Jocelyn L. is a Global Explorer, Fellow Foodie, and Music Lover. She loves architecture, history, music, art, and food. If you are into these, her travel diary will help you decide where to stay, eat, hang out, and play.

Marina Sand - Courtesy of PBS
View from Marina Sand Hotel

Singapore is a city and a country — it is the only city-island-nation in the world. It is a very progressive country, with a mix of futuristic architecture (Westworld's third season was mainly filmed in Singapore) and a hint of British influence (which I love most), preserved from its days as a colony. Being in Singapore is like stepping into the future, while being grounded in the present by its historical buildings.

I was born in Singapore, but left when I was very young so only have vague memories of growing up there. Whenever I visit, I don't quite feel like I fit in. I'm more of a foreigner, yet I look like them and speak the language fluently. One of my favorite things about the city: its cuisine. You can't get Singapore food anywhere else in the world.

A few facts about Singapore

  • It was a British colony and gained independence from England in 1963, when it joined the Federation of Malaysia.

  • After two years of tense relationships, Singapore declared its independence from Malaysia in 1965.

  • Its official languages are English (Singlish), Chinese (Mandarin), and Malay.

  • The population is currently 5.7 million people.

  • Lee Kuan Yew was the country's first Prime Minister and the man who truly revolutionized Singapore.

  • The home ownership rate is a whopping 91% thanks to Singapore's innovative government housing scheme and quote system.

  • Singapore has a two-year mandatory military service for men, and devotes almost 20% of its government budget to it.

  • Considered a tax haven, many prominent businessmen have opted to make Singapore their main residence and nationality.

  • It is a tropical country and consists of 63 islands.

  • The Singaporean government censors sex and violence from all movies. (Watching Kill Bill would be impossible in Singapore!)

  • Hainanese Chicken Rice is the national dish.

  • While Singapore is quite conservative, they still have a Red Light District!

Useful tips

  • Chewing gum is not allowed.

  • Make sure you have cash on hand, especially if you plan to go to a hawker center, as they are cash only.

  • Singapore is pretty casual in term of attire. Island-wear and city-wear are highly recommended.

  • Use the Grab app for ride-hailing. Uber doesn't work there.

  • Avoid traveling to Singapore in the summer, as it's monsoon season. The best time to go is in winter, otherwise it's super hot and muggy.

Where to stay

Parkroyal Singapore Pickering
Six Senses Duxton

Where to eat

view from Wolfgang Puck
  • Maxwell Hawker Center — You must go to the Tian Tian Hainan Chicken Rice stall, and arrive before noon.

  • Newton Circle Hawker Center — Good for dinner and groups

  • Jumbo Seafood — Great chili crab and pepper crab (I prefer the pepper crab). Note: make a reservation ahead of time to avoid long queues.

  • High tea at Raffles Hotel — Make a reservation ahead of time

  • Don & Tori

  • Sushi Murasaki

  • The Coconut Club

  • Odette

  • Koma — Brand new Japanese fusion restaurant, expensive but worth the money

  • Another area with tons of good restaurants is around Keong Saik Road, home of Potato Head Singapore, Cure and Butcher Boy. They guys who organise the Garden Beats festival are behind Don Ho Social Kitchen & Bar, which is slightly tucked away from the main road. A couple of streets down is Kilo Kitchen – order the squid ink rice and be amazed. If you can, head to members club Straits Clan for drinks, or stop by The Old Man for their Asian twist on a Negroni, “The sun also rises.” — Recommendation from Eva D

What to order at a hawker center:

  • Hainan Chicken Rice

  • Chili crab

  • Malaysian salad - Orjak

  • Satay

  • Lasak (coconut milk based seafood soup with noodles)

  • Mee pok (noodle dish and it's my go to)

  • Bak kut teh (pork rib soup)

  • Otak (BBQ fish paste inside a banana leaf)

  • Roti (Indian flatbread with curry sipping sauce)

  • Beef or chicken randan (coconut based stew)

  • Nasi Lemak (Malaysian coconut rice dish with different side dishes)

  • Kaya toast

  • Char kway teow (stir-fried flat rice noodles)

  • Hae me (shrimp seafood soup noodles)

  • Popiah (radish wrap)

  • Ais Kacang (shaved rice with different toppings)

Where to play

(will add more info soon)

Tanjong Beach Club taken from their Instagram page

  • Marquee — Maybe one of the most impressive clubs in the world outside of Vegas

  • Day drinking and sunset cocktails at Wolfgang Puck Marina Bay Sands

  • If you want a getaway from big city life, go to Tanjong Beach Club on Sentosa island. While in the area, you can also get your contemporary art fix at the Gillman Barracks, a cluster of different art galleries in old British-built military buildings. — Recommendation from Eva D

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