Singapore is an island city state on the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia. Singapore offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers
- Merlion Park
- Raffles Hotel and the Singapore Sling cocktail
- Clarke Quay and Boat Quay (restaurants and bars)
- Tiger Sky Tower (and view of the city)
- Sentosa Merlion (and view of the city)
- Marina Bay Sands (and view of the city)
- Gardens by the Bay
- Singapore Flyer (and view of the city)
- Singapore Cable Car Sky Network
- Telok Ayer Market (Lau Pa Sat) (Foodie heaven)
- Universal Studios Singapore
- Singapore Night Safari
- Esplanade – Theaters on the Bay
For my stay in Singapore I stayed in the 5Footway.Inn which is incredibly cheap for its location in Boat Quay, Singapore. There are over 500 hotels in Singapore, it’s a lot more expensive than Malaysia.
Singapore’s most famous landmark is the Merlion (above). There is a walkway that goes out over the water and you’ll see lots of tourists making photos pretending that the water of the Merlion is landing in their mouths.
The Merlion is female and there are 5 of them in Singapore and Sentosa
- 8.6 meter tall Merlion located in Merlion Park (above)
- 2 meter tall Merlion in Merlion Park (behind the large one)
- 37 meter tall Sentosa Merlion
- 3 meter tall Merlion in the Tourism Court
- 3 meter tall Merlion on Mount Faber
From Merlion Park, if you are there at sunset, you get a wonderful reflection of the sunset on Marina Bay Sands. You can also visit the skypark on the top level of Marina Bay Sands for sunset or a view of the city.
Behind Marina Bay Sands you’ll find the Gardens by the Bay, these are the most Instagrammable gardens you’ll probably see in your life and are well worth a visit.
Another notable landmark close to marina Bay Sands is the Singapore Flyer (above left). This is Singapore’s version of the famous London Eye.
Singapore Theater is designed to look like a huge Durian fruit with it’s spiky roof and color. The building real stands out as a unique building even with Singapore’s skyline. If you don’t want to watch a performance but want to see the interior it’s possible to take a guided tour of the Theater.
Singapore Theater is one of the many modern buildings of Singapore. There are a few older buildings around the city too, a notable one is the Telok Ayer Market (Lau Pa Sat) which is Victorian style building dating back to the 19th century. Nowadays it’s a food market, foodies will love it.
Whilst exploring the Downtown Core of Singapore you’ll see countless stunning buildings. The Supreme Court of Singapore is no exception, when I took this shot I was completely surrounded by Instagrammable buildings. The best time to walk around Singapore photographing buildings and landmarks is at nighttime, during the day it can be too hot and everywhere is well lit at nighttime.
You can buy a famous Singapore Sling in Raffles Hotel which will set you back over $20 per glass. Still, it’s worth it for the experience, this is where the Singapore Sling was invented at the start of the 20th century.
More economic places to eat and drink are the bars and restaurants of Clarke Quay and Boat Quay. The views of the city and over the quays are beautiful whilst enjoying a meal / drink.
A wonderful way to get to Sentosa Island is by the cable car sky network. When you buy your tickets you can choose from several packages, the packages include round trip on the cable car as well as entrance to some attractions on Sentosa Island, you can choose from around 20 different attractions on the Island.
The most famous landmark in Singapore is the Merlion in Merlion Park on the main Island. The second most popular Merlion is on Sentosa Island which at 37 meters in height is a lot bigger. It’s possible to ascend this Merlion to its mouth and top of its head where you get beautiful views of the city and Sentosa, potentially a unique place to watch the sun set over Singapore.
Universal Studios Singapore is close to the Merlion, I have been in Orlando and Los Angeles so I didn’t visit the one in Sentosa. If you are traveling with kids (or even on a date) I’d recommend Universal Studios, Sentosa.
The Tiger Sky Tower is the highest observation tower in Singapore. Tiger beer is the most popular beer in Singapore and after trying several I would definitely recommend Tiger beer. Good places to enjoy beer in Singapore are Boat Quay and Clarke Quay which are full of bars and restaurants, as beer in Singapore can be expensive look out for happy hour.
There is a free monorail on Sentosa Island but the whole Island is small and walkable, there’s air conditioning in the monorail so if you’re hot you can use this to cool down a little. The huge casino, Resorts World, is another good place to go to escape the heat.
I experienced a Singapore sunset on the cable car returning to Singapore from Sentosa.
Close to the cable car station in Singapore is the port where you can take boats to Indonesia. To get to Medan from Singapore, there are 3 stages;
- Boat from Singapore to Batam
- Overnight 23 hours Pelni ferry from Batam to Belawan (twice per week)
- Shuttle or taxi from Belawan to Medan (less than an hour)
When you arrive in Indonesia you’ll need to pay for a visa on arrival. The difference between Singapore and Indonesia is huge, remember you are leaving Singapore, one of the cleanest, well organized countries in the world and arriving in Indonesia, a 3rd world country with a huge population.
You can buy tickets for Belawan (Medan) in Batam from the Pelni office, I’d recommend traveling first class unless you are on a super tight budget, basic meals of rice and chicken are included in the price. You will see cockroaches on the boat in all classes, so be prepared. When you arrive in Belawan, you must then take a shuttle to Medan, there will be crowds of taxi and shuttle drivers waiting for the arrival of the boat, negotiate a price before leaving with any of these. The price for a shuttle should be less than 20k Rupiahs per person, a taxi will cost 5 times the price but still represents good value.
Get ready for chaos when leaving Singapore for Indonesia!