Why Singapore is much more than a stopover destination

A city so rich in culture, heritage and award-winning restaurants, a weekend break in Singapore merely scratches the surface of this top destination. 

The island boasts acres of parkland to explore, over 3,000 entertainment options, it has beaches, islands, mountains, wetlands and forests, ancient temples and traditional markets and a fantastically welcoming spirit. So why rush when you’re in one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world?

To get your bearings, hop on a traditional bumboat and sail down the Singapore River for unbeatable views of the cityscape, from the CBD’s gleaming skyscrapers to Boat Quay’s coloured houses. Or take to the sky on the Southern Ridges Walk, a 5km trail that connects Kent Ridge Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Mount Faber Park. The majestic Henderson Waves Bridge connects Blangah Hill and Mount Faber and is raised amid the canopies and the route affords some truly awe-inspiring views.

Back at ground level, once you’ve ticked off landmarks including the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (one of the oldest temples in Singapore) it’s well worth spending time discovering the tiny restaurants, the open grills and colourful shops of the ethnic quarters.

China Town is one of the most popular districts – a world where old meets new and traditional tea houses and hawker food emporiums rub shoulders with contemporary galleries and coffee shops. Experience an enchanting tea ceremony or enjoy an afternoon sampling mouth-watering delicacies in China Town – you’ll even find the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred meal here (around £2!) at Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle. With foodie walking tours, market tours and even cooking lessons, budding chefs can learn all about the local produce in the fabulous wet markets and how to cook it. And if you fancy pushing the boat out, you can try many more stellar menus at Singapore’s plentiful Michelin-starred restaurants across the city.

Close your eyes in Little India and the sights, smells and sounds will transport you to the heart of Delhi and Mumbai. From traditional dishes and to brightly coloured saris, the streets are filled with goods for sale and this neighbourhood is always a hive of energy.

If you’re looking for an authentic taste of Malay culture, head to Kampong Glam, a vibrant and trendy Muslim and Arab neighbourhood. Foodies will be spoilt for choice with restaurants with a local twist and shopaholics can make a beeline for Haji Lane, where pre-war house stores, stalls, bars and cafes jostle for business.

While it may be a cosmopolitan and vibrant city, Singapore is also a great place to rest, relax and recharge your batteries. Surrounded by awe-inspiring nature, the island has some of the most beautiful parks and nature reserve’s a stone’s throw from its gleaming skyscrapers so you’ll want to take your time and enjoy the city’s most scenic attractions.

With a jaw-dropping array of more than 60,000 plants, the UNESCO-listed Singapore Botanic Garden tops many bucketlists. From the world’s rarest orchids to verdant, towering plants, the gardens are a nature-lover’s wonderland. The Singapore Symphony Orchestra also regularly holds free concerts in the gardens. And for a futuristic horticultural feast for the senses, the Gardens by the Bay’s colourful towers, modernist super trees and incredible architecture are sure to catch your eye. At night, the installations, located on the edge of the bay, are illuminated as part of an unforgettable light and sound show.

Bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts will not be disappointed either. For stunning island views and the chance to spot monkeys, lizards and native birds, the wild beauty of MacRitchie Nature Trail and Reservoir is hard to beat. Don’t miss the 250-metre high suspension bridge! Singapore’s offshore islands also offer the perfect blend of seclusion and peace and quiet. One of the most well known, Pulau Ubin, is perfect for a leisurely cycle and is also home to one of Singapore’s last traditional kampongs (a small enclave of community homes). The island’s Chek Jawa Wetlands are home to a range of crabs, reptiles and marine life.

And if you’re simply looking to enjoy some sun, sea and sand, Singapore’s beaches are easy to get to. The city’s beaches are fun or ferry boats shuttle to and from neighbouring islands including Lazarus, Saint John’s, Kusu, and Sisters’ Islands, where you’ll find sandy shores and clear waters.

From mountains to beaches, markets to temples, and five-star hotels to picnics in the park, Singapore has something for everyone. With first-class shopping, restaurants, hotels, spas, natural wonders and sights to explore and a wealth of surprises up its sleeve, those in the know are spending lots more time in this Asian hotspot.

The Best Ways To Explore

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