Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Let's take a trip Tuesday - Singapore




Name: Flora Moreno de Thompson
Location: Singapore

How long have you lived there? 
7 Months

If you moved from somewhere else, where did you move from? Why?
I am a born and raised San Jose, California girl. My husband Jeff and I moved to Singapore because his job offered him the chance to relocate here. We love to travel and had little holding us back from packing up our lives and moving somewhere, so when the opportunity to move abroad came up, we were ready to go! 

How is the weather?
Every time I check the weather app on my phone in Singapore, it shows a rain cloud with a question mark on top of it. That sums up the weather here in Singapore quite nicely; you never know what your day will be like, but it will more than likely include rain. During the cooler period (the last months of the year), it tends to rain a bit more than the rest of the year. In general, Singapore is very hot and humid. It took me a while to adjust, but now I seem to handle it better.

Tell us what a typical weekend is like for you there?
We spend the typical weekend running errands, trying new restaurants, and getting some shopping in, too. Sometimes we enjoy Sunday brunch at a coffee shop down the street. If it's really hot outside, we usually try and do things indoors, like movies or going to the mall (everything in Singapore is in a mall...even grocery stores and doctors' offices). If it's not so hot out, we try and do something outside like walking the dogs along the beach at East Coast Park, or having dinner at a hawker center (imagine a food court, but outdoors). Recently, we visited the small island of Pulau Ubin on a Saturday to ride bikes and we hope to do this more often on weekends, too. We love going to events like basketball games and concerts when we get the chance.

Other weekends, we take advantage of our central location in Southeast Asia and take a weekend getaway to a neighboring country. We've gone to VietnamIndonesiaThailand, and China for quick trips over a weekend. We have a few more trips planned over the next months that we're really looking forward to. You can find really cheap plane tickets out of Singapore to nearby countries. 

Where do you like to eat in your town? 
There are SO many great restaurants and hawker centers here and Jeff and I have only hit the proverbial tip of the iceberg. We also cook at home a lot because to be honest, sometimes eating out here can get really expensive. Singapore is quite an epicurean theme park; if you love good food, you've come to the right place. While Singaporean food is definitely prevalent, every palate can find something to enjoy. In no particular order, here are a few of our popular haunts. This list will probably change regularly as we are still eating our way through Singapore: 

  • 1. Piedra Negra - I would venture to say this is the best Mexican food in Singapore. Their sangria hits the spot, too.
  • 2. Al Forno - Delicious Italian food and their pizzas are baked in a wood-fired oven!
  • 3. Jumbo Seafood - Try the chili crab, a traditional Singaporean dish.
  • 4.  East Coast Lagoon Food Village - A hawker centre on the beach. Great spot for a cheap yet yummy dinner and cold beers in the evenings. 
  • 5. Vines on Nine - A coffee shop by day and wine and tapas bar by night. Perfect for brunch. 
  • 6. Ya Kun Kaya Toast - these are all over Singapore and serve traditional Singaporean breakfast: kaya toast and kopi. Kaya is a spread made with coconut. It is heavenly and tastes like dessert. 
  • 7. Hawker Centres - they're everywhere, they're cheap, and they're good. So much variety, too.
Where do you like to shop?
Shopping in Singapore is rough if you're a tall girl like me. Shoes in size 10 are hard to find, too! People here are generally much smaller than I am. However, there is a lot of great shopping to do here. Bugis Street is an indoor street market where vendors sell trendy fashions and accessories (the better shops are on the second floor). You can find cool tops and dresses starting at S$10. A few blocks away is Haji Lane, a hidden little alleyway full of unique shops and local designers. This is a great place to shop for gifts, accessories and one-of-a-kind articles of clothing. Some of the clothing found here is worth the hunt, too. Besides the little shops here and there, there are also malls everywhere in Singapore. Orchard Road is famous for it's great shopping; my favorites are Zara and Topshop. There's something for every budget in Singapore. 




