Adventuring with friends was basically the theme of this entire trip, and we set off Sunday morning to explore with some of our faves. We had a traditional Singaporean breakfast at a local chain called Toast Box, and I'm obsessed. This was easily the most affordable meal we had in Singapore, and both my boyfriend and I walked away satisfied (for under $10 USD!). I had toast with peanut butter, two super runny eggs and iced coffee sweetened with condensed milk and Milo. My bf had a traditional soup called Laksa with shrimp and noodles.
The Toast Box we stopped at was in a mall (go figure), and adjacent to the Chinatown MRT stop. A short ride later, and we were on Haji Lane in the historic Kampong Glam neighborhood. It's the hipster-chic sister to Arab Street, and definitely lived up to the hype. Cute stores, coffee shops, and people taking selfies everywhere. It was super diverse, and we had a good time marveling at all the different kinds of people doing the exact same thing. This is one of the few places in Singapore where you'll find street art, but I think all the murals are ok'd by the city. The buildings are more colonial-era shop houses painted bright colors, and a golden mosque dominates the horizon. #emojisinthewild are rampant.
The golden domed building in the neighborhood is a historic mosque called the Sultan Mosque or Masjid Sultan. It was built in 1824 for the first sultan of Singapore. The mosque was rebuilt in 1932. At the base of the towers you'll notice the bases of glass bottles. These were donated for construction by poor Muslims so that everyone in the community could give something for construction. If you're interested, the mosque offers guided tours in a bunch of languages.
Haji Lane was probably my favorite place in Singapore, and I'd love to come back when all the shops are open. Our main agenda for the rest of the day was to spend plenty of time at our hotel's infinity pool, but before we headed back we hit Orchard Road and the Marina Bay Sands.
To be honest, I'd suggest skipping both. Orchard Road was literally mall after mall with the same luxury stores repeated over and over, and Marina Bay Sands is probably a great place to stay, but is basically just another mall with a hotel, casino and overpriced drinks. There was a super strange/sad scene in the Marina Bay Sands mall that seemed like a great poetic take on the whole Singapore mega mall experience. In the basement of the mall, near the food court is an ice rink. The rink was completely empty except for one sad little girl standing in the middle and staring blankly into space. A little girl, on ice skates, in the tropics, ignored in the face of capitalism. Dejected and alone. We were all very ready to get out of there, and jumped back on the MRT towards our hotel.
After a long swim, and a couple of buckets of overpriced beers, we were ready for dinner. Dim sum won out again, and we headed to the mall (again) for soup dumplings at Dun Tai Fung. We only waited 10 minutes for a table, and then gorged ourselves on soup dumplings. Originally we planned on going to the rooftop bar at the Marina Bay Sands, but we were exhausted. I wound up dragging everyone to the Supertree Grove at the Gardens By The Bay, and we showed up just in time for the nightly light show. It was cool, and very Avatar-like, but also felt very structured and Disney-ish. As a word of advice, don't try to take a cab after the show ends--the que is mobbed. Instead, we ordered an Uber, skipped the line, and were in bed an hour later. The heat really takes it out of you, and we were all happy to leave the malls behind and head to Koh Samui in the morning.