Its streets and subways may be some of the cleanest on Earth, but don't be fooled into thinking Singapore's sterile– this is a city with a real zing to it. Markets buzz with the clatter of vendors selling wares, gleaming glass malls jostle for attention with lush green parks, and beaches bustle with bathers. Sweet smells of peanut sauce, fresh fish, and oyster omelettes drift out of vibrant hawker centers and international flavors fill the many swanky restaurants around the city.
Things to see
A shopper's paradise, Orchard Road is brimming with mile upon mile of gleaming-glass malls where you can pick up everything from designer dresses and haute-couture handbags to Singapore souvenirs. The lush green trees that line the bustling road offer shade and respite from the beating sun (and shelter from the rain), making it an enjoyable avenue to potter down whatever time of day. Singapore Zoo is a sprawling park of varied terrains, and it's here you can glimpse big cats dashing across green grasses and have your photo taken with a bright orange orang-utan sitting on your lap. Raffles Place's towering buildings loom large of the district's busy streets and there are sights to see at every turn – look out for the iconic Merlion water fountain which is part lion, part fish. For more than a slice of greenery, Gardens by the Bay is a superpark that's split into 3 waterfront spaces: Bay South, Bay East, and Bay Central. The 16-storey-tall trees look like something from a sci-fi film, and there's a suspended 128-metre-long walkway between two of these structures offering a bird’s eye view of the Gardens as well as Marina Bay. You'll also find pretty pavilions, tropical trees, lush lawns, and waterfront promenades, which come evening, are one of the best places to see Singapore's dazzling skyline as it's lit up with lights.
Hotels in Singapore
Singapore's not short on hotels, with plenty of pads to choose from in this exciting Asian city. If you want luxury, you'll find it in five-star landmarks where you can expect butler-like service, sensuous spas, and triangular sandwiches and jam and cream-filled scones. Rooms range from sweeping suites to contemporary doubles and often feature deep soaking baths and four-poster beds. If your budget won’t stretch to those excesses, a wealth of mid-range Singapore hotels offer a family-friendly environment, central locations, and convenient amenities such as WiFi and flat-screen televisions with digital televisions. To really keep costs down, there are cheap hotels offering basic amenities, as well as pods where you literally just get a pod-like bed for the night.
Where to stay
If you're planning to maximize your shopping time while in Singapore, a hotel near Orchard Road is ideal, and will put you in strolling distance of the area's many shops, markets, and malls. For beach-side hotels in Singapore, Sentosa Island, just off the southern coast, has a number of fine white sands to sprawl out on and is also home to Universal theme park with its adrenaline-inducing rides, and a casino for those who fancy a flutter under its neon flashing lights. For a slice of luxury, Marina Bay's home to plenty of plush hotels offering sweeping views of the Singapore River.
How to get to
The easiest way to get to Singapore is by air, and Changi Airport receives flights from locations all over the world. From the airport there are plenty of options for getting to the city center with the cheapest being the subway. Simply catch the MRT train from Changi Airport Station to Tanah Merah and from there take a city-bound train to City Hall station or Orchard Station depending where your Singapore hotel is located – the journey will take around 30 minutes. You can also take a bus, or ride in a taxi.