Ultimate Travel Guide: Singapore
Welcome to Singapore, a contemporary cosmopolitan rife with culture, heritage, tranquility and opulence.
With tree-lined streets and greening efforts since 1957, Singapore is also called the Garden City and every corner of the country screams perfection. With numerous historical, natural and man-made attractions, the island city has a long list of offerings.
Marina Bay Sands
Owned and built by the Sands Corporation of Las Vegas, Marina Bay Sands has claimed its spot as one of the iconic buildings defining Singapore’s skyline since its opening in 2010. At a cost of S$8 billion, it is billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property and houses a 2,561 room hotel, a 120,000 square metre convention and exhibition centre, a 74,000 square metre mall with an indoor man-made canal offering gondola rides, a museum; two large theatres showcasing the best plays from around the world, celebrity chef restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, art-science exhibits, AND the world’s largest atrium casino. The three towers of the building are connected by the SkyPark, resembling a ship, that sits atop the building, offering incredible views of Singapore city and one of the world’s most stunning and longest infinity pools. The two crystal pavilions, in addition to being floating islands, house the world’s largest Louis Vuitton boutique and two of the best nightclubs in Singapore – Avalon and Pangaea, frequented by world-renowned DJs and artists.
The iconic Raffles Hotel, named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, was built in 1887 and is a national monument of the country. Its colonial style architecture along with the hotel being the birthplace of the famous cocktail, Singapore Sling, makes this a one-of-a-kind accommodation experience. Along with a shopping arcade housing 40 specialty boutiques, the hotel is deeply embedded in Singapore’s popular culture and has been depicted in several films and TV shows.
Clarke Quay, Riverside and Boat Quay
Situated along the Singapore river, Clarke Quay and Boat Quay are tourist hotspots with a wide range of bars and alfresco restaurants. With colourful buildings and breathtaking views of Singapore River, this is a photographer’s paradise. Moreover, Clarke Quay is one of Singapore’s main party spots with a number of nightclubs and bars. Adrenaline junkies can also head over to the G-Max Reverse Bungy and Extreme Swing to get their blood pumping as they’re propelled into the air or dropped from a height of 50 metres. A word of advice though, try this before you hit the bars and nightclubs, unless you want an unpleasant mix of alcohol and adrenaline.
The largest rooftop bar in the world, One Altitude situated on top of the soaring skyscrapers of One Raffles Place, offers spectacular 360-degree views of Singapore City at a height of 282 metres above ground level. With three concept bars and restaurants combined, Altimate (61st floor), Stellar (62nd floor) and One Altitude Gallery and Bar (Rooftop), this is a must-visit for those Instagram-worthy clicks of the Singapore skyline while enjoying a Singapore Sling.
With humble beginnings in 1987 as a single outlet in the East Coast Seafood Centre, Jumbo Seafood is one of Singapore’s most famous and awarded franchises serving iconic dishes. Jumbo Seafood is famous for its award winning local dishes – Chilli Crab and Black Pepper Crab. This is one of those things that if you don’t try, your entire trip to Singapore would be considered a waste.
A resort island located 5.5 km outside the city centre is a world in itself. Resort Worlds Sentosa, an integrated resort on the island offers some of the key attractions – the casino, Adventure Cove Water Park, Madame Tussauds, and S.E.A. Aquarium, which is the world’s second largest oceanarium, and Universal Studios Theme Park. Apart from this, Sentosa is home to Siloso Beach, numerous beach-side bars and restaurants, 14 hotels, two golf courses, indoor skydiving and the original Merlion Statue, the official mascot of Singapore. Tourists can access Sentosa by the scenic cable car or the equally scenic monorail from the Harbour Front station. When it comes to accommodation at Sentosa, Capella resort tops the list. Recently, the hotel hosted North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump for a summit staged between the countries. Photos of the two leaders strolling through the tropical gardens between restored colonial buildings went viral and provided huge publicity to the resort.
Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari and Jurong Bird Park
If you want to explore wildlife in the most natural environment possible, Singapore Zoo is the place to be. With over 315 animal species, of which 16% are considered to be threatened species, Singapore Zoo exhibits animals in naturalistic, open exhibits with hidden barriers and moats between animals and visitors. It also houses the largest captive colony of Orangutans in the world. The Night Safari is a nocturnal zoo tour where animals can be seen in their native nocturnal habitats. Visitors can walk on foot or avail the tram rides for a unique nocturnal zoo experience. The River Safari is Asia’s first of its kind river-themed zoo and aquarium, featuring freshwater attractions and river boat rides. Be sure to check out the Giant Panda forest and catch the pair of male and female pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia, at their laziest best. Lastly, be sure to check out Jurong Bird Park for its aviary attractions. Apart from over 380 species of birds, Jurong Bird Park is also home to the highest man-made waterfall, a record which is soon to be broken by a 40-metre-high man-made waterfall which will be the centrepiece of Jewel @Changi, a shopping complex being built at the airport.
This 2.2 km stretch is every shopper’s paradise. As Asia’s most famous shopping street, Orchard Road is the retail therapy you need. Once a small lane lined with fruit orchards, nutmeg plantations and pepper farms, Orchard Road today is home to all the high-end fashion labels, specialist stores, entertainment options and various other lifestyle choices. If you can’t find what you want in Orchard Road, it probably doesn’t exist! Tourists will truly be spoilt for choice with hotels, malls and restaurants at every turn on this road, suited for every taste and budget.
Arab Street, Chinatown and Little India
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures and this is best represented by several parts of the city. In Arab Street, immerse yourself in rich middle-eastern culture with middle-eastern restaurants, shops, handicrafts, street-art and Arab styled cafes. Take a walk through the famous Haji Lane to explore Singapore’s original indie-hip neighbourhood filled with murals, hole-in-the-wall boutiques, hip cafes and cool restaurants. Travel to China as you explore the maze of narrow streets of Singapore’s Chinatown, filled with traditional Chinese restaurants offering authentic cuisine, souvenir shops and boutiques offering handicrafts and plenty of historic cultural sites. Be sure to check out the iconic Thian Hock Keng Temple (Palace of Heavenly Happiness) dedicated to Mazu (the Goddess of the Sea) – the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore, built in 1839. The temple is famous all over the world for its spectacular traditional southern Chinese style architecture with detailed carvings and sculptures of dragons, phoenixes and deities. Finally, head over to Little India to experience the Indian culture and cuisine in Singapore. With plenty of Indian restaurants offering both North and South Indian cuisine, Hindu Temples, Mosques and Churches, and the 24-hour Mustafa Shopping Centre, Little India is one of the most vibrant bohemian-ethnic neighbourhoods of Singapore.
Gardens By The Bay
Step into a nature park built on 101 hectares of reclaimed land located next to the Marina Reservoir that will make you feel like you’ve entered the magical world of James Cameron’s Avatar. This botanical wonderland is a sight to behold offering stunning waterfront views and public shows every night of the week. Split into two main areas – Bay South Garden and Bay East Garden, Bay South Garden houses the Supertrees which are nine to 16 storeys tall and tourists can walk on the suspended walkway between two Supertrees to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the gardens. The Bay East Garden is filled with tropical palms trees and lush lawns, offering a picturesque view of the city skyline. Unique to Gardens by the Bay is the Cloud Forest, where a 35-metre tall mountain is veiled in mist and dense vegetation in between the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. Gardens by the Bay also houses a Flower Dome, showcasing a collection of plants from deserts all over the world, and a Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lake, housing a rich array of aquatic life and acting as an eco-filter to cleanse water pumped in from the Marina reservoir.