May 06, 2012

Singapore Guide by Mark and Millie



Travel date: January 6-8, 2012
Airline used: Singapore Airlines from Philippines
Budget for Singapore: around P40,000 each or P80,000 for both of us. (airfare, accommodation, food, shopping, transpo)

Whether you have a few hours to kill between flights or several days worth of exploration, Singapore’s spiffy transport system and the city’s compact nature allows every traveller to capture the best of Singapore and the wild areas on its fringes.

GETTING THERE AND AWAY:
Singapore is Asia’s transport hub, with flights up to 5 times daily from Manila. Jetstar Asia offers cheap and reliable flights. But if you’re feeling nationalistic, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines also fly at very decent prices. If you’ve got the Krisflyer Card, it may be worth shelling out the extra dollars for a Singapore Airlines flight. Be warned, prices double  across all airlines during peak season.



WHERE TO STAY:

Budget
> Perak Hotel
A cute little boutique hotel 5mins from Bugis and walking distance from everything. Set in an refurbished colonial building, it has all the creature comforts you could ask for.
Perak Lodge Hospitality Pte Ltd
12 Perak Road
Singapore 208133
Telephone: +65 6299-7733
Fax: +65 6392-0919




Mid-Range
>New Majestic Hotel
Awesome arthouse boutique hotel with individualized decor and style in spades. In the heart of Chinatown, this place will give you a good mix of authentic history and modern style. New Majestic Hotel:
http://www.newmajestichotel.com
31-37 Bukit Pasoh, Singapore
MRT: Outram Park
+65 6579 2026
reservation@newmajestichotel.com

>The Scarlet
The hotel that started the boutique wave sweeping the city-state. The decor is muted, yet luxurious and extremely friendly staff. (The concierge is Filipina!) Watch out, the cheaper rooms only have windows, not skylights; so shell out some extra cash for a window! 

The Scarlet:
http://www.thescarlethotel.com
33 Erskine Road Singapore
MRT: Tanjong Pagar
+65 6511 3333
reservations@thescarlethotel.com



Blow the Bank
>Marina Bay Sands
This is a no-brainer - it’s Singapore’s newest hotel and it is a behemoth. Service is impeccable, but the accommodation price doesn’t gain you entrance to Ku De Ta Bar or the Skylounge, so don’t be offended if the door bitch asks you for a cover charge.
Marina Bay Sands:
http://www.marinabaysands.com
10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore
MRT: Marina Bay
+65 6688 8897
room.reservations@marinabaysands.com

>Ritz-Carlton Millenia
Set in a private garden, the staff offer amazing, personalized service, live stringquartets and a kick-arse buffet. Choose rooms with ocean or city views, especially from the huge octagonal window in the bathroom, voted the sexiest in Asia, with good reason.
Ritz-Carlton Millenia:
http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Singapore
7 Raffles Ave Singapore
MRT: Promenade/Esplanade
+65 6337-8888
sinrz.leads@ritzcarlton.com


GETTING AROUND:

Taxis
Cheap and plentiful, mind the blaring Canto-pop and icy air-conditioning. The drivers are all polite and helpful, but for short distances, walking is better option. But if you’re caught in a thunderstorm at 5-7pm, flagging one down becomes an art form - everyone will want one.
SMRT
Singapore’s MRT is a model for efficient and widespread mass transport and a wonder and attraction in itself. MRT stations are sprinkled throughout the city with key interchanges at Dhoby Ghout and City Hall. If it’s a short walk - skip changing lines and walk it.

BUS
Singapore’s bus system is just as good as the MRT, but check the internet or ask your concierge. At around SGD1.50, you’ll never have to wait more than a few minutes for a bus. If you have a Singapore Airlines or Silk Air boarding pass, you can take the SIA Hop-On Bus to key attractions for unlimited loops for $3 per day. If not, CityBuzz, a tourist bus also does loops of key attractions. It’s $5 per day.


ITINERARY

DAY ONE

1. Take the SMRT to Bras Basah Station (Yellow Line) and saunter in Singapore’s latest temple of art, SAM at 8Q. Recently renovated, Singapore’s Art Museum serves as the hub of South East Asian art. Afterwards, grab lunch at the funky Standing Sushi bar outside.

2. Two blocks away and one pint of sweat later, arrive in style at the landmark Raffles Hotel and head upstairs to the Long Bar, the birthplace of the Singapore Sling. Mind the nut shells on the floor and grab Singapore’s eponymous potent cocktail or two.

3. As the tropical sun begins to fade, take a taxi down to Orchard Rd, starting at ION Orchard, Singapore’s latest temple to consumerism. With no windows, no clocks and a slew of designer labels and boutiques, make sure to time yourself, or you may never leave. Check out the region’s flagship for Topman/Topshop, Burberry and Uniqlo. If you’re feeling pekish, the basement has a swath of cheap and cheerful Japanese delights like Mitarashi Dango and pastel colored rice cakes.

