After a good night of rest, we started our first full day in Singapore with breakfast at a famous local chain, Ya Kun Kaya Toast. There are many locations across Singapore. Fortunately for us, there was one right across the street in Raffle City on the ground floor. There are many restaurants on the ground floor here and there is a supermarket that opens until 10 p.m. This was our last stop before going back to the hotel when we still wanted to shop but everything else was closed…
We ordered a good variety of items to share (Steamed bread, kaya balls, kaya toast with butter and french toast with kaya set). The set comes with a soft boiled egg. You are suppose to eat the egg with soya sauce and pepper. It has an interesting taste but I personally did not enjoy it so much. My favourite was the kaya balls because they were bite size so the kaya did not feel as filling. I also ordered the milo drink which was pretty good. You can’t go wrong with milo in Singapore/Malaysia…This place is very busy but the turnover is quite fast. We came here at 9 a.m. and the place was packed already.
First stop of the day was Gardens by the Bay. This is one of the most iconic attractions of Singapore so it is a must-see.
The garden occupies 101 hectare of land so it is quite a bit of walking. In order to make a better use of our time, we purchased tickets for the Garden Cruiser Tram (costs $3 SGD) which takes you to all the major stops in the garden. This has to be purchased at the main entrance. There are designated tram stands along the garden where you can board. The tram runs in a loop.
When you come here you MUST pay the $5 to go on the Supertree Aerial Walkway. You get a fantastic view of the garden plus downtown Singapore from 22 metres above ground. You pay at the booth and take the elevator up. It is a short walk (approximately 10 min) but well worth the money because of the view.
They were also hosting the AIA Christmas Wonderland but this was only opened at night.
We also came back to the Gardens at night just to snap some pictures. The day and night experience are totally different. Highly recommend that you should do the same…Just look how pretty it is!
After being outside at 28 degrees in humid weather, it is nice to be inside where it is cool and away from the sun. There are two cooled conservatories inside the Garden, Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. Considering the time and cost ($28 SGD), I picked the Cloud Forest. We had purchased the tickets online so we bypassed the huge queue at the entrance. Highly recommended that you purchase your tickets for any of the attractions inside Gardens by the Bay online. There is no additional fees and can be purchased 30 days in advance. You will save yourself a great deal of time.
There are lots to see inside the Cloud Forest. It replicates a cool-moist climate found in high-elevation areas such as South America. Inside you will find a mountain, covered in a layer of luscious plants and complete with a 35-metre waterfall. There is a walkway at the top that also has a great view on the 5th floor. You should allocate at least 1.5 hour for this attraction.
Then we went to Marina Bay Sands for lunch. This mall is huge and probably one of the busiest locations in Singapore. The food court was located on the ground floor. It took us almost 30 minutes to walk there. You can imagine how big the place is. There are many luxury brands here so one can shop to their heart’s delight. After shopping, you can hit up the largest casino in Singapore. You need to show your passport here because only foreigners can enter for free. Locals have to pay a levy fee to go in as a means of the government to prevent gambling addictions (quite a brilliant idea I thought!).
I was starving by this point so I gobbled down my lunch and forgot to take pictures…whoops…We ordered some Singaporean dishes which were very delicious. The food court was packed so it took us some time to get a table and order our food. It was here that I learned my first lesson. When the locals says it is NOT spicy, it is actually HOT. I ordered a dish based on the person’s recommendation and my lips were burning within a few seconds of my first bite.
We walked around inside the mall but since I am not really into brand names, we only spent an hour here. Then we went outside to walk along the promenade and checked out the Helix Bridge. The view along the waterfront is beautiful! It took us an hour to make a loop.
We then took the taxi to Merlion Park which was across the Singapore River. This is where the infamous Merlion is located. If you did not come here, you have not been to Singapore! It is also a great spot for capturing the Marina Bay Sands building.
We had booked the Singapore Flyer for 6 p.m. online ( to secure our time slot and to get the 10% discount!) so we headed there right after. It was not too busy when we went because I guess most people would wait until it got dark so they could see the night view of the city on the Flyer. When we went, the sun was just setting but the view was still gorgeous. Furthermore, since it was not busy, we had the entire Flyer to ourselves! Normally, the one Flyer would hold 12 people and you would have to share with other people. Most people would recommend skipping this attraction because of the cost ($33 SGD per person) but I thought it was well worth the money. It takes 30 minutes to make one round. Make sure you arrive 15 minutes before your booking time.
After a long day of sightseeing, we went for dinner at No Sign Board on Gelylang Road. This is another famous restaurant chain in Singapore known for their crabs. My friends told me there are better and less expensive places to eat crabs in Singapore so do your research as I do agree that this place was over priced ($50-60 SGD per kg). I made reservations online on their website before we went. This restaurant is quite busy so I would recommend doing the same.
We sat in the covered area which was not air-conditioned. They do have a private room which has A/C but I did not find it too hot. They provide you with a bin to put your belongings which is a good idea as you do not want to get them dirty when you are eating the crabs! You also have to pay for water, peanuts and towelette which we were not informed about prior hand but was added to our bill.
When you go there, make sure you order the crab with salted egg. Also order a side of buns to dip the egg yolk. The buns were very yummy on their own as well. In addition to the crab, we also ordered some dishes to share. The shrimp was not very fresh and not worth the price. Therefore, you can probably pass on this. We also ordered deep fried pork chop, a veggie dish and a tofu dish. The tofu dish was very good but I cannot recall what it is called…It has meat paste on top of a large rectangle tofu.
After eating, we were going to go check out the Geylang Serai and Joo Chiat Complex which were highly recommended on Tripadvisor as good locations to buy inexpensive souvenirs. However, when we got there after dinner, most of the shops were already closed. There were still some stalls open which were selling traditional Muslim outfits and miscellaneous items but we did not find it too interesting. Disappointed, we headed back to our hotel.
Since we were back earlier than expected, we decided to explore the area near our hotel. We came across Chijmes which is a Gothic style Chapel converted to a complex for dining, shopping and function hall. It was not too busy when we came here at 9 p.m. since it was a week night. I found this complex to be quite interesting as it is a clash between the old and new; the chapel was built in 1904 so the exterior looks very medieval yet the ambiance inside is very lively with the bar scene, bright lights and pop music.
After this, my family headed back to the hotel and I joined my friend for a drink. I haven’t seen this friend in years and was very excited to see him. We didn’t end up meeting until 10:30 p.m. after he attended his friend’s wedding. He took me to the New Asia Bar located in the Swissotel, The Stamford. The bar is located on the 71st floor. The night view of the city was spectacular from here! The prices here were not cheap however. I ordered a cocktail and my drink was $25 SGD. They also charge you for water and the snacks. We chatted here until they closed which was already 1:30 a.m. Picture below is a little blurry which I didn’t realize when I took it after a few drinks…