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Help me plan next weekend's MR?

Help me plan next weekend's MR?

Old Nov 30, 18, 8:03 am
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Help me plan next weekend's MR?

Hi all....

I have a MR to SIN booked for next weekend, and due to family commitments, I have not even started planning for my MR. I arrive in SIN on Sat around 6am, then depart Monday at 11pm. Solo female traveler who has lived in 3rd world countries.

Things I like:
1. Art
2. Architecture and History (I loved the Churchill museum in London, and Chang Mai's Silver Wat, Wat Srisuphan, for example)
3. Good Food (stall or otherwise, as long as it's really good and not dangerous to my digestive system...I had Shisto during my Peace Corps days, and don't care to repeat that experience. I am a regular at Boston, NYC and SFO Chinatowns, so I have pretty high standards).
4. Nature
5. Shopping for items that are indigenous to the culture (for example, I brought back some lovely hand painted ceramics from Thailand, including a tea set)
6. Non touristy areas (I hated Khao San Road in Bangkok, for example)
7. Massage!
8. Nice hotels (a good mix between Western standards and local flavor)

Things I don't like:
1. Seafood of any sort
2. Languages other than French or English (sorry, not that MultiCulti!)
3. Getting super sweaty (fat chance that is not going to happen in SIN in December, I know).

I've been reading up on the threads here, but any specific recommendations, including hotels (I'm SPG, and probably have enough Hilton points to put together a couple of nights at a good Hilton) would be appreciated. A walking or pedicab type tour with a local guide would be great...particularly for history.

Thanks
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Old Dec 1, 18, 2:45 am
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Regarding hotels, let someone else comment, but expect that prices for 'nice hotels' are at the same level as in Tokyo and Manhattan.

Walking tours do exist, but to me they do not worth the price ($150 and more for 3h) they charge. You can walk in all these places on your own and see everything.

For art - Asian Civilization Museum and National Gallery is a good start. For architecture and history - walk around Telok Ayer/Chinatown/, Joo Chiat and Geylang areas with traditional shophouses. Modern architecture you have at Marina Bay, Gardens By the Bay (must visit both cooled conservatories), Pinnacles @ Duxton (go to the top on Level 50, entrance is at the ground level at Block G, costs $6 to go to the top), Star Vista and other places.

Visiting Singapore City Gallery is must to understand how city is laid out, what are current and future planning. Note that it closes at 4PM on Saturday and is closed on Sunday.

Food - avoid touristy places, particularly Marina Bay Sands, Lau Pa Sat and Newton Food Court, plus probably Orchard Road as well. You can go pretty much any other food court, especially in non-touristy areas and you will get really good deal, if see a line next to a stall, usually it is a sign that food there is great. Recommended food courts are at Tiong Bahru, Zion Road hawker center, Old Airport Road Hawker center, Geylang street eating places, closer to the city center - Amoy Street hawker center and Maxwell hawker food center. There are plenty of choices from dozens of cosines (but mostly Asian, don't expect to have nice Italian dinner there), so non-seafood options are plenty.

Massage - average prices start from SGD $60 for 1h outside of city center areas and sky is the limit, some places at Orchard charge $260 for 30 min, massages at nice hotels expect to be in that range. No, never been. Locals go for massage (and shopping) to Batam and Johor.

For non touristy areas you need to get out from downtown core and go where local live. Number of suggestions - Punggol with walking to Serangoon Island, Changi Village and Pulau Ubin, and hearlands, like Khatib, Jurong East, Ang Mong Kio, Bedok. Close to the center but still local/non touristy - Tiong Bahru.

If you like nature, walking at Singapore Botanical Gardens, Sungei Buloh Wetlands park is must. East Coast park is almost 8m stretch flat walking overlooking the bay. You can download Ofo and Mobile app on your phone and get one of these shared bikes to see the area, charges are $2 per one hour.

Shopping - you will have to look really hard to find anything 'indigenous to the culture' - Singapore imports everything, including water. Anything you find in shopping malls/centers are either extremely expensive (Orchard rd, Marina Bay Sands and similar places) or cheap stuff made in China. One exception might be Peranakan Tiles Gallery at Teloy Ayer street which sells antique tiles, definitely worth to visit even if you don't buy anything - you will see number of different tiles used to decorate shophouses in the area.

You won't have language problem, English in primary language pretty much for everyone here. As far as sweating - well, if you have been in Houston/Florida in August, it is pretty much what it looks like.

I'm sure others will step in and fill gaps.

P.S. For evenings - at Esplanade theaters every evening from 7 till 10 they have free concerts. garden Rhapsody at Gardens By The Bay are played twice per evening, plus there is a light show at Marina Bay in front of Shoppers/Marina Bay Sands.

Last edited by invisible; Dec 1, 18 at 7:00 pm
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Old Dec 3, 18, 7:01 pm
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Wow, Invisible, thank you! I was worried about the language, particularly at food stands. How does one know if they are ordering pig, chicken or cat?

Thanks
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Old Dec 3, 18, 9:23 pm
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Originally Posted by navi_jen View Post
Wow, Invisible, thank you! I was worried about the language, particularly at food stands. How does one know if they are ordering pig, chicken or cat?

