Singapore is a destination that belies both its small geographical size and it’s location in South-East Asia. Singapore is a mass of ethic influences – Chinese, Malay, Indonesian and Indian. Once part of the British Empire, and now the British Commonwealth, this small island nation is found at the very tip of the Malay Peninsula. English is widely spoken along with other dialects. Singapore is often used as a ‘transit’ stop for travelers who often break the arduous journey from Europe to Australia and New Zealand. SInce Singapore is such a compact nation, it is one of the easiest destinations to visit “fully” on a short trip. Within 24 hours you could quite literally see the whole world on the streets.
Guest post by Keith Evans
Blog: My Passport To Shangrila
WHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SINGAPORE?
Singapore does not have a Season, as such. You will find Singapore weather hot and humid whatever time of year. Nonetheless, some months may be marginally cooler than others, but in general, they are all pretty humid – around 30 C in daytime. The best time to visit Singapore may be during what is called the ‘Northeast monsoon’ that runs from November to early March when the temperatures cool a little in comparison to the rest of the year.
WHAT’S GOOD TO KNOW ABOUT SINGAPORE?
Singapore is a city-state country and one of the world’s most prosperous countries, at that. Singapore is a modern city of the 21st century that embraces economic progress against the old traditions. Although most of the old Singapore has been reconstructed, many significant landmarks within the ‘Colonial district’ have been preserved.
Singapore is an excellent place where you can take pleasure with your food and shopping with lively hawker centres and 24-hour coffee shops offering cheap food from all over Asia. Singapore offers shopping meccas like Orchard Road and Suntec City. There is continuous development around Sentosa and Marina Bay as part of Singapore’s new direction towards Fun and Entertainment.
ONE DAY IN SINGAPORE ITINERARY
Top things to do in Singapore
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Singapore.
Visit Merlion statue on Sentosa island
Start your day by catching the cable car to Sentosa Island. Sentosa is home to several lush hotels, Universal Studios and the infamous ‘Merlion’ statue – the symbol of Singapore. Wherever possible aim to get to the Merlion early to avoid the crowds or if really organised, purchase pre-advanced tickets before you arrive. Take a ride to the Mouth of the Merlion for stunning views across the Strait of Singapore.
Go shopping and grab a lunch at suntec city
Suntec City is located near the Central Business District and is a vast complex offering a shopping mall, an exhibition centre and office tower blocks. You’ll know when you’re at the right place as the venue boasts the ‘Worlds Largest Fountain of Wealth‘. There are plenty of shopping options here, whether you’re after clothes, souvenirs, books or electrical goods you’ll find everything you need within this mall.
The complex is divided into Four zones to help shoppers navigate with ease; these zones are based on the Feng Shui design. The Fountain Terrace is where the majority of restaurants are found, and the Entertainment Centre is located in the Fourth zone devoted to a whole host of pleasure and leisure pursuits.
Explore colonial grandeur
The Colonial District forms the very heart of Singapore with elegant Georgian and Victorian buildings lining the banks of the Singapore River. The Colonial District is one of the best areas in Singapore for a self-walking tour. The area is brimming with impressive buildings and famous landmarks such as Old Parliament House, the Old Supreme Court and City Hall.
Cocktails and afternoon tea
‘The jewel in the crown’ of the Colonial District is the infamous Raffles Hotel, developed from a beachfront bungalow built in the 1880s into a model of heritage luxury. The whole building is elegant. Explore a warren of courtyards and verandas on your way to the ‘Long Bar’ to the birthplace of the Singapore Sling Cocktail.
Located on the other side of the Colonial District (if lunch at Suntec City wasn’t enough), allow room for Afternoon Tea at ‘The Courtyard’ at The Fullerton Hotel. Found in the atrium lobby of the hotel, this is where guests can enjoy a leisurely late afternoon while sitting on plush sofas eating a delectable selection of scones, finger sandwiches, cheeses, breads, sliced meats etc. with tasty desserts to suit: Chocolate Eclair, Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart, Flavoured Macaroon, English Fruit Cake etc.
Marina bay area
Spend the remaining hours exploring the Marina Bay area that is home to several iconic landmarks. Here you will discover the most iconic of all ‘the Marina Bay Sands hotel’ that looks like a ship placed on top of three towers. It is the ultimate of luxury hotel-ing boasting elegant rooms, an infinity pool and bar/restaurant at the top.
