Traveling on the Tourists Path: Two Days in Singapore and Universal Studios Singapore
Fun fact: I have a bit of history with Singapore despite never being there before this trip. When I worked at Influence, I worked on a year-long campaign with the Singapore Tourism Board and Thomas Cook Media and Partnerships. So, despite convincing others to go visit Singapore I, myself had never been. I finally was able to visit a place I wrote so much about a few years ago and loved every moment of it.
Ya Girl Went On Holiday Which Meant All The Calories
Despite what many think, my life is not a permanent holiday. There is a difference between long-term traveling like Sean and I do and holidays. Which is why when we go on short weekend trips we treat it like a holiday. This allows us to switch off from work, justify spending a bit more money on food, experiences and just to have fun. I will admit, we get to go on holidays a bit more than the average person but when you are so close to so many incredible destinations you gotta embrace it! Plus being your own boss has gotta have its perks for all the long weeks and hours.
One of my favorite parts of being on holiday is, of course, the ability to indulge a bit. Long-term traveling means we stick to a budget but when on holiday we kinda just go for it. Though, I am such a prude when it comes to spending money whereas Sean is better about it. Together we balance each other out! Which is why Singapore though, not budget-friendly is an affordable place to go on the well-traveled path.
Singapore: The Ultimate Tourist Destination
Sometimes we like to explore and go off in search of the less touristy destinations. Some holidays that is what we want. In Singapore, I embraced being a tourist. It might be small but Singapore offers something for everyone of all ages. I’m not gonna go on about all the cool things you can do (I did that enough in the year-long campaign). Instead, I’m just gonna share with you what we did in our three days there.
Gardens By The Bay
This has been a place that I wanted to visit for so long, since well before I even worked with the Tourism Board. It is well worth the price to go into the Cloud Conservatory and the Flower Dome. You can walk around the iconic Supertree Grove for free but if you can afford it, spend the $15 bucks to do it.
It was unlike anything I have ever experienced and was so beautiful. The architecture is also amazing and the fact that you are in these glass domes with views outside to some of the most iconic parts of Singapore is just incredible. Pack a sweater though cause despite the heat inside, the domes can be pretty cold to keep the plants alive!
Make sure to plan to go to one of the free light shows that take places every night at 7:45 or 8:45 PM. It lasts ten minutes and is magical. Get there 10-15 minutes early and find a place to sit down. I saw some people bring blankets and picnics. Others sat on newspaper but we just laid down on one of the Supertrees and was fine. Here is a little peek at what you can expect at the light show!
When I first found out there was a Universal Studios in Singapore, I knew I wanted to go. The budgeter in me though was like, no we can’t afford it. Though more expensive than the normal tourist outing, it was cheaper than the states. We were able to get a discount from a website and go out tickets for about $50 each which wasn’t bad!
So to ensure that we actually went, we bought our tickets online ahead of time. I knew myself well enough to know that if we bought them the day of, I’d have found a reason to not go and spend the money. I AM SO GLAD I KNEW THIS AND BOUGHT TICKETS AHEAD OF TIME. Not only was it the first amusement park that Sean and I went to together but I had so much fun. I loved Universal growing up so it was fun showing Sean a few things that I loved from the park all the way in Singapore.
Universal Blast From The Past
It was full of deja vu moments, new experiences (and rides) and a whole lot of sweat! My feet still are aching, my cheeks still a lil burned and my voice a little hoarse from screaming and laughing as we accelerated through loops and twists of the Cylon rollercoaster. It was a day that I’ll remember for a long time and I’m glad we decided to go on the path regularly traveled. Was worth every penny and I’m glad we decided to splurge and have a fun day being tourists.
Also, the food inside the park is SO affordable. That is the one nice things about parks overseas is often the food is much cheaper. So we indulged in corn dogs, coke slushies and soft-serve ice-cream without breaking the bank making an already perfect day that much sweeter!
You can technically take public transport via a Cable Car but take a grab. It is quicker and more affordable in the long run! PS we went to the light show at the Gardens after a day at universal and it was a great way to end a long but fun day.
