My mom and I went to Singapore over the long weekend, and we crammed as many things to do in that one weekend, focusing on Instagram worthy spots in Singapore. Because we had been to Singapore years ago, we decided to deviate from the usual stuff like Sentosa Island (Universal Studios Singapore and iFly Indoor Skydiving) and see this small, advanced city from a different angle. Plus, my mom really enjoyed the movie Aladdin (2019), so it was a happy coincidence that the Broadway hit Aladdin the Musical was also showing at Marina Bay Sands Theater!
Our Philippine Airlines flight from Manila to Singapore was delayed by an hour due to a red Lightning alert, but that didn’t really derail our plan. We took the 9:50 AM flight from Manila and took the 2:30 PM flight home from Singapore, which is the ideal time to fly. The total duration of the flight including taxiing is about 3.5 hrs.
As soon as we got to Changi Airport, immigration and bag retrieval was pretty smooth and quick. Our airport limousine from Deutsche Bank brought us to S/O Sofitel in downtown core Singapore, but not before stopping by our first Instagram-worthy spot.
10 Instagram Worthy Places in Colorful Singapore
1. Peranakan Houses, Old Airport Road.
2. Old Hill Street Police Station, Clark Quay. Now called the “MCCY” Building.
3. Tan Teng Niah, Little India. (There are a lot of graffiti art scattered around Little India. You just need to walk around the blocks and pay attention.)
4. Haji Lane. (Known for its colorful shops and hipster stuff, this popular street has been around for a while.)
5. ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay. (The more popular section is called Future World, but when we went there, 60% of it was under construction so our ticket was discounted. We got a ticket bundle for SGD 30/person with Alice in Wonderland, which showcases the history of this beloved yet disturbing children’s story, as well as a tea party with 3D printed wares and table projection.)
6. View of Singapore Flyer and the Cityscape, Gardens by the Bay.
7. Super Tree Grove, Gardens by the Bay. (It also has a light show with music starting 8 PM.)
7. Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay. (Cloud Forest is known for the gigantic indoor waterfall, while Flower Dome is an air-conditioned conservatory that boasts dozens of flower species that change every month. The ticket to both conservatories is SGD 28/person for tourists and SGD 20/person for Singapore nationals.)
9. “Smoke and Mirrors” or “Aura”, National Gallery Singapore. (While you can probably get the same view for FREE by going up to the roof deck of the National Gallery Singapore, you can stop and enjoy the view over some cocktails at either “Smoke and Mirrors” or “Aura” bar on the same level.)
10. The Jewel, Changi Airport. (Home to the Water Vortex–an indoor waterfall that flows into a funnel across multiple levels–The Jewel is an annex of the Changi Airport in front of Terminal 2. It has a lot of shops and restos, as well as Early Check-in counters.)
Best Place to Stay in Singapore
Based on my Singapore Itinerary, staying in Downtown Core is ideal because it’s between Chinatown and Marina Bay Sands, and it’s close to all the things you want to do in Singapore over the weekend. SO/ Sofitel Singapore is a heritage building that got converted into a modern hotel by the Accor Hotels.
Situated along Robinson Road, SO/ Sofitel is perfectly located next to Telok Ayer Market, which comes alive at night. While Telok Ayer operates 24/7, the outdoor grilling and drinking doesn’t begin until the clock strikes 7 pm.
Must Try Food in Singapore
1. Grilled Satay, Telok Ayer Night Market. (Telok Ayer is probably one of the largest and best furnished food centres in downtown Singapore. The stalls are categorized by cuisine or specialty so there’s no redundancy. We had a Satay set for SGD 26, which included 10 sticks chicken satay, 10 sticks mutton satay and 6 sticks prawn satay. We also had a murtabak and a bee hoon goreng from another stall.)
2. Popiah, Rojak and Cockles, Maxwell Food Center. (Marked as one of the Michelin-star food halls in Singapore. We also had Fried Beehun Pad Thai for SGD 4 per plate good for 2 pax from a Thai-Singaporean fusion stall.)
3. Kaya Toast and Soft-Boiled Eggs. (This is a very common breakfast dish in Singapore. We got our Kaya set for SGD 4 in Telok Ayer Food Court. It includes soft-boiled egg and kopi.)
4. Bak Kut Teh Pork Rib and Spare Rib, Marina Bay Sands The Shoppes Food Court. (My mom always wanted to try this native dish. It’s very peppery. The ala cart goes for SGD 9.5/bowl.)
5. Badung. (Made of rose water and condensed milk, this drink can be found at any night market. It usually costs about SGD 2.)
Getting Around Singapore
Grab Car is actually the same price as taxis most of the time and can be cheaper if you take Grab Share. A 5- to 7-minute car ride from downtown to Marina Bay, Clark Quay or China Town can cost SGD 6 to 7 by Grab Car and SGD 4 to 5.5 by Grab Share. A ride from downtown core to Changi Airport is about SGD 18 by Grab Car and SGD 12 by Grab Share.
I’ve used the bus and train systems before and while you save an extra buck or two, it takes 3x longer to get to your destination because you’ll have to walk to the nearest station and wait for the bus or train to arrive, which also takes an indirect route and multiple stops.