Singapore Destination Guide

Filed under featured, travel

 

Overview

From muddy, mosquito-infested backwater, to thriving world financial powerhouse, multicultural Singapore has grown like a city on steroids. This amazing metropolis is almost like one big urban theme park with staggering shopping, dining, entertainment and accommodation options.

Founded by British ‘entrepreneur’ and statesman, Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819, Singapura as it was then known, became a strategic trading and military post on what was then mainly mangrove swampland.

In old British colonial days, Singapore grew and became divided into ethnic precincts, but since independence in 1965, these divisions have flourished into vibrant cultural hubs with their own wonderful individual character. Areas like Little India, Chinatown, Joo Chiat and Kampong Glam are now part of modern Singapore’s cosmopolitan persona.

Served by one of the world’s best airports, Singapore is a perfect stopover city to explore between flights made all the more accessible by an efficient and reliable transport system.

An outward-facing, visitor-friendly city, any time is a good time to visit Singapore whether you are an avid shopaholic, foodie or urban explorer. For passengers flying the national airline (SIA) there are great incentives and promotions to entice you to stay over and enjoy the so-called ‘Lion City’, derived from the Malay words “Singa” for Lion and “Pura” for city.

This guide made possible by Travel Associates

Must Do

Introduction

Even if your stay in Singapore is a short one, try to fit as many from this list as you can for an authentic sample of the true contemporary Singapore. From sparkling modern shopping malls and attractions to colonial and heritage monuments, here’s a roundup that will satisfy most travel tastes.

Marina Bay Sands (MBS) Sky Garden

Variously described as a celestial surfboard or a spaceship docking on a tripod, there is no overlooking this massive architectural feature. The entire upper deck, with all its trimmings, floats 200m above street level. A 150m pool, bars, restaurant and observation deck can all be visited.

Supertrees and Cloud Forest

Unveiled amid much excitement in 2012, this expansive manmade green complex includes the vertical gardens of the Supertrees, the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest cooled conservatories, plus the Heritage Gardens, World of Plants and the Dragonfly Lake. A great excursion for solos, couples or groups.

Sentosa Island

A destination within a destination, Sentosa Island contains theme and water parks as well as the fascinating S.E.A aquarium. Beyond the integrated resort complex, enjoy the sun on the 3200m beach or any of the many outdoor facilities. Dining options and hotels for all budgets too.

Singapore Flyer

A prominent landmark from almost anywhere in Singapore, this is Asia’s largest Ferris Wheel. Standing 165m at its highest point, the Flyer offers stunning panoramic views of the Marina Bay and beyond. There’s also a range of shops, restaurants and facilities.

Raffles Hotel Tour

Ask your Travel Associates counsellor about booking a half-day Raffles tour that includes an inspection of the famous hotel as well as a lavish high tea in the Tiffin Room. You’ll learn about this famous man and his contribution to modern Singapore while visiting key sites around the city.

Michelin Star Dining

When one mentions ‘Michelin Star’ dining, thoughts go to the seriously expensive, but that’s not so in Singapore. Two modest street hawkers received Michelin stars in the recent round of reviews. Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles (nr Lavender MRT) and Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle (Chinatown) now boast stars (and long queues)

Cycling around Pulau Ubin

Away from the hustle and bustle of the CBD, Singapore offers numerous green alternatives and the remote, undeveloped 1000ha island of Pulau Ubin just off the northeastern corner of mainland Singapore is one great place to enjoy some raw nature activities like cycling, hiking and birdwatching.

Jurong Bird Park

One of Singapore’s most famous natural attractions, the 20ha Jurong Bird Park has more than 5000 birds from 400 species. For serious bird watchers or just the inquisitive admirer, there are also fun exhibits and interactive shows for all visitors. Yes, you can feed some of the birds too.

Night Safari

A nightspot with a difference, this 35ha nocturnal attraction of Singapore Zoo is the world’s first safari park for nocturnal animals with some 2500 residents including many indigenous species such as the endangered Asian elephant, Malayan tapir and Malayan tiger. Walk at your own pace or take the 35-minute tram ride.

Orchid Road

Even if you don’t buy a thing, this two-kilometre retail boulevard is a shopping strip like no other. You name it, the brands are here and really comes alive during the annual June through August Great Singapore Sale (GSS) when many thousands of eager shoppers snap up deep discount bargains.

Sleep

All across South-East Asia, opulent hotels are springing up trying to outdo each other, but fast-forward Singapore remains a benchmark for magnificent and architecturally superior properties. From restored heritage buildings to shimmering ultra-modern edifices, the choice is both extensive and comprehensive. Enjoy Michelin Star dining and head-spinning luxury amenities and facilities in a city that knows no bounds.

Sofitel So

With an extra dose of ‘funk,’ the Sofitel So is one of the newest and bravest hotels in Singapore. With ‘gone wild’ design and extravagant fit-out, this hotel will confront and excite you in one go. Lavish, oversize rooms in this renovated heritage building make for quite an experience.

Swissotel The Stamford

Located in the lifestyle hub, the Equinox Complex, the Swissotel is celebrated for its opulence and size. With 1261 rooms and suites, it offers superior comfort and amenities. A destination in itself, this 5-star hotel contains a staggering 15 restaurants and bars plus extensive fitness facilities.

Marina Mandarin Singapore-MT

This is a massive hotel with 575 rooms and 21 levels but is well located in the business district near Marina Bay. An older structure it remains modern thanks to superior design and service. Club floors offer a private lounge and superb views across the bay and city.

Shangri-La Hotel Singapore

The birthplace of this venerable brand, this massive complex began life in 1971 and occupies a whopping 15 acres of manicured gardens, on the edge of the bustling city centre. With almost 750 rooms in three monolithic towers, this hotel continues to rank among the city’s top luxury properties.

The Ritz-Carlton Millenia

Occupying an enviable position on Raffles Avenue, this well-established 32-storey, 600-room hotel has a huge art collection is much favoured by celebrities. An unusual design, it won architectural awards and has unusually large rooms. The Cantonese restaurant, Summer Pavilion enjoys a Michelin Star and the Club Lounge a spectacular view.

The Fullerton Bay Hotel

When only the best will do, this has to be on your list. Right on Collyer Quay, this modern 100-room waterfront hotel blends seamlessly with its heritage surroundings. A rooftop pool and superlative dining at either La Brasserie or Clifford Pier sets the stage for a truly memorable stay in Singapore.

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore

The imposing British Colonial GPO in downtown was converted to this 5-star hotel in 2001 and has captured the imagination guests ever since. With 400 rooms and nine floors, it is one of Singapore’s most celebrated luxury properties and is even gazetted as a national monument.

Parkroyal at Pickering

An acknowledged architectural masterpiece, this hotel will make you rethink the once stodgy Parkroyal brand. 367 big, light and airy rooms all place comfort above quantity. The rooftop Orchid Club lounge is a star feature, overlooking Chinatown and Clarke Quay, both just a few minutes walk.

Marina Bay Sands

There is no missing the massive triple towers that are now a fixture of the Lion City skyline. The lofty, multipurpose Skypark sits atop the entire structure which houses luxury retail, convention and a dedicated MRT station. The amazing floor-to-ceiling windows will enthrall any guest offer breathtaking views.

Hotel Fort Canning

Dripping with history, this extensively renovated heritage building has many stories to tell. Now a superb low rise 86-room boutique hotel in the midst of once-forbidden Canning Park it’s close to Orchard Road retail and all other mid-town attractions. Enjoy superior spa and wellness features as well as the oh-so-stylish Tisettanta Lounge.

Areas

Multicultural Singapore is like no other South-East Asian city with distinctly different precincts. Traditionally these districts developed their own unique flavours and lifestyles, but today they all combine to create a fascinating diversity that are now part of the Lion City’s peculiar personality and serve to enhance any visitor’s experience with a constant stream of fresh stimuli.

Bras Basah & Bugis

Another boisterous district in the centre of Singapore, ‘Triple B’ also hosts fine museums like the National Museum of Singapore and Peranakan Museum, national monuments and other institutions, such as art schools and the Central Public Library. There’s good, cheap shopping, fast food and fun.

Chinatown

Rich in heritage and cute tourist-chic, this location contains a bewildering assortment of pretty much everything. From partly-hidden temples and souvenir shops to the renown street food stalls and hip bars, it’s sure to keep any visitor amused. Hungry? Try chicken rice, char kway teow (stir-fried rice noodles) or sweet tooths can head to Mei Heong Yuen Dessert.

Civic District

History and architecture buffs should head here where some of the country’s most significant heritage buildings have been restored and given a new lease of life. Check out old Parliament House, the Asian Civilisations Museum or the nearby Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall. Done? Then shop like a boss at Capitol Piazza.

HarbourFront

Another bustling precinct where locals and visitors all come to eat, shop, work and play around the centrepiece, Singapore’s largest mall, VivoCity. Here is the modern cruise ship terminal and also the Regional Ferry Terminal where you can head out to local islands like Indonesia’s Batam.

Katong & Joo Chiat

You’ll find this traditionally Peranakan (a term for mixed Chinese and local Malay cultures) district to the east along Marine Parade, characterised by heritage shophouses, quaint stores and colourful eateries. You can walk from Paya Lebar or Eunos MRT and make your way to Katong Antique House for an authentic souvenir.

Kampong Glam

Some say it means ‘glamourous village’, this traditionally Muslim Malay area grew in colonial times and has developed its own vibrant atmosphere of history, culture and an ultra-trendy lifestyle around its centrepiece, the Sultan Mosque near Bugis MRT. It’s also great for foodie exploration with many culinary delights, both local and international.

Little India

Always buzzing, this district is one of the liveliest in Singapore with 24-hour shopping at Mustafa Centre and culinary delights like South Indian vegetarian food, North Indian tandoori dishes and local fare like roti prata (round pancakes) and teh tarik (pulled tea). The vibrant Deepavali festival usually occurs in October or November.

Marina Bay

The newest part of Singapore and built on mainly reclaimed land. Get off at Bayfront MRT and it’s an easy stroll to the ArtScience Museum at the Marina Bay Sands complex or the 101-hectare Gardens by the Bay with their towering supertrees. Did we mention the shopping?

Sentosa

This island is the dedicated recreation area for fun-loving Singaporeans where you’ll find attractions like theme and water parks as well as the S.E.A aquarium. A must-do for restless kids you can even base yourself at one of the hotels. Great dining and shopping too.

Orchard Road

Brace yourself for one of the great shopping experiences. This retail mecca grew up around the landmark Tang Plaza and is now a two-kilometre strip of everything. Sign up for the ION Orchard Food and Heritage Trail for a great introduction to the sights, sounds and tastes of this bewildering hub.

Eat

Introduction

To say Singapore is a foodie’s playground is an understatement. With 8500 restaurants listed on TripAdvisor, it’s clear that locals love to eat out and visitors are reaping the benefits. There’s a staggering multicultural array of flavours with Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and seafood dominating. That said, you can find most anything edible in Singapore at every price point.

Artichoke

These two young guns on Middle Road are shaking up the restaurant scene with a ‘rebellious’ and ‘outlandish’ brand of cuisine. Sure, it’s youthful and funky, but who doesn’t wish they weren’t? If their popularity is any indication, they’re winning. It’s a spicy mix of middle eastern, spicy vegetarian and attitude.

Summer Pavilion

Located in The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia, this is arguably Singapore’s finest Cantonese dining experience thanks to superior culinary expertise and a delightful garden setting. Awarded a Michelin Star, enjoy gluten-free offerings from chef Cheung Siu Kong’s tasting menu like Smoked South African Abalone, Double-boiled Estuary Grouper Fillet or Slow-cooked Canadian Lobster.

Cheek by Jowl

Homesick Aussies take heart with Chef Rishi Naleendra’s brand new restaurant on Boon Tat Street touting “a style of cooking that has variously been known as international or contemporary and denotes a culinary culture that is the result from a collision of cuisines from around the world.” Sounds very Singapore too.

Basilico

If you think you can’t look at another hotel buffet again, try this lavish Italian themed spread at Regent Singapore featuring a super selection of signature dishes and sumptuous lashings of antipasti, mains and desserts especially enjoyable on the terraced alfresco area overlooking the pool. You’ll only want a cracker for dinner.

Crossroads Cafe

The perfect mid-retail pitstop or finish line flop, the Crossroads Cafe at the Marriott on Orchard Road punches above its weight for a mere ‘cafe’. Sit outside and enjoy a cold draught Tiger Beer with sumptuous signatures such as Wagyu Burger or the all-time local favourite, Hainanese Chicken Rice.

Adrift by David Myers

If you’re based at or near Marina Bay Sands, David Myers playful take on healthy food means small plates, healthy salads, seafood, and meats grilled over bincho charcoal on a traditional robata grill. Start with a crazy cocktail and progress to the bespoke omakase (chef’s choice) dinner.

Chefs Table by Stephan Zoisl

In Tras Street, you’ll find this European, open kitchen twist on omakase based on 28 key ingredients without signature dishes and no repetition and served to you by the chef, of course, with great wines. Diners have responded to this with rave reviews. Expect the unexpected like freshest fish, meat, crustaceans and curious fruits.

Joël Robuchon Restaurant

For visitors at Sentosa, this one is the bomb. The very best of French haute cuisine awaits you at the establishment of the ‘Chef of the Century’. With three stars in Singapore’s Michelin Guide, it’s pretty special. Go for the degustation menu, described as “pure magic” by fussy critics.

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle

A Michelin Star meal for $1.50? Yep. Just to show their even-handedness, the coveted guide has awarded this modest street cart diner with the ultimate accolade. Join the queue in the Chinatown Complex for Chef Meng’s super tasty and simple signature poultry dish, soy chicken or pork on rice or noodle.

Sungei Road Laksa

To continue the cheap and cheerful theme, this typical street vendor serves a laksa as good as many top hotels – without the frills or price tag. Tucked away on the eastern fringe of Little India in Kelantan Lane, it is an adventure to ferret out, but the reward is in the finding.

Drink

Introduction

As a multicultural hub for commerce of all kinds, it follows that beverages will take on a wide style from old colonial cocktails to modern funky concoctions and everything in between. Even tea, coffee and frothy milk delights have their own tropical flavour in equatorial Singapore. Go thirsty and explore.

Divine War Bar

Located in the superb art deco style Parkview Square (known euphemistically as ‘the Batman building’) is this oh-so-stylish wine bar where ‘wine angels’ on trapezes will fetch your bottle from a ceiling-high wine rack. The decor is reproduction art deco and a minor architectural marvel.

Prata Wala

Traditional teh tarik came from postwar Malaya with Indian-Muslim migrants and is sweetened with condensed milk and then poured back and forth between two containers (called ‘pulling’) to ensure a well-mixed brew. Prata Wala in Tampines Mall is one of many fine tea bars.

Rasapura Masters

Marina Bay Sands is the fanciest of food courts but still representative of Singapore hawker fare. Try the local ‘kopi’ (coffee) in many styles such as kopi-o, kopi-c, kopi-siu-dai, Kopi-C kosong ranging from plain to super sweet. The unique brew is made with beans roasted in a wok and strained through a cotton ‘sock’.

Raffles Long Bar

You haven’t been to Singapore unless you’ve had a Singapore Sling in the famous Long Bar where this peculiar cocktail was invented. Add your name to the list of well-known tipplers including Noel Coward, Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling. What’s in a sling? gin, cherry-flavoured brandy, triple sec, Benedictine, pineapple juice, lime juice and grenadine.

Salt grill & Sky bar

Perched atop the highest point along Orchard Road, ION Orchard is our own Luke Mangan’s lofty establishment. Take in an afternoon tea or enjoy your favourite cocktail and a staggering view until 11pm. There’s an observation deck too at more than 200m above street level.

Faber Peak Singapore

Formerly The Jewel Box, you’ll find this place on top of a hill served by cable cars on Sentosa Island. Choose from several dining and entertainment options overlooking the Sentosa-Harbourfront skyline. Ideal for families or groups with varying tastes, you can even dine in the cable car itself.

City Space Bar

Crowned one of the 50 best bars in the world, the City Space Bar is a perfect location to enjoy elegant cocktails in an intimate setting in one of Singapore’s most famous high altitude venues. Enjoy one of the best night views in the city from 70 floors up.

Clarke Quay and Boat Quay

Choose from any number of venues along this popular waterfront promenade known for its vibrant nightlife. Enjoy music with your drinks at Crazy Elephant or Cuba Libre. Craft beer lovers should head to Draft & Craft or elevate skyward to rooftop bar Southbridge on Boat Quay for champagne and oysters.

Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall

This quirky cocktail bar along the scenic Singapore River is found on the second floor of a conserved traditional shophouse, adding a no frills ‘speakeasy’ style to classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned and Sazerac. A favourite haunt for ex-pats who love the informal and cheeky nostalgia of old Singapore.

Axis Bar and Lounge

Mandarin Oriental Singapore’s famous venue is one of the best for high tea anywhere in Singapore. Sip champagne and take in the sprawling views of Marina Bay while enjoying Mariage Freres teas with a five-course, triple-tiered set of desserts and savoury bites like Valrhona Chocolate Pearl Scones.

Shop

The legendary 2.2km retail strip of Orchard Road is the centre of the shopping universe in Singapore, but by no means the end of the story. Many distinct districts have their own ethnic specialisations and shopping character, adding to the sense of discovery that awaits all over Singapore. A tough job, but we try and simplify it here.

Marina Bay Sands

Enjoy late night shopping any day of the week at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. As one of Singapore’s largest luxury shopping malls, you will find a refreshing mix of international luxury brands like Burberry, Chanel and Hublot and emerging labels in runway and street style.

Venchi

This famous Italian confectioner has reopened in Singapore’s Takashimaya Food Hall off Orchard Road. Known for delectable, velvety chocolate, Venchi will serve up a wide repertoire of its decadent delights, ranging from smooth pralines to chocolate chunky Brutto Buono hazelnut bars. Yum.

Mustafa Centre

This well known shopping centre in Little India is open 24 hours selling everything from textiles to watches and electronics. Those in the know will tell you consumer electronics are the highlight of this store. Those same folks will tell you to avoid Sim Lim Square at Rochor due to varying quality.

Tanglin Shopping Centre

Best known for antiques and classic textiles, Tanglin SC is a five minute walk from Orchard MRT. The multi-level layout is a browser’s delights with scores of shops catering to homewares, decor and furniture. You’ll see many ex-pats looking to decorate their new homes with traditional items.

Chinatown

A microcosm of all things Asian, Chinatown is a rabbit warren of little alleys and mini-malls with stalls selling traditional candles, artwork and clothing to bustling street side eateries offering cheap and tasty delicacies. Check out Chinatown Street Market, which stretches across Pagoda, Trengganu and Sago streets every night.

Haji Lane

One of the narrowest streets in Singapore, this delightful, semi-hidden alley in Kampong Glam is a truly eclectic mix of indie boutiques selling clothes, accessories and even vintage cameras. Fabulous Fads, for example, has a thing for retro English designs like satchels, top hats and even some Union Jack inspired items.

Charles & Keith

Ladies know all too well it’s impossible to have too many gorgeous shoes and handbags. Charles & Keith is a Singapore global success story. Two brothers who design gorgeous, high-fashion, affordable shoes and accessories now have stores and stockists all over Singapore. The 20-year-old brand can be found in Raffles City, Suntec and Marina Square among others.

VivoCity

Every city has to have its biggest mall and VivoCity at Harbourfront is home to Singapore’s largest cinema, biggest toy store, an amphitheatre, wade pool and four food courts. Almost every brand has a presence including department store Tangs, with a boutique store selling high-end fashion and beauty products.

