Taking a holiday to Asia? Here’s Singapore’s A – Z guide for fun, frivolity and festivities during 2010.
Amazing City Tours: A constantly transforming city, there is always something new to see, do and learn in Singapore – so why not re-acquaint yourself with a tour? For a convenient and comfortable introductory sightsee, the SIA Hop-On bus (www.singaporeair.com/hop) is the way to go. For those wanting to delve into the customs and culture of old Singapore, try the award winning Original Singapore Walks (www.singaporewalks.com) or for those that are happy to venture out on foot, grab a self-guided walking tour from any of Singapore’s Tourist Offices.
Bars: Whether you prefer a classic beer or the latest cocktail, Singapore has a venue for you. Kickstart your evening at 7atenine – Wine & Dine Magazine’s “Best Gastrobar” of 2009 – serving up a fabulous selection of vino coupled with cool beats and esplanade views (www.sevenatenine.com/sg ), then proceed to Muddy Murphy’s – one of the Lion City’s oldest traditional Irish Pubs, boasting seven international premium ales on tap (www.muddymurphys.com), and to end the night, Rebel in the heart of The Cannery at Clarke Quay in this cool urban hip-hop boutique club (www.rebel.sg).
Coins and Notes: Everyone loves money, and at Singapore’s newly opened Coins and Notes Museum (www.singaporemint.com) you can see and touch the Lion City’s various forms of currency as it has evolved – from the earliest objects used for barter trade, to the latest cutting-edge polymer notes.
Dine: Forget fast food. Singaporeans love to eat and some love to eat in style. From traditional cuisine to contemporary culinary fare, the Lion City’s raft of fine dining offerings will sate all tastes. Recently launched must-try’s include The White Rabbit, which puts a new world twist on old world recipes (www.thewhiterabbit.com.sg) and Private Affairs modern European restaurant and bar (www.privateaffairs.com.sg). And look out for the launch of Tetsuya Wakuda’s inaugural Singapore restaurant at Marina Bay Sands early this year, as it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay: Escape into the world of music and theatre with an evening beneath the Esplanade’s durian dome. The Esplanade plays host to a raft of internationally acclaimed acts throughout the year (www.esplanade.com.sg), or just browse its trendy shops.
Festivals: With celebrations taking place island-wide throughout the year Singapore is sure to delight whichever month you visit. Key dates for 2010 include the Great Singapore Sale (June), the Singapore Food Festival (July), Singapore National Day Celebrations (August), Deepavali, Hari Raya and the Mid Autumn Festival (October-November), and the island’s Christmas in the Tropics extravaganza (December).
Grand Prix: Revving its engines for the third year running, be sure to get trackside for the world’s only FORMULA ONE™ night race through the streets of Singapore. And while you’re there, hit the dance floor at F1 Rocks – Singapore’s premier music concert.
Hawker Centres: Partake in a food-tour of Singapore with a visit to one of the island’s popular hawker centres. Cuisines range from Singaporean to Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and Korean, and a full meal will cost less than S$10. Make sure you visit the island’s first hawker hall, Lau Pa Sat (Boon Tat St), and East Coast Lagoon Food Centre (East Coast Park) where you can trail your toes in the sand while feasting.
ION Orchard: Singapore’s latest shopping mall, ION Orchard’s 300+ stores brings together the world’s best-loved brands, top luxury brands and signature flagship stores. And to ease the burden of choice, ION has adopted a Trinny and Sussanah approach, providing a ‘personal shopper’ service (www.ionorchard.com).
Jewel Box: Just minutes from the city, this gem atop Mount Faber combines fabulous fare with fantastic views. Enjoy the elegance of exquisite dining at any of The Jewel Box restaurants – Sapphire, Empress, Jade Black Opal, Moonstone or Emerald Lodge (www.mountfaber.com.sg)
Kranji Countryside Surprise: Revive childhood curiosity of all things slimy at Jurong Frog Farm, or head to Hay Dairies goat farm where the kids can meet the kids. For farm accommodation Singapore-style, try the D’Kranji Farm Resort with its elegant Balinese style villas nestled in the tranquil Kranji countryside (www.wildsingapore.com).
Luxurious lodgings: From eclectic boutique gems to grand old dames or sleek modern suites, Singapore does 5-star like nowhere else. Recently opened additions to check out include the island’s first premium luxury resort Capella situated amidst the lush greenery of Sentosa, cosmopolitan and chic Klapsons the boutique hotel – a stones throw from the CBD, and Naumi – a premier boutique business hotel featuring an entire floor solely for female guests.
Marina Bay Sands: Tipped to open in April, this premier entertainment and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, events) destination promises to be a stunning addition to the Lion City. With its three cascading hotel towers, exhilarating Sky Park, floating crystal pavilions, museum, theatres, casino, retail hub featuring international luxury brands and cutting edge local labels, celebrity chef restaurants and the fabulous nightclub scene, Marina Bay Sands is a holiday destination in itself (www.marinabaysands.com).