4. Walk south down Orchard Rd at sunset to take in the cacophany of lights, sounds, musicians and the multiethnic crowd. Drop into the Takeshimaya Shopping Centre for the best in Japanese quality stationery and cutlery and head upstairs to the massive Kinokuniya for the latest regional fashion mags, travel books and endless anime.

5. Afterwards, drop by the newly opened H&M flagship to lighten your wallet’s burdensome load and stock up on Scandanavian threads. If you’re still not puffed out, head to the Esplanade Hawker Markets. Ditch the restaurants and get your hands on as many local delicacies you can hold onto. Make sure to try the spicy Stingray with sambal sauce.
6. As sun sets, get cleaned up and head to the Marina Bay Sands for a spectacular view of Singapore’s skyline at the top. If you’re feeling lucky, head to the casinos; but if you’re up for night out, head to Zirca or Zouk; both near Clark Quay. Wednesdays are just as pumping as Fridays and Saturdays. Sundays are a little too…‘happy’ for most.

DAY TWO

1. Don’t have hangover? Head over to Sentosa Island for Universal Studios. Show your embarkation card and passport for a free Universal Studios Coach ride from Orchard Rd If you weren’t sucked into Hollywood Vibe and haven’t burned all your money at Sephora and H&M; have a go at some of the other attractions - iFly’s wind tunnel or one of the beaches. Don’t let the name fool you ‘Palawan Beach’ can’t compare to the real thing, but it will pass if you’re craving some seawater. Just like Orchard Rd, make sure you keep an eye on your watch, stomach and credit card or you might just not leave the island!

2. Once you’re back in the city, ditch the glitz and take the SMRT to Little India - one of the most colorful parts of the city for the spice shops, Zhujiao Centre’s market and the glamarous Temple of 1000 lights. The sights and smells will take you away from the pristine modern beauty of Clark Quay and all the way into the heart of India. Next, get your wallet out and your groove on at Arab St just a station or two away. Filled with fine silk and old shophouses selling fabric, pick some material for a new dress. If you feel like you’re in a time warp; head into Haji Lane for the quirky shops and cafes in done-up, glammed-out old buildings.

3. When you’re done, imbibe at Bar Stories nearby in Bugis and if you’ve still got room in your luggage, head to the famous Bugis markets for Koreana and Japanese fashion at discount prices, with some real quality pieces to be found.

DAY THREE

1. If it’s Sunday, make sure to have Brunch at one of the hotels. If you want that photo in front of the Merlion that everyone has to have; the Fullerton is an obvious choice.

2. If that pic’s not for you, head straight to Chinatown for brunch at PS Cafe on Ann Siang. Having sampled Singapore’s contemporary side; immerse yourself in history by taking the trishaw tour of Chinatown, taking you to calligraphy galleries, tea houses and restaurants. Brunch or not, you must gorge yourself on the yummies at Maxwell Rd Hawker Centre for lunch, when the place is heaving with people. Line up like everyone else at Tian Tian chicken rice stall for one of Singapore’s most iconic dishes.

3. After lunch, head to Jurong Bird Park, home to 600 species and a great patch of green and respite from the city. Watching penguins nosedive into water will be as fun for them as you - it’s air-conditioned too!

4. At sunset, get dinner at Lau Pa Sat markets in the old train station. Yes, everyone goes - but one bite at the hawkers’ stalls and you’ll see why.

5. Afterwards, head to the Singapore Flyer for another great look at this eclectic city and then head on to the Singapore Night Safari. (You can buy a package deal for entrance to both attractions at a single cost) Skip the dire food situation, the real action’s on the fantastically narrated tour. It’s your own little Jurassic Park full of tigers, elephants and ant eaters. Walk the trails and make sure to catch the free night show - the last one is at 10pm. If you’re still not spent at 11pm and it’s a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, head back to Clark Quay for another night of debauchery or another round quiet drinks in the über-cool Bar Stories.

               
Prepare at least 600-800 USD (minimum) for this trip or around 30,000-40,000 Php. This amount already includes your airfare (depending on which airline), board and lodging (depending on which budget hotel you're staying) and extra expenses. That should be more than enough for a good budget trip. 


Here are more pics of our Singapore trip:
merlion




bridge


Long Bar at Raffles Hotel, birthplace of Singapore Sling
Singapore Sling
Long Bar



Orchard Road
Prada in ION
Standing Sushi Bar
PROUDLY PINOY!! We actually went to see this!! Filipino visual artist Rodel Tapaya was named the grand prize winner of the 2011 Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation Signature Art Prize in Singapore last Nov 2011.
Tapaya's entry, "Baston ni Kabunian, Bilang Pero di Mabilang (Cane of Kabunian, Numbered but Cannot Be Counted)," was chosen out of 130 nominated works and 15 finalists from the Asia Pacific region. He was awarded SG $45,000 (P1.5 million).
Tapaya holds a Fine Arts degree from the University of the Philippines. -ABSCBN

Orchard Road at night
view from club Ku De Ta





Here is a compilation of our videos on this Singapore tour. 



Hope this post helped. Enjoy!
x
Mark and Millie

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Listening to: The Way You Are by Kina Grannis and David Choi
             <3: Singapore
             =(: cough and cold


1 comment:

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