Serangoon Road

This is Little India’s jewel of shopping delights with many brightly coloured traditional shophouses of old Singapore. Claimed to be the cheapest in Singapore, it’s a bargain shopper’s delight, especially for cheap clothing, Indian fabrics and small electronics and accessories. Indulge in a classic curry if nothing else.

Bugis Street Market

Again, another claim of ‘biggest’, this bustling cheek-by-jowl street market contains some 800 stalls under one large canvas roof. Once a bit on the seedy side, Bugis has tidied itself up but retained its boisterous character in a new cheap-and-cheerful persona. MRT right out front.

Active

Our Top 10 ways to get active in the city and where to do it. Best walks and hiking, golf, adventures, water based activities and green spaces to explore.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

At 156 years old and a recent recipient of UNESCO World Heritage status, these magnificent gardens on the edge of the CBD offer plenty of walking in the 82 hectare garden as you explore the 10,000 species of flora. Take the MRT and start early. Gates open at 5am.

Pulau Ubin

This little island is a total throwback to mid-20th century Singapore with rough roads and jungle, little villages, tidal wetlands and native wildlife. This tropical time capsule has become popular for locals to escape the city with walking or cycling the best way to get around. Take a ferry, rent a bike.

Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay

Walk, jog or cycle around this expansive open air precinct. Stop by the gardens or museums and there’s plenty of opportunity to park the bike and enjoy a stroll, snack or cold drink. It’s a fun and safe urban exploration on paved walkways away from traffic with refreshing green detours.

Adventure Cove Waterpark

Great fun and frolic if you have younger members in your travelling party. There are seven thrilling water rides including the daredevil Pipeline Plunge that’s sure to get your heart rate up. Or snorkel on man-made Rainbow Reef with 20,000 friendly fishes including serene stingrays.

Marina Bay Golf Course

There’s not a lot of golf options on the island, but the MBS course opened in 2006 and is the first and only 18-hole golf course open to the public. The design of the par 72 championship course pays homage to classic golf courses of the world with nine hole and night options too.

Climb Central

Climb Central is the tallest indoor air-conditioned sport climbing venue in Singapore. With nearly 1000sqm of climbing wall space, Climb Central is conveniently located within the Singapore Sports Hub. Great for all ages. Take a climbing course with qualified instructors. Easy access via MRT to ‘Stadium’ station.

Coney Island

The 50 ha Coney Island Park is a protected reserve on the NE corner of Singapore. Explore the forest and mangrove habitats on the newly built boardwalk as you look out for any of the 80 species of birds in this ecologically sustainable park. It’s a vigorous walk with limited visitor facilities.

MacRitchie Reservoir Park

Not too far from the CBD is this meticulously maintained water catchment which creates an ideal green space for locals and visitors who want to enjoy a serene morning or evening walk along the water’s edge of this manmade lake. Rent a kayak or get a thrill on the 250m freestanding TreeTop Walk.

Lower Seletar Reservoir Park

This multi-use green reserve is an ideal venue for strolling, jogging or enjoying watersports like dragon boats and kayaks, which can be rented. It’s also a popular with locals who like to fish. At Family Bay there’s a new performance stage, a water play area and a cooling rain garden.

Island Hop

Create your own adventure with an exploration the quieter islands like Lazarus, Saint John’s, Kusu and Sisters’ Islands. Ferries cruise to these destinations from the south of Singapore and are available from Marina South Pier. Cruise to the Southern Islands and enjoy a wine and dine cruise on the way back.

Arts

Singapore prides itself on its many heritage buildings and appreciation of the arts and both are often combined to form landmark museums. Mix this up with ultra modern structures for performance and exhibitions and you get a sense of this sophisticated city, its respect for history and intense civic pride.

National Gallery Singapore

Two extensively restored national monument buildings on St Andrew’s Road in the Civic District now house the newest and largest museum of modern Singapore and Southeast Asian art drawn from the more than 8,000 pieces in Singapore’s National Collection, it provides insights into the unique art, heritage and history of the region.