Suggest some must see places for an out of town visitor.
Try and stay out of the malls, if possible. There are so many and they are tempting, but there is so much else to see in this little country! I would suggest that visitors check explore the Marina, especially at night. The views of the city skyline are beautiful! If you want to get great views of Singapore from high up, take a ride on the Singapore Flyer or pay to go to the Sky Park at the top of the Marina Bay Sands.
I definitely recommend that people stroll through Little India, Chinatown and Arab Street. These ethnic enclaves have a lot of history (worth researching before you visit) and are some of my favorite areas of Singapore. You might even find a cool souvenir to take home with you. If you want to do something outdoors, rent bikes and ride them along either East Coast Park or West Coast Park. 

Eat at a hawker center; there are tons to choose from but one of the most famous ones is Lau Pa Sat in the commercial business district (CBD). If you are fortunate enough to visit Singapore during a cultural celebration, you should check it out. I recently got to witness Thaipusam, a Tamil religious celebration, and it was truly spectacular. The Formula 1 Grand Prix comes to Singapore for the only night race of the entire circuit; if you're here for that you should go, too. This city always has something going on. 



I think Singapore is a place best absorbed through the senses. Experience the tastes, smells, sounds, textures, and colorful imagery. You don't have to look very far to get any of these. I mentioned quite a few things to do, but there are always new events coming into town so you might find even more things to keep you busy. And if you do get a chance to make it to Singapore, drop me a line and I'll show you around! 

Tell us why you love your town: I love Singapore because there is so much to see and do here. Every week I go on little adventures with some of my girlfriends and we are never short on ideas of places to explore. My husband and I get to travel at a frequency we would never have otherwise been able to afford because Singapore is so central to many countries. Living here has taught me a lot about other cultures and allowed me to see other parts of the world and I'm really appreciative of that. It's such a diverse place. And I love trying new things to eat!

Anything else we should know about where you live? 
Although Singapore is in Southwest Asia, it's a great mix of East and West. Just about everyone speaks English so getting around is simple. Don't be afraid to approach someone and ask for directions or recommendations; people are generally reserved but if you ask them, they'll help you. Come with an open mind and an empty stomach. There is a lot to see and eat here. Also, dress for warm weather and anticipate lots of walking, unless you want to take cabs everywhere. Take in as much of the sights as you can! Singapore is a relatively small city state, so you should be able to get a lot in while you're here.

...
Thanks Flora!  Singapore looks amazing.

If you'd like to tell us all about your city/town, email me at sgmtucker@gmail.com

xox


18 comments:

  1. Beautiful post - I know very little about Singapore, so it was very fun to read a little bit about it. Cool pictures too. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cool post! My uncle was in Singapore last month. You know how there's a saying that we all have a "twin" somewhere in the world? Well, my uncle says he saw my twin while in Singapore but he didn't have his camera on him to get a picture! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good read and the pictures are nice.:D

    I miss Asia!:D

    ***** Marie *****
    allthingsmarie.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow - this makes me really want to travel to Asia. I've never been! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. i love her stripey seer sucker shorts.

    ReplyDelete
  6. nice post... love the concept! there's nothing like a lil' virtual travel to get me trough the day! thanks for that!
    love,
    Jello

    http://jelloskitchen.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love this! I lived in Singapore for three years when I was in elementary school--it's very different now! But I loved seeing the pictures, so fun!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've always been interested in Singapore! I'm so glad you featured a story on it - now if only I could find a job that would relocate me to fun places!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sarah Congrats on having over 500 followers!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sarah, thanks so much for featuring my blog and me!

    Flora

    ReplyDelete
  11. Awesome! I've lived in Singapore for 7 months back in 2008 and it was the TIME OF MY LIFE!!! Love all about it!
    xoxo
    Catita

    ReplyDelete
  12. singapore looks awesome! and the food looks delicious too : )

    great blog, by the way. i'm your newest follower!!

    cheers,
    cailen
    www.cailenascher.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I loved this post! I went to Singapore in November and wish this had been written before I went-so many good tips!

    http://travelmoonblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/singapore-surprise.html

    Loved the description and hearing about what it is like living there. I was so pleasantly surprised with Singapore, and don't even get me started on the food.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh, I'd love to visit Singapore. Loved learning more about it and the places and things to do!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I used to live in Singapore for one year during my studies and I dearly miss it - especially the food, the heat and the possibility of oh-so-much travelling.
    Hope to return one day for another, and hopefully longer, stay! xox

    ReplyDelete
  16. your blog is so lovely and charming! looking forward to reading it :)

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you (: