Singapore

The Merlion in Singapore

Where to stay

  • Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa, 1 Larkhill Rd, Sentosa Island; +65 6825 3888; sentosa.amarahotels.com. Built on the site of a former British military barracks, all 140 rooms, suites and villas here echo the old world-charm of colonial architecture, with elements such as white shuttered windows, crisp white sheets on four-poster beds and spacious verandahs.
  • Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong, 86 East Coast Rd; hotelindigo.com/singapore. Peranakan touches liven up the decor at this 131-room boutique hotel. For instance, a collage of Peranakan ceramic tiles greets guests in the lobby, while the guest rooms mirror the flow of a Peranakan home, taking guests from the living area to the bedroom and bathroom.
  • Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore, 1A Cuscaden Rd; +65 6831 4333, hoteljen.com. A newly-refurbished, four-star hotel with small but cozy rooms decked out in Singapore-themed wallpaper. The hotel offers a free shuttle service to the Orchard Road shopping belt.
  • Hotel Vagabond, 39 Syed Alwi Rd, +65 6291 6677; www.hotelvagabondsingapore.com. A luxe boutique hotel offering Parisian-chic accommodation – think deep red velvet curtains and mahogany writing desks – in the ethnic enclave of Kampong Glam. Founder Satinder Garcha’s own travel photos adorn every guestroom, lending a personal touch to the space.
  • Lloyd’s Inn, 2 Lloyd Rd; +65 6737 7309; lloydsinn.com. The 34 Scandinavian-style rooms at this sleek boutique hotel boast whitewashed walls, blonde wood accents, and plenty of natural light.
  • Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave; +65 6688 8857; marinabaysands.com. An integrated resort with a five-star hotel, casino, museum, luxury retail outlets, convention facilities and fine dining restaurants.
  • M Social Singapore, 90 Robertson Quay; +65 6664 8888; millenniumhotels.com/en/singapore/m-social-singapore. Everything in this swish new boutique hotel screams ultra-modern — from its psychedelic avant-garde interiors envisioned by renowned French designer Philippe Starck, to the high-tech facilities like self-service check-in kiosks.
  • Park Hotel Alexandra323 Alexandra Rd; +65 6828 8888; parkhotelgroup.com/alexandra. This four-star hotel is an attractive urban oasis located in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Queenstown. Its crowning glory is a 25m-long infinity pool, which provides great views of the Southern Ridges, and an equally stunning pool bar, Aqua Luna, which serves up specialty cocktails and light bites.
  • Sofitel So Singapore, 35 Robinson Rd; +65 6701 6800; sofitel.com. Parisian elegance meets Singapore chic at this luxe boutique hotel, which boasts elements designed by the legendary Karl Lagerfeld.
  • The Fullerton Singapore, 1 Fullerton Sq; +65 6733 8388; www.fullertonhotel.com. Set in a former post office and characterized by a distinct Neo-classical facade, this 400-room luxury heritage hotel is one of Singapore’s most iconic landmarks.
  • The Westin Singapore, 12 Marina View, Asia Square Tower 2, Marina Bay; +65 6922 6888; thewestinsingapore.com. This modern oasis offers well-appointed rooms with iPod docks, rain showers and the brand’s signature Heavenly Bed. There’s also a beautiful infinity pool on level 35, and a handsome bar, Cook & Brew, on level 33.
  • W Sentosa Cove, 21 Ocean Way, +65 6808 7288, www.wsingaporesentosacove.com. A modern, vibrant and stylish resort in the affluent Sentosa Cove residential enclave. Rooms are large, with modern amenities such as iPod docks, mood lighting and rain showers.

