Singapore City Guide
Singapore, the tiny island nation located in South East Asia, is an extremely popular vacation destination. The origin of the island's name can be traced back to an ancient legend, which states that the island was named by an early explorer, who accidentally landed on the island and discovered that it was inhabited by a strange beast. This exotic beast was the Merlion, which had a lion's head and a fish's tail. The explorer then named the island after this strange creature and called it 'Singapura' which means lion in Sanskrit. The Merlion has since then been immortalized in a statue located in Singapore’s Harbor and is popularly used as the symbol of this city state.
Apart from being a favored vacation hotspot, Singapore is an important hub for much of the world's business and commercial activity and it hosts one of the busiest ports in the world. Singapore competes with Hong Kong for the title of the 'financial epicenter of Asia' and most of the world’s leading banks and financial services firms have an established presence in Singapore.
Singapore is also one of the most affluent countries in the world, which is home to multicultural society and offers an ambience that is a unique blend of modern technology and eastern customs and traditions. In fact, the tag line of the Singapore Tourism Board advertises Singapore as 'Uniquely Singapore ' for a visit to Singapore is always an exceptional experience which can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world.
Where to stay in Singapore
Orchard Road is the ‘main drag’ of Singapore. This tree lined boulevard hosts several gargantuan malls that constitute the number one attraction in the garden city. Orchard Road hosts a wide selection of hotels but since the area is an immensely popular accommodation destination, the hotel rates at centrally located Orchard Road hotels are known to be quite prohibitive. However, if you have your heart set on being based in the midst of all the shopping and dining action of Orchard Road, you should plan on using our services for your hotel booking in Singapore for we can assure you of the best hotel rates for your stay in Singapore.
The Historic District and Marina Bay
The historic district of Singapore, which includes areas along the Singapore River and around the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Center, hosts many of Singapore’s most prominent attractions like the Singapore Museum, the Asian Civilizations Museum and the Singapore Flyer. This area also hosts many grand hotels which are especially popular with business travelers.
Old Singapore- Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar
This area is known for its ancient shop houses and vibrant markets and is also home to many charming boutique hotels, many of which are housed in old world colonial buildings.
The island resort of Sentosa is a popular weekend getaway for local Singaporeans as well as tourists for it hosts popular attractions like the Under Water World, Fort Siloso and the Singapore outpost of the Universal Studio theme park amongst others.
Sentosa is also home to a grand casino and several luxurious, resort and spa hotels. If you are looking for some indulgent pampering on your visit to Singapore, then a hotel in Sentosa may tick all the right boxes.
Places to see in Singapore
This beautiful historic hotel is named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the British statesmen who is known to be the founder of Singapore and is a fine specimen of colonial architecture. This opulent luxury hotel has over the years provided much inspiration to many writers who used the hotel as their base in Singapore. The hotel is famously associated with literary greats like Noel Coward, Somerset Maugham and Joseph Conrad. Even if you don’t stay at the Raffles during your trip to Singapore, you must include it in your list of places to see on your vacation to Singapore.
You can also top your visit by indulging in the hotel’s famed Singapore Sling cocktail, which is believed to have been invented at its peanut shell covered Long Bar.
National Museum of Singapore
The recently restored National Museum of Singapore is considered a national treasure in this small city state. However apart from its many interesting permanent collections and exhibits, the museum has yet another attraction in the form of its stylish watering hole called the Muse Bar. Muse has a distinctly modern vibe in this ancient institution adorned with chandeliers, large plush sofas and the Frank Gehry designed benches that line its outdoor courtyard.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens extend over 128 acres in the heart of the city. These lush, verdant, landscaped gardens are especially popular with walker and joggers as well as tourists who come to marvel at the many species of flora including the truly stunning National Orchid Gardens.
The Jurong Bird Park
Featuring over 8000 birds, which are displayed in four interactive walk-in aviaries, the Jurong Bird Park provides an invigorating experience for visitors on a vacation to Singapore with their children. The Water fall Aviary features the tallest man-made waterfall in the world, the South East Asian Bird Aviary where a thunderstorm is stimulated everyday at noon, The Jungle Aviary and the Royal Ramble all showcase these exotic birds in their natural habitat. Apart from these aviaries, the Park also offers various shows, which feature birds that sing, play and dance as they captivate their audiences.
During your stay in Singapore you should also make it a point to visit its indigenous areas like Chinatown, which is located in an area called Outram Park and has rows of traditional shop houses; typical of old world Singapore. The area also has a number of Chinese Temples and many markets, which sell typical Chinese foods and medicines and herbs, souvenirs, Chinese furniture and antiques and many other knick-knacks. Other ethnic areas worth visiting are Arab Street and Singapore's Little India which is located on Serangoon Road.
