A better title might have been – what I just learnt about stopping over in Singapore!
I’m not one for winging it when I travel. Hating to miss an opportunity, I usually have all my meals scoped out.
So it threw me completely when I found out my flight to India no longer lined up and I’d have to spend a night in Singapore. I haven’t been a fan of Singapore as a destination. It’s hard to get the same value for money available elsewhere in Asia.
I hastily booked the best I could find in the CBD on Booking.com and ended up with the Amara Singapore for $175 a night – no brekkie. It turned out to be a good spot nonetheless, with a very thoughtful upgrade thrown in.
I also psyched myself up to pay those Aussie prices I remember from my last visit.
But luckily I grabbed my ten year old Lonely Planet Guide as I left the house.
Between the Lonely Planet (never let’s me down), some helpful tips from friend Elayne, and very useful posts on trip advisor, we left Singapore having only spent another $25 between us.
So these were the top tips:
- Take the MRT from the airport. Just $2.50 a person and less than an hour door to door, it was easy to navigate. The Amara is minutes walk from Tanjong Pagar Station. A few things to know, the ticket machine only takes $5 or less and you need to change trains at Tanah Merah (but so does everyone).
- Eat with the locals at Tanjong Pagar Plaza Market and Food Centre.
- You’ll find it across the road from The Amara and one block up toward Tanjong Pagar Park (diagonally opposite Carlton City Hotel). Like all Singapore’s Hawker Markets (food courts), not only is it cheap, but it’s a great chance to mix and mingle with those who live here and geat a window into local life.
- We first got waylaid at the Si Xiong Ju Noodle House which was directly opposite the Amara in Tanjong Plaza proper. Here we chose two types of tofu, green stir fried greens and mushrooms for $4.
Then we found the Hawker market proper. We’d found our stride by then and when we saw someone eating something good we asked them where they’d got it. Following this approach we tried the Teechew Satay Bee Hoon for $3
..and the Healthier choice Singapore Health Promotion Board approved lower in calories $3 Mixed fishball noodles at Teo Chew Fishball Noodles.
Sadly the Famous Peanut Ice Kachang in Singapore had moved.
But it was a opportunity to return to the gorgeous gal at Kueh Ho Jiak who had so thoughfully given us a delicious sweet potato with coconut sweet to try. I just had to have another of these as well as try the sweet potato with red bean paste. Do go here, it’s a real winner!
Lastly on the way back we stopped at Tea Royal on the corner of Carlton City Hotel
Purple potato icecream and Matcha ice cream $1 a scoop. (The matcha was not so great though).
- For something more upmarket, carry on a little further along Tanjong Pagar Road and you’ll come to some lovely heritage houses, filled with lots of fine eateries. These are also a great choice, although you will start paying Australian prices here (albeit the lower end of midrange).
After all this deliciousness at just a fraction of what I was expecting, we headed to the airport for the next leg of our journey.
I’ve changed my mind about Singapore. I stopover is a great idea and breaks up the journey to India nicely so you can arrive fresh. No visa required for Aussies.
Next time though, I will be better planned.
- I’m updating my Lonely Planet Guide to Singapore.
- If it’s Ramadan, I want to stay near Paya Lebar MRT station and enjoy the Geylang Serai Ramadan Festival in the evening. This stop is only six stops from the airport.
- And I’d love to stay near Little India MRT station and explore Little India. Village Hotel Albert Court looks good. A boutique hotel with good prices through Booking.com.
- Or near Bugis MRT station (on the same line as the airport and closer than the Amara) to discover the Arab Quarter.
#VisitSingapore #kuehhojiak #teochewsataybeenhoon #teochewfishballnoodles #ironladychef #singaporebestfoods #amarasingapore #singapore