City Guide: Singapore

Chinatown stall in Singapore

What to see and do in Singapore

Singapore is a city steeped in history and you can feel like you've stepped back in to the late 1800s as you enter the foyer of the Raffles Hotel.

Named after the founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles the national monument was restored and redeveloped in 1989 to it's former glory.

Whilst the hotel is incredibly impressive most people are drawn to the first floor Long Bar to try a traditional Singapore Sling which was invented there. Feel the crunch as you enter as the floor can be covered with discarded monkey nut shells which is slightly ironic given the strict littering laws of Singapore.

Away from the city, Singapore zoo and night safari are an excellent way to spend the day. Whilst many tours operate from the city you can make your own way there via the metro to Chao Chu Kang and the number 97 bus which will drop you off at the entrance.

At the end of September the world of motor racing engulfs the city as its streets around Marina Bay are transformed into the latest round of Grand Prix races. The Singapore Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the Formula 1 season due to it taking place at night.

No visit is complete without a sighting of the Merlion statue overlooking Marina Bay which this years celebrates it's 40th birthday. The statue represents the iconic Singapore with its head of a lion and the body of a fish symbolising its origin as a fishing village and it's original name Singapura, meaning Lion City.

Accommodation Options

Mid-Range

Located on the banks of the river at Clarke Quay the rooms at the Novotel are spacious and contemporary. Unusually the reception is on the 7th floor as a shopping mall takes up the first six. Whilst you're waiting to check in there is a great view over the city.

177A River Valley Road, Singapore +65 63383333

The Gallery is a funky and colourful hotel lies further around the river from Clarke Quay and is in a quiet area away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

The Gallery room had enough room for two single beds and the bathroom was surrounded by frosted glass which was a little unusual.

The hotel's swimming pool keeps up with the quirkiness as it is a glass sided cantilevered construction that juts out of the side of the fifth floor so you can peer out over the river whilst you take a relaxing swim.

1 Nanson Road, Robertson Quay, Singapore +65 6849 8686

Shopping around Singapore

If you want to shop in Singapore then get yourself down to the famous Orchard Road. Luxury brands line the pavements whilst those looking for something less extravagant can pound the floors of the Orchard Central and [email protected] malls.

To give your sense of smell a bit of a battering then Little India is the place for you. The pungent fragrance of spices will entice you into the range of food stalls selling Malay and Chinese delicacies.

EATING OUT

Clarke Quay: Along the riverbanks of Clarke Quay there are a host of restaurants serving traditional Asian cuisine and excel in fish dishes.

Chinatown:  To sample some excellent food head to Chinatown where the various street vendors serve up dishes to make yur mouth water. Grab a table in the along the road side and take in the atmosphere.

Getting there and away

Changi Airport is just under 11 miles from the city centre and is a major hub for flights between Europe and Australasia.

The airport can be reach via shuttle buses, taxis and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system also runs to the airport.

With the southern tip of Malaysia only a short distance from the north of the island it is also very easy to take the train from Woodlands train station in the north into Malaysia. The ride will take around six hours to Kuala Lumpur.

Getting around the city

The majority of sights around the city are within walking distance of each other. Though the streets are busy there are several overpasses and entry of pedestrian crossings to ensure a pleasant stroll.

If you want a quicker way to get around, try the efficient MRT system. The four main lines service the entire island. Single and return tickets can be bought at the station or you can purchase a tourist travel pass for $18 (£9; $US14) for one days travel.

VISAS AND CURRENCY

The currency is the Singapore Dollar broken down into 100 cents.

American, Canadian, Europeans, Australians and New Zealanders don't require visas to enter the country but a maximum stay is defined and varies for each country.

Paul's tip for Singapore

The Singapore Sling is the obvious choice of drink when frequenting the Raffles Hotel Long Bat. However if you want a different option go for a Tiger Lily, a mix of Charleston Follies, lime, Galliano and grape juice and was named after the seductive lady in a painting behind the bar.

Angela's tip for Singapore

It was a great idea to visit the zoo during the day then once it closes grab a bite to eat whilst tribal dancers perform fire-eating and blowpipe demonstrations. When the night safari opens take a wander through the dark park guessing what is around the next corner.

Have you been to Singapore? What would you recommend?