Jessica Explores Singapore Part 1 – Sight Seeing
Happy Sunday beautiful people of the Internet, this week I am bringing you my Singapore diary, the things I got up to and the things I discovered. I am going to do this in parts so that the blog post isn’t too long. This is going to be a long one! & it is not to be missed. I was very fortunate to be able to visit Singapore this summer and stay with my cousins, they truly made this an unforgettable trip and I couldn’t be more thankful. Surrounding yourself with inspiring beings is extremely important and it helps towards maintaining a positive mindset. My cousins are more like my best friends! They make everything better and their positive approach to everything is inspiring. I left Singapore – inspired, motivated and ready to get back to university and get my degree. This was my first adventure abroad on my own and I learnt a lot.
I learnt that I am a strong individual, I can truly do anything I set my mind to and stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t scary, it’s amazing. I also learnt to always be over prepared in all aspects, fuel yourself with lots of food and ALWAYS stay hydrated.
I have previously visited Singapore once already and that was the year I discovered the main sights of Singapore, this time around I wanted to relax, gain inspiration, read lots of books and figure out what it is I want for my future. Singapore is somewhere I could picture myself in the future, in fact, it feels more like my ‘home’ in Singapore than it does here in Blackpool. Singapore is my ‘happy’ place. When I was there I visited some new places, re-visited my favourites and took each day as it came. It only rained once when I was there and that was my last day! Every other day was extremely hot, humid and beautiful.
Sightseeing wasn’t my main priority when I was there but I did want to visit some new places purely for inspiration and to explore the roots of Singapore more. I visited some galleries, I went back to China Town, I explored Haji Lane, I explored a museum and I went to the aquarium! I breathed in the fresh air of the Botanic Gardens and lots more. I have documented as much as I could and taken images for you all. I hope you love this blog post as much as I did creating it.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
This is somewhere I would visit 1,000 times over and never get bored of the beautiful sights and smells of the surrounding areas. There is a lot to do at the Botanic Gardens if you want an afternoon of walking, relaxing and having a picnic. I and my cousins and the little lady herself called Hannah explored parts of the Botanic Gardens one afternoon. It was a beautiful experience and truly embedded my love for wildlife and natural beauty. I have captured some beautiful flowers; they’re extremely photogenic! Natural beauty like this should be admired always and this is something I am grateful for, beauty like this is natural and should not be ignored. The serenity of the Botanic Gardens is like no other and it really heals you from the inside. There isn’t just one garden! There are lots to explore: National Orchid Garden, Themed Gardens, Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, Healing Garden, Fragrant Garden, Foliage Garden and the Evolution Garden.
”With over 4 million visits annually, SBG is the most-visited botanic gardens in the world. It has been named Asia’s top park by online travel site TripAdvisor in June 2013. Since its establishment, SBG has continued to be a regional centre for plant science, research and conservation in Southeast Asia.” Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Working Out With a Beautiful Backdrop
As featured in my previous blog post fitness was taken down a different route when I was in Singapore. I wanted to get outside and be active as much as possible to ensure I fully engaged with the surroundings. One morning I took my workout outside and admired the architecture that surrounded me as well as doing interval training. I couldn’t believe the famous buildings that surrounded me and the Formula1 track being less than a 5-minute walk, it was breathtaking and truly showed how small the world is. Moments like this should be sacred and should be savoured always. Check out my previous blog post to delve deeper into my fitness routine whilst on holiday…
Marina Bay Sands – “This iconic integrated resort boasts luxury accommodations, upscale shopping and an infinity pool with unparalleled views of the city”. The infinity pool at Skypark is the world’s largest elevated swimming pool, at 200m above ground level! The shops are not to be missed at MBS there are over 300 outlets at the shoppes which represent elegance, wealth and beauty.
Robertson Quay was one of my favourites, it began my day and sometimes ended my day. In the morning I would walk along the Quay and buy some breakfast, read my book and take in the fresh air around me. In the evenings I would either explore the Quay for an evening walk or enjoy some food at a local bistro, bar or restaurant. The food is endless on this Quay! & I was a 5-minute walk from the key focal points. My foodie adventures will be featured in my next blog post and it is not to be missed, breakfast was packed full of sweet treats, eggs, avocado and delicious pastries and baked bread! Bright colours surround Singapore and being a lover of the rainbow it really made me feel happy. How beautiful is this bridge I captured? Named the Alkaff Bridge. Doesn’t it just inject the river with such vibrancy! Again, architecture like this should be admired, a lot of hard work and consideration has been put into this creation which creates a great photo spot for passers-by!
