Beginners Guide to Singapore

During your time at INSEAD, chances are that you are going to experience Singapore at some point. Before coming here, I kept hearing about how great Singapore was. People were jealous that I was going to spend four whole months there. So even with such high expectations - I was still pleasantly shocked.

Singapore is an amazing place.

It's clean, quiet, safe and easy to get around (I know cheap is missing from the list but you can't have it all I guess). So after almost two months here, here are my tips for anyone who is planning on coming here:

  1. Food - pretty much the main reason why I'm in love with this place. Singapore is considered a foodie's paradise and it feels like everywhere you go you can find something delicious. There are food courts located everywhere (near campus you have three, you can't go wrong with any of them) and they have a bunch of restaurants next to each other with delicious dishes for S$5-8. Then if you want to treat yourself, there's a plethora of incredible restaurants, though naturally these tend to be a bit pricey. Last but not least, there's the famous Michelin star chicken rice dish located in Chinatown. Honestly? I'm not a big fan but hey, you can cross "eat a Michelin star dish" off your bucket list for S$5 so why not?
  2. Transportation -  most chances are that are you're going to live at one of the complexes where most INSEAD MBA students live; but even if you don't, there's Singapore's subway - the MRT - which is super convenient and extremely cheap compared to cities such as New York or London. On top of that, Grab (the Southeast Asian Uber) and taxis are not expensive so getting around is not that big a challenge.
  3. Touristic Stuff - I know we're not tourists by definition but I think seeing the main touristic attractions here is a must. I love the Marina Bay area where you can see the famous Sands hotel (every time I see it I'm in awe, it's seriously impressive) and Gardens by the Bay - a huge nature park that kinda gives you the feeling like you're in the set of Avatar. If you like that area, I strongly recommend to go to Clarke Quay one evening, which is a really nice area on its own, but going to one of the rooftop bars so you can get a view of the hotel, the gardens, and the massive port in the background (see below picture). Two more places I would recommend visiting are Sentosa - there you will find the beach, the casino, Universal Studios, and Chinatown - I love the atmosphere there, the street food, and don't miss out on the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum.
  4. Travel - yes, this is supposed to be about Singapore but I'd just like to mention that you have so many options for a weekend getaway within a max of two hour flight, some examples are Thailand, Cambodia and Bali. Make sure you plan your trips wisely as there is a finite amount of weekends you have here.

So yes, Singapore is an amazing place and it has a lot to offer. Whether you're going to spend here only one period or your entire programme, I'm sure you're going to have a great time!