For those of you who think backpacking in Singapore is an oxymoron, think again. I have passed through the Lion City quite a few times on my travels and always on a tight budget. Though having said that the term “backpacking” is too often construed as meaning just cheap. I prefer to think of backpacking as a way of life. I spend money on beer and decent food now and then, and I sleep on benches too. You can afford luxury if you cut out other things. In Singapore I stayed in hostels a few times (City Backpackers and Green Kiwi) and also with my cousin Chris once when he lived there. It will never be my favourite city, but it makes a decent stop over and if you don’t have much time, I’d recommend trying to get these top 5 sights in.
1. Night Safari
Forget the horrendous headlines as “the world’s best”, “the world’s first”, “the world’s only” etc. and you’ll enjoy this place. I hate the over exuberance and arrogance of Singapore but the night safari is decent. You can get there on the cheap using a MRT then a local bus and I wrote about it in detail before – Night Safari Singapore.
2. The Merlion
This is free and you can go and get your photo by the famous Merlion. Neither a mermaid nor a lion, but both. This is the symbol of the city, country and island. A stroll along the bay while you’re at it is also worth it but bring water – this is one of the hottest cities I have been to.
3. The Armenian Church
Having gone backpacking in Armenia, I find the history of Armenian culture fascinating and the fact that Singapore houses one of the best Armenian churches in Asia makes this worth a visit.
4. Singapore Flyer
If you can wangle a student ticket you’ll save a bit on this as we did, but the Singapore Flyer gives you a great view of the city’s skyline and lasts almost an hour, so a cool place to relax too, away from the crazy heat of this place.
5. The Long Bar, Raffles Hotel
You know what’s coming – BLOWING your backpacking budget on one drink. Yes – do it – just as a one off. This drink is called a Singapore Sling and if you’re going to try it anywhere, you should try it here. In the bar where it was invented. It actually cost more than my hostel dorm for the night but I’ll be honest and say it was worth it – as I won’t do it again – it was a one off travel thing I wanted to tick off and I also wrote about my Singapore Sling experience.
Getting to Singapore can be done by train, bus or flight. My first time was actually by train from Malaysia though well priced flights and the fact this is a hub give you good reasons to visit Singapore you can also take a night train out all the way to Kuala Lumpur. The border crossing to Malaysia is one that I haven’t yet covered on my growing World Borders series so I’ll try and get it sorted at some point. This is only a quick top 5 and I know there are lots more things to see and do there, such as Marina Bay Sands Casinos and Sentosa Island.