Singapore: What should I do?
August 28, 2007 9:19 PM   Subscribe

I want to go to Singapore. I dont know anything about Singapore. I want to experience Singapore. What is there to do? I'm 18 years old.

I'll be leaving late-December, and returning mid-January. Looking for cultural hints (e.g. greet everyone with 'Singapore Hello!') and tips on what to do. I'll be staying with aunt and uncle, but I can roam the city by myself.
Asking for a friend.
posted by theiconoclast31 to Travel & Transportation around Singapore (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You must try the food. It is PARAMOUNT. You have not been to Singapore unless you have tried real down-home cooking - mamak stalls, hawker stalls, FOOD. Don't bother with fancy-schmancy, they're overpriced.

Did I mention FOOD.

The Singapore Science Centre is rather rad. I go there most times when I'm in Singapore. Singapore Zoo (and the Night Safari - the Zoo at night) and Jurong Bird Park are good too.

There is a farming area (Sungei Besi?? up north) which Singapore is promoting as the world's first AgriTourism center: see what tours are there. You basically get a tour of different farming sites (hydroponics, fishing, etc) and in some cases you get samples too.

Shopping is overpriced, though electronics aren't too bad. Mustafa Shopping Centre at Little India is good. You want shopping? Come over across the causeway (cheap buses go every 15 mins) to Johor Bahru. Not as flashy, but plenty to buy. Check out Malaysia while you're at it. Singapore's tiny, so you might want a change of scenery.

Singapore tends to have lots happening over the weekend. Just keep an eye out for announcements. Perfect 10 98.7FM and Power 98FM, the two Top 40/AC radio stations, have lots of info on events.

Orchard Road is the main shopping area, but I think bargains would be elsewhere.

Sentosa is an island off Singapore's coast and it has plenty of themeparks. Good place for amusement.

Apparently Singapore has a good underground-ish arts scene and a mainstream international arts presence. is mainly a Malaysian site but it has Singaporean arts events occasionally.

I lived across the causeway from Singapore nearly all my life so I can help with questions :)
posted by divabat at 9:47 PM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seconding the night safari, very cool. I took the gondola thingy over to Sendosa, which was pleasant. Also seconding food.

Although Orchard Rd is very commercial (big brand name stores), it's still really nice to take a walk down there and grab some lunch or a coffee.

Not sure if it's your thing, but I got a dayspa treatment at the Aspara spa, which was fantastic.

To be honest, my favourite thing about Singapore was just the trains. I could happily ride the trains all day. They are just so well designed, and organised. It's quick, easy and inexpensive to get anywhere across the city, and was totally easy for a tourist to navigate.
posted by girlgeeknz at 10:08 PM on August 28, 2007

Oh yeah, the Night Safari is very cool. Thirding it. You might also want to look around the Raffles Hotel--it's an interesting (and architecturally beautiful) piece of Singapore's colonial history.

But, the food. Oh, the food. I agree with divabat--the food is the best thing ever about Singapore. If your aunt and uncle have lived there for a while, they should be able to show you good places to eat, and definitely do try the stuff at the hawker stalls. Here's a Metafilter thread on Singaporean and Malaysian food. I am swooning thinking about the food. Mmmm.

Also, check out the Mr. Brown blog and have a listen to some of his podcasts for an amusing way to learn a little about Singaporean culture and politics--and listen to some wonderful Singlish while you're at it.

Have a wonderful trip!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:49 PM on August 28, 2007

far as food goes: black pepper crab at the east coast seafood centre. delicious vegetarian indian at annalakshmi, where you pay whatever you can and think is appropriate. depending on where youre coming from (its not clear) you should probably try some tropical fruits that arent available where you live. feast on mangosteen. roti prata in little india.

agree with divabat on the jurong bird park. i saw an iguana! it was exciting. also take a walk through the botanic gardens, which sounded kind of boring at first, but if you go at night, when everything is lit up, its absolutely magical.. especially palm valley.

disagree on the mustafa center though, while it is dirt cheap stuff, and i think it would be good shopping if you're looking for detergent, i guess, i didn't find it all that great coming from a tourist point of view. maybe i was looking at the wrong stuff.

clarke quay was a nice place to see some live music and pay too much for drinks.

most of all just keep an open mind, explore, and have fun. im sure your family will have good suggestions for what to do as well.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 10:55 PM on August 28, 2007

food, yes. absolutely. The most important thing about Singapore is that it's a) a city that wants to be taken seriously as a country (don't get me started) and b) a mix of almost all the cultures of the world. this makes for some delicious food, some wonderful scenery and some very cute people. Will they be provincial, somewhat out-of-it socially, a bit twee, until you feel like you're surrounded by band-camp people?
well, yes, that too.
I cannot encourage you enough to go there. Follow it up with a couple weeks on Java, a week on Bali, a little time in've got some stories to tell.
posted by tristanshout at 11:42 PM on August 28, 2007

Haha, Mrs PuGZ pointed out this question to me asking whether I had posted it because it matches me exactly. I'm an 18 year old male who has not been to Singapore before (other than the airport) and I'll be going late December - mid January. Maybe we should become friends and tour Singapore together! =D
posted by PuGZ at 12:58 AM on August 29, 2007

Singaporeans adore shopping - major shopping centres everywhere, and they are jammed pack with people, especially on weekends! So if you like shopping, Singapore is definitely the place to be, and personally I think prices are pretty good if you're there during the Great Singapore Sale.

The food is a must, obviously! Like divabat said, go for the hawker food! Having previously lived in Singapore for 10 years, the thing I miss most about the island is the wonderful food :D

Basically everyone speaks Singlish, which my SO (PuGZ) finds terribly amusing, but an English speaker should have no problem whatsoever with talking to locals and finding his/her way around!

Hopefully you have a great time there. PuGZ and I will be there from late Dec to mid Jan, so be sure to contact either of us so we can meet up while we're there!
posted by Mrs PuGZ at 1:11 AM on August 29, 2007

Considering how conservative the city that wants to be taken seriously as a country is, the Singapore Art Museum is actually pretty awesome.
posted by kittyprecious at 8:04 AM on August 29, 2007

As others have said, the food in Singapore is amazing. It's also a great place to shop. I haven't been in ages, and I haven't seen as an adult, so I'm not sure what the night life is like. While in Singapore, you should probably visit Malaysia as well.
posted by chunking express at 8:22 AM on August 29, 2007

Sentosa is fun, the night safari is incredible, and the food. Oh god, the food. If you have some extra time, make sure to take the causeway across to Malaysia. I lived in Johor Bahru for a year, and while it's not M'sia's finest city, I found it to have much more heart than Singapore.

You won't have any trouble with the language, pretty much everyone speaks English (or rather, Singlish).
posted by arcticwoman at 8:44 AM on August 29, 2007

There's an article about Singapore in the Sept '07 issue of Smithsonian magazine.

And what do you know - it's already online.
posted by DandyRandy at 9:58 AM on August 29, 2007

There's a Calvin Trillin article about street food in Singapore in the current issue of the New Yorker, but it doesn't seem to be full-text online - just a summary.
posted by yarrow at 2:37 PM on August 29, 2007

Response by poster: So my friend is at Singapore right now!
posted by theiconoclast31 at 11:33 PM on June 26, 2008

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