Thanks
Usually they will have a sign telling you what it is, if not, ask.

Please especially ask about cats, Singapore has been well known for serving our feline friends for many years, so beware!!!!!!! [disclaimer: this is a joke]
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Old Dec 4, 18, 4:03 am
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Originally Posted by navi_jen View Post
Wow, Invisible, thank you! I was worried about the language, particularly at food stands. How does one know if they are ordering pig, chicken or cat?
Well, considering that there are no stray animals in the whole country (if you do not count water monitor lizards or river otters) that this might be a concern...

Jokes aside, I have not seen any stall in hawker centers which does not have English menu in form of photos posted above the stall with numbers and price as well. You might have a little bit problem understanding Singlish, especially from older generation, but honestly I prefer Singlish any time over Scottish English, which I can't understand a single word...

Relax, you will have good time.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by SQTraveller View Post
Usually they will have a sign telling you what it is, if not, ask.

Please especially ask about cats, Singapore has been well known for serving our feline friends for many years, so beware!!!!!!! [disclaimer: this is a joke]
Hah. We really do need a sarcasm font. Maybe I'll invent one with all the time I'll have on the plane!
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Old Dec 4, 18, 10:43 am
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Originally Posted by invisible View Post
Well, considering that there are no stray animals in the whole country (if you do not count water monitor lizards or river otters) that this might be a concern...

Jokes aside, I have not seen any stall in hawker centers which does not have English menu in form of photos posted above the stall with numbers and price as well. You might have a little bit problem understanding Singlish, especially from older generation, but honestly I prefer Singlish any time over Scottish English, which I can't understand a single word...

Relax, you will have good time.
Thanks Invisible, good to know. Usually I'm not fazed by this stuff...but on my last big trip (a month in Thailand) I was in the back of a minibus, pealing down a backroad 4+ hours from Bangkok, and I realized (or remembered), crap, this is not a Romance language country. I have absolutely no idea where I am. I could be crossing into Burma and I would have no idea. I hope my driver is honest.

So I like to get a lay of the land first. LOL.

Thanks again for all the help.

Jen
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Old Dec 4, 18, 11:22 am
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Originally Posted by navi_jen View Post
I could be crossing into Burma and I would have no idea.
Jen, this is an island which is 25 by 10 miles where half territory is taken by industry, military bases or nature parks, look at google maps. On the remaining space 5.5 million people live and work. BTW, download citymapper on your phone and google offline maps as well - will help.

You will be fine.

P.S. My way of travel in SEA countries - anything which takes more than 2h by car, I either fly or rent car (for Malaysia or Thailand) or rent car with the driver (rest of countries). For Singapore you won't need any such thing. Taxies are everywhere and if you download Grab app and activate it after arrival, you can save buck or two.

P.P.S Would be happy to walk you around but on Friday I am flying out.

Last edited by invisible; Dec 4, 18 at 11:27 am
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Old Dec 4, 18, 5:59 pm
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Unless you have already booked stuff, here is something that could work:

- Book the Hotel Mercure in Bugis. It's very central, walking distance to two train lines. Bugis is a hype of activity, especially on weekends with a famous Chinese Temple just around the corner. There is a well known hawker centre around the block as well. The museums are mostly walking distance from here and i'd say you'd be immersing yourself really into the local culture.
The area can get packed on weekends as there are a couple of large malls around.
With the temple there, and lots of older folks too, one popular activity you will find there is foot and back massage. Again, won't break the bank.

If you want a nice room at the Mercure, go for their loft rooms.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 6:30 pm
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I might be alone in this, but I really loved the Marina Bay Gardens and I found the two domes awe inspiring. Walking around the cloud dome was probably the highlight of my visit (besides the food).

There is really no stuff to be fazed by. Singapore is modern, spotless, easy to get around and navigate, and the food is amazing. It isn't Thailand. Its less gritty than Chicago.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 6:33 pm
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Originally Posted by bitterproffit View Post
I might be alone in this, but I really loved the Marina Bay Gardens and I found the two domes awe inspiring. Walking around the cloud dome was probably the highlight of my visit (besides the food).

There is really no stuff to be fazed by. Singapore is modern, spotless, easy to get around and navigate, and the food is amazing. It isn't Thailand. Its less gritty than Chicago.
By Marina Bay Gardens, I assume you mean Gardens by the Bay. This is a great place.I would recommend either earlier or later in the - avoid the middle. It gets hot/crowded.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 7:22 pm
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Originally Posted by SQTraveller View Post
By Marina Bay Gardens, I assume you mean Gardens by the Bay. This is a great place.I would recommend either earlier or later in the - avoid the middle. It gets hot/crowded.
Jen will be here on Saturday/Sunday, so no way to avoid crowds, but getting inside cooled conservatories should be done earlier in the day as possible - on weekends crowds grow bigger at the end of the day.
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Old Dec 5, 18, 11:42 pm
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I enjoy food in the Mosque and Arab Street areas. Oh and they have cheap massage places there.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 9:50 am
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Jen, how did it go?
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Old Jan 5, 19, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by invisible View Post
Jen, how did it go?
I'd be curious also, headed there shortly and seemingly a lot of great info in this thread. Hope she had a great time.
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