We know you’re probably heading for the Singapore Grand Prix being held between the 18th and 20th of September and you probably have little time for anything else, but if this is your first time to that sunny isle by the sea, here’s a quick itinerary to make the most of it.
When you think of Singapore, most people think sterile, boring; a place where chewing gum is a crime. But who says graffiti and a crime free environment can’t be fun, besides where else can you hail a taxi by pressing a button?
Downtown Singapore is concentrated around the Singapore River in the south- the heart of the business district- CBD, and cultural district- Chinatown. North of the river is the elegant colonial district, housing the iconic Raffles hotel and countless gargantuan malls. Lining the river is a more recent phenomenon is the tourist haunt, the three quays – Boat Quay, Clark Quay and Robertson Quay. Beyond that lies the industrial area of Jurong and further south will see you splashing in Singapore’s recreational playground, Sentosa Island.
Begin your day by joining the locals for a session of Tai chi at the Singapore Botanical Park or walk off your jet lag among the 52 hectares of gardens. Now recharged, you can do the same for your credit card at the Orchard Road shops- South East Asia’s premier mix of electronics, luxury brands and some local flavor, all reflective of Singapore’s cultural melting pot of Malay, Indian, and Chinese. If you are less a shopper and more a culture hog, then head straight to the Asian Civilization Museum in the colonial district. The 18th century empress palace building is a must for any visitor to Singapore as it takes you back to the country’s origins through 10 thematic galleries filled with an eclectic mix of traditional art, mix media and installations. Don’t forget to stop by the museum gift shop on the way out for some lovely albeit pricey gifts.
Want something lighter on the wallet? Hit Chinatown, also the perfect place to have some lunch. Between Church Street in the north and Maxwell road to the south, you’ll find a vivacious market, a stark contrast to the sophistication of CBD and Orchard Street. Visit the Thian Hock Kent Temple otherwise known as Temple of Heavenly Happiness, Chinatown Heritage Center and quiet the hunger pangs with lunch at the Maxwell Road Food centre, a hawker center with over 100 stalls that serve everything from chilled Tiger beer to perfect chili crab. Ox tail anyone?
Summers in Singapore are humid and the best way to beat the heat is step inside a gallery or take in a show at the Esplanade – an architectural marvel that resembles a melting honeycomb and promises nonstop entertainment. Catch a West End musical or sip on the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had while you meander.
In the mood for a drink? Then begin your evening at Harry’s bar with local Singaporean live music. Otherwise hop over to the cherished Raffles Hotel that began as a 10-room bungalow in 1887. While staying there is out of reach for most people, a Singapore Sling in the Long bar is a perfect way to experience Singapore’s colonial heritage.
The perfect way to end an evening is to sit by the riverside and enjoy your lobster at Clarke Quay, make sure you check how much your fish is going to cost you by weight. Follow it up by listening to a fantastic band at a bar on Club Street. Not in the mood for loud music, then try the Chinese Opera. There’s something for everyone in this city and after having such a hectic day you might just to extend your trip and stay a while longer.
Our usual Eat, See Do will help you with your plans of visiting Singapore as we take you to the hippest restaurants and the best places to shop.