you are a backpacker with limited time and budget, this might be something to skip.

 

Did you enjoy this post? Let me know in the comments or by sharing it with the social media links! I’d love to keep giving you travel tricks & tips so feel free to subscribe by e-mail in the big purple box below. Don’t forget you can follow me on facebook, twitter, instagram & bloglovin‘.

Opt In Image
Join 24,000 other readers
(Choose HTML for better results)
10 Comments
  1. 6 months ago
    J in Beijing

    Great idea for a guide Rachel. I always like to read about the different neighbourhoods a city has to offer before I head out there- so I’ll definitely refer back here if I get to Singapore at some point. I love that Singaporeans think Little India is the grubby end of town, when it actually seems clean to you by comparison! I guess all their anti littering, gum, spitting etc laws pay off!
    J in Beijing recently posted…Packing for Burma

    Reply
    • 6 months ago
      Rachel Jones

      Yes, it’s so funny that they think it’s dirty! I mean if I dropped a really good chip on the ground there… I might pick it up and eat it. I might. I mean it looks like the scrub the streets.

      Reply
  2. 6 months ago
    Emily

    I had no idea Singapore had such a variety of neighbourhoods. I like this guide as it gives a realistic heads up of what to expect as far as costs are concerned!
    Emily recently posted…Our Time Out

    Reply
    • 6 months ago
      Rachel Jones

      & the costs are big! The only negative about Singapore.

      Reply
  3. 6 months ago
    Catherine

    This is a great guide. Love the way that the city is split up into different areas representing other countries; a great way to experience different cultures without having to go very far at all :)
    Catherine recently posted…Exploring My Neighbourhood

    Reply
  4. 6 months ago
    Jade Atkins

    We recently travelled around India, and afterwards went to Singapore. Luckily it was my boyfriend’s birthday whilst we were away so his parents paid for our hotel! We could not believe how clean it was!! And found it hilarious that little india was the only area with any mess! Singapore is the only city I’ve been to and thought that I could live in, we loved it!

    Reply
    • 6 months ago
      Rachel Jones

      Lodging is always the most expensive so you got very lucky! I loved Singapore too. It was a great break from India most definitely.

      Reply
  5. 5 months ago
    Glamourous Traveller

    Cute outfit ;)

    As an added bonus, you could go and check out East Coast Park which is located on the way to the airport. It’s an extremely local park stretching about 10 km and right by the sea. You can rent bikes, walk or jog the pathway, have a picnic, or visit the numerous restaurants along the way (including an awesome East Coast Park hawker center). It’s deff cheaper than visiting Sentosa (and they have a special wakeboarding pond as well)
    Glamourous Traveller recently posted…Worried about being touched? Some different massages from around the world

    Reply
    • 5 months ago
      Rachel Jones

      I would love to rent a bike in Singapore! Great idea.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge