I am so excited to finally be able to share our adventures in Singapore with you! We had an incredible time getting to know Singapore as part of Thomas Cook’s and the Singapore Tourism Board’s #GetIntoSingapore campaign. It was so surreal! One minute, we were in cloudy, grey London ... the next, we were lounging by an infinity pool as Singapore's bright lights twinkled below us. With that said, here are 10 of my favorite moments in Singapore - 10 experiences that you just can't miss while you're there.
Take a dip in a rooftop pool
Singapore is home to a bevy of spectacular rooftop pools with stunning views of the city - the most famous being the infinity pool at the top of Marina Bay Sands resorts, which is the largest in the world. While we didn't get up to the top of Marina Bay Sands during our visit, we were lucky enough to enjoy the beautiful infinity pools at The Westin Singapore and luxury boutique hotel, Naumi - which both had beautiful city views of the bay and beyond.
Cool down with a delicious mango ice kachang
After a day of sightseeing, we were hot and exhausted. Our guide for the day, Lynette, introduced us to a Singaporean favorite at Maxwell Food Centre: mango ice kachang, a shaved ice treat flavored with sweet, multi-colored syrup and topped with fresh chunks of mango. If you make it to the bottom of this icy dessert, you're rewarded with sweet red beans and grass jelly (two popular ingredients in East Asian desserts). So delicious, but one that needs to be eaten quickly before it turns into a rainbow soup, given the hot and humid weather!
Have a Singapore Sling in Raffles' Long Bar
Raffles Hotel is one of the most beautiful examples of colonial architecture I've ever seen. Aside from the hotel, the Raffles complex also houses several luxury shops, where guests and visitors can get their retail fix. But more importantly, it is home to the Long Bar, where the famous Singapore Sling was created. It’s also the only place in Singapore where littering is allowed: you’re encouraged to throw your peanut shells on the floor, a tradition that dates back to 1915 and one that I didn't feel entirely comfortable doing until I'd consumed about half of my Singapore Sling!
Pretend you're in Jurassic Park at Cloud Forest, Gardens by the Bay
We woke up early one morning and raced to Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay so we could beat the crowds. The early start was worth it, since it meant we had the place to ourselves for about an hour or so! Set to mimic mountain-top conditions, Cloud Forest is a truly wondrous display. We took the lift to the top floor (aptly named, "Lost World") and worked our way down the winding walkways as we were confronted by a majestic waterfall (the largest indoor waterfall in the world), dripping stalagmites, and stunning living walls which were filled with vibrant flowers and lush vegetation.
Watch the Supertree Grove "Garden Rhapsody" Show at Gardens by the Bay
The Supertree Grove - a futuristic, man-made collection of "trees" that stand up to 16 storeys high – is featured in nearly every photo of Singapore. It's even more impressive at night, when the trees transform into a light show, complete with music. Fun fact: there's a restaurant at the top of one of the trees, plus a 28-metre long walkway that connects two of the Supertrees - not your average treehouse!
Get up close and personal with lions and giraffes at Night Safari
Some of the best things in Singapore happen at night: Night Safari is something everyone told me I had to do when I got there. Sure enough, John and I headed over after dinner one evening (the optimal time is after 9:30, when it's less crowded!) and hopped on a tram that encircled the zoo, taking us right up to stunning flamingos, scary hyenas, sweet elephants, and my personal favorite - the Malayan tapir. The animals are very dimly lit so that they can sleep (though most of them are nocturnal), but we still had terrific views as they snoozed, grazed, and wandered about.
Luge downhill at Sentosa Island before relaxing on the beach
Sentosa is home to Singapore's most beautiful beaches, luxury resorts, and theme parks. Never ones to opt for the "usual" experience, we left our beach towels at the hotel and bought passes for the downhill luge instead (sounds much scarier than it actually was), racing down two windy, paved paths and pretending that we were in MarioKart. From the bottom, a "Sky Ride" took us back up to the top (this was much scarier than I thought!) ... where we did it all over again.
See the beautiful orchids at Singapore's Botanic Gardens
Not to be confused with Gardens by the Bay, Singapore's Botanic Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts 74 hectacres of botanical and horticultural treasures. The National Orchid Garden has the largest display of tropical orchids in the world and it's here that you'll find SIngapore's national flower, the beautiful Vanda Miss Joaquim, as well as the "Celebrity Orchid Garden", which features the hybrid orchids created for visiting celebrities and dignitaries, such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Catch the sunset at Singapore's highest rooftop bar, 1-Altitude
As you know, I love catching a bird's eye view of whatever city I'm in, including my own! Singapore was no exception. John and I found the highest rooftop bar in Singapore, 1-Altitude and got there just in time for sunset, which was magical. The bar has a super laid-back and friendly vibe, plus the staff were more than happy to help us with a sunset selfie! Over delicious cocktails, we watched as the sun went down and the city's lights flickered on, displaying a magnificent, twinkling cityscape. Definitely one of the most thrilling views I've ever taken in.
Have you ever been to Singapore? What did you do there? I'd love to know! Next week, I’ll be sharing with you my favorite shopping destinations in Singapore.
This post was written on behalf of Thomas Cook and the Singapore Tourism Board. All opinions are my own. Find out how you can Get Into Singapore by booking a trip with Thomas Cook here.