Where to eat

  • Annalakshmi, 104 Amoy St; +63 6223 0809; annalakshmi.com.sg. Tuck into a hearty Indian vegetarian buffet at this popular restaurant. There are no fixed prices; instead you simply donate as you see fit. All proceeds go towards a cultural organization called Temple of the Arts.
  • Artichoke, 161 Middle Rd, 6336 6949; www.artichoke.com.sg. For a twist on the usual weekend brunch, head to Artichoke for creative Middle Eastern fare like lamb shakshouka and cauliflower sabbich.
  • A Poke Theory, 27 Boon Tat St; www.apoketheory.com. Tuck into wholesome poke (pronounced poh-kay) bowls at this specialty restaurant. Here, fresh cuts of salmon and tuna are marinated, then served on a bed of lettuce, sushi rice or lemon herb quinoa. You can jazz up your salad with house-made toppings like Kahlua pork, kale chips, spiced roasted cashews and more. Superfood smoothie bowls — in flavors like Cacaoholic and Raspberry Tropic — are also available.
  • Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 335 Smith St; No surprise that this is one of the best places to get your Chinese food fix. Look out for soy sauce chicken noodles, xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings with soup) and Teochew-style dumplings.
  • Chin Mee Chin Confectionery, 204 East Coast Rd; +65 6345 0419. Pair the island’s best kaya (coconut jam) toast with two soft-boiled eggs and a steaming cup of kopi (sweet local coffee) for one of Singapore’s favorite breakfasts.
  • Common Man Coffee Roasters, 22 Martin Rd, +65 6836 4695; commonmancoffeeroasters.com. One of the stalwarts of Singapore’s thriving cafe scene, serving up brunch favorites like banana and walnut pancakes and organic eggs Benedict, and of course, an extensive range of excellent coffee (from single origin to micro-lot).
  • Faber Bistro, 101 Mount Faber Rd; +65 6377 9688, faberpeaksingapore.com. A cozy and romantic hilltop bistro offering western fare, such as salads, sandwiches and pastas.
  • Lam’s Salt Baked Chicken, various outlets; lamskitchen.com. The mouthwatering salt-baked chicken is perfect on its own, but goes equally well with a bowl of steaming white rice.
  • Lucha Loco, 15 Duxton Hill; +65 6226 3938; luchaloco.com. Snack on crunchy tacos and sip on refreshing margaritas on the lively restaurant’s outdoor patio.
  • Makansutra Gluttons Bay, #01-15, 8 Raffles Ave; +65 6336 7025; makansutra.com. Enjoy local favorites such as oyster omelette and fried carrot cake at this outdoor food centre, which opens till 3am on Fridays and Saturdays – perfect for supper runs.
  • Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur St. One of the top-rated hawker centers in Singapore, where you can enjoy a smorgasbord of local delights – from chicken rice to sliced fish bee hoon (vermicelli).
  • MEATliquor SIN, 99 Duxton Rd, +65 6221 5343; meatliquor.com/singapore. Sink your teeth into hefty, American-style burgers like the Bacon Cheeseburger and the Buffalo Chicken Burger at this grungy, neon-lit joint.
