Singapore is a popular shopping destination and a stopover for those exploring southeast Asia. Growth has exploded in recent years, and there are endless choices of where to stay, eat and what to do.
Unfortunately, there is too much kitsch: chain restaurants, hotels and shops dominate the scenery, and service standards are not up to par with Japan or even Thailand. If you are not careful you will be drawn to the awful Boat Quay or the newer equally awful Clark Quay, which are tourist traps selling overpriced alcohol and bland food.
Here are some of our favorite places to go to enjoy what Singapore has to offer:
Where to stay
There are numerous large 4 and 5 star hotels clustered around Orchard Street, and in the area near Marina Place and SunTec City. If all you want to do is shop, stay in the Orchard Street district. If all you want to do is gamble, stay at the huge Marine Bay Sands Hotel. For a different experience check out our earlier posts on Singapore. I would like to highlight the Ascott Raffles Place in downtown which has a hotel and serviced apartments right next to the Lau Pa Sat hawker centre, and the Scarlet Boutique Hotel near Club street in Chinatown, which also has a nice roof terrace perfect for an after-dinner drink.
Where to eat
See our post: Eating out in Singapore: the Hype and Reality
Night Safari: Unique and makes sense! Watch animals when they are awake and active. After this experience, you’ll wonder if there’s any point at all to go to any zoo in the daytime when most animals are asleep.
Gardens by the Bay: a new ecological park that has recently opened and includes Supertrees, which are tree-like structures up to 50 meters high and serve like vertical gardens.
Where to shop
The Marina Bay Sands hotel/casino complex has a beautiful mall with water views and top designer brands. On Orchard street the ION has all the high end brands while 313 Somerset provides a younger, hipper alternative (with an excellent food court).
Walking in Singapore
Singapore is a very walkable city if you don’t mind sweating (and you will sweat). You can easily find many excellent walking trails in the centre and the surrounding areas. One of my favorites is the Henderson Waves Bridge which connects Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park, and is easily accessible by MRT from downtown. Standing at 36m above Henderson Road, it is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, and visited for its artistic, distinctive wave-like structure consisting of a series of undulating curved ‘ribs’. The other highlights of the walk are the Forest Walk and Canopy Walk – bridges cutting through the dense forest.