The Singapore Flyer
The Singapore Flyer is the world's tallest observation wheel that towers 165 meters above the ground and affords panoramic views of the whole of Singapore and its neighboring countries, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Underwater world at Sentosa Island
Underwater world is situated at Sentosa Island and is a world renowned oceanarium that features more than 2500 species of fish many of which are showcased in an 83 meter acrylic tunnel that moves on a travelator. This tunnel provides a deep sea experience to visitors while displaying fish like sharks, slimy eels, giant stingrays, groupers in their natural habitat. Underwater world also has a touch Pool that features interactive scuba diving programs for both adults and children.
The Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo
Conducted in a wildlife park located adjacent to the Singapore Zoo, the Night Safari provides visitors a fascinating glimpse into the nocturnal activities of nearly 1200 different animals that hail from different corners of the globe.
Marina Bay Sky Park
The Marina Bay Sands resort is the world’s most expensive standalone casino resort property, which has within its folds a jaw dropping Sky park. This world famous architectural masterpiece was conceived and created by renowned architect Moshe Safdie. This unique Sky park lies atop three Marina Bay Sands Hotel Towers and offers a birds-eye view of the city from a height of 200 meters above the ground.
Aside from the observation deck, the Sky Park also features gorgeous landscaped gardens and a glistening 150 meter long infinity pool, which spans the length of all the three hotel towers and is the largest pool in the world at that height. The pool is open to only hotel guests; though the general public is welcome to take a peek at its iridescent waters.
Best time to visit Singapore
Singapore is a year round destination, which can be visited at any time. The garden city is renowned for its lush tropical landscape and is located on the Equator and characterized by an unchanging weather pattern classified as hot and steamy all year round.
This year round unwavering climate pattern in fact works to your advantage for it means that you can take off for Singapore whenever you snag a particularly tempting flight deal to Singapore. Moreover, if you work with Fare Buzz, you can be assured of cheap air tickets to Singapore at anytime of the year.
Getting around in Singapore
Getting to Singapore from different parts of the world is extremely easy as the island nation is well served by its ultra modern Changi airport, which has often been voted as the “the best airport in the world” by impressed travelers year after year.
Changi Airport plays host to a number of full service and budget airlines from all over the world. The airport is well connected to the city center by the various modes of public transport system in Singapore.
Cars are actively discouraged in Singapore and the city state is well served by a well developed and extensive public transport system that is made up of air-conditioned buses, taxi cabs and a subway system known as the MRT.
Where to shop in Singapore
Shopping is considered to be a national past-time in Singapore and the lion city is home to more than 200 shopping centers and malls that offer a wide array of goods and services. The largest concentration of malls in Singapore is found along its main drag, Orchard Road. Popular shopping haunts located here include Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City, Paragon, ION orchard, Centre point, and 313@somerset amongst others. These air-conditioned retail heavens offer a plethora of products including designer-wear and luxury goods from the leading brands in the world.
However, the appreciation of the Singapore dollar in recent time has rendered these products quite expensive when compared to the west. Still bargains can be had especially during annual extravaganzas like ‘the Great Singapore Sale’ which is held in numerous locations all over the island July every year.
Additionally Singapore also offers a few options for wallet-friendly shopping at locales such as the hip, retail district of Haji Lane which hosts many small boutiques and stores in historic old-world shop houses, the Yue Hwa Chinese Emporium in Chinatown and the Mustafa super store which is open 24/7 and is located in the heart of Singapore’s Little India in the Singapore district of Serangoon.
Where to eat in Singapore
Good food is ubiquitous in Singapore. The city-state is renowned the world over for its scrumptious native hawker fare which is served at its many indoor and outdoor (hygienic) food courts. If you are unfamiliar with Singapore’s hawker eats, you can get a crash course in this delicious cuisine at an outdoor food court known as ‘Makansutra Gluttons by the bay’ which features a carefully curated assortment of the ‘best’ hawker foods in Singapore, as chosen by the editors of Makansutra, Singapore’s version of the Zagat guides. At this eatery you will be introduced to world-famous Singapore eats like ‘Chicken Rice’, ‘Mee Goereng’ ‘Carrot cake’ (a savory radish based dish and not a desert) along with various other delights.
However dining in Singapore is not limited to hawker fare and the city hosts countless eateries that offer a plethora of global cuisines. Some of the best-known and most well-regarded Singapore restaurants include eateries like ‘les Amis’ (French), Gunther’s (French), The White Rabbit (Italian), Iggy’s (international fare) and JAAN (Modern European cuisine).
Nightlife in Singapore
The yesteryear backwater, Singapore which was often described as ‘boring’ has over the years loosened its collar and now boasts of a thriving nightlife scene. Singapore’s many haunts are largely concentrated on areas around the Singapore River within waterfront districts like Clarke Quay and Boat Quay. Both these areas abound with bars, clubs and restaurants that rock on until the wee hours of the morning and provide locals and visitors with a chance to let loose and forget the pressures of the work day. The list of the top Singapore nightclubs currently includes hip and happening boîtes like Avalon, Pangea, Zouk, Ku de Ta and Attica.