Exploring Singapore On A Time Budget

Skyline at Singapore at night

I travel a lot. Since January 1, I’ve clocked 113 hours on an airplane and traveled almost 50,000 miles, spanning 9 countries.

But don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. I love to travel, meet new people, interact with other businesses, and work on various projects.

Usually my schedule is jam-packed, leaving me in amazing cities with little time to actually experience them. But over the years, I’ve learned how to incorporate some sightseeing and cultural experiences into my days.

One place I particularly enjoy is Singapore, considering I used to live there! From gorgeous scenes such as Gardens by the Bay, to delicious cuisine such as Chili Crab, there is a lot to see, experience, and taste in Singapore.

I am happy to be returning on April 25 for CEM in Telecoms World Summit to deliver my keynote, From Retail to Me-tail: Tomorrow’s Customers Are Here – and They’re Changing Everything.

Like myself, I know many of the other attendees will have overflowing schedules, so I thought I’d share my tips and tricks to seeing Singapore – without tiring yourself out.

Tip #1: Plan in Advance

This may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people don’t do it! Knowing what you are doing on which day eliminates time wasted trying to figure this out while you are there!

I usually make a list of at least five things I want to experience before visiting a new city, then I consult my work schedule to see where they fit. Most of the activities I choose can be experienced during the evening.

When making your own plans, make sure you don’t schedule a high-energy activity before or after a busy day. In Singapore especially, the hot and humid weather can quickly drain your energy. Be sure you can refresh in your hotel after excursions and before any meetings.

Tip #2: Multi-task

Find a place to enjoy a meal near the site you plan on seeing! Whether you chose to eat first or after is up to you. Either way, it saves time and gives you the opportunity to catch up on those pesky emails you missed, FaceTime your family, or discuss the day with your co-worker while you await a delicious Singaporean meal!

I suggest trying one of the numerous Hawker Markets (street food). The food found at these markets is some of the best food anywhere in the world – one street vendor even has a Michelin Star!

My personal favorite is a spot in Chinatown called Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice Noodle. They will not disappoint you!

Tip #3: Shopping

Visit Orchard Road for one of the greatest shopping experiences on earth! Walking along the lit street filled with thousands of people is an amazing experience in itself. Asia, and Singapore in particular, can really grab you if you are not used to such population density.

There are also many individual air-conditioned malls along this road. Making it the perfect place to escape the heat, wander through the small food courts and hawker centres, or browse the high-end designer stores for a bargain.

Tip #4: Marina Bay

Marina Bay is definitely one of the modern wonders of the world. This gigantic hotel dominates the Marina Bay skyline and is a delightful place to visit. The observatory at the top gives you a dramatic view over the city from the boat-like structure that is perched on top of the three pillars of the hotel. It’s stunning!

The Marina Bay is filled with other areas to explore. There are eateries, you can catch an evening light or fireworks show in the Bay, and there are shopping malls and monuments galore!

Tip #5: Off the Beaten Track

If you find yourself with a few extra hours to explore, take the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). The MRT is a super fast train (some sections even have driver-less trains) spanning the entire width and depth of the island.

The train can take you to a number of interesting places outside of the main centre of Singapore. One spot I think is undoubtedly fantastic is Little India. In this area, there is an array of accessible markets and stalls where you will find some of the most amazing Indian food outside of Mumbai itself.

Heading further out? Jump on the East Coast line and get off at Kembangan or Bedok, and head towards the sea. The East Coast Lagoon Village is home to JUMBO, one of the finest places to taste Singapore’s national dish, the Chilli Crab.

Back towards the city, you will find Boat Quay. I find Boat Quay much more enjoyable and authentic than Clarke Quay (which can be a little more touristy, though still worth checking out), along with the Raffles Hotel, where you can find the original Singapore Sling in the Long Bar.

If you’re traveling to beautiful Singapore anytime soon, I hope my list helps! And you think I’ve missed anything, let me know!  As always, you can connect with me on LinkedIn, and if you’re heading to Singapore for CEM, drop me a line!

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