Singapore – the land of Lion

2020 – Finally, us 90’s kids cannot call ourselves 90’s kids anymore. We decided to go all out and indulge this new year’s eve as it is definitely, the end of an era. That is why we chose to visit Singapore (and zillion other reasons, but for the blog’s sake lets say it was this reason) and splurge our savings in one of the most expensive countries in the world.

This is not my first time visiting Singapore, I had visited Singapore 4 years back on a work trip and thus I became the official “tour guide”. More like got bashed royally and had to research if people start showing early symptoms of amnesia at 29. Anyway jokes apart, my friends and I packed our bags (aka gigantic suitcases) and left to the “Land of the Lion” to celebrate the brand new decade.

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Day 0

My husband and I landed first around mid afternoon and like any normal soon to be 30 year olds, we decided to explore the city on our own till our friends arrived. But we ended up having a great lunch at a nearby hawker centre and took an evening nap. Talk about expectations vs reality. In the evening, we went to the ever famous Clarke Quay to listen to live music and sip on some Singapore slings and Tiger beers. Tipsy and happy, we returned to our hotel for much needed sleep.

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Day 1

Bright and not so early, we decided to get some food into our systems and visited the HP themed restaurant Platform 1094The ambience of the place was all things perfect but the menu was unimpressive. We grabbed coffee and hustled to our next location on the hitlist, the iconic Gardens by the Bay.

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After much debate, we decided on the mode of transport and settled to take Grab taxi as we were a company of 6. For shorter groups or for solo travelers, I recommend the famous MRT metro for commute to any place in Singapore.

If you are somebody who likes nature and anything green, this is your haven. We did not plan to spend the entire day inside the Gardens, but that is precisely what we did. We spent solid 8 hours inside the Gardens and believe me, there is so much to see and you will be pleasantly surprised. The Gardens is split into different attractions, you can read online in advance and book the tickets accordingly. First we headed to visit the coveted “Cloud forest“. The artificial clouds appear every other hour inside this giant dome of a forest. Inside the dome, flora from all over the world are planted in every direction possible. It is quite a sight to behold.

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After spending much time strolling through the Cloud forest and pretending that I understand different kinds of plant species, we quickly grabbed a snack and headed towards the “Flower dome“. In this particular section, the flowering plants are split geographically from where they originate and planted quite artfully. If not for the crowd, this would have been a really romantic place. Nonetheless it was pretty darn beautiful. The decor was very Christmas themed and colorful as we visited during the holidays.

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I would also recommend to visit the “Floral fantasy” section of the Gardens as well. We missed this out sadly, maybe next time as I somehow feel Singapore will invite me again 🙂

By then it was almost sunset so we decided to extend the visit and watch the light show at the Gardens. It was quite spectacular and a very peaceful experience, just sitting there in silence with friends and taking in the sparkles and twinkles.

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After a very long day, we decided to turn ourselves in as we had an exciting day planned and wanted to be our best selves, after all it was the 31st December of 2019, ending of a decade!

Day 2 – 31st of December, the New years Eve! The D-day!

What place is more suited than Universal Studios on the 31st December? Yes, as many of us are turning 30 in 2020, we figured it was only fair to end the year being the children that we were (some zillion years ago).

We took the cable car from Harbour front to Sentosa and the ride was pure fun but very short. There are of course multiple means of transport to reach Sentosa and the Studios like Boardwalk, Sky train, buses, cabs.

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Upon reaching the Studios, like any other tourist we spent solid time trying to get that perfect picture with the Globe. After an embarrassing amount of photos, we finally entered the Studios around afternoon. We started with the Transformers ride and all of us loved it. Did you know they take pictures of you while you are on the ride? When we came out, we saw those pictures and much to my husband’s annoyance I was laughing on those pictures while he was screaming his backside off.

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There is something for everybody at the Studios, if you are an adrenaline junkie then the roller coasters, if you are a Studio junkie, then the Jurassic Park, if you like animated movies then the Shrek castle. I think I went on all the roller coaster rides (pat on the back because nobody cares) and was quite pleased with myself by the evening.

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FYI – My husband made friends there too! These extroverts, I say!

After making sure we went on (almost) every ride, we hurried back to the city to catch the new year’s eve fireworks. We did not get the perfect view point till around 11.55pm, no kidding. We pushed through crowds and literally jostled our way and reached at the foot of the National Gallery museum. It was a pretty good vantage point and the drone show and the fireworks were breathtaking.

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After watching the fireworks, we went to Clarke Quay to get some food and refreshments (wink wink). We visited The Prive, one of my favourite resto bars in Clarke Quay and reminisced about my prior visit.

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Day 3

Next day, we decided to (more like forced to) keep it light to recuperate from the previous night shenanigans. We visited one of the most busiest hawker centers in the Financial Centre, the famous Lau Pa Sat to get some local food. You can easily get lost at this place as there are n number of stalls in all different cuisines available on planet earth.

After relishing on some amazing fried rice, I made my friends try the infamous “Durian kachang” much to their horror and captured the reactions in a video. If you ever wish to prank your friend this is the best thing to do. It is one of the most disgusting things I have ever eaten and they grudging agreed it is theirs too!

Post lunch we headed to the Haji lane for some coffee and shopping. It is one of the most instagrammable streets in Singapore and we went just before the crowd set in and managed to get some awesome shots. This lane is quite famous for its quirky bars and Turkish food, so try it out in the evenings as well as the place will be well lit and lively and is definitely a strong contender to Clarke Quay.

If you wish to indulge in something super corny, there is cute little cafe buried in this lane which lets to buy coffees with your selfies on it. Super corny, isnt it? But yes, we did it.

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Next on the agenda for the day and the last was the Night safari. It was not an easy choice, we wanted to do either the River safari or the Night safari. On my previous visit, I had done both so I was leaning more towards the latter. It was much more organised and less waiting time than 4 years back, so kudos to that. It is really a fun experience, seeing all the wild animals at its natural habitat in the night. You can also ditch the traditional tram ride and walk the trails and see the animals up close if you wish.

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Day 4

The penultimate day was all about hustling to places we wanted to see. No visit to Singapore is complete without visiting Little India. One can almost get anything from Mustafa and I got lost in there as well. If you want to buy gifts for folks back home, this is the place but buy at your own risk. I have had both good and bad experiences.

After indulging in some Pongal and filter coffee from Murugan Idli, we headed out to the Tan Teng Niah house said to have built in the 1900s. It is famous for its traditional elongated windows and vibrant colour palette. 

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From there, we headed to the casino at the Marina Bay Sands. I know we went on a Thursday afternoon, but believe me it was still pretty full. The boys went off to gamble and we girls scouted the place for interesting games sipping in free milo and minute maid (much to my amusement). We found a sick “board and dice” game called “Sic Bo”. The guys, who till then were losing money won back whatever we invested at this game. It is a pretty fun game so do check it out.

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We headed out of the casino just in time to watch the water and light show. It happens every hour after 7pm for 15 minutes. It was just pure brilliance, lights being projected on to water fountains and the reflections was just wow. I mean who thinks of such beautiful things? There should be a Nobel price or Oscar for these kind of creations, right?

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We were pretty famished by then and decided to go engorge in some Singaporean chilly crabs. My husband’s main motivation to visit Singapore and must do in his list was tasting this dish. He didn’t use any of those cutlery in the picture to eat the crab and went full on Indian style on it. We went to Jumbo Seafood, Riverwalk, whilst it is definitely on the pricier side it was definitely worth it.

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We were about to call it a day, but it was our last night in Singapore and we didn’t want to say goodbye to this city yet. We decided to have one last cheers from none other than Ce La Vi, the pub at the 57th floor of the Marina bay sands just above the Observatory deck. One amazing tip is to visit post 10pm, the entrance fee is absolutely free. You can definitely visit at other timings preferably during sunset to catch the brilliant horizons however there is an entrance fee of SGD 20, which is still not that expensive. Either way, the view from up there is pure magic.

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Day 5

Our flight was in the evening the next day, so we decided to tick off some more touristy places. First up, we went to this resto bar called Atlas BarBelieve me, it is one of the classiest restaurants I have ever been to! It was so regal and was set up like a library, for drinks! It even had those floating ladders and high chairs! Since it was too early in the day, we settled for coffee and snacks. Don’t be discouraged by the royal look, the food was quite inexpensive.

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We then headed to the Tooth relic temple in Chinatown. Since I am a sucker for Chinese lanterns, I really loved this place. It was very peaceful and had a very serene rooftop garden where you can simply meditate and clear your mind.

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After a jam packed week, full of hustling and bustling it was finally time to say goodbye to one of the places I absolutely adore. Singapore has always been kind to me and will always be a country I would love to visit again! With that note, hopeful to see you again sometime soon, Singapore!

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