Your print-out-and-keep guide to Singapore
Why? When you set foot in Singapore, you’ll think you’ve been transported to the future, with its glimmering business blocks, gum-free streets and flawless foliage. Its zero-tolerance approach to crime also makes it one of the safest places in Asia for females to travel solo. Some say the country’s strive for modernity has resulted in a soulless landscape. But if you scratch below the surface, you’ll find it has a character and charm all of its own.
Getting around? Even Singapore’s award-winning Changi International Airport leaves others in the shade, with its rooftop swimming pool and ultra-modern facilities. The city’s advancement when it comes to transport actually makes it a very easy place to navigate, no matter how good (or bad) your map reading skills. The state-of-the art MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) subway system is the backbone of the rail network and, like local buses, ferries and cabs, is reasonably priced.
What to see? You’re greeted with bustling streets and heady aromas in the ethnic quarters of Little India and China Town and wandering round both is a great way to see old parts of the city. An absolute must is the Night Safari, the world’s first nocturnal zoo, which houses more than 900 animals of 135 exotic species. Get a glimpse of some incredible animals by night, including hyenas, elephants, giraffes and rhinos.
If you have time to venture out of the city, take the cable car from Mount Fabor to Sentosa Island and enjoy the magnificent views along the way. Colour coded bus routes take you to various parts of the island resort, where you can visit orchid gardens and beaches, see pink Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins and cross a swing bridge to the southernmost point of continental Asia.
Where to shop? You can buy anything from carpets to cosmetics in Singapore and shopping is a pastime for which it is famous. You’ll find everything you need in the notorious Orchard Road shopping district or browse the backstreets for more unusual items.
Where to eat? There is an abundance of choice when it comes to cuisine, although Chinese, Indian and Malay dominate the menu. Enjoy Asian and western cuisine created by award-winning chefs at amphitheatre-styled Equinox Restaurant (www.equinoxcomplex.com), which has panoramic views of Singapore and the neighbouring isles of Malaysia and Indonesia. It would also be rude to leave without supping a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar at the famous Raffles Hotel (www.singapore-raffles.raffles.com). The drink itself is over-priced but, combined with some complimentary cashews and live jazz, it’s the perfect way to end your stay.
Where to stay? The Golden Landmark Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of the Central Business District and has limousine services and an outdoor swimming pool. For details, see www.goldenlandmark.com.sg.
Need to know? For more information on visiting Singapore, see www.visitsingapore.com.