Singapore, the smallest country in Southeast Asia, borders Malaysia to the north. It is a financial hub and a hugely important economic and industrial centre. Skyscrapers rise up at a steady pace here as the city gains an increasingly important role in the international economy, although numerous green areas have been preserved and Singapore does not yet feel as though it is made up of just concrete and steel. English is widely spoken and tourists can easily find their way by asking people on the street for help or by reading the signs and maps. Singapore is slightly more expensive to visit compared with neighbouring countries, but in general the prices are no higher than in Europe.
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Marina Bay – an ideal spot for tourists with sunbathing, swimming, a casino, clubs, restaurants, shopping and numerous tourist attractions. At Marina Bay you’ll find the Singapore Flyer, a ferris wheel bigger than the London Eye, and Gardens by the Bay, an impressive garden with the world's tallest indoor waterfall. Make also a stop at ArtScience Museum while visiting the famous Marina Bay Sands, a spectacular hotel resort in a boat-shaped design with an infinity pool on its roof. Only hotel guests are allowed to use the pool, sadly!
Chinatown, Singapore – Chinatown brings out the Chinese heritage in Singapore. This beautiful neighbourhood is filled with both modern stores and traditional shops selling exotic goods and local food. Other places rich in cultural tradition include Little India, Changi Village and Kampong Glam, to mention a few.
Singapore Zoo – this award-winning 26-hectare wildlife park invites you to see more than 2,800 animals, a giraffe exhibit, underwater galleries and much more. Don't miss your chance to experience also River Safari, Jurong Bird Park and Night Safari, all run by the respected Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
Singapore Botanic Garden – another gem for nature lovers, this 156-year-old green haven is the only tropical garden in the world named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at over 1,000 orchid species, a virgin rainforest and more right in the heart of the city.
Sentosa Island – Singapore's first integrated resort for sunbathing, swimming and golf, the island offers plenty of entertainment such as Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove Waterpark and Trick Eye Museum.
National Museum of Singapore – the nation's oldest museum showcases Singapore's history and culture in a fun way. The building is also one of the city's architectural icons. If you only have time for one museum, make it this one.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO NEAR SINGAPORE
Bintan Island – this island with beautiful beaches and hotels makes for ideal sunbathing and swimming vacations and is just a one-hour boat ride from Singapore.
Tioman Island – part of a marine park just a 40-minute flight from Singapore. Here you’ll find a tropical jungle, mountain streams and waterfalls.
Pulau Ubin – located just a short boat ride away from Singapore, this pristine island has only a handful of motorized vehicles. Explore the rustic roads and secluded beaches by hopping on a bicycle.
SHOPPING IN SINGAPORE
People jokingly say that shopping and food are the only things that really matter to a Singaporean, which is easy to understand when you see the wealth of shopping opportunities on offer.
Orchard Road – Singapore´s main shopping street. Designer clothes boutiques and famous fashion stores can be found alongside the biggest malls.
The city has a huge number of shopping malls and shopping centres. The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands offers the largest collection of luxury brands, while Vivo City, the biggest mall in town, boasts a number of retails outlets and kid-friendly amenities. Other popular shopping centres include Ngee Ann City, Sim Lim Square, Far East Plaza and Centrepoint.
Chinatown – another must-visit on your trip to Singapore, an area near the financial district where you can find everything from traditional goods such as porcelain, teas and spices to clothes and jewellery.
FOOD & DRINK IN SINGAPORE
Visitors to Singapore will quickly notice how important food and drink is to the locals. You can eat around the clock in this city and taste influences from every corner of the world, as there is a wide variety of international cuisine to go along with the huge selection of local food.
Hainanese Chicken Rice – Singapore’s national dish, this consists of boiled chicken and rice with oil and tasty dip sauces.
Chilli crab – Singapore’s most popular crab dish that comes in a spicy tomato sauce.
Fish Head Curry – a Singapore creation where the head of a red snapper fish is cooked with vegetables in curry gravy.
Char Kway Teow – flat rice noodles with slices of pork or pork lard stir-fried with soy sauce, cockles, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts and chives.
Satay – skewered grilled meat served with rice cakes, peanut sauce and cucumber-chili relish.
Bak Kut Teh – a famous pork rib soup infused with Chinese herbs and spices. This dish is usually accompanied by steamed rice and eaten as breakfast.
Hokkien Prawn Mee – a dish with stir-fried Hokkien noodles, prawns, slices of chicken or pork, squid and fish cake.
Bandung – this pink and very sweet drink made of milk and rose cordial syrup is very popular in Singapore.
Barley water – a traditional drink in Singapore made of boiled pearl barley and rock sugar.
Singapore Sling – a famous cocktail made of gin, pineapple juice, cherry brandy and bitters.
TRANSPORT IN SINGAPORE
Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) – a comprehensive rail network that provides an inexpensive and safe way of getting round the city. Most of Singapore's key attractions are within walking distance from an MRT Station.
Taxi – a comfortable and handy option if your destination is not accessible by bus or MRT. Charges are meter-based, but surcharges may apply depending on taxi company, location and time of day.
Bus – good value for longer distances. The bus system covers most places in Singapore.