  • NOX – Dine in the Dark, 269 Beach Rd; +65 6298 0708; noxdineinthedark.com. A novel dining concept where you’ll enjoy a three-course meal in total darkness. This elevates your senses of touch, taste, smell and sound, making for a highly memorable dining experience.
  • Pollen, #01-09, 18 Marina Gardens Dr; +65 6604 9988; pollen.com.sg. Dine amidst colorful blooms at this upscale Modern European restaurant, located in the Flower Dome. It’s helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton.
  • Potato Head Folk, 36 Keong Saik Rd, +65 6327 1939. Spread across four floors of a restored Art Deco building, the first international outpost of the beloved Balinese institution serves up the same comfort food (think juicy burgers and chilli cheese fries) from burger joint Three Buns, and potent cocktails from bar Studio 1939.
  • Restaurant Andre, 41 Bukit Pasoh Rd; +65 6534 8880; restaurantandre.com. Widely regarded as the best restaurant in Singapore; it currently sits pretty at #32 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Nosh on Mediterranean-inspired fine-dining fare that’s inspired by chef André Chiang’s trademark Octaphilosophy (i.e. the gastronomy elements of salt, texture, memory, pure, terroir, south, artisan and unique).
  • Ronin, 17 Hong Kong St. Don’t be fooled by its shopfront (or lack thereof), bare-bones ambience and lean menu; the sandwiches here, which come in flavors like prosciutto and roast beef, are seriously good.
  • Sunday Folks, 44 Jalan Merah Saga; +65 6479 9166; www.sundayfolks.com. Have a sweet tooth? Sunday Folks specializes in homemade, soft-serve ice creams in flavors like earl grey lavender and sea salt gula melaka, with toppings like fruits, caramel popcorn, and homemade granola. Order yours with a belgian waffle – the combination is absolutely divine.
  • Swee Choon, 183-191 Jalan Besar; +65 6225 7788. For the city’s most affordable dim sum, served from 6pm to 6am every day (except Tuesdays).
  • Tekka Food Centre, 665 Buffalo Rd; South Asian food is the specialty in this Little India landmark. Go here for the spicy briyani rice, dosas and naan bread with curry combos.
  • Teppei, 1 Tras Link, +65 6222 7363. One of the most affordable dinner omakase meals you can find in Singapore; do note, however, that reservations have to be made months in advance. Didn’t manage to snag a seat? Visit during lunch and settle for a bowl of bara chirashi instead (Japanese rice topped with diced sashimi).
  • Tom’s Palette, #01-25 Shaw Tower, 100 Beach Rd; +65 6296 5239; tomspalette.com.sg. Head to this cafe for ice cream in unique flavors like salted egg yolk and carry cake.
  • 28HKS, 28 Hong Kong St, www.28hks.com. Officially the best bar in Asia, according to the inaugural Asia’s 50 Best Bars Awards. Hit this speakeasy up for creative cocktails and finger food such as truffle mac and cheese balls.
  • 328 Katong Laksa, 53E East Coast Rd; +65 9732 8163. For fiery, belly-warming bowls of laksa (rice noodles in a spicy coconut broth).

