Singapore is a firm favourite with royal visitors, luxury travellers and backpackers alike drawn to the ultra-clean, safe and happening city-state. Singapore is incredibly easy to navigate with a punctual MRT system and aside from the glitzy high-end shopping malls there are plenty of colonial buildings to explore.
Singapore is currently in the spotlight thanks to Prince William and Catherine’s recent visit to Southeast Asia and Oceania with bookings estimated to be up about 33% to both Singapore and Malaysia. William and Kate stayed at the most famous hotel in Singapore for two nights; Raffles Hotel, which is pictured below. Whilst in Singapore the young royals visited the Botanical Gardens and the Kranji Memorial Cemetry before heading to Malaysia to visit the capital city Kuala Lumpur and on into Sabah in Borneo.
I’ve been to Singapore three times and love the city-state; it’s so easy to get around, there’s plenty to see and do, it’s incredibly safe and clean (right from the arrival at award winning Changi airport) and for shopaholics there are endless malls, in fact malls lead into other malls along the way! And I found my inner shoe goddess as well!
Feast your eyes on Singapore’s Riverside District; make this your base if your budget allows as it’s incredibly well connected, with the Mass Rail Transit (MRT) to hand. The Singapore River, a continually thriving port receiving goods from China, Indonesia and Europe now also holds new purpose, new dimension and fantastical civic community expansion. With museums, theatres and incredible night life available Riverside District is a definite source of entertainment and history. Don’t miss these opportunities: Victoria Theater – scheduled to reopen from renovation in early 2013 and the Asian Civilization Museum (ACM) – phenomenal Singapore River history and Singapore cultural histories
Shopping on Orchard Road and Singapore
All the big name western labels are here, with many top high street brands rubbing shoulders with chic designer labels. Shopping is a serious sport in Singapore and in fact a mega-discount shopping event takes places every autumn where the frenzy slides up a notch. Be sure to make extra room in your luggage for the unbelievable shopping items you will want to take home from any of the many amazing Orchard Road hotels, shopping centers and eateries. Orchard Road has something for everyone. Enjoy this stretch of fashion, flair and fantastic shopping at fine venues such as Grand Park Orchard Hotel – centrally located for customer convenience, a unique and well-designed hotel offers exquisite comfort, luxury and style. Orchard Central – the tallest vertical shopping scene mastered in design with stunning glass architecture offers extraordinary Mediterranean-style marketplace, the world’s tallest Via Ferrata climbing wall and more. I also love the City Link Mall which literally links the MRT and two major shopping malls – genius!
Visit Chinatown for the feel of authentic Chinese and Asian cultures with Singapore’s Outram district. Thickly dotted with fabulous hotels, shopping and spa services, this area exhibits remarkable architecture, cuisine and rich quality amenities. Many hotels and accommodations are available in the Chinatown area where you’ll be central to all the action including the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Singapore City Gallery and Jamae Mosque. There are also several museums in the designated heritage area such as Chinatown Heritage Centre, and Red Dot Design Museum. I particularly enjoyed the stunning façade of the Sri Mariamman Temple and the oldest Hokkien temple in Singapore, the Thian Hock Keng Temple.
Ah Little India, home to exquisite architecture, authentic food (this is where I enjoyed a fish head curry!) and local shopping. Just to the northeast of central Singapore, Little India is just a few stops away on the MRT and I recommend that you take a walking tour of the area. Maps are available at the tourist office, in hotels and at the airport.
Appreciate the tastes of India and the smells of delicious Indian foods, perfumes and spices. Singapore rounds up a vast array of varying cultures which await your personal pleasure. From delectable cuisine to health and wellness, Little India has it all.
Surprise yourself with these valuable points of interests within Little India: Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple – an ultra-unique and colorful example of one of Singapore’s oldest temples. Visit the Gopuram tower representing the incarnations of Lord Vishnu dating back to 1855. Explore the Mustafa Center – an amazing shopping center designed with you in mind. Find hundreds of apparel, footwear, perfume, make up, electronic and souvenir bargains right in the heart of Little India and with the air con cranked up, it’s the coolest place in Singapore! Try the Song of India Restaurant – one of Little India’s most up and coming eating establishments focusing on authentic Indian cuisine with a contemporary flair. And gawp at the intricate designs on the Sri Veeramakaliamman temple.
Sentosa Island is a world of happiness, freedom of spirit and joy. Delve into beautiful beaches, spas, resort accommodations, shopping and more. Sheer relaxation and expressly designed moments of bliss are created just for you. Experience a taste of Sentosa’s offerings such as the Capella Singapore Resort – this gorgeous resort provides it all. Start your day playing a round of golf in the mornings. Relax in the afternoons overlooking the stunning nearby beaches. Visit Underwater World – extraordinary ocean aquarium exhibiting fascinatingly unique marine life from 250 species from around the globe. And explore the new Universal Studios Singapore – Sentosa’s Resort World opens its arms to thrill seekers and movie-theme park lovers. Eighteen lively exclusive movie-themed rides are waiting for you out of the 24 total thrill-seeking movie-themed rides available.
Singapore Grand Prix
Each year Singapore hosts the Formula One Grand Prix, the only destination on the race calendar to feature a night-time Street Circuit which adds to the excitement. Tickets are like gold dust and accommodation gets booked up in advance but with some careful planning you could time your visit to coincide with the Singapore Grand Prix.
New to Asia is the Legoland theme park which opened on 15 September in Johor state, just across the water from Singapore. The 76 acre theme park is perfect for a family day out and the sixth in the world, with other Legoland parks in England, Denmark, California, Florida and Germany. Legoland Malaysia features rides for children aged under 12 as well as theme park rides suitable for all the family across the various zones such as Lego Kingdom, Lego City and Lego Technic. Explore the 4D Lego Studios and Miniland which has recreated the Asian wonders of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Kula Lumpur’s Petronas Towers, all in Lego of course!