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Singapore is a modern miracle. Only in existence as a country for 53 years, since gaining independence Singapore has transformed from a tropical port city into a booming global economy in the blink of an eye. Today nearly six million people live on an island that’s half the size of London.
Spotlessly clean and a doddle to navigate, Singapore is one of the safest cities in Asia. It’s also one of the best places to eat. Eating is practically a national sport in Singapore, and you never have to go far to find food. Alongside traditional Singaporean staples are some of the finest Chinese, Indian, and Malay dishes in the region.
The combination of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and Gardens By The Bay is an iconic landmark for a reason. Though there is much more to Singapore than these modern marvels, you cannot visit Singapore without paying them a visit.
How to Get to Singapore
The main entry point into Singapore is Changi Airport on the far eastern edge of the island. To reach the centre of town from Changi takes around 40 minutes by MRT, or roughly 20 minutes by taxi.
Consistently voted one of the best airports in the world, Changi manages to find new ways to keep on getting better. The latest string to Changi’s bow is The Jewel, a huge glass domed retail complex covered with tropical flowers and plants. It’s also home to the world’s largest indoor waterfall (pictured below).
Singapore has a fantastic and efficient MRT rail network that spans the entire island. All MRT trains and stations are state of the art and spotlessly clean. Whilst notorious for being an expensive city, Singapore’s MRT network is wonderfully affordable. A single journey will rarely cost much more than a dollar. Taxis are also a surprisingly affordable way of getting across town.
Where to Eat in Singapore
Jumbo Seafood Crab // Chili crab is just one of many dishes synonymous with Singapore. There’s no finer place to try this classic local dish than at Jumbo Seafood in East Coast Park, right on the sea. Tuck in to huge portions of juicy crab whilst looking out at the ships docked just off the shore as planes fly overhead on their approach into Changi Airport.
Maxwell Food Centre // Singapore is crammed with hawker centres. Hawker centres emerged in the 1950s when authorities forced street food vendors to move to fixed locations in order to improve public hygiene. Ask any Singaporean which is the best hawker centre in the city and every single person will give you a different answer.
The Maxwell Food Court in Chinatown would certainly be high on most people’s list. A stone’s throw from the Buddha Tooth Relic Centre, the Maxwell Food Centre has attracted the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsey on their visits to Singapore. Amongst the many stalls here is Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice which is so good that it has even been awarded a Michelin star.
Kebab and Curries // Singapore’s Little India is small but filled with some of the finest restaurants dishing up authentic Indian cuisine packed full of flavour. Amongst the best in the area is Kebab and Curries, located on the top floor of the Mustafa Centre, a huge department store that never closes and seems to sell absolutely everything.
Kebab and Curries features a huge menu, specialising in northern Indian as well as Pakistani food. Dishes are expertly prepared using the freshest ingredients and spices. This is also a great place to come if you’re looking for some of the best vegetarian food in Singapore.
Ce La Vi // If money’s no object then book a table at one of Singapore’s most iconic restaurants, Ce La Vi. Perched right at the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Ce La Vi was made even more famous when it was used as the setting for the final scene of Crazy Rich Asians.
Dig into an expertly crafted array of Asian fusion dishes accompanied by glorious views of the Singapore skyline. Thankfully the food is just as spectacular as the incredible view.
Potato Head // The back streets of Chinatown were once riddled with opium dens and prostitution. Today they are filled with chic cafes and bars, super trendy restaurants and boutique hotels. This is especially true of Keong Saik Road, home to Potato Head, a collection of bars set over three floors in an iconic heritage building.
Head up to Three Buns on the second floor and pick from a range of delicious selection of burgers, hotdogs and fries. Afterwards, head up to the roof terrace for cocktails with views overlooking the rooftops of Chinatown and the skyscrapers of the neighbouring CBD.
Things to See in Singapore
Head for a G&T at Atlas Bar // Inspired by the glitz of the 1930s Atlas Bar is one of the most unique bars in Singapore. Set inside the lobby of a huge Gotham-like skyscraper, Atlas Bar is an opulent Art Deco masterpiece. A huge marble bar and sweeping staircases are matched with intricately painted wall panels and ceilings and gleaming gold and brass details.
As well as its staggering interior Atlas is also famous for gin. There are over 1,300 gins available at Atlas, most of which are displayed in the tower above the bar and reached by a dedicated staircase. In another nod to the decadent 1930s there are also 250 types of Champagne to choose from.
Tiong Bahru // One of the first public housing estates to be built in Singapore, Tiong Bahru is one of the city’s most unique neighbourhoods. The estate is a combination of Art Deco and 1940s modernist architecture the only one of its kind in Singapore.
Today Tiong Bahru is one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Singapore. Trendy bookshops, cafes and restaurants share the laid back streets with more traditional porridge and noodle shops. A great place to eat, take your pick from any number of great restaurants on Eng Hoon Street or Yong Siak Street.
The Projector // The Projector is easily the best cinema in Singapore. As well as championing Singaporean and Asian film, The Projector is always at the heart of the huge number of international film festivals that take place here each year.
As well as new releases The Projector also screens old school classics, recently re-showing The Shining for Halloween and the cult classic Wings of Desire for the German Film Festival. With a groovy bijou bar the Projector also hosts live bands, DJs and comedy sets on weekends.
Enjoy a Singapore Sling at Raffles // A timeless tradition for any visitor to Singapore, there’s no better way to unwind than with a Singapore Sling at Raffles. This iconic hotel is a landmark within its own right and has recently undergone a huge refurbishment. The hotel’s famous Long Bar is where the Singapore Sling was invented, from where it has gone on to be considered the national drink of Singapore.
Take in the view from Marina Bay Sands // Though the infinity pool is the exclusive preserve of hotel guests the viewing platform at the end of Marina Bay Sands’ cantilevered roof is open to the public. From here you can take in the magnificent views of Singapore, Gardens By The Bay and the army of tankers stationed out at sea (as pictured below!).
Just because Singapore is small don’t think that you can see everything in a day or two. Many people think that Singapore is just a layover destination and underestimate just how much there is to do here. You could easily spend a week or more in Singapore and still not see everything!
Also check out:
- Sharjah, UAE After 5:00 pm
- Ras Al Khaimah, UAE After 5:00 pm
- Osaka, Japan After 5:00 pm
- Rishikesh, India After 5:00 pm
- George Town, Penang After 5:00 pm
- Chiang Mai, Thailand After 5:00 pm