Singapore recently landed at number six on the New York Times list of 52 places to visit in 2015 and we can attest to the fact it’s definitely a bucket-list worthy destination. This is also the year that Singapore celebrates 50 years of independence so there’s a festive vibe in the air – and quite a few noteworthy events planned in honor of the city-state’s birthday.
If you’ve never been, there are many reasons to consider a visit but here are our top three.
Food tops many a list of Singapore’s best attributes. Simply put, eating is like a sport here and you will be spoilt for choice no matter where you go while you’re visiting. While five star supper spots abound, it’s the hawker centres that are the real heart and soul of Singapore’s food scene. Eating at a hawker centre is a lot like eating in a food court, but one that is louder, way more diverse and a lot more fun. They vary in size (some are no bigger than a collection of half a dozen food stalls) but they are known for good, affordable food and drink. Newton Food Centre (also called Newton Circus), Maxwell Food Centre and Lau Pa Sat are three of the more well-known options. Quick tip: put a packet of tissue (or other small belonging) on a table to save it while you get your meal. Oh, and usually the longest lineups indicate that you won’t go wrong with what you order.
Singapore is a shopper’s paradise and no matter what you’re after – luxe brands or street stall souvenirs – you’ll have no trouble finding it. Malls in Singapore are an attraction unto themselves. They’re big, sleek and high on glitz. Orchard Road should be your first stop if you want to experience some of those malls first hand. Mall after mall line the street and shoppers are out in full force. There’s also a great mall at Marina Bay Sands. If you’re looking for something a little more down to earth (say, a market versus a Louis Vuitton megastore), make a beeline for Chinatown or Little India. Here you’ll find lots of street stalls, smaller shops and independent boutiques you won’t find in the malls.
The Green Space
Aside from the food and the abundant shopping opportunities, one of the things we love most about Singapore is the green space. You never have to go far to feel like you’re escaping the city – without actually leaving the city. Singapore Botanic Gardens are a good place to start and unless you’re checking out the orchid collection, they’re free to explore. Gardens by the Bay feature the colossal, otherworldly “Supertrees”, massive vertical gardens you have to see to believe. It’s worth paying a bit extra to walk on the platform above them for Instagram-worthy views. MacRitchie Nature Trail and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve are also good options if you have extra time.
A Few Tips
Public transit is super-easy. The MRT (subway) is quick, clean, efficient and gets you just about anywhere. Otherwise, exploring on foot is the best way to really get to know the city.
Where to Stay
Singapore has everything from hostels to ultra-luxe hotels. Price points are higher here so plan accordingly. During our various stays we’ve really liked:
Pan Pacific Singapore for its elegance and hospitality
Regent Singapore for its location (you can walk to the Botanic Gardens)
PARKROYAL on Pickering for its stunning infinity pool (pictured above) and chic, minimalist décor.
Images via William Cho |