The island nation of Singapore is a global business hub. Clean and orderly, on the surface it can sometimes appear a little bland, and light in historical substance. Read more.
The island nation of Singapore is a global business hub. Clean and orderly, on the surface it can sometimes appear a little bland, and light in historical substance. However, delve deeper and you’ll discover an absorbing mix of cultures, innovation, great shopping, peaceful gardens, and quite possibly some of the best food in the world.
The true winner in Singapore is the food, with flavours borrowed and blended from Indonesian, Malay, Indian, Chinese, and even middle eastern cuisines, among others. Make your way to a hawker centre, such as the Maxwell Centre. In these bustling open air food courts vendors sell a huge variety of dishes from Hokkien Mee noodles and fish head curry, to kaya toast. You can narrow down the cuisine a little by exploring Singapore’s distinct districts: try the chilli crab in China town, shop all night long in the colourful Little India, and smoke a shisha pipe in the Arab Quarter. At night go to the iconic Raffles Hotel for a taste of old-world colonialism and a Singapore Sling sitting at the long bar, or make your way to the Marina Bay Sands resort. Hard to miss, the resort overlooks the city; a huge casino and shopping mall topped by a boat-shaped structure that holds the world’s highest rooftop swimming pool. Grossly extravagant, but spectacular nonetheless.
Finding peace and quiet
For some respite from the heat and pace of the city, tuck away into Singapore’s beautiful botanic gardens, a quiet, lush haven. The gardens are open until midnight so you can stay long after the day cools down. Another after dark attraction is the world-renowned Night Safari at Singapore Zoo. The zoo is built around geographically themed open areas, without cages, allowing visitors to see over 2,800 animals in a uniquely natural setting. At night open carriages wind their way through the zoo and guides point out the 1,000 nocturnal nocturnal animals that come out to forage.
To really escape, take a ten-minute boat ride from Changi Terminal Point Ferry to Pulau Ubin, a small island that is one of the last undeveloped areas of Singapore. Here you can hire a mountain bike and wind your way through the island’s jungle paths past the tin-roofed houses of its 100 inhabitants, or follow the boardwalk past Chek Jawa, an unspoilt coral reef.
The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit ) train system in Singapore is known for its punctuality and orderliness. From Singapore’s Changi Airport it’s a 40 minute trip with the MRT into the city. There are a range of tickets available for visitors, from one-time travel to concession passes, which can be purchased and topped up at MRT stations. The trains can get very crowded, but the public bus system is comprehensive, and reasonably priced taxis are everywhere.
Where to stay
Singapore is flooded with hotels and as the city is so easy to navigate, you’ll have no trouble finding accommodation to suit your needs. If you fancy being in the heart of the shopping district, try Orchard Road. Hotels are also dotted along the Singapore River, starting at the southern harbour near Marina Bay and winding up past Clark Quay. Areas like Chinatown, close to Maxwell and Smith Street hawker centres, and Little India offer cheaper options for those travelling on a budget.
Landmarks in Singapore
- Singapore Expo (20)
- Merlion (24)
- UOB Plaza (57)
- Marina Bay Sands Casino (20)
- Haw Par Villa (Tiger Balm Gardens) (20)
- National Museum of Singapore (42)
- City Hall Financial Dist (51)
- Boat Quay (52)
- Raffles Place (50)
- Marina Square (20)
- Suntec City (20)
- Clarke Quay (28)
- Sentosa Island (20)
- Orchard Road (27)