Love animals and travel? Here are 10 destinations that could allow you to get up and close with some of the world’s most exotic and rate wildlife.
Originally published on IHG’s Guide to Singapore.
Visiting Singapore – A City Guide
Modern, prosperous and dynamic, Singapore is a global hub for finance, high-tech industry and international trade. If you’re visiting on holiday, it’s a shopper’s haven and a foodie’s dream, with gleaming malls and a legendary food scene that takes in everything from Chinese, Malay and Indian street food to sophisticated fine-dining restaurants.
If you’ve an urge to explore, you can discover the island’s multicultural heritage in Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam and the grand colonial buildings of the Civic District. You’ll also find plenty of beachside activities, rainforest parks, a thriving arts scene and 21st-century attractions like Gardens By The Bay.
Singapore: city layout
Shaped like a diamond, Singapore combines towering skyscrapers, traditional communities and modern waterfront developments.
image via Flickr by ^Joe
Restored 19th-century colonial buildings are clustered in the city and Civic District near the Singapore River, with Chinatown close by. Little India and Kampong Glam are found to the north of the city and head east for the popular local suburbs of Geylang and Joo Chiat.
There’s an extensive network of nature reserves and parks throughout the island. Holidaymakers are drawn to islands such as Pulau Ubin for nature trails and bike tracks as well as Sentosa island, connected to central Singapore via a bridge, for seaside entertainment and theme parks.
Top attractions in Singapore
The beautifully landscaped Gardens By The Bay is home to the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome greenhouses, filled with blooms from across the world. Don’t miss the OCBC Skyway, a walkway set among 18 ‘supertree’ sculptures, which comes alive after dark with a magical light display.
image via Flickr by Jira Matousek
