Singapore

Singapore, the world’s most expensive city has just about everything to see and do.

For History Buffs

The best places to understand Singapore’s heritage are two of the country’s grandest national monuments. The National Museum of Singapore presents a fascinating overview of Singapore’s history and culture with multimedia installations. The National Gallery Singapore is housed in the old colonial City Hall and Supreme Court buildings and showcases the world’s largest collection of Southeast Asian art.

Getting Around

Singapore has a very well-connected transportation network Its Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) can pretty much get you to any part of Singapore relatively quickly, and it is efficient. Taxis and buses are clean and the drivers are courteous. There is also GrabCar or Uber for those so inclined.

Designer Stays

The award-winning PARKROYAL on Pickering is Singapore’s first hotel-in-a- garden with lofty sky gardens, reflecting pools and a unique undulating facade that resembles Asian paddy fields. If you’re more into vibrant colours, you’ll feet right at home in Hotel Vagabond, which is adorned with more than 1,000 pieces of art in its luxuriant crimson and gold French salon settings.

Award-Winning Food

Joel Robuchon Restaurant is the epitome of fine dining with its haute French cuisine and a selection of over 1,000 premium wines. It is the only restaurant in Singapore to have been awarded three Michelin stars. Meanwhile. Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle at Chinatown Food Complex is one of the two hawker stalls in Singapore to have been awarded one Michelin star for its tender roasted meats and springy noodles.

Industrial Chic Coffee

Chye Seng Huat Hardware is a cafe and roaster located In an art deco shop-house that formerly housed a hardware company – its coffee is top-notch and its pastries are all baked in-house. There are also plenty of Instagram opportunities with the striking brick fagade of Wheeler’s Yard, a warehouse space that doubles up as a bicycle shop and a bistro.

Sipping With Scenery

You’ll get a stunning bird’s eye view of Singapore from Ce La VI Club Lounge at the 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands – do make reservations. Another great place to unwind while appreciating the breath-taking city skyline is Lantern Rooftop Bar at Fullerton Bay Hotel.

Garden City

The lush Singapore Botanic Gardens is the perfect place for a morning stroll. This UNESCO Heritage Site is a breath of fresh air just at the edge of the shopping mecca, Orchard Road. For something a little more futuristic, Gardens By The Bay with its 16-storey man-made ‘supertrees’ and Flower Dome replicating the dry and cool Mediterranean climate fits the bill. The Flower Dome, perpetually in spring, is the largest glass greenhouse in the world, as listed in the 2015 Guinness World Records.

Away From Town

Tiong Bahru has a colourful mix of old-school coffee shops, edgy restaurants and cafes as well as a huge market centre housing some of Singapore’s best hawker stalls. Another eclectic spot is Kampong Glam with its vintage shops and laidback bars. If you have time, sign up for the Sultans of Spice Walking Tour to gain an insightful appreciation of this historic precinct.

Shopping Madness

Arguably Asia’s most famous shopping street, Orchard Road is a 2.2-kilometre stretch packed with shops and malls selling all kinds of everything, from luxury designer boutiques such as Hermes and Chanel to Swedish retail chain H&M. ION Orchard is the most striking one of them all with its futuristic glass facade and sheer size.

Not The Usual Shopping Spot

Mustafa Centre is a 24-hour bustling mall that offers everything from electronic goods to jewellery. Located in the heart of Little India, it’s also a popular spot to change currency. For something a little quieter, there’s Books Actually, a delightfully quirky independent bookstore that has become an essential pit stop for book lovers worldwide. It curates an impressive selection of literary fiction and random retro thingamabobs.

Merlion Memorabilia

The Merlion. a half-fish, half-lion lovable mascot created to promote tourism in Singapore in 1964 has now become an icon of the state. This mythical creature can be found in various forms, from keychains, T-shirts and fridge magnets to can openers, chocolates and jade statues. Bring one home for a keepsake.

Short Trips

Get away from the city for a spot of sun on the weekends at Sentosa Island. From the diverse marine life at the S.E.A. Aquarium to thrilling theme park rides at Universal Studios, and a huge casino for those wanting to place a bet or two, it’s the perfect day out for the entire family. For an upscale and more exclusive short getaway, take a 40-minute ferry ride out to Club Med Bintan to cleanse the body and mind. Practise yoga on the private beach or relax under the skilful hands of wellness therapists at the spa perched on the rocks. Kids have their own dedicated areas and activities too.

What’s On

BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore (23-30 Oct): Adrenaline-packed action awaits as the world’s best women singles players and double teams fight their way to the top to earn USD 7 million in prize money.

Singapore Writers Festival 2016 (4-13 Nov): This is one of Asia’s largest literary events showcasing creative talents from the region and abroad. This year’s programme includes Chocolat author Joanne Harris and former CNN correspondent Atia Abawi.

Culture Vulture

Film – 7 Letters: An anthology of seven short films by Singapore’s most acclaimed filmmakers to commemorate Singapore’s 50th year of independence last year.

Music – TIME/SPACE by Charlie Urn : The best local album of 2015 is an impressive debut of whimsical, broody songs that showcases Urn’s daring musicality and soulful vocals.

Travel Tips

Umbrellas At All Times!

Don’t get drenched as it rains often and unpredictably in this tropical, humid istand-state. April and May are the hottest months, with the wet monsoon seasons from November to January.

And A Packet Of Tissues Too!

If you’re at a hawker centre or a fast food restaurant and don’t have anyone to watch over your table while you’re getting food, place a small packet of tissues on the table to indicate it’s taken. In local lingo, this is called “chope”.

GST Refund

If you spend at least USD 75 (SGD100) in Singapore, you can claim a refund for the 7 percent Goods and Services Tax. Remember to collect your receipts and apply for your refund using the Electronic Tourist Refund kiosks at the airport or at the international cruise terminals.

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