If you are staying overnight at Changi airport there are really only two choices, the very reasonably priced Transit Hotels, airside, or the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Terminal 3. The Crowne Plaza is expensive but the rooms are fantastic and the Skytrain link from any of the terminals makes it so simple when arriving and departing. If you join the Priority Club when you book you get a good discount on Food & Drinks, the evening buffet is fantastic.
If you are staying in the city there are various options, we arrived late and picked up a taxi into the city but there are good rail links and also shuttle buses to hotels.
For getting around the city I would recommend a one day or two day pass, these are great value and cover the metro and buses. You have to pay a deposit on any ticket and if you get single tickets you have to claim back your deposits therefore a two day was simpler with a S$10 deposit which we claimed back after our last journey, Do however check when the ticket offices are open in order to reclaim your money.
As usual check the web sites www.booking.com and www.venere.com ,we chose to stay in Chinatown as I had read that this was a lively area to stay and it has certainly changed since I was last there. It is now full of Boutique type hotels that have been developed in the traditional Shop Houses.
We chose the Hotel 1929, www.hotel1929.com 50 Keong Saik Road, this was one of the early hotels in this area and we enjoyed our stay, the room prices were reasonable by Singapore standards. One word of warning however is that the comments all say that the basic rooms are small, and they are correct, in fact it is an understatement. You have to be very good friends with your travelling companion but having said that the rooms are well appointed and breakfast was included.
Part of the reason for visiting Singapore must be the food and the best and cheapest place to try this is at the Hawker Stalls. We tried Maxwell Food Court in Chinatown, and La Pau Sa at Raffles Quay. Both had a great choice and were incredibly cheap. Another place to sample various types of local food is Smith Street in the heart of Chinatown which is totally taken over by food stalls at night. Grab your table then take turns to wander and grab a large Tiger Beer and some great food.
We stumbled, not literally, upon Esquina 16 Jiak Chuan Road because it was round the corner from our hotel and seemed to be incredibly popular. We did not realise that this was one of Singapore’s current hot spots opened by top English chef Jason Atherton with a couple of local partners. It is as the name indicates Spanish Tapas, but top range, there are no bookings and it opens at 6pm on a Saturday and by 6.30pm there will be no seats at the bar and you will be lucky to get a place. It’s not cheap but Singapore apart from hawker stalls is not. The service and the food was excellent.
Mustard, 32 Race Course Road, Little India, there are lots of cheap places to eat but this was recommended and did not disappoint. It was full with locals, the service was on the slow side but the food was great and reasonably priced.
Salt Grill & Sky Bar, 56th Floor ION, Orchard Road. This is run by top Aussie chef Luke Mangan, there is a restaurant on the 55th floor which does what we would call a pre-theatre dinner at a reasonable price, then on the 56th is the Bar which does a tapas menu. The food and service was good, yes it was expensive but hey with the views that you get it was worth it!
Chinatown Seafood Restaurant, Corner of Pagoda Street & Trengannu Street, the food is supposed to be excellent and very reasonable for the specialities such as chilli crab, you can also just sit and have a very cheap beer and watch the world go by, a great spot.
SkyBar, ION Orchard Road, see above you have to book at the desk in ION but it’s worth it for the views.
Raffles, Beach Road, yes it does have to be done. They have moved the Long Bar upstairs, it used to be longer and on the ground floor but it is worth having a look and choosing between that and the lovely courtyard bar. The Singapore Gin Sling is the same as it was but they also do seasonal variations which in my opinion are a lot more pleasant than the original. Have a look in the shop and pick up a souvenir.
Chinatown Seafood Restaurant, see above.
The area around Ann Siang Road and Hill in Chinatown, is full of ex-pat type bars, a lot with either a British or French vibe. There were a couple which we enjoyed, some have roof top terraces and attract a very young, trendy crowd at the weekend.
Emporium, 5 Ann Siang Road, is a bar and restaurant, a nice place to sit and have a drink on the terrace after dinner.
Beaujolais, 1 Ann Siang Hill, as you might have guessed a French bar and restaurant, another lovely terrace for after dinner and reasonably priced house wine.
The area around Kampong Glam is apparently a good area in the evening and although we only visited during the day there seemed to be a wide variety of places to eat and drink. The only one we tried was Experience Arabia, 27 Bali Lane, as it was the only one open early on a Sunday lunchtime.
The most famous Singapore drink has to be Tiger Beer and very good it is, particularly on a hot and humid day. The second most famous is probably the Singapore Gin Sling from Raffles hotel. I well remember my first visit many years ago and while I loved Raffles and the long bar I was really disappointed by the drink. They now serve seasonal varieties which I much preferred.
This is a city where you can drink the most expensive imported wines, cocktails in rooftop bars and cheap beer at a hawker stall, in other words you can drink anything you fancy at either end of the price scale.
If you are only there for a couple of days try and visit the various different areas that represent the different cultures of Singapore. Chinatown a must for food and cheap souvenirs, the Colonial area to see the buildings and to visit Raffles, Little India for a good curry, and Kampong Glam the Malay area for great shops and cafes.