10 things we love about… Singapore

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel tips & opinions

Ahead of Singapore’s national day on August 9, CD Traveller lets you in, in no particular order, on ten things we love about the Lion city

 

The Singapore Flyer

The US$240m Singapore Flyer (www.singaporeflyer.com, open daily 8.30am-10.30pm) is the world’s largest Ferris wheel. At an impressive 165 metres tall, the flyer dwarfs the London Eye (a trifling 135 metres) and its highest point, offers passengers a different take on Singapore’s landscape as well as parts of neighbouring Malaysia, Indonesia and even the South China Sea.

Singapore’s many compact, colourful ethnic areas
For an insight into Singapore’s history and multicultural make up, check out Chinatown – arguably the country’s cultural heart, the fascinating Malay quarter of Kampong Glam and Little India. If you can brave the crowds on a Sunday evening, the latter is a photographer’s dream. Indeed, Singapore’s real selling point is its street life and on Sundays in Little India, things get very bolly.

The river
One of Singapore’s biggest draws is its beautiful riverfront where Sir Stamford first landed two centuries ago in search of a strategic trading post. It’s here that you’ll find Singapore’s mascot Merlion – a water sprouting half fish, half lion.

The shopping

While shopping is no longer the only game in town, good retail therapy is undeniably one of Singapore’s major attractions. Orchard Road is arguably the city state’s trendiest shopping street; there are enough malls (the mother of which has to be the super-sized Ngee Ann City) to clothe you for life, so prepare to empty your wallet. Even if shopping doesn’t interest you, it’s worth going for the buzzy atmosphere alone; this is where the gorgeous people hang out – the entire strip seems to be full of lithe, leggy models.

Botanic Gardens
When you’re saturated with shops, seek out the serene Botanic Gardens (6471 7361/www.sbg.org.sg) off Orchard Road. Not too many tourists make it here, but those that do are definitely rewarded; the big city bustle is left behind as you stroll around the tranquil green, gardens.

Eating out
Tourists’ taste buds are in for a treat – Singapore is without a doubt a foodie’s paradise and it’s hard, nay impossible, to go hungry. Do as the locals do and kick-start your day with some kaya – a coconut and sweet egg jam spread generously over toasted bread. For lunch, head to a hawker centre such as Tekka Centre or the Maxwell Food Centre; you’ll find all your Singaporean favourites here from fish head curry to Nasi lemak (coconut rice, anchovies, a slice of omelette and some chilli paste, often uniquely packed in brown paper or a banana leaf), laksa (rice noodles in coconut curry gravy with shrimps, eggs, chicken and cockles) and the like.

The Night Zoo

A trip to Singapore’s award-winning attraction – the world’s first Night Zoo Safari (6269 3411, daily 7.30pm-midnight) – should be high on every tourist’s agenda. Here you can revel in the company of no fewer than 1,200 beasts including one horned rhinos and Asian elephants. Meanwhile the more adventurous and gung-ho can travel on foot via walking trails like the Mangrove Trail – a free-ranging bat enclosure.

Sentosa
A trip to Sentosa (1800 736 8672/www.sentosa.com)makes for a real daytime island treat. Sure, Sentosa’s beaches can’t match Malaysia’s, but there’s still powder fine sand to laze on while you enjoy a quick blast of sun. It’s also the home of the multi-sensory extravaganza ‘Songs of the Sea’. Sentosa’s most visited attraction takes place every evening at 7.40pm and 8.40pm and is not to be missed.

The subway system
Singapore has a subway system that would turn Londoners green with envy. Not only is it famously spotless but it’s super efficient. What’s more, if you return your MRT card at the end of your journey, part of your fare is refunded – result.

Sinking a Singapore Sling

Of course no visit to Singapore is complete without knocking back several Singapore Slings (a successful combination of gin, cherry brandy, cointreau, pineapple and lime juice) from glasses the size of goldfish bowls at Raffles’ Long Bar (6337 1886) – named so owing to its 40-foot long bar.

 

For more ideas on what to see and do in Singapore, visit www.yoursingapore.com

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