A Singapore travel diary

Hello you lot. I hope you’re so well and have had a great weekend. I’ve just come back from such a brilliant trip to Singapore with the Singapore Tourism Board to celebrate the launch of a brand new concept space, the Design Orchard which opened on the 24th January.

Singapore is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, and have always heard the most amazing things about the island so I was honestly so looking forward to going. It’s a special place, brimming with diverse culture and experiences and I loved it more than I thought I might. I had 4 days to get to grips with brand new, well, everything! And jet lag, of course the jet lag. The journey is long old one from London, but well worth it.

I’ll take you through what I got up to day-by-day.

Day 1

I arrived at the hotel at around 9am, so got checked in, settled and headed to the pool for a few of hours (in and out of naps) until the tour guide Josephine from the Singapore Tourism Board came to pick me up- she was amazing and lots of fun. The first stop was to visit Haji Lane, which is a vibrant area that feels kind of like a market place but has lots of clothing stores and a couple of great bakeries at the end of the lane.  The weather was so gorgeous and hot, but also incredibly humid- so make sure you take linen, cotton and loose fitting clothes when you’re packing. I lived in dresses after making the mistake of wearing denim shorts on day 1. Nope. 

 Then I had some time back at the hotel to get ready for the evening. We went to dinner and then onto 2 brilliant and contrasting bars. The first one was Atlas bar, which was beautiful; gold art-deco interior, super high ceilings and an air of decadence but in a fairly relaxed way. Atlas bar is known for it’s gin selection so I had an amazing bitter orange gin cocktail that was as big as my face.

We moved on to the next place which is a speakeasy bar called Operation Dagger. It’s tucked away on a side street with no branding outside, and hidden down some stairs underground. The idea with Operation Dagger is that you choose your drink based on the flavours you like and not on the alcohol the drinks contain. It’s a really cool concept-type place and the interior matches. 

By this point I was upside-down in timezones and headed home to bed for around 10pm. What a party animal. Honestly. 

Day 2 8.jpg

the architecture in Singapore is so diverse and I absolutely loved the contrast throughout

Day 2

I woke up feeling more fresh than I could had anticipated, so that was a huge bonus. I went down to breakfast to kick start the new timezone, even though my body was telling me it absolutely wasn’t hungry. It’s important to do absolutely everything in your new timezone as soon as you land, down to changing your watch, or else you’ll struggle!

Our first stop on day 2 was with a new tour guide, Shanti, who would be with me for the remainder of the trip. She was also amazing, lots of fun and was incredibly knowledgeable and had answers to anything I asked. We went to Marina Bay Sands, which is one of the iconic hotels in Singapore, that has a mega mall there too. So naturally, we did a bit of shopping. Okay a lot of shopping and I came home with some sold out Céline boots that I wasn’t able to get at home so that was a result. 

For lunch we went to the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel to Ce La Vi. There was the most amazing 360 degree view of Singapore from the restaurant and it was amazing. I had such great sushi here too.

 After lunch we went to preview the brand new Design Orchard on Orchard Road, which is the main shopping area with everything from Hermes to H&M. 

The Design Orchard is a new innovative space that is nothing short of incredible. The concept is to showcase homegrown, local designers under one roof whilst also providing them with a nurturing and supportive hub. Brands that are showcased here include fashion, lifestyle, beauty and home. One of the most amazing things about this space is the ‘incubator’ which is a floor within the Design Orchard that is dedicated to designers creating new ideas and products from start to finished production, ready to be shown on the shopping floor downstairs. There’s also some great co-working and solo workspaces and a huge outdoor rooftop area. It’s truly a wonderful initiative and I feel very lucky to have seen it the day before it opened. 

 We also stopped off at Emerald Hill lane which is a row of the most gorgeous houses. That was a great thing to see as they are conservation houses that cannot be modified. Each house was a different colour, mainly pastel but some primary colours too. Great for images.

Excitingly for me, one of my friends, Lesley-Ann from London was in town at the same time visiting her mum. We met up to go for dinner and drinks and we had the best catch up and loads of fun. We went to the most amazing Spanish tapas place called Esquina around the Duxton Hill area and the food was incredible- so was the wine choice! We sat outside and the atmosphere was ace. It’s a small, intimate and I’d recommend it so much. Duxton Hill is such a cool area, the restaurant and bar options are vast and all are equally cool with great atmospheres. 

Next up we headed for drinks at Neon Pigeon. The music was everything from throw-back 90’s RnB to current pop and it was perfect. I don’t know how but we were given all our drinks for free by a lovely man from Blackpool who was working there on behalf of a whiskey brand! We bonded over being Northern.