Clarke Quay Central and China Town
On this particular day, I took it upon myself to walk from Robertson Quay to Central and then all the way to China Town. It was difficult but so worth the journey! In the heat of Singapore walking can seem a lot more challenging than usual. I took images of delicate flowers, discovered my padlock from my previous visit to Singapore, ate some delicious breakfast and then went to the bustling China Town. Central isn’t a focal point throughout the day, the bars and restaurants are shut and don’t usually open up until the evening. However, the Quay is beautiful for a morning walk and a great pit-stop before heading into the craziness of China Town.
When I discovered my padlock it made me very happy, all of my previous memories came FLOODING back and for that split second I smiled and realised that I have come a long way since 2014. When we view things from a different perspective we truly appreciate every single moment, we reminisce and can make unforgettable memories. Here is to another amazing year of memory making. 2014 was a beautiful year.
China Town is one of my favourites because I love the atmosphere, I love the colours and I love the food there. They have a famous food centre named the Maxwell Food centre and street food and fresh fruit doesn’t go lightly there, it is all around you (I’ll explore this further in my next blog post). I love the oriental drapes, the gorgeous silk scarves and I love the jewellery the locals sell in abundance, this is a great place to pick up a well-loved souvenir!
Whilst I was in Singapore I re-visited two beautiful temples, both temples are not to be missed and should be at the top of your list! Both of them are free to enter. Remember, respect the temples as you would your own place of worship and embrace the moment of serenity that surrounds.
Sri Mariamman Temple
The first temple I visited was – Sri Mariamman Temple, this temple requires you to remove your footwear and wear a beautiful silk robe, located near the entrance. Sometimes, photos are not allowed, however, on this particular occasion they were! A place for worship and peace, a mesmerising experience.
“Located in Chinatown, the Sri Mariamman Temple dates back to 1827 and is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. At the temple, look out for its ornate and elaborate detailing. The majestic ‘gopuram’ (grand tower entrance) especially is a landmark to generations of Hindu worshippers and Singaporeans alike”.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum
The second temple I visited was – Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum –
“Built in 2007, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum may be a recent addition to the historic Chinatown district. Yet the temple is definitely worth a visit, with its rich features and exhibits on Buddhist art and culture”.
This temple is rich in red and gold and decorates China Town beautifully. Artefacts from the Buddha himself are to be discovered inside as well as other beautiful creations. Worship again is a true beauty in this temple and should be respected. This is a must see.
I discovered my Guardian based on my zodiac sign and discovered the traits of my beautiful Guardian Diety. A Guardian Diety is a particular sign that offers spiritual guidance and protection. Like the Buddha, a personal Guardian Diety serves as a source of solace, spiritual support and inspiration. Mine was the year of the rat!
Yong Siak St
Just down the road from Tiong Bahru market is Yong Siak St, possibly the hippest neighbourhood around! With beautiful quirky coffee shops, a book shop for true bookworms, homeware stores offering handmade bespoke goods and designer clothing that is created by local designers. The coffee shops I visited will be featured in the next blog post, but let’s explore the gorgeous bookshop!
BooksActually is an independent bookstore offering a wide range of genres! This isn’t just any old bookstore. This bookstore has several pets and is just like Alladins cave and is truly magical. The layout and decor of this shop make this shopping trip a lot more theatrical and truly makes reading an exciting journey of creativity. If you’re an aspiring creative writer, love creativity, want to become an author or love reading books this is a must see! I purchased my very own Singlish notebook which mentions Singlish phrases on each page. The Singlish notebook is a beautiful way to remember Singapore as an authentic and unique blend of Chinese, Malay and Indian culture.
Singlish – is the local language of Singapore, it has negative connections towards the incorrect use of English however, it is extremely genuine and personal to Singapore. “Singlish is built upon the subtle nuances of the Singaporean personality and reflects daily life in the country.”
“BOOKSACTUALLY (est. 2005) is an independent bookstore specialising in Fiction and Literature. This includes Poetry, Essays, Literary Journals, alongside obscure, critical works and antique/rare editions. We also stock titles from various subjects we like: History, Biography, Current Affairs, Human Sciences, Math/Natural Sciences, Travel Narrative, Food Narrative, Aesthetics, Music and Film. BooksActually also houses the largest collection of Singapore literary publications including some out-of-print titles.
