Singapore, the Garden City, is a true wonder and a city worth spending time getting to know.
One of the most densely and diversely populated nations on Earth, Singapore is home to one of the largest ports in the world. Industry co-exists on an epic scale with broad manicured parks, exclusive country clubs, and metropolitan skylines.
Sin City in Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands is a multi-billion dollar development designed to thrust Singapore firmly into the spotlight. The complex is a bold statement in modern luxury. Best viewed by night, the resort and surrounding precinct comes alive with light shows, neon colours, the largest casino in Singapore, and acres of some of the world’s best shopping.
Visit one of the seven ‘celebrity chef’ restaurants, stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel to swim on top of the world in the famous infinity pool and visit the Sky Park for the best views of Singapore.
Relax at Clarke Quay
Take the scale of Marina Bay Sands and wind the vibe right down. Chilled out and relaxed, Clarke Quay is a great place to grab a bite to eat, enjoy a drink on the water and soak up the ambience of this famous locale. Formerly a goods port and warehouse district, it has been updated time and time again to reflect the changing face of the Garden City. Clarke Quay also sits on the Singapore River, where you can take a leisurely boat ride and learn about the river’s rich trade history.
Drink a Singapore Sling at Raffles
Beginning life as a private beach club and hotel for the wealthy English elite, Raffles Hotel is named after the founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles. Operating as a hotel for over 100 years, it is the last word in exquisite colonial-era luxury. Raffles is also home to the Singapore Sling cocktail – one of the quintessential drinks of the colonial tropics. With a history nearly as long as the hotel’s (and a list price to match its surrounds), it’s almost obligatory to enjoy one in the iconic Long Bar where it was created over 100 years ago.
Avatar meets the real world
Gardens by the Bay is a fusion of futuristic technology, architecture, sustainable engineering and impressive botanical gardens. Not satisfied with being simply the ‘Garden City’, Singapore wanted to bring the city to the garden as well. In part of the garden, you can find manmade trees up to 16 storeys tall called the ‘Supertrees’. Also check out the Cloud Forest that highlights plants from tropical highlands and have some fun with the kids in the Children’s Garden exploring the 7.5m tree house and interactive water tunnels.
Spread out over 20 hectares in the centre of the island, the famous Singapore Zoo is actually just one part of the Wildlife Reserves Singapore complex. It’s also the only place you can have breakfast with an orang-utan from the largest captive colony in the world. Watch nature’s top avian hunters in action at the Jurong Bird Park King of the Skies show, enjoy a night walking safari (or take the tram option if you’ve been on your feet all day), or venture into River Safari for an immersive, interactive experience that gets you as close to the action as you can be without getting wet.
While Sentosa means ‘peaceful and tranquil’ in Malay, the island can be anything but with huge numbers of tourists flocking to the island year round. This popular resort island is connected by bridge to Singapore city and is home to a Universal Studios, Underwater World, golf courses, and man-made (and flawless) beaches. Fort Siloso, the last remnant of the ill-fated ‘Fortress Singapore’ British outpost of the Second World War, sits at the western end of the island.
After the British colonized Singapore in 1819, they imported slave and prison labour from India to help establish the fledgling outpost. After they earned their release, many former slaves stayed on and the free Indian community was born. Today it is a vibrant hub of South East Indian food and culture. The best time to visit is around Deepavali, the Hindu festival of light. Serangoon Road in Little India is festively decorated and open-air markets are set up to sell Deepavali goodies.
Established during the initial development of the Colony, Kampong Gam is the historic home of the Arab traders who traded exotic goods with the region for centuries. One of the most atmospheric pockets of Singapore, the traditional fabric stores, curry houses and mosques rub shoulders with the Eurasian metropolis that surrounds it. A great place to go for a traditional shopping experience, you’ll have the opportunity to put your haggling know-how to the test.
Get lost in China Town
One of the oldest cultural groups in Singapore, the Chinese have connections to the Malay Peninsula dating back to the 1300s. With the establishment of the British Colony in the 1800s, large numbers of migrants arrived seeking opportunity and wealth in the new city. These days China Town is a distinct and culturally rich pocket with something to tempt foodies, shoppers and culture vultures alike. The Buddha tooth relic temple is a highlight, housing what is thought to be the left canine tooth of the Buddha.
Go shopping on Orchard Road
Once a plantation district, Orchard Road is now the premier shopping and tourist district in the city. Home to luxury hotels and shopping centres, the area is well serviced by public transport and is easy to get around. Where the cultural hubs of China Town, Little India and the Arab Quarter provide contrast and a taste of another time and place, Orchard Road is typical Singapore — upmarket and modern with a distinct colonial feel. With many indoor and fully air conditioned venues, it’s also a great place to get some relief from the hot weather.
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