I was in bed for 1am which was reasonable and so I would feel fresh for the next day of exploring.

Day 3

I woke up early and decided that I wanted to explore the Singapore Botanic Gardens. It was a 10 minute walk away and I could spend a couple of hours wandering around before my itinerary for the day started. I visited the orchid gardens which was honestly beautiful, I did the rainforest walk which I loved and took so many photos. I absolutely loved it and it made me feel really fresh and ready for another day. Shanti the tour guide wanted to show us another one of the big malls incase I fancied some more shopping, so we popped in but I was restrained this time….it was another impressive mall with every high-end designer store you could imagine, it’s called the ION.

After the quick stop at the mall we went to Chijmes.  Chijmes is a beautiful location with amazing exterior design. If you’ve seen ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ it’s where they have the wedding with the water on the floor!

Chijmes has so many cafés and restaurants tucked away inside too, so you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re feeling hungry. There are options to sit outside too. We ate at a local seafood restaurant called Ubin Seafood and had a few interesting dishes that I’d never tried before, like prawns in cereal oats! 

 Chinatown was next on the list and it was the most amazing thing to see with Chinese New Year just around the corner. There was so much preparation for it! The decoration in the streets was so brilliant to see. We wandered through the markets in Chinatown which were so busy but it had such a great feel about it, not stressful like say, Oxford Circus in London!

 Dinner on this night was so much fun. We sat outside in the busiest place at Lau Pa Sat that’s usually a road during the day. It’s well known as ‘satay street’ because most food stalls sell satay sticks in various meats. I loved the food so much. I had lamb and chicken satay sticks, some local made breads with curry sauce and a pint of Tiger beer- it was literally perfect and really low key.

From here we headed to the worlds tallest rooftop bar, 1-Altitude. Now the views up here at night time are absolutely incredible! There isn’t anything you can’t see from the top and it was pretty amazing. It’s a great spot for a couple of drinks to take in the view. 

I was in bed for maybe 12am and asleep for 2am on this night, largely due to jet lag.

Day 4

It was my final full day in Singapore and I felt like I was just getting the hang of things in this amazing new country.  I wish I could have stayed for longer!

The first stop was to an area called Joo Chiat/Katong. I think this was one of my favourite areas because of the amazing contrast of old Vs. new. The architecture was beautiful with some colour and then I’d walk round corner and spot something that was really chic and minimal.

This was by far the hottest day because the sun was out in full force, and that plus the humidity left me with a wet t-shirt (not the good kind). So it was off back to the pool to swim for a couple of hours to relax and cool down.

This evening was honestly like a bit of magic. We went to Gardens by the Bay, which I had read so much about and was desperate to go to. Inside Gardens by the Bay there are so many things to see and do, and eat if you like! We started with the Super Trees, which honestly are quite breathtaking. They are laced with vines, flowers and the most beautiful plants. It’s not often you feel small in this world, but this was a moment for me. We took a lift to the top of the main tree and walked the skyline.

Next we visited the flower domes. There are two; one full of incredible flowers, trees and plants from around the world and one that has a full waterfall inside, complete with ‘splash zone’. Both are fully climate controlled and I’ve never seen anything like it on this scale. 

The main event though, was for the light show at the Super Trees. I did not prepare myself for just how blown away I would be. Crowds gathered round to sit at the base of the trees and opera music played as the lights danced all over and through the trees in time. I almost cried. Okay, no, I actually cried.

Dinner was amazing on this night, we went to & Sons which is an Italian fusion restaurant that’s super relaxed, and really purse friendly. Great wine too!

For our final drink, we visited Manhattan bar which is another iconic place that has been named as one of the worlds top bars. It’s dark, a bit sexy and has a great cocktail menu.

And with that it was time to get to bed ready for my flight home the next morning. 

I cannot thank the Singapore Tourism Board and the guides Josephine and Shanti enough for showing me the most incredible side to Singapore. I absolutely loved it and would love to plan a return visit later this year to do even more next time. 

This trip was kindly hosted and paid for by the Singapore Tourism Board and I feel incredibly lucky to have been invited to such an amazing country as their guest.

Links to things I wore during the trip:

Staud bag in cream croc

Faithfull floral mini dress via Beach Cafe

Realisation Par green dress

Aquazzura tassel shoes

The Frankie Shop over sized blazer

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and thank you so much for reading as always xx

Lindsey HollandComment