In our bookstore, you can often find literary trinkets in the form of stationery and other lovely tchotchkes. We publish and distribute books under our imprint Math Paper Press. We also hand-stitch notebooks and produce stationery under Birds & Co”.
This little shop was the true definition of ‘quirky’ and ‘eccentric’. Strangelets were packed full of homemade goodies including leather bags, interior furnishings, stationary and beautiful personalised cards. The perfect place for gifts and higher end trinkets.
Woods In The Books
This bookshop is the childhood heaven, it was a great way for me to reminisce on my childhood favourites and flick through the pages of books I use to read when I was a little girl. Illustrations cover the walls and artwork representing the alphabet is hung throughout the shop as bunting, this shop was extremely pretty and extremely comforting! Although this shop sells a lot of children’s books it also sells some classic novels and some information books perfect for the inner child in you. I selected two books which I loved the most, one by David Crystal and another about famous philosophers. Both extremely easy to read but something which is light-hearted! You would never imagine this being a children’s book shop due to the sheer tranquillity of the place, I browsed the shelves feeling relaxed and happy. Again, another great shopping experience.
“Woods in the Books is an independent bookshop for picture books, founded in 2009 and nestled in the quaint neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru, Singapore. We pick and choose a range of our favourite books to enchant readers both young and young-at-heart”.
Tiong Bahru Market – Part 1
I loved Tiong Bahru! Just a 5-minute walk from the quirkiest shops and bistros but also has the most amazing food centre. I explored the food centre and the ground floor market and was completely overwhelmed by the food, flowers and soft furnishings they sell. The street art decorates the walls all around the market and injects a lot of colour into the surroundings, I had to capture my favourite pieces! Who would love this peacock on their garden wall or on the side of their house? Perhaps, somebody extremely passionate about colour (me). I explore the market in further detail in my next blog post with specific reference to the food.
“Mention Tiong Bahru and locals will tell you it’s one of the most happening hoods in town. Lined with row after row of quaint art-deco shophouses, the residential estate is jam-packed with some of the city’s hottest food and lifestyle establishments, not forgetting the heritage-rich places that offer a slice of traditional Singapore”.
The National Gallery
A place for research, learning, browsing, relaxation and to get a true feel for the heritage of Singapore and Southeast Asia through art. Art speaks a thousand words and is a fascinating thing to explore. I loved exploring the gallery and learning about the different stages of art through time. This gallery holds the largest collection of modern art from Singapore and Southeast Asia. Special exhibitions are also hosted here and are something to tick off your to-do list whilst in Singapore. Although the artwork is beautiful the building itself is a piece of art. White crisp edges, modern furnishings and selfie spots – located here on the stairs! & not forgetting, the rooftop which offers some SPECTACULAR views of Singapore – the perfect picture location also.
Also, don’t forget to visit the gift shop!
ArtScience Museum MBS
The beautiful lotus shaped building has hidden treasures inside! One exhibition being extremely child-friendly and was one of the best exhibitions I have ever been to – Future World. I also explored Big Bang Data and learnt about how data is impacting our interactions largely on a daily basis without us even knowing. I am a lover of science and art and as the name suggests, this museum fuses both of those concepts together! Check out the website for more ArtScience – MBS
Nature – This exhibition space for the Future World represented nature and how it changes dramatically throughout the East to the West. This room had a projection screen which turned you into a huge floral backdrop! Interactive systems covered the floors and the walls allowing children to truly explore the hidden nature.
Park – Another section of the exhibition explored playful activity and was the perfect place for excess energy. This section also wanted to express that “play also allows us to reflect on the ideals and truths that are missed in the activities of daily life, transcending the notion of ‘pleasure’ to become an essential element of personal and societal development”.
My favourite part of this exhibition! – Space – The journey of this fantastic exhibition ends by going outwards and upwards into astronomical space. I think everybody was overwhelmed by the installations and couldn’t wait to capture the beauty on camera, pictures do not do this justice! – “Visitors are invited to appreciate the beauty and the scale of the universe through teamLab’s monumental installation, Crystal Universe”. This took my breath away and made me feel happiness inside.
Big Bang Data – this exhibition explored what data means to us. “It shows the many ways data is generated, visualised, and understood through the works of artists, designers, journalists, and innovators. By increasing our awareness of the data around us, we can determine the kind of data society in which we to live in the future”. Again, another amazing exhibition which voices the importance of data and change but it also has its limitations.