What to do

  • Changi Point Boardwalk, Nicoll Dr, +65 1800 471 7300. One of the best places on the island to catch the sunset. Take a leisurely stroll along its 2.2km stretch and watch the sun dip below the horizon, before walking over to nearby Changi Village for a fulfilling dinner.
  • Chinatown. Visit the famous Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (which houses what is purportedly the left canine tooth of Buddha himself), browse and buy Chinese trinkets, and dine on local delights like char kway teow (stir-fried noodles) at Chinatown Food Street.
  • Clarke Quay. This vibrant waterfront district is home to various trendy restaurants, bars, nightclubs and even Singapore’s very own reverse bungee.
  • Esplanade, 1 Esplanade Dr; +65 6828 8377; esplanade.com. Head to this iconic, durian-shaped (or so the locals say!) arts centre for interesting musical, theater, dance and cultural performances.
  • Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Dr; +65 6420 6848; gardensbythebay.com.sg. This nature park, which is set on reclaimed land, is home to the famous Supertrees (tree-like vertical gardens), as well as the Flower Dome, a cooled conservatory housing plants and flowers endemic to the Mediterranean region.
  • Henderson Waves, Henderson Rd. At 36 meters above the ground, this bridge, with its unique, wave-like structure, is the tallest pedestrian bridge in Singapore.
  • Istana, Orchard Rd; www.istana.gov.sg. If you happen to be in Singapore on certain public holidays, you can visit the Istana, the official residence of the president of Singapore. For an entrance fee of SGD2, you can spend the day exploring the grounds and touring the buildings.
  • Joo Chiat. Explore the charming shophouses, local coffee shops and antiques dealers in this ethnic enclave for an insight into Peranakan culture.
  • Kampong Glam. The country’s Malay enclave is home to many interesting sights, such as the Malay Heritage Centre. You’ll also find many trendy restaurants, bars and lifestyle shops here, especially along Arab Street and Haji Lane.
  • Little India. Head to this buzzing Indian quarter for authentic, finger-licking’ (quite literally) Indian cuisine, before indulging in some retail therapy at the 24-hour Mustafa Centre, which stocks everything from electronics to sundries.
  • MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Swap the concrete jungle of the city for the wilderness of MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Trekking here will make you feel as though you’re in the middle of the countryside! Don’t forget to check out the TreeTop Walk, a 250m-long free-standing suspension bridge that will give you a bird’s-eye view of the forest.
  • Marina Barrage, 8 Marina Gardens Dr; +65 6514 5959. The green roof at Marina Barrage offers a spectacular view of Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and the rest of the city and seascape. It’s a popular spot for kite-flying and picnicking.
  • Marina Bay Waterfront, marina-bay.sg. Take a stroll along the promenade for spectacular views of the city skyline. Don’t forget to visit the Helix Bridge, with its iconic double helix design.
  • Merlion Park, One Fullerton; +65 6736 6622. Get up close and personal with the 8.6m-tall Merlion (a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish), undoubtedly one of Singapore’s most famous icons.
  • National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Rd; +65 6271 7000; nationalgallery.sg. Delve into a world of art at this gallery, which contains the world’s largest collection of modern Southeast Asian art. The Gallery also houses the Keppel Centre for Art Education, where kids learn about art through multisensory activities, workshops and play.
  • Orchard Road, orchardroad.org. Shop to your heart’s content in the many malls located along this vibrant shopping belt. You’ll find international luxury brands, high-street labels and homegrown boutiques alike.
  • Peranakan Museum, 39 Armenian St; +65 6332 7591; peranakanmuseum.org.sg. Learn more about Peranakan heritage and culture at this museum, which is dedicated to the Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay Archipelago between the 15th and 17th centuries.
  • Sentosa, +65 6736 8672; sentosa.com.sg. Head to this island resort’s beaches for some sun, sand and sea, or have fun at one of its many attractions, such as MegaZip Adventure Park or Madame Tussaud’s Singapore. Then, hop on the cable car back to the mainland, which connects Sentosa to Faber Peak.
  • Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Rd; +65 6589 9580; singaporeartmuseum.sg. This modern museum houses a grand collection of contemporary works, focusing on art practices in Singapore, Southeast Asia and Asia within the global context.
  • Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Rd; +65 6471 7138; sbg.org.sg. Recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 156-year-old oasis is home to a plethora of tropical flora and fauna. The National Orchid Garden alone contains more than 1,000 species of orchids.
  • Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Rd; +65 6269 3411; zoo.com.sg. Marvel at over 315 animal species, including the endangered white tiger and the orang utan, at this award-winning wildlife park, which prides itself on providing naturalistic habitats for its denizens.
  • The Projector, #05-00 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Rd; theprojector.sg. Catch alternative film offerings at this independent cinema, located at the historic Golden Theatre. Order a craft beer and some salted egg-yolk fries at the foyer, before settling into a bean bag.
  • The Substation, 45 Armenian St; +65 6337 7535; substation.org. If music is what you’re after, there are always cool bands to rock out to at this contemporary arts center.
  • Tiger Brewery Tour, apbsingapore.com.sg/tiger-brewery-tour. Curious about how beer is made? Sign up for this two-hour tour, which will take you through the brewery that makes Singapore’s Tiger Beer lagers.
  • Tiong Bahru. This hip and happening ‘hood is lined with Art Deco shophouses, which in turn house a charming mix of cafes and retail stores, such as BooksActually (a quaint indie bookstore with a lovingly curated collection of fiction and non-fiction titles) and Forty Hands (a trendy Aussie-inspired cafe).
  • Universal Studios Singapore, 8 Sentosa Gateway; +65 6577 8888; rwsentosa.com/USS‎. Go on thrilling rides and watch entertaining shows at this world-famous theme park. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, hop on the Battlestar Galactica, which consists of two simultaneous and intertwined rollercoasters.
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