After wandering the hotels’ lobby navigate the pathways to the ‘Gardens by the Bay’. You can’t miss the massive Super-trees here. These tree-shaped gardens are between nine and sixteen stories tall. Walk on the suspended walkway between two Super-trees to capture a bird’s eye view of the gardens.
In the evening, catch the Sky Show: a ballet of lights and sounds at the Garden Rhapsody amidst the Super-trees.
Finally Boat Quay and Clarke Quay
After all the wandering around, make some time to finish off your one day in Singapore by checking out Boat Quay and Clarke Quay. This section along the Singapore River is busy with restaurants, coffee shops and eateries that start springing to life towards the late evening and night. Boat Quay is cheaper on the wallet than Clarke Quay. It’s a place for soaking up the atmosphere by the river and also for photographs. Time permitting, take a boat trip that lasts approximately 45 minutes: this is best done at night when all the lights of the Quays, Downtown, the Colonial District and Marina Bay boastfully display their night grandeur.
Where to stay in Singapore?
Marina Bay Sands
The most iconic landmark of Singapore, Marina Bay Sands is more than a five star hotel. It offers an utmost luxury experience with its facilities, such as world’s largest rooftop infinity pool or Sands SkyPark observation deck where you can enjoy the most spectacular city skyline view. Guest can also enjoy an ultimate culinary experience at one of 20 dining options, premier shopping at one of largest luxury shopping malls in Singapore, ArtScience Museum or a world-class casino.
Hotel Mi is a stylish and modern setup in the center of the city, close to Singapore Art Museum. The hotel offers beautifully designed, compact rooms for a great value. It features a fitness center and an outdoor swimming pool for those who seek relaxation away from the city crowds.
Hotel Mono is a contemporary hotel set in a restored, traditional heritage shop house in the heart of Chinatown. The unique room design is characterized by the monochromatic colors, clean lines and white lightning. Rooms even being compact bring great comfort.
DAY TRIPS FROM SINGAPORE
Because of the city’s bustling nature that spills over into its surroundings, there are plenty of great options for day trips from Singapore. Nature, architecture and numerous other interesting sights are really close by, so you really have plenty of options. Here are some of them.
Sentosa Island is located just in front of the city and it is absolutely packed with things to see. Merlion, Singapore’s official mascot is a must, but there are many interesting shows you can see, Madame Tussaud’s museum to visit and Universal Studios also has a branch there. No doubt, time simply flies by when you’re here.
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Due to the fact that Singapore is a city-state, it’s quite easy to visit other countries from here. For example, you can hop over to a few islands that belong to Indonesia. Bintan and Batam are great examples of that, since you only need to get on a ferry to reach them. Beautiful sandy beaches on the former and great food and loads of entertainment on the latter make them an excellent choice for Singapore day trips.
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Malaysia is also a great place to visit from Singapore. You can take a bus or a train to Johor Bahru, for example, and it will only take you an hour to get there. Malacca is another great place to visit because this Malaysian city boasts the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the various influences other countries have had on Malaysia, taste some excellent and unique food or simply enjoy a shopping spree, the choice is yours.
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A tour around Singapore
Now, since the city is located on an island, it is not that hard to get around. To make the most of that, why not spend a day exploring as much of Singapore as you can? If you get on this tour, you will be able to dive deeper into the history and way of life of this place, as well as see some impressive architecture and cultural destinations. Learn about the city’s history, visit its temples and experience its allure at its fullest.
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For those who want to dive into the waters surrounding Singapore, Pulau Hantu is a paradise. Numerous colorful fish can be found in the island’s shallow waters, so you will see people snorkeling here all the time. Families with children also love to come here because the lagoons are very safe and perfect for letting your child enjoy itself full. If you want your day trip from Singapore to include some beach activities, this is where you want to go.
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Extra tips for visiting Singapore
– Singapore is easy-going for dress standards in most cases. Nonetheless, if you’re going somewhere decent such as the Raffles Hotel or Afternoon Tea at the Fullerton Hotel, dress appropriately. Women should show some sort of modesty in public. Also remember to take a thin sweater or cardigan while going to the restaurants and the malls as most of them are kept air-conditioned and can be quite cold.
– Pay attention to their rules. Singapore has some ‘odd’ rules but abide by them and you’ll be fine. No chewing gum, no jaywalking, no smoking in public, no littering.
– Use the MRT underground as much as possible. It is clean, frequent, cheap and punctual.
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