NUS Museum: Housed at the National University of Singapore, the NUS Museum boasts an extensive range of works in three celebrated collections – The Chinese Art Collection, the South and Southeast Asian Collection, and the Ng Eng Teng collection – open Tuesday to Sunday, admission is free (www.nus.edu.sg/museum).
Organic farms: Tantalise your tastebuds with a truly green treat by visiting one of Singapore’s organic orchards. Head to Bollywood Veggies (www.bollywoodveggies.com) to try Singapore’s sumptuous organic bananas and papayas, or visit Green Circle eco farm (www.greencircle.com.sg) to sample biodynamic organic vegetables and partake in a group cooking tour.
Putt-putt: Lilliput, the little land of golf, offers mini golf like no other (www.lilliputt.com). Here you can ‘tour’ the Lion City as you putt-putt your way through the Singapore-themed 18-hole course – up miniature Mt Faber on a cable car, around the Singapore Port, on the MRT, past the Singapore Flyer and much much more.
Quarters: From the colonial buildings of the Heritage District to the bustling streets of Little India with its array of stalls and arcades (Tekka Centre and Little India Arcade), to the historic seat of Malay royalty – Kampong Glam – with its traditional food stalls (Arab Street) and boutique shopping (Haji Lane), to Chinatown’s boldly painted shophouses, intricate temples, jam-packed antique stalls and popular Night Market, Singapore boasts a raft of diverse ethnic quarters, just waiting to be explored.
Resorts World Sentosa: Home to Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park, six hotels, resident theatre show Le Vie, bustling shopping and nightlife thoroughfare Festive Walk, the impressive Crane show as well as a casino, Resorts World Sentosa is opening in stages in 2010 and promises to be the family getaway of a lifetime (www.rwsentosa.com).
Sentosa: Singapore’s island playground, Sentosa offers a raft of activities for the fun-lover. Ride up the hill via the Skyride chairlift before flying down on the Luge, soar through the treetops on the Megazip – the longest and steepest zip wire flying fox in Asia, or immerse yourself in a 4-dimensional wonderland at Sentosa 4D Magix. Or, for those more interested in relaxation, indulge in a Spa Experience @ Spa Botanica www.sentosa.com.sg).
Temples, Mosques and Cathedrals: A country of diverse cultures, no trip to Singapore is complete without a visit to one of its many places of worship. Our picks: The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (288 South Bridge Road) an ornate Buddhist temple housing the Buddha Tooth Relic, the Sultan Mosque (3 Muscat Street) with its massive golden dome and huge prayer hall, and St Andrew’s Cathedral (11 St Andrew’s Road) a distinctive and elegant example of colonial architecture built by Indian immigrant workers over a hundred years ago.
Universal Studios: Having just opened its doors, here you will step into the fantastic world of movie magic. Located at Resorts World Sentosa, Universal Studios (www.rwsentosa.com) will feature 24 diverse rides and attractions. Thrill seekers can choose between coasters where they are either seated or suspended, while those that like to keep their feet on the ground can delight in the glitz and glamour of showbiz – fighting villains and meeting the celebrities.
Venture onto the water: Whether you choose to float along the Singapore River in a traditional bumboat (www.rivercruise.com.sg/rivercruise), sail across the azure South Asian Sea aboard a luxury yacht (www.yachtlongranger.com / www.rsyc.org.sg) or paddle in the waves off the shore of East Coast Park (www.nparks.gov.sg), a trip to this island city simply must involve the water!
Wave House: Surf’s up in Singapore with this latest addition to Sentosa Island. With wave pools catering for everyone from pro-surfers to learners, WaveHouse Sentosa (www.wavehousesentosa.com) is THE place to hit the surf. For a wicked ride, rent a board and head to ‘The Wave’ a fully flowing 10-foot sheet wave.
Xin Yun Antique and Tea House: Here you will spend hours browsing the century old furniture, carpets and knick-knacks, all the while breathing in the scents of a diverse array of teas. While there, why not sit down and enjoy a cup? (Shop #02-36 Tanglin Shopping Centre)
Yoga retreat: Balance your inner yin and yang with an afternoon at Singapore’s premier yoga studio – True Yoga (www.trueyoga.com.sg). Offering a complete wellness experience including group and personal yoga, dance and pilates classes, as well as steam and relaxation rooms, a visit will ensure you return from your Singaporean escape relaxed and revitalised.
Zhen lacquer Gallery: The perfect place to find a truly unique souvenir. Mostly stylish but sometimes kitsch, each time you visit there is something new on offer. Hand-painted jewellery boxes, placemat sets, utensils, plates and photo albums are the pick of the crop (1/1A/1B Trengganu St, Chinatown).
To uncover your own Singapore delights, log onto www.yoursingapore.com or contact the Singapore Tourism Board on +61 2 9290 2888.