Films At The Fort presented by Casillero del Diablo
A dream came true whilst I was in Singapore! I was taken to an open-air cinema to enjoy an award winning film, eat some delicious food and get cosy underneath the stars. It was one of the best evenings I have ever had and it really made me smile. I always see these things happen in movies! It was lovely weather, I was surrounded by wonderful people and the food we had prepared was delicious. It couldn’t have been more perfect!
“Films At The Fort presented by Casillero del Diablo is Singapore’s premier open-air cinema event, combining award-winning films with gourmet food and wine. Set in the natural amphitheatre of Fort Canning Park from 11th-21st August 2016, this is the perfect place to unwind with friends over a sunset drink before enjoying a quality film under the stars”.
Haji Lane & The Arab Street Area
Before Tiong Bahru, there was Haji Lane, the hipster neighbourhood that is covered with boutiques, quirky homemade goods, delicious cafes, bars and the prettiest walkway you have ever seen! If you love street art then capture some beautiful shots here on Haji Lane. Hidden gems are to be discovered here and you’ll find yourself admiring all of the colours around you, before being sucked into the gorgeous goods they have on offer. Singapore has the magic powers of whisking you off to somewhere else but being 10 minutes apart from a different neighbourhood. Everything is close together but the diversity of Singapore is to be explored and admired. It’s beautiful. Haji Lane is a must if you’re a foodie, fashion lover and a passionate artist!
“Once an ethnic enclave for the Muslim community, including Arab and Bugis traders, Kampong Glam is now a thriving shopping destination, peppered with charming hole-in-the-wall boutiques – perfect for those seeking unique finds at wallet-friendly prices”.
“Masjid Sultan Mosque is a special place for not only the Muslim community but for Singapore itself. It began life in the early 1800s, when Sultan Hussain Shah, Ruler of Temasek (the former name of Singapore) proposed to build a mosque”.
Great World City, Bugis Street and Orchard Road
Shopping is made easy here in Singapore from high-end favourites to high-street goodies and homemade trinkets to take home. However, the only issue you will have is where to go for your shopping! Food, fashion and accessories are everywhere in Singapore and their shopping districts are a must-see. The atmosphere, the hustle and bustle and the shopping experience is like no other.
Great World City
Bugis had a thriving atmosphere, was packed FULL of people and had cheap goods surrounding you throughout. Souvenirs, accessories, homeware and clothing are all to be purchased here if you want some cheap finds!
If you are a shopaholic, can shop all day long and never get bored then this is the place for you! Designer outlets, high street favourites and foodie bars to keep the hunger at bay. Orchard Road is a must-see when you’re here in Singapore.
“Every shopper’s paradise – Orchard Road, Asia’s most famous shopping street, is home to fashion favourites, specialist stores and loads of other lifestyle choices. Orchard Road, a 2.2km shopping belt, is the place for retail therapy.”.
S.E.A. Aquarium™ at Resorts World Sentosa
I have previously visited Sentosa Resort World on my last visit to Singapore and explored all of the wonders of the park! This time around I went to re-visit the aquarium and my goodness – I was blown away! It was beautiful. I have never seen an aquarium like it and I couldn’t help but admire the beauty of the outstanding tanks that filled every wall with an array of psychedelic fish. The Open Ocean habitat was my favourite part! It allows you to feel completely surrounded by marine life and experience what it is like to be on the ocean floor without stepping foot anywhere near water.
If you have got this far, go you! This was a long blog post but I wanted to cover some of the main things I did. When I was in Singapore I met some lovely people that helped me with my mindset and guided me closer to my dreams and ambitions. I have only explored Singapore in a small way and I can’t wait to re-visit again and discover more hidden gems. Singapore is a place for opportunities, relaxation and adventure. It is a magical place.
I really hope you enjoyed this blog post, I absolutely loved creating it and I loved looking through my pictures again. As previously mentioned, I will be uploading a part 2 of this post and it will be food specific: mentioning these places again but from a food perspective. I hope you’re excited! Remember, travelling is essential and it can really open your eyes to the opportunities out there. The world is a small place and although it seems scary, it’s amazing.
Happy Sunday everyone!
Where should I travel to next? Do you want to go to Singapore?
I am an avid explorer and I need to travel more! Do you want to collaborate? Be sure to email me, I would love to hear from you.