Gluten free Singapore / Singapore’s must do’s with kids
Stumbling upon the ever popular “Crazy Rich Asians” movie was the happiest accident prior to my Singapore trip. Once you get past the title, the movie is a delight and perfect intro to all things Singapore. Although my trip looked nothing like the movie-I’m neither crazy, rich, or Asian, but my love of Asia runs deep. The lion city (called such due to the discovery of a lion by one of the settlers) is one of the easiest countries to explore. It’s is clean, modern, very green, and the ultimate melting pot of cultures-Indian, Asians, and Arabs as well as many others-my favorite part.
Everyone speaks English, public transportation is excellent and readily available, but the food. Oh the food. It’s everywhere, tasty, and a vast variety.
Singapore is known to be expensive, but there’s always a work around especially when it comes to eating. The Hawker centers are singapore’s version of a food court-much like we see in American Malls. The hawker centers are littered throughout the city and are your best bet for a tasty cheap meal. The must-try dishes in the hawker centers are Hainese chicken rice, satay, laksa, and chili crab as well as many others. Because I’ve recently gone gluten free (not by choice) since moving to Asia-hello worst timing in the world- I cannot sample all these dishes. But according to the masses these are Singapore’s favorite. I gave the chicken rice dish and laksa a go and didn’t have any problems! We frequented La Pau Sat hawker (laksa) center and the Maxwell hawker center (tian tian chicken rice).
In typical Maria fashion I booked a bus tour, my love of bus tours knows no bounds. However in this case, the bus tour registration spot was difficult to get to and far from where we stayed. I can recomend the MRT (singapore subway system) and taxis which are everywhere, not expensive, and take credit card. But our favorite way around Singapore quickly became electric scooters, especially for my boys. A huge hit. If you are up for that adventure, download the Neuron scooter app, use your phone to find the scooters located nearest you, scan the scooter and you are off. We scootered 3 of the 4 days. Obsessed. No helmets, but max speed is about 12 mph since we doubled up on the scooter, so ride at your own risk!
What to See
The Marina Bay Sands and the Gardens by the Bay are absolutely both tied for first. I was so close to booking at least one night at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) but I couldn’t justify the price even for the iconic infinity pool on the 54th floor, maybe next time.You can purchase a ticket up to their skypark for those views too! Think of MBS is a campus complex, within her is a 3 story mall, shops, restaurants, and even a small boat ride. We even attended an unforgettable church service here in the banquet rooms, NCC church.
Behind MBS is Gardens by the bay, Singapore’s crown jewel, really showing off her green thumb. Huge botanical metal-like trees, a cloud forest and so on. Truly inspiriting and creatively green masterpiece. Both the MBS and Gardens by the bay host a free light show every night, this is not to be missed.
Since we live in Okinawa Japan, I rarely set out to visit a country’s respective Chinatown. However, Singapore’s Chinatown is not to be missed. It’s full of gardens, gorgeous buildings with amazing architecture and interest, plus all the hipster restaurants are here!
Every time we travel, I set aside a full day of fun for the kids and Sentosa island is made just for kids! Just a cable car away from Singapore, Sentosa features Universal Studios, S.E.A aquarium, a luge ride, and so much more. Purchase tickets for these attractions on klook.com first, lots of savings on that website! We did the aquarium and not to be missed the Skyline Luge ride. You ride a go kart type car down and ski lift back up, they did it twice and begged for more.
Where to Stay
We found a great airbnb in the Central business district (CBD) which was close to Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the bay and walkable to Chinatown. I figure out what I want to see then pick a hotel or airbnb close to there making transportation as easy as possible. The CBD turned out to be a perfect location full of hawker centers, gluten free food options, MRT subway system within 2 blocks, and electric scooters nearby! Here is a guide to give you an idea of what attractions are near which hotels/neighborhoods in Singapore to help your decision.
Surprises and extra tips
Living on a subtropical island like Okinawa has us well acquainted with intense humidity, but even Okinawa cools down during the winter months, not Singapore! It was drippy humid and rained a little every day. Find a place to stay with a pool to help you cool down each day, especially for the kiddos! And bring umbrellas!
Singapore was easy on the eyes, senses, and heart. It is made to explore, feels safe, clean and has much to offer kids. I would easily return in a heartbeat!
A Christian, married to an insanely gifted and talented Marine husband, mother to Gideon (15), Boaz (10) and our rainbow baby, Shiloh. I’m actually an R.N turned accidental photographer, currently living in Fredericksuburg, Va after completing our final tour in Okinawa Japan. You'll find travel, Jesus, and lifestyle posts here on the Journal.