Singapore Stopover: Cram It All InPosted in Where to Travel to Now
The dizzy heights of Singapore await those that don't mind a 12 hour flight. But once you are there, boy oh boy it's fun.
We whipped over to Singapore and managed to cram an awful lot into a 24 hour stopover, all in the name of journalism you understand. If you are there for business or pleasure, find some time to visit some of these attractions. It’s definitely worth it. We kicked off our tourist agenda with a ride on the Singapore Flyer. For the uninitiated, this is essentially the London Eye but in Singapore. At $29.50, this half an hour ride is a skyscanning bargain. The pods are wide and plentiful and on the day we were there it wasn’t at all busy. The skyline is stunning with 360degree views. The Singapore Flyer is stationed down by the waters’ edge and thus provides views of the new developments as well as the Singapore Grand Prix track, the Raffles Hotel and the majority of Singapore to be honest.
Above: The Singapore Flyer Marks A Similar Resemblance To The London Eye.
Should you fancy a bit of a VIP experience, may I suggest the VIP signature cocktail. $69 per person will get you a cocktail, cocktail glass souvenir, VIP check in and lounge access and a free in-flight guide to show you what you are looking at. For the ultimate indulgence get the Moet & Chandon Champagne Flight again at £69 pp but with a glass of bubbly instead.
One of the pods has now been turned into a bar so you can hire it out with friends for the day with a bartender, your own ipod docking station and plush couch to cosy up on while you literally watch the world go by.
Take the audio guide, which explains how Singapore is built on the principles of Feng Shui; no sharp edges.
It’s easy to access with the station five minutes away. It’s currently the world’s largest rotation wheel but Beijing seems to be attempting to top that so stay tuned. Underneath the flyer are restaurants and a mini rainforest to try to harness water. The restaurants didn’t look that exciting however so best to head back out into the city to hunt down some nosh.
Next stop, we ventured out away from the skyscrapers and visited Little China and Little India. These were places where they attempted to set up communities and Little India is just like India, although minus the dust. I indulged with a Henna tattoo for $4 and then headed into one of the side streets for a bite to eat. A plate of scrumptious food only cost around $10-15.
Have a cruise through some of the fabric shops for a point of difference and check out the Buddhist and Hindu Temples that grace this community. They are utterly beautiful and, while ten a penny, really do encourage calm and quiet and peacefulness; Just the tonic to a busy day, especially when the chanting begins. It lulls.
The Muslim district is also worth a visit, if only to venture in to the mosque. A friendly Muslim guide was on hand to impart knowledge to those who were interested. It’s entirely authentic so no shoes, even in the adjoining toilets, which got rather messy; and if you are dressed for heat (it’s Singapore after all) they will provide cover-up robes. The dedication of the men praying is entirely impressive.
Above: The Port Of Singapore With Sentosa Island In The Background
For some ultra tourist activity, head over to the newly built Sentosa. This is pretty much just an area that’s been built for the tourists, which is not really my usual thing. If you are taking kids then you’ll be in your element as there’s a zip wire ride, ski lift style ride, beaches and what looked like a rather scary downhill ‘Luge’ ride. Basically like go carting but without an engine. You just have to accept that downhill is the only way.
The Resorts World Sentosa is built by Universal Studios so prepare for all-out American style tourism. If that’s not your thing, the Singapore museum: Images of Singapore Many Faces; One Story is really worth noting though. This isn’t your bog-standard museum. It’s 100% better than any museum I’ve been to. Mannequins with plenty of signs tell the story of the founding of Singapore, the first Brits to settle there and how Singapore’s first language is English. It explains how the communities built up through the ages and how banking is of prime importance. It shows replica trading offices for the trade routes and even a traditional Chinese Opera is wailed out at you from a mock-theatre. There’s a small fee to enter the island but check out the site (listed below) for up to date information.
Above: Clarke Quay @ Night
For those that prefer buzz and nightlife, head down to Clark Quay and Boat Quay. It’s 95% food and drink oriented with a boat ride that takes you up and down the two quays. It’s more indulgent at night with the shimmering lights falling down to the harbour. Choose a waterfront bar (they are all pretty much waterfront) and enjoy a cocktail or three while you watch the sun disappear and the cool night arrive.
Above: Marina Bay @ Night
Top Tip: Singapore is the ultimate stopover on your way to Australia or New Zealand. If you are quick about it, you can spend a weekend there seeing all you need to see with ease and still finding time to relax.
Written by Lorna Strickland