Singapore is usually a stopover point on the way from Europe to Australia or New Zealand. However, it is a great place to visit in its own right. I high recommend you to take a few days out from your travels, get over the jet lag and make the most of this beautiful city.It’s squeaky clean; petty crimes are scarce, and violent crime is virtually nonexistent; plus, English, one of four official languages, is readily spoken and understood. These cultural attributes make this an easy destination for acclimating yourself to the region, but there are plenty other reasons why this tropical outpost warrants more than an extended layover— below is a list of reasons to visit the country. Remember, they’re just a scratch on the surface of this fascinating metropolis.
1. MEMORABLE MEALS FOR EVERY BUDGET
Eating well is one of the great joys of everyday life in Singapore and a highlight of any visit. Singapore’s street food and hawker stalls are included in nearly every round up of best Asian eats, thanks in part to a multitude of ethnicities contributing to a sensational food culture.
While the street food and hawker stalls are a must-try on your Singapore holiday, food travelers should delve deeper and look at Singapore’s fine dining scene. Some of Singapore’s best local cuisine is found in its more than 100 hawker centers, where you’ll find veritable mazes of food stalls helmed by talented chefs cranking out plate after plate after plate of regional specialties like mee goreng, char kway teow, laksa, and fish ball soup—all at less than $5 per serving. Plus, food hygiene practices in Singapore are also high, so you don’t need to worry about the upset stomaches that can be associated with eating in some Asian countries.
2. THERE IS FABULOUS SHOPPING
Singapore is renowned for its excellent shopping. Orchard Road is a great place to start. International brands all have a presence here and it is a great place to buy electronics. Big shopping fans should try to be in Singapore in for the Great Singapore Sale generally held in June and July. This sale runs for two months and prices are slashed by up to 70% across the city.
Singapore is home to endless shopping options. Escape the heat and humidity and check out one of Singapore’s malls or ethnic area shopping districts. Orchard Road, City Hall, Little India and Chinatown are some of the most popular shopping areas in Singapore. And tourists who fly out through Changi Airport can take advantage of Singapore’s tax-free shopping policy with 7% GST refund on qualified purchases.
3. AMAZING PARKS
Singapore really is a garden city with hundreds of parks dotted all over the city. From the moment you land you’ll notice how green it is here. Every highway has flowers and hedges all neatly manicured and you’ll see plenty of golf courses and lush vegetation all around. Its very easy to enjoy the outdoors here with some great and fairly easy walks through some of Singapore’s larger parks.
The Botanical gardens are a must and easy to get to on the subway. Mount Faber Park and the Southern Ridges near Sentosa are my favourites with picturesque walks and some great views of the city as well as the islands along the coast. The most impressive park at the moment has to be “Gardens By The Bay” a huge area of land reclaimed from the sea with man-made tree structures and bio-domes to explore too. Its an incredible place and even better to visit at night when light shows illuminate the giant tree structures, one of which includes a restaurant for some fantastic views of the entire park.
4. SINGAPORE MEETS LAS VEGAS
Right next to Gardens By The Bay is the iconic casino complex called Marina Bay Sands. Opened in 2010 this beautiful building has quickly become the new symbol of Singapore with its impressive towers and boat shaped bridge connecting all three buildings. The hotel has over 1600 rooms and probably the best shopping mall in Singapore too. There’s also a huge convention centre and a world class casino featuring both European and Asia games. This casino is definitely worth visiting although I recommend brushing up on your casino knowledge and skills before entering.
Marina Bay Sands is one of only 2 casinos in the city where until recently gambling was illegal. This $4.6 billion casino complex certainly put Singapore on the map and the hotel boasts the world’s highest infinity pool, definitely something you have to experience for epic views of the city centre. There’s also an observation deck for those not staying at the hotel, take your camera and be sure to take in the view while you’re up there.
5. VERY EASY TO GET AROUND
With over 5 million people living and working in this tiny country, transport is key to keeping everything moving. Singapore has arguably the best transit system in the world with ultra modern subway stations and an ever increasing number of stops opening up every year. The driver-less trains are open and roomy with protective glass walls at every station protecting passengers from fast moving trains. Its very easy and quick to get right across the city with the MRT and there’s also plenty of shops and toilets at every station too. Its also ridiculously cheap with the average trip in to town costing less than 1 dollar. Grab yourself a E-Z-Link card at any station, top up with around $10 or $15 and you’ll be set for your entire trip.
Another plus of Singapore is that it is very clean, tidy and orderly. There is a great train system which makes it very easy to get around. If you ever have any problems, the people are polite, friendly and helpful.
6. ARTS INFUSION
Following the 2011 debuts of Goodman Arts Centre and Marina Bay’s lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum, Singapore’s fledgling arts community welcomed the arrival of contemporary arts haven Gillman Barracks in 2012. Located just north of Labrador Park, this sprawling facility, set within a former army barracks, was spruced up with a $10-million facelift and features 14 galleries and a handful of restaurants. Notable tenants include Tokyo’s Tomio Koyama Gallery, China’s ShanghArt Gallery, and New York’s Sundaram Tagore Gallery; the Centre for Contemporary Arts will also soon open at Gillman.
Dedicated arts enthusiasts should time their trip to coincide with Art Stage Singapore, an impressive weekend-long exhibition held every January at Marina Bay Sands. Here, discover for-sale works on display from more than 600 international artists, who mostly hail from the Asia Pacific region.
7.See Different Cultures Side By Side
For such a small island, Singapore is chock-a-block with a variety of Asian cultures, all living side-by-side, each with an ethnic enclave and a Singapore festival of its own. Officially, the Singapore government recognizes Chinese, Malay, and Tamil (Indian) as the nation’s constituent cultures: in each ethnic enclave, individual Singaporeans find a way to eat, worship, and live to the fullest extent of their cultural heritage.
8.The Ultimate Cruise Getaway!
It is easy to plan a cruise getaway from Singapore as it is the cruise hub of Southeast Asia. Intrepid travelers can expect to avail first-class facilities to boot, thanks to the many luxury cruise lines to choose from. You can en route to various island destinations including Redang and Bali.