New Year's in Singapore

February 05, 2016

One the best part about living in Asia is that I get to celebrate new years twice. Chinese New Year is usually celebrated for about three days and the dates vary each year. I went to Singapore for Chinese New Year sometime ago and I had the best time exploring the city and visiting friends. Singapore is one of the most multicultural countries in the world. This can be seen in the different languages spoken, the fusion of different foods and the various religions. Singapore is also once of Asia's financial hubs and expats migrate here for jobs each year. As for me, I was just a single gal at the time, on vacation. The Singaporean people are super nice and helpful. I felt at ease there. Also, English is one of the five official languages, which made me feel comfortable asking for help. If you ever make it to Singapore, below are a list of things that should be at the top of your list. Bring your walking shoes, appetite, bikini and money because they are essential for a trip to Singa (as everyone affectionately calls Singapore)! Happy travels! 

1. Macritchie Nature Trail


This nature trail is a great luxury the city, that should be taken advantage. This nature trail is filled with wildlife, lush trees, and plants. Locals love to go here for a bit of exercise. But be on the lookout for monkeys, who will snatch your stuff in a second. Do not play or try to feed them, o matter how cute they are. Also, be aware of all the signs regarding flying snakes and monitor lizards. I saw a monitor lizard on my walk, and my friends that reside in Singapore see them quite often. It is both scary and exhilarating at the same time. Make sure to do the canopy walk. It was closed when I visited, but I've heard good things about it. 

2. Chinatown


Head over to Chinatown and get some souvenirs, sweets, and snacks. You will be able to see how multi-cultural Singapore is. Also, Sri Mariamman Temple is located not too far. Sidenote: this is the cleanest Chinatown I've ever visited. Most Chinatowns are famous for being a bit dirty, but not in Singapore. Get your souvenirs here because it is cheap and they have a variety of items to choose from.

3. Marina Bay Sands


Find a rooftop pool somewhere in the city because you will need to cool off a bit at some point. The pool at Marina Bay Sands is incredible. An infinity pool by the beach is great, but an infinity pool that blends in with the city skyline is amazeballs. Keep in mind you must be a guest at the hotel to swim here, so YOLO and go for it! If you decide not to stay here, there are tons of other options. I usually use agoda.com, if I want to book a fancy hotel at a discounted rate. 

4. Sri Mariamman Temple


The oldest Hindu temple in Singapore was built around 1827 and is quite a sight to behold. If you are lucky, you may see a traditional ceremony happening during Chinese new year. It was such a spiritual experience when I visited and I felt unburdened and calm after visiting. Please remember to be respectful while everyone is worshiping. I really wanted to take tons of pictures, but I refrained from doing so. A gentleman who worked there came over and welcomed me to the temple and said I should snap many photos of the temple.This made me feel more comfortable if I wanted to get extra snappy.

5. Sentosa Island


Head over to Sentosa Island, when you are tired of being in the city. Sentosa Island is a manmade island, but it is a playground for both adults and children alike. This involves lots of walking, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes. Sentosa Island has no storages of luxury hotels, spas, rides, restaurants, nature walks and manmade beaches if that tickles your fancy. They even have a skydiving simulation and zip lining. Also, if you are a fan of amusement parks, Universal Studios is there, as well. The best way to get there is by train It is called the MRT. Take the North-East Line or Circle Line and get off at Harbour Front Station. Take Exit E. Head to the 3rd level of Vivo City Shopping Mall, transfer to the Sentosa Express. 

6. Singapore Botanical Garden


Singapore Botanical Gardens is by far one of the best experiences I had in Singapore with my lovely friend Ashley. A World Heritage Sight and one only a few gardens to have that honor. It was a nice way to stay active after consuming one too many cocktails the night before. The Singapore Botanical Gardens has a variety of well-themed gardens. I loved the orchid garden. Did I mention that it was FREE? Yep, it sure is, so take advantage of it!

7. Masion Ikkoku

If cocktails are your thing, please stop reading this NOW. I am about to tell you where to get the best cocktails in Singapore. My apologies in advance because it will cost you. I cannot tell you cost because I had one too many cocktails. I can tell you that, I was shocked when I checked my translation history. What can I say? Sh!t happens!  Masion Ikkoku is a special little gem, hidden on Arab street. They do not have a menu and it is very small, but drinks are awesome. You can design your own cocktails based on what you like and your personality. If that does not make you feel special, then I don't know what will. Alcohol is expensive in Singapore, so keep that in mind before going to Masion Ikkoku. Good luck! 

8. Grand Hyatt Hotel


As mentioned before, alcohol is very expensive in Singapore, but you can take advantage of happy hour at a hotel. My friends and I went to the Grand Hyatt Hotel for happy hour, but we arrived a bit later than expected. It is best to arrive early. Yes, you may seem a bit eager and thirsty, but you will not have to rush, you can take your time and enjoy yourself. They have a long list of drinks to choose from, but my favorite was the Lychee Martini! It is the bomb! Happy hour is every Monday-Saturday, from 6pm-9pm and they take their last order at 8:30 pm sharp. 

9. Gardens by the Bay


This is such a unique garden in the center of the city and it is literally by the bay. It features gardens with a diverse vegetation from about five continents. This is a super cool experience if you are a plant and nature lover. Also, you can catch a great view of the Singapore skyline from there. 
[Photo credit: Trails of Indochina.]

 10. Hawker Food 

Hawker food or Street food is amazeballs. I love a good street food area where ever travel. It isn't fancy, but damn the food is always yummy.  I ate at the Golden Mile Hawker Center. The selections are amazing. Also, you should wear loose-fitting clothing because you will need a bit more room after your meal. There are several hawker centers around town. You should definitely eat there a couple of times before leaving Singapore. Food coma!!! Lastly, the food is not expensive and is perfect for budget travelers. 
[Photo Credit: Your Singapore.]

Also...

Click here  for 'Five Things to Note Before Going to Singapore' post. 

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