I wrote some tips here in lieu of a full review of my trip to Singapore, but the city deserves more than being described as a shopping mecca for tourists (although it is). In addition to the usual recommendations in travel websites, here is my take of the city:
1. Malls are everywhere. Like in Manila, the malls are places of refuge from the heat and humidity. Almost all major train stops are connected to a mall. Since I started living in Germany where malls are just places to buy stuff where you get in and get out as fast as you can, I have weaned myself from the ‘mall culture’, even becoming averse to it. But Singapore revived my interest for these dwellings. My favorites are Vivo City for being spacious and the Bugis Junction for its food court.
2. Electronics shopping is tops. We stayed in the Little India area which is near the Sim Lim Square, a seven-storey building of electronic heaven. I hear about Funan Mall but never reached the place. Sim Lim is I spotted some Archos 5 and 9, but I am not one to be easily distracted on my target, an iPod Touch. Don’t forget your tax refund at the airport for purchases of at least SG$100!
3. Green spots and spaces are everywhere. Singapore is not only clean, it is green! Islands in the middle of the street as well as parks are landscaped. Head to Fort Canning Park, a green respite from the bustling Orchard Road
4. More than the shopping, it’s the food scene. Singapore is more than bargain-hunting shopping and Sentosa. It’s also a foodie’s city. Get confused at the wide choices at Mangansutra in the evening and eat with the view of the Marina Bay Sands. Most malls also have comprehensive food courts that serve endless choices of Asian cuisine, from your pad thai to your chicken tandoori. Laksa is my favorite. Food is surprisingly cheap in this expensive city. If you are a little more adventurous, try the hawker food which is much cheaper.
5. Bring some good walking shoes. Despite the sometimes small sidewalks and excellent transportation system, get on the street and explore Singapore by foot. The heat and humidity can sometimes wear you down. If you’re like me, who took a break from the European winter, enjoy it. Bring a bottle of water or sneak into the mall for a refreshing break. The areas I found most interesting are Little India and Chinatown.
One last tip. If you’re staying more than three days and will be getting around by public transportation, better get an ez-link ticket. You cannot refund the SG$5 fee for the card. Just consider it as a souvenir, and keep it for your next trip to the city!