Where We Stayed
Guys, I had my first collab with a hotel and I was lucky to work with Ibis Styles and got to stay with them at the hotel on Macpherson. The bed was comfortable, the room clean and pool delightful. You can read all about this affordable hotel here.
Ironically this time around, food wasn’t the star of our holiday. When we were in Penang, we found ourselves eating every few hours. Singapore is similar in the types of food served but we found ourselves going more to restaurants than hawker stalls. As such we didn’t eat some of the world-famous Hawker centers but we did try one of Singapore’s most famous dishes, The Singapore Crab with chili and let me tell you. It was delicious. We went to Mama Kongs. It was not cheap but for a massive crab, two sides and two beers we spent $60 which is nothing compared to what we’d spend on just a normal night out in London.
Be prepared to get messy unless you are one of those that can break crab fairly easily. I myself am not, and actually had a moment where my crab leg went flying much the amusement of everyone in the restaurant. LOL oh well, the crab was good but the sauce was YUM. We also ate some amazing Indian food nearby our hotel and made sure to get to the airport early to head to the Staff Canteen.
SINGAPORE FOOD SECRET
Yes, you read that right. The staff canteen at the airport is open to the public and GO. It is a bit hard to find and not talked about but Sean found it and we went. Here is what you got to do. Head to Terminal One and go to Row 13 of ticket counters. You’ll see a sign that says Staff Canteen B1. You’ll take a service elevator down to B1 and when the doors open you are rewarded with a mini hawker center and cheap prices. If you can, don’t go during lunch rush but it’s not a big deal if do just look for a table first before finding food.
This place is so good that locals will come here to just eat and Anthony Bourdain said it is the best place to eat at an Airport. You will need cash and an empty stomach. We got some Indian Curry, bread, avocado smoothie and another Singaporean dish called fried carrot cake for the low cost of $10. YES, TEN DOLLARS ON FOOD AT AN AIRPORT. Which leads me to the next section of this blog post and last one… The airport.
In A Relationship With Changi Airport. Sorry Sean
I have been traveling since I was 3 weeks old. I have never in the 27 years of my life ever purposely got to an airport 5 hours ahead of when I needed to be. Yet, that is exactly what Sean and I did on our last day in Singapore. I have been hearing how spectacular the Changi Airport is, that I needed to experience it in person. It was worth it. From starting out at the Staff Canteen to the quickest immigration of my life (it was all automated) there wasn’t a shortage of things to do. Each terminal has 1-2 gardens with different themes. We went to the butterfly garden (magical), lily water gardens and the cactus garden. We also got free foot massages from a machine, enjoyed some Dunkin Donuts and the entertainment lounge.
The airport is well connected between terminals so make sure to visit the gardens. I wanted to make it to the Orchid garden but the call of a donut was strong so couldn’t’ make it this time. There are plenty of chairs and plugs around including a few hotels, a movie theatre, a four-story slide and more. Honestly, Changi didn’t let me down. I love it and if I ever get a chance to fly through there again I will. I didn’t have enough time to try everything that I wanted to and that was just of the free stuff! They also offer legit spa services for a fee and the shopping, of course, is incredible. If you like that fancy designer stuff 😛
I Miss You Singapore
I adored my mini holiday to Singapore and honestly can recommend it to almost anyone. We also walked around Chinatown which was pretty but it was hot so we found ourselves heading back to the Ibis Styles pool to cool down.
Marina Bay Sands is also iconic and worth a visit. Getting around was easy with public transportation being easy to navigate and affordable too. Honestly, I like Bali but jungle life can be a bit hard and I miss the easiness of a big city like access to Grab and public transport. So it was a nice break to just be a tourist for a few days.
Singapore was also super fat-friendly and it’s a lot of walking but there are plenty of great cafes to rest and drink up. Including Coffee Bean where this LA girl was able to get an original Iced Mocha and all was well in the world. So basically if you ever get a chance to go to Singapore even for a day, DO IT. You won’t regret it.