Once thought of only as a stopover, Singapore is now considered a fantastic destination in its own right.
It’s a sultry, beautiful city-state where record-breaking skyscrapers tower above natural areas and super-sized shopping malls.
There’s no shortage of places to stay, and the country is known for its UNESCO-listed street food scene and lush, sprawling parks – many linked by Singapore’s ever-expanding network of bike paths.
Glistening Heights: Once seen as a stopover, Singapore is now considered a fantastic destination in its own right. Above you can see the spectacular skyline of the city
Chili crab is a Singaporean delicacy (file photo)
A SKYLINE TO RIVAL DUBAIA
Singapore’s skyline – especially on the waterfront – makes Dubai quite boring. You’ll find every type of architecture here, ranging from the 57-story Marina Bay Sands hotel, with its rooftop sky park (which is taller than the Eiffel Tower), to the neoclassical splendor of the waterfront Fullerton Hotel, which was once the Singapore General Post Office.
EAT LIKE A MOVIE STAR
At the end of 2020, Singapore’s hawker culture – which refers to the open-air restaurants serving delicious, local food – was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (try to say that after a mouthful of chili crab – a Singaporean delicacy).
Great places to sample Singapore’s famous street food include the Newton Food Center (which starred in the 2018 film Crazy Rich Asians) and the Maxwell Food Centre, near Chinatown.
For fine dining, consider Raffles Singapore’s newest restaurant, Osteria BBR by Alain Ducasse, which opened late last year. Or try Singapore’s first Nobu outpost at the Four Seasons Hotel. As for that all-important Singaporean sundowner? It must be the Manhattan bar of the Regent hotel.
ON TO THE SHOPS
Head to The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, which now has over 170 stores. You are just a short walk from the world’s first floating Apple store, which opened in 2020 on the waters of Marina Bay.
Singapore’s massive Raffles City mall will have 50 new stores by the end of the year. These include Sephora, L’Occitane, Lululemon and Acqua di Parma.
For truly Singaporean souvenirs, head to Design Orchard, a sprawling boutique on Orchard Road with a constantly growing number of brands.
Sentosa Island, pictured above, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year – check out the island’s new panoramic SkyHelix Sentosa ride
There has never been a better time to visit Sentosa Island, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Do you have a fear of heights? Brave the new SkyHelix Sentosa ride – Singapore’s highest open-air panoramic ride.
After strapping in, slowly ascend to 260 ft above ground level. The ride rotates and offers 360-degree views of Sentosa and the southern islands of Singapore. Incidentally, the view will soon be even more spectacular – there are plans to move the harbor and Sentosa itself will expand to include the smaller nearby island of Pulau Brani.
For a historical overview, head to Fort Siloso – a coastal artillery battery, which became Singapore’s 74th National Monument this year.
Elsewhere, several Sentosa Island hotels (including the Hard Rock Hotel Singapore) will soon undergo renovations as part of a makeover that will include an expansion of the SEA Aquarium and, at Universal Studios Singapore, a new Minion Land zone, set to open in 2024. open means .
186 MILES PEDAL CAPACITY
Take a bike ride on the recently expanded Park Connector Network, a 280-mile cycle path connecting Singapore’s green spaces. Above is part of the network in East Coast Park
Go for a pedal-powered exploration of Singapore. Our favorite specialty cycle routes include the recently expanded Park Connector Network, a 280-mile cycle path connecting Singapore’s green spaces. The most popular stretches are the Eastern Coastal Loop, which weaves along the south coast of Singapore. There is also the 26-mile Rail Corridor, a new cycling and walking path in the footprint of a railway that once carried goods to Malaysia.
The route is lined with nature reserves and historic sites (including old steel truss bridges and restored train stations), and pangolins and lemurs are regularly spotted.
Marina Bay Sands (pictured) hosts a water and light show known as Spectra . twice a night
Singapore will soon have its first dedicated children’s museum. Interactive exhibits are central to the museum, which opens in December near Fort Canning Park. Meanwhile, kids (and their parents) will love Future World at the ArtScience Museum, near the base of the Marina Bay Sands.
Future World is packed with interactive digital art – culminating in the Sketch Aquarium. After drawing their favorite sea creature, kids can scan the picture and see their design swim from floor to ceiling through the virtual aquarium.
For some free fun, take a stroll through the nearby Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. The art installations include the Rain Oculus, which stores and empties rainwater into the mall’s canals, creating a thundering indoor waterfall at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. every day.
Equally unmissable is Spectra, Marina Bay Sands’ twice-nightly water and light show. It returned in April after a two-year hiatus.
WHEN TO GO
AS Singapore is located just north of the equator, it is hot and humid all year round and the temperature rarely drops below 25c (77f) or higher than 33c (91f). Major events include this month’s Singapore Food Festival and the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, which kicks off on September 30.
WHERE TO STAY
Enjoy the legendary afternoon tea at the historic Fullerton Hotel Singapore (above)
Return flight from London Heathrow to Singapore with Singapore Airlines from £555 (singaporeair.com).
Stay at the historic Fullerton Hotel Singapore from £276 per room per night (fullertonhotels.com). Enjoy views of the Singapore skyline and tuck into the hotel’s legendary afternoon tea.
Visitors keen on pedaling exploration should consider the Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen, close to Orchard Road. From €80 per room per night (everything.accor.com), it has a fleet of bamboo bicycles for guests. The Raffles Sentosa Resort and Spa (raffles.com) will become the brand’s second property in Singapore when it opens later this year. Also check out the Park Royal Collection Marina Bay (panpacific.com) which recently emerged from a £25 million makeover.
While there is already a scarcity of places to stay during the Grand Prix, you’ll have no trouble finding one at the 1,080-room Hilton Singapore Orchard (hilton.com), which opened this year to become the largest Hilton hotel in the region.