28 February 2021
This island-state off the southern tip of the Malay peninsula is a dazzler, with a compelling ethnic mix, iconic architecture, intriguing green spaces and fabulous food. Often seen as a stop-over destination, it’s worth at least a few days’ exploring in its own right.
The ‘lion city’ flourished as a trading post visited by Portuguese battleships, Chinese junks, Arab dhows and Indonesian schooners, before being taken over by the British empire as a port of call and trade hub. It’s Singapore's multi-cultural, colonial and wartime past – all beautifully preserved in and around the city-state – that makes it such a unique and absorbing place to discover.
• The Gardens by the Bay, a nature park and greening project with state-of-the-art glasshouses and sci-fi-like Supertrees – vertical gardens that are stunningly illuminated by night.
• Chinatown with its colourful maze of streets lined by market stalls, shops, restaurants, cafés and places of worship, ranging from the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum to the Sri Mariamman Hindu temple and the Jamae Mosque. Come after dark to experience one of Singapore’s best night markets.
• Singapore’s other colonial and cultural districts, including Little India and Kampong Glam (the Arab Quarter). The National Heritage Board has 19 heritage trails that cover various neighbourhoods in Singapore, including Kampong Glam.
• The UNESCO-listed Singapore Botanic Gardens, home to the National Orchid Garden.
• The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, the first ASEAN Heritage Park in Singapore, boasting an extensive mangrove forest and rich biodiversity.
• Jurong Lake Gardens, Singapore’s national gardens, including Chinese and Japanese enclosures.
• The city’s hyper-contemporary architecture, including the Marina Bay Sands resort with its famous rooftop infinity pool. It also has its own museum with displays on the environment, design, media, architecture, technology and more.
• Resorts World Sentosa on the island of Sentosa a cable-car ride over the water, with the S.E.A. Aquarium as well as a Universal Studios theme park and Adventure Cove Water Park.
• Singapore street food, including satay, rice rolled in banana leaves and eaten with your hands, and lots of dishes featuring sambal, a hot shrimp-based sauce. Local cuisine is an intoxicating blend of Malay, Indian, Chinese, Eurasian and indigenous foods, as showcased in many of the city-state’s incredible restaurants – some of them super-high-end and presided over by celebrity chefs.
Good to Know
Singapore is a great holiday destination in its own right but can also be incorporated into a tailor-made Asia itinerary – just give me a call.
Iconic Places to Stay, Rich in Heritage
Raffles, Singapore’s most famous hotel, built in the colonial era and retaining the vibe – and the impeccable service – of those times.
Shangri-La, an urban retreat nestled away within 15 acres of lush gardens, with a superb spa and Michelin-starred dining.
Mandarin Oriental, a chic getaway centred on a gorgeous outdoor pool with Marina Bay views.
The Fullerton, in a 1920s landmark building now a listed Historical Monument, with an infinity pool with cityscape views.
Marina Bay Sands (see above).
The Vagabond Club, an intimate boutique hotel including one of the world’s greatest whiskey bars as well a focus on local art, through permanent pieces, temporary installations and resident artists.
Naumi, a member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels, with rooftop infinity pool with skyline views and eclectic contemporary art.
Get in touch with me today for more information or to arrange your future travels