Singapore Art Museum

Since opening in 1996 in a restored 19th-century mission school on Bras Basah Road, the SAM has curated one of the most significant collections of contemporary art from this part of SE Asia. Exhibitions rotate regularly and can be anything from paintings and sculptures to installation art and moving media.

National Museum of Singapore

Located on Stamford Road is Singapore’s oldest museum and the place to learn about the history and culture of the city. There’s a massive video montage showing everyday life in Singapore creating an immersive and enriching experience for visitors. The elegant neo-classical building hosts art installations, festivals, performances and film screenings.

The Changi Museum

A bit tricky to reach adjacent the airport, it is nevertheless worth the effort. This emotional museum tells the poignant story of the many Allied POWs who suffered in the now demolished jail through the years of Japanese military occupation between 1942-45. A very personal exhibition detailing everyday life through stories and artifacts.

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

This is the place to see the latest shows from major visiting orchestras and theatre groups to plays and concerts. Nicknamed “the durian” from its resemblance to the famous fruit, the
Esplanade holds a 1600-seat concert hall and a 2000-seat theatre as well as smaller spaces. Free programmes of music, dance and theatre also take place.

Orchard Road Art Trail

Enjoy vivid art installations as you shop along Singapore’s most famous retail strip. There’s a dozen or so locations where you can see these displays in front of major malls and stores. It’s a fun way to combine shopping and art appreciation at the same time.

Fort Canning Battlebox

This famous underground WWII command centre was used by the British prior to their surrender in 1942. Today it has been restored as a museum that explores the true causes behind “the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British military history”. Take a guided tour of the animatronic display.

Telok Ayer Market

Gazetted as a national monument in 1973, the Lau Pa Sat or Telok Ayer Market was designed by British architect George Coleman and rebuilt on its current site in 1890, dominating the local landscape with its striking Victorian architecture. Admire this landmark while enjoying delicious local street food.

Fuk Tak Chi Museum

Once the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore and centre of worship for the Cantonese and Hakka communities built in 1824, it’s now an elegant example of restored architecture in Chinatown. The temple has been renovated and incorporated into the Far East Square development. Right next to Telok Ayer Market.

Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys (MINT)

Near the National Library, here’s a stunning private collection of more than 50,000 vintage toys and retro memorabilia from all over the world that will speak to the inner child in all of us. From many eras and themes, it’s a social museum as well. There’s also a store, themed restaurant and rooftop bar.

Diary

Singapore has long since demonstrated its ability to stage events and festivals to draw visitors from all over the world. From world sporting championship events to retail extravaganzas, food festivals to cultural celebrations, there is always a reason to visit or revisit vibrant Singapore at any time of the year.

September: Formula One Grand Prix

One of the most vivid and exciting street races still on the F1 calendar, the world’s most talented race car drivers battle it out under lights in this prestigious format. The GP is much more than a noisy car race, with world class concert acts performing within the precinct of the Marina Bay street circuit.

July: Singapore Food Festival

One of the city’s most anticipated events, the SFF celebrates the decades-old tradition of street hawkers selling yummy local sidewalk food classics like Char Kway Teow, Kok Kok Mee (fishball noodles), Satay (grilled meat skewer) and Iceballs for just 50c. But it looks forward too with diverse flavours and amazing talent of both Singapore’s culinary past and future.

Aug/Sept: Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA)

Soon to celebrate its 40th anniversary, SIFA merges the best of local and international talent in the form of world standard works in theatre, dance and music. Designed to cater to everyone by exposing them to “great artistic experiences” the six-week festival includes street performances and public film screenings.

February: Chinese New Year

Anywhere there is a big Chinese ethnic community, you can expect lavish new year celebrations and Singapore is no exception. In the weeks leading up to the lunar new year, you can bathe in the festive mood all over the island with celebrations like colourful processions, seasonal markets and noisy lion dances.

August: National Day

Singaporeans have exhibited their own special brand of nationalism every year since independence on the 9th of August 1965. The city comes alive for this public holiday with military parades, multicultural performances and aerial displays capped by a breathtaking firework extravaganza against the city’s stunning skyline.

June – July: Great Singapore Sale (GSS)

The now famous annual GSS sees retailers offering deep discounts, sometimes up to 70 per cent off original prices. It’s a busy time in Singapore with upwards of a million people visiting for the event. So while it may be a good time to go, it could also be a time to avoid.

April: World Rugby Singapore Sevens

Now a world class event, Rugby fans can expect to see the flamboyant Flying Fijians, the irrepressible New Zealand All Blacks and the South African Blitzboks take on our own Thunderbolts as part of the 16 team lineup. The two day event occupies the National Stadium and culminates in music concerts.

December: New Year’s Eve

Never to be outdone, Singapore turns on a new year display like cities many times its size. The festivities take place mainly around the spectacular Marina Bay area and feature the unique 20,000 ‘wishing spheres’ where you can can express your wishes, hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

October: WTA Finals Singapore

Top women tennis stars compete at the sport’s end-of-year spectacle in this eight-day, multi-million dollar tournament that also includes exciting support events like fashion and music. Held at the city’s superb indoor, Singapore was the first city in the Asia-Pacific region to play host to the WTA Finals.

January: Singapore Art Week

Coinciding with the twin Hindu festivals of Thaipusam and Pongal, this nine-day week of exciting performances will see around 100 events, from massive art fairs to lifestyle and art events all over the city including such venues as the Singapore Tyler Print Institute and the National Gallery Singapore.

24HRS

Introduction

You’ll be surprised what you can squeeze into a full day in the Lion City. From green space relaxation and exercise, historic city precincts, cultural and culinary detours, plus glamorous shopping strips, you’ll need to put on your comfy shoes and sunhat for this whirlwind exploration. Are you ready?

6:00am

This iconic maritime city is at its glorious best in the cooler morning air. An ideal time to get in your morning stroll and maybe a spot of tai chi. Gardens by the Bay is a handy location for most visitors.

7:30am

Head back into the city for breakfast at one of the popular food districts where the hotplates are already sizzling. At Kampong Glam, endless rows of eateries offering Indian-Muslim creations abound, but for a classic Singapore-style breakfast, try prata (South Indian flatbread) and a side of fish curry.

9:00am

Stroll over to nearby Haji Lane which is full of colourful indie outlets stocking vintage clothing and bric-a-brac or head over to Joo Chiat, ‘home of the Peranakans (Straits Chinese)’ for more window shopping. Be sure to stop by Katong Antique House.

11:00am

Jump the MRT and head back to the Civic district to visit the newly opened National Gallery Singapore, home to the world’s largest public display of modern Southeast Asian art. Stroll back past St Andrews Cathedral to Raffles Hotel.

1:00pm

Time for a classic and leisurely lunch in Raffles Grill – the hotel that is Singapore. Take the hotel tour afterwards and discover the history and characters that created one of the most famous hotels in SE Asia.

3:00pm

Singapore is full of afternoon options, but let’s head back past Clarke Quay and explore the fascinating rich culture and history of Chinatown. Visit the majestic Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum then cool off with traditional Chinese desserts like bird’s nest soup at Mei Heong Yuen Dessert.

5:00pm

Jump the MRT and head a few stops down to Promenade and the Singapore Flyer. This massive 165m high Ferris Wheel is now a distinct feature of the city and one of the ideal locations to enjoy the spectacular skyline (until 10.30pm)

6:30pm

Hurry back to Marina Bay Sands and the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck in time to catch the sunset. Soaring 57 levels above the heart of the city, there’s no better place to enjoy a sundowner.

8:00pm

The spectacular laser light show ‘Wonder Full’ has its first show at 8pm, then again at 9.30pm. There’s a special late one at 11:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Stay to enjoy modern Franco Asian cuisine at celebrity chef Justin Quek’s Dine at Sky on 57

9pm till late

Kick your heels up at CÉ LA VI Club Lounge, at 200m above the pavement, it’s one of SE Asia’s most celebrated nightspots. Wile away the hours with the DJ, while enjoying mixologist’s creative cocktails, it’s one heck of a way to send off your Singapore stay!

You must be logged in to post a comment Login