If you are planning a first trip to Singapore, then you’re in for a treat. Singapore is clean and safe, with world-class hotels, restaurants, bars and visitor attractions, and the multi-cultural make-up of its population make it a fascinating city to explore.
The MRT (underground/subway) in Singapore is favored by most visitors as the easiest, quickest and most comfortable way to explore the island. Taxis are also plentiful and reasonably priced and can be flagged down on the street or picked up at the numerous taxi ranks.
See the Sights
Singapore has an impressive skyline of modern and ambitious architecture, but has still managed to retain its colonial roots. Take a ride aboard the Singapore Flyer, the world’s tallest observation wheel to get 360-degree views of this city of contrasts and then jump aboard a traditional bumboat for a leisurely Singapore River Cruise to view the Financial and Colonial Districts up close.
Chinatown is also a popular destination with visitors to Singapore, with its heritage architecture, temples and street stalls. Call into the Chinatown Heritage Centre to gain an insight into the area’s first residents, and visit the impressive Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. Don’t miss the wet market in the basement of the Chinatown complex where the locals shop for their fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood, and live turtles and frogs.
Shop til You Drop
Singapore is a shopper’s paradise, with shopping malls galore, plenty of street stalls, and more brand names than you can imagine. For high street fashion and designer labels, your first stop should be Orchard Road – the highest concentration of shopping malls in the world. If time is short, head to ION Orchard for a one-stop shopping mall experience, with shops spanning eight floors. ION Orchard is linked via underground walkways to several other Orchard malls, and has direct access from the Orchard MRT station.
For souvenirs, hit the street stalls of Chinatown, which are brimming with ideas for gifts, from silk cushion covers, Chinese calligraphy, and silk clothing. Behind the street stalls, you’ll find shops with attractive ranges of antique furniture, lacquer ware, Chinese tea and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
You shouldn’t leave Singapore without trying out one of the local hawker centres, the city’s version of street food. Try Lau Pa Sat in the financial district, Maxwell Road Food Centre in Chinatown, or Makansutra Gluttons Bay next door to the Esplanade Theatre in the Marina Bay area. Other popular local food experiences include a dim sum lunch at one of the city’s Chinese restaurants, and a curry in Little India.
At the other end of the price spectrum, you will find endless high-end restaurants representing the world’s cuisines. Those with cash to burn should check out those restaurants from some of the world’s most famous celebrity chefs – including L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Guy Savoy’s self-named restaurant and Waku Ghin by Tetsuya Wakuda.
Dance the Night Away
Singapore has one of the most vibrant nightlife scenes in Asia. Clarke Quay is popular with the young and restless for bar-hopping and revelry and is busy most nights of the week, becoming packed at weekends. For classy cocktails with a view, then check out some of the city’s stylish roof top bars - 1-altitude is the highest al-fresco bar in the world, while the illuminated bar hovering over the city at Ku De Ta at Marina Bay Sands is a current see-and-be-seen hotspot. Also within the Marina Bay Sands complex you will find two of the city’s best dance clubs – Pangaea and Avalon.