Expat Travel: Singapore Favorites
I absolutely love Singapore. Before I got my one-year Thailand resident visa, I was on tourist visas and had to leave the country every few months. Singapore was my favorite city to skip away to for a long weekend.
I wanted to share a little bit of what I love about it and some of my favorites. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but more like a snapshot from the perspective of an expat living in Asia (who savors her time in big cities).
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Tiong Bahru. This neighborhood has a really chill vibe and awesome deco architecture. I like starting at Tiong Bahru Bakery for some coffee and a snack, walking around snapping photos and looking at the buildings, then ending up at BooksActually, the coolest little independent bookstore.
Haji Lane. Another really unique neighborhood, Haji Lane is a narrow walking street lined with boutique shops, cafes, art galleries, and bars. While you are in the area you can also visit the Masjid Sultan, a beautiful landmark mosque. And there is lots of street art to check out as well.
Upside Motion. This is not going to appeal to everyone, but whenever I am in a major city I always look for exercise studios that have my favorite Xtend Barre classes. This boutique studio has excellent instructors, and not only barre but also pilates, aerial, and yoga classes.
If you live outside a major metropolis like I do, then Singapore is the perfect place to pick up things you want and need. Pro tip: Make sure you ask for the tax refund form whenever you check out at any store, save all your receipts, and get cash back at the airport. For more info click here.
Apple. I only feel comfortable buying Apple products from official Apple stores, so I always time purchases for when I will be in a city that has one. Singapore has a beautiful Orchard Road location with excellent staff, and I just read there are plans to open two more stores soon.
Kinokuniya. I am an avid reader, and unfortunately the selection of English books in Phuket is slim. Enter the best bookstore I have EVER been to, Kinokuniya in Ngee Ann City Mall, which up until recently was the largest bookshop in Southeast Asia. I usually spend at least two hours there!
ION Orchard. This is a massive mall, and I can't think of much you would want to buy that you couldn't find here. On my last Singapore trip I had lunch at the restaurant Salt Grill located on the 55th floor and was treated to delicious food and sweeping panoramic views.
I have stayed in three different hotels in three different areas of the city, and each had things I loved.
Oasia Hotel Downtown. This was where I stayed on my first Singapore trip, and I appreciated the living walls, pool, and the delicious Italian restaurant Oso located on the roof. For me the location was not the best, but if you want to be in Chinatown then this is a great option.
The Warehouse Hotel. This is the coolest hotel I have ever stayed at. It is located right on the Singapore River in a converted warehouse and has an excellent bar and restaurant. I like to have more hotel amenities, but if you want a truly unique experience I would highly recommend it.
Andaz. This was by far my favorite hotel of the three, and where I will probably stay again. Great food/drinks, great amenities, great views, great pool, great location. Atlas bar (see below) is right across the street. Haji Lane, CHIJMES, and Suntec City Mall are all within walking distance.
There is SO much mouthwatering food in Singapore I could devote multiple blog posts to it, so I've just picked out two places I always visit when I'm in the city. The hawker centers are a must of course, and for a more comprehensive restaurant guide check out these articles here and here.
Din Tai Fung. I know it is a chain. I know you can get it in many countries, not just Singapore. But there is a reason why it has a Michelin star and that is because it has the absolute BEST dumplings on Earth and yes I stand by that statement. Must try: the truffle xiao long bao. Mouthwatering!!!
Luke's Oyster Bar & Chop House. Travel to Singapore, get a...lobster roll? Yes! I love this location, hidden inside a department store on Orchard Road. It's a perfect midday shopping break spot, and the lobster roll lunch set is EVERYTHING - fresh lobster, buttery roll, perfect fries, and crisp slaw.
For more on the off-the-beaten-path Singapore spots to see, check out Lost Guides Singapore! I found this book to be a great reference on my travels ♡
Hi, I'm Jen! I am a US expat and have lived abroad for six years, first in Shanghai and now in beautiful Thailand.
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