City Essentials: Singapore

A bustling South East Asian metropolis home to lots of big businesses, lots of rules, and no chewing gum. That’s Singapore in a nutshell, right? That’s not even half of it.

The mind-blowing architecture, the vibrant street markets, the beautiful gardens and green spaces… Singapore is a surprisingly diverse destination with more than a few secrets in store.

Looking to experience the best of Singapore? Here are some of the essentials:

1. Stroll among the Supertrees

If you’re going to design something in Singapore, you may as well go big or go home. Gardens by the Bay certainly delivers on that brief. Located next door to the ‘floating cruise ship’ at Marina Bay Sands, Gardens is a show-stopper home to multiple horticultural attractions. There’s the Supertree Grove, which wouldn’t be out of place in the film Avatar; the Cloud Forest, an indoor arboretum filled with tropical plantings; and the new Floral Fantasy, to name a few.

The Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay
The Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay

2. Eat your fill at a hawker centre

Singaporeans don’t just eat to live, they live to eat. With a melting pot of cultures calling this island home, it goes without saying the foodie scene is pretty incredible – and it’s a lot cheaper than you may think. Rather than head to the upmarket restaurants, do as the locals do and visit a ‘hawker centre’. These food courts are home to a myriad of stalls specialising in one or two dishes, so you know they’re going to be good. Best of all, each dish will only set you back a few dollars. If you visit just one centre during your stay, make it Maxwell Road in Chinatown.

Outdoor dining in Chinatown
Outdoor dining in Chinatown

3. Visit the amazing Jewel Changi

Part shopping centre, part foodie heaven; Jewel Changi is one of the most iconic sights in Singapore. Located minutes from the arrivals hall at Changi Airport (follow the signs from the baggage hall), the shopping and dining precinct is home to around 280 shops and restaurants across 10 storeys. The star of the show, however, is the Forest Valley, with its spectacular 40-metre tall ‘Rain Vortex’ waterfall at it heart.

The Rain Vortex at Jewel Changi
The Rain Vortex at Jewel Changi

Once just a humble sea town, Singapore is a bustling city home to more than 5.6 million residents from a variety of countries, each of them leaving their own mark on the city.

4. Explore the local neighbourhoods

Visiting Singapore is like visiting multiple countries in one trip. There’s Chinatown, home to an incredible array of colourful shophouses and eateries; Kampong Glam (Little Arabia), where you’ll find great street art, cool restaurants and numerous boutique design stores; Little India, where it feels like you’ve stepped into the heart of downtown Delhi; and Tiong Bahru, a trendy neighbourhood brimming with great coffee shops, cool galleries and Insta-worthy sights.

An outdoor market in Singapore's Chinatown
An outdoor market in Singapore’s Chinatown

5. Unleash your inner child at Sentosa Island

Sentosa is Singapore’s adventure island, home to some of the country’s top attractions. From Universal Studios Singapore and the S.E.A Aquarium to Adventure Cove Waterpark, Mega Adventure Park (think zip lines and rope courses), and even AJ Hackett. There’s also the amazing Tanjong Beach Club, a trendy beachfront bar, and several high-end hotels.

Sentosa, Singapore's adventure island
Sentosa, Singapore’s adventure island

Need to get around? The Singapore MRT (train) is a cheap and efficient option, with an extensive network covering pretty much all the key attractions of the city. Tourists can buy a Singapore Tourist Pass, which includes unlimited rail travel for one, two or three days.

Whether for a day, two days or even a week, Singapore is a city well worth exploring.



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