What to Pack for Singapore

What the…? Yes, it’s me. Can you tell that I’m working full time, that we have 2.9 teenagers (with lives of their own, dammit) in the house, that my garden is growing and that the dog ate my homework?

But also, i hitched a ride to Singapore with SH, because he had a conference to attend. Wheee! Anyhoo, seeing as the last time I went to Singapore, there was a toddler at my knee and a baby on my back, and the photographic evidence shows I wore cheesecloth shorts and mens polo shirts, I decided I wanted to return somewhat more as the ‘lady’ (…I’ll just wait for the sniggering to die down…..) ahem, I’ve become. Surprisingly, googling ‘what to pack for Singapore’ didn’t turn up any advice.

My delicious sister Em asked me to write this as she will be visiting within the month on the back of a trip to Sri Lanka, and the lovely Robin asked me on FB whether I was still writing on my blog – all of which has combined with a quiet (dont say the q word out loud) Sunday morning – hence me writing the longest sentence of the year…at the start of this post.

I love Singapore – it’s clean, arty, friendly. Most people speak English, the food is fabulous, the food is open 24 hours in many places…and is cheap, and I love the way it seems like the jungle is trying to reclaim the city – or like the city is springing up in the jungle. And the key word here…is jungle. Singapore is hot and humid – and here lies the packing trick.

I don’t know if I’m the only one, but what generally happens is I will pack thoughtfully and then return from the trip having only used half of the suitcase’s contents. This trip was the same:

2 maxi dresses (one unworn)


1 maxi skirt (worn one full day)
Bathers (regrettably unworn)
Cropped black pants (worn constantly)
2 black tshirts (one worn)
A gold tank (worn for a posh dinner)
Teal tank (worn)
2 black tanks (both worn)
A very light cropped, short sleeve black cardi (worn constantly)
Gladiator sandals (worn until my ankles were too swollen to cope)
Gold sequin sandally thongs (worn see right at Marina Bay Sands)
Black ballet flats (worn once I couldn’t wear the sandals any longer and for travelling)

Plus to travel from Canberra’s chilly early morning autumn to Singapore’s balmy 32 degree evening: black cropped leggings, a black tunic, with a long sleeved layering top and a longsleeved black cardigan, and patterned cotton scarf.

All of my packing was soft, jersey type fabric that could be rolled up without side effects. And clearly the theme was black – useful for sweating freely in, not as hot as you might think, easily mixed and matched and dressed up with scarves or necklaces.

Recommendations:

If you have generous thighs, as I may or may not have, wearing a maxi skirt or maxi dress all day can be a mistake. After a full day of walking at Gardens by the Bay, my poor upper thighs were bruised and I regretted laughing at the friend who recommended talc for chafe. A half day or going out to do the dinner walk would have been manageable.

Tanks are good: pretty ones, layering ones, posh ones, a couple per day will keep you fresh as a daisy.

A really light cardi or wrap can be handy to counteract the air-con that sometimes aggressively counteracts the humidity..after all it can easily be chucked in a bag if not required. I also layered my tanks with a short sleeve cardigan as I wasn’t certain at first about how my tattoo would be received (I didn’t see many around), also as my own respect for modesty in some cultural areas.

Leggings and tunics are great comfort wear for Singapore or any travelling – take your favorite non crushables.

I did see some chic travellin’ ladies in their fisherman pants – if you are a fan, these would be comfortable and appropriate assuming your thighs behave (see above).

Comfortable cool shoes! I was gobsmacked at the young women walking rapidly and businesslike in their spikes – I will never have that talent. Conversely, I wished I’d brought my Birkenstocks or my Dr Scholls (although they are suede and probably not recommended due to the flash rain showers) and envied other travellers who had…they would have been perfect!

Stretchy clothes…OK it might be just me, but my skin seems to swell up a bit in the humidity so constricting clothes like denim are not going to make the cut for me here. Even tight sleeves bother me once I start to get my sweat on. Sorry. The up side is that then you are more comfortable when you are eating and walking and then eating and eating.

If possible, I’d recommend a bra extra to what you think you’ll need, or a bunch of sports bras if you’re smaller like myself. If you don’t have time to wash, it can be a little gross discovering how much sweat a bra can hold. Just keeping it real.

Long summer pjs are great for frigid hotel rooms – you can always take them off if you don’t need them.

If you’re that way inclined, and I am if I am wearing variations on all black day after day, a few nice scarves are easy, useful and less irritating on a hot damp neck than chains. Having said that they also make the best personal souvenirs…I bought two Desigual scarves (squeee) as a memento of my time in Singapore. They make me happy.

Luckily, our return to our 2.9 teenagers, horse, chooks, ducks, dogs, cats and daily lives coincided with a little Indian summer – and at its warmest Murrumbateman, Australia was only 10 degrees cooler than Singapore. It did help us adjust before autumn frosts came laughing at us a lazy week and a half later. That was a gift.

But that is certainly not the last you have seen of me Singapore. Next time I’ll be better packed and prepared…oh yes. I will be back.

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7 thoughts on “What to Pack for Singapore

  1. stropable says:

    lovely to read, as always. And good timing too as we are off to Fiji in a month and I’ll take heed of your packing advice – even though it will be far less glam in Fiji.

    Also thought you might like “our” blog – Andy writes and I faff around, provide amusing content activity and edit lamely. It is paintingthebridge.com

    Perhaps one day you and Simon would join us when you are in Sydders.

    fondest x

    • LOVE to! I was wondering about your dinners, now I’ll have to catch up. Compared to the flash little things getting round Singapore, I was far from glam – but I did feel quaite naice, even as the sweat pooled in my bra! All part of the experience :)

    • Another bite of summer was so welcome, but since I’m enjoying sitting in front of the fire now I can happily say ‘until we meet again’ to summer Rhu! You know we need to have a conversation about your new life…I’m feeling a little inspired!

  2. hello alyson its dennis the vizsla dog hay wow packing shoor is komplikayted wen wun is a hyooman isnt it??? wen i go playses i just hav to pak my kollar and my harness and i am dun!!! oh and my leed!!! and treets!!! and a bone to choo in the kar!!! and a stuffie to skweek on!!! and hmmm i think i may be undermining my own poynt now so i wil stop!!! ok bye

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