A thriving cosmopolitan hub, Singapore’s unique East meets West vibe, English-speaking locals and excess of one-of-a-kind attractions, offers visitors an exciting Asian experience that is safe, organised and easy to navigate. Add ultra-luxe hotels, world-class culinary delights, lush corridors of nature, rich cultural traditions and a harmonious diversity of ethnic enclaves and you have an irresistible destination for discerning travellers.
Indeed, there’s so much more to this multi-faceted gem that we recommend staying a while to let the Lion City sink its teeth into you.
At a little over 50 years old, Singapore’s tapestry of Malay, Chinese, South Asian, Southeast Asian, European and Peranakan traditions and religious ideals all play an important part in shaping its unique but familiar culture. You’ll uncover some of its most sparkling cultural gems hidden in the laneways of Singapore’s four distinct cultural quarters. Geylang Serai is one of the oldest Malay settlements in Singapore and is a charming jumble of restored shophouses, religious establishments and traditional eateries. In Chinatown you can meditate with chanting monks at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, watch noisy and colourful processions at Sri Mariamman Temple and visit the stunningly tranquil Masjid Sultan Mosque in short order, before delving into its Peranakan shophouses and hawker markets. Kampong Gelam, also known as the Arab Quarter, is home to the gorgeous golden domed Sultan Mosque and the street art-strewn Haji Lane. And last but by no means least is buzzy Little India, an inviting tangle of vibrant Hindu temples, lively markets and fabulous, fiery food.
The many charms of ever-evolving Singapore’s traditional side are more than matched by its ingenious, ultra-modern architecture and cutting-edge attractions. Standouts include the urban oasis of Gardens by the Bay with its grove of multi-storey steel Super Trees, and the lotus-like ArtScience Museum, located near the lavish Marina Bay Sands resort complex, where the wondrous worlds of art and science collide. Marina Bay Sands is also home to award-winning dining, shopping and entertainment, and the gravity-defying Sands SkyPark Observation Deck, a space age infinity pool balanced across three towers 56 storeys above the ground.
More modern marvels can be found on the island resort of Sentosa. Alongside its beach clubs, luxury hotels and big-ticket attractions like Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium and Madame Tussauds, you’ll find the innovative SkyHelix Sentosa, an ultra-modern open-air gondola that rotates 360 degrees as it ascends to 79 metres above sea level. But Sentosa is just one of Singapore’s 64 offshore islands. Offering a totally different Singapore experience, St John’s Island is a paradise of white sand and dazzling blue waters that’s a magnet for snorkellers and divers. Jungle trekking, and plenty of adventure sports, are also on offer at St.John’s for those so inclined. For a more rustic adventure, we recommend taking the bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal to Pulau Ubin, a little but extremely pretty island dotted with ramshackle kampong houses, with lush forest crisscrossed by kilometres of international standard mountain bike trails.
Clean and oh-so-green, Singapore is one of the world’s sustainability superstars. With scarce natural resources, Singapore was an early adopter of sustainable development, and continues to refresh, reimagine, and evolve. Guided by the Singapore Green Plan 2030, the city continues to develop innovative low-carbon attractions, green accommodation, sustainable retail outlets, and farm-to-table dining experiences. Speaking of green, the city-state is wrapped in broad ribbons of it, and you’ll find 300 lush and lovely parks and nature reserves woven between its towering skyscrapers.
This tiny nation has an enormous appetite and is sure to enchant epicurean travellers. Enjoy a smorgasbord of Michelin stars and delve into sumptuous epicurean delights from celebrated chefs including Tetsuya Wakuda, Joël Robuchon and Gordon Ramsay. Relish a multi-sensory Sky Dining experience for spectacular views and a feast of five-star food 165 metres above Marina Bay on the Singapore Flyer, Asia's largest giant observation wheel. Dig in with chopsticks, forks or fingers at Singapore’s multitude of fuss-free hawker centres where among local culinary standards such as laksa, satay and Hainanese chicken rice, you can line up for some of the world’s cheapest Michelin Star and Bib Gourmand meals.
Flex your credit cards in Singapore’s Orchard Road shopping district where devoted fashionistas can shop for the hottest labels at the Paragon Shopping Centre and Mandarin Gallery, and haute couture at ION Orchard. Unique designer gems can be uncovered in the hipster shopping enclaves of Tiong Bahru and Haji Lane. But if you’d prefer to experience a more traditional side to Singapore shopping head to Chinatown’s trinket-filled Peranakan shophouses or dive into Little India’s maze of colourful market lanes, heaving with aromatic spice stores and sparkling saris.
For those less inclined to enjoy the city’s more hedonistic offerings, will find that Singapore is an unexpected wellness gem, where rest, relaxation and rejuvenation await. There’s a marvellous mix of fitness, yoga and Pilates, mindfulness, natural therapies, massage and Traditional Chinese medicine. Plus, there’s a surplus of world class wellness resorts and excellent plant-based dining.
Whether you’re vision of Singapore is one of old-world rickshaw rides and refined afternoon teas, colourful cultural immersion or living like a crazy rich Asian with bespoke butler service at one of Singapore’s ultra-opulent hotels, you’ll find accommodation to fit. Laze by the beach at one of Sentosa’s beachside resorts, step back in time at the iconic Raffles Singapore and The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, get a taste of tradition at Chinatown’s design-led hotel, The Clan, or enjoy the sleek modern styling of Andaz Singapore and Oasia Hotel Downtown. But if its rest and rejuvenation you desire, Auriga Spa at Capella Singapore is the perfect place to recalibrate, repair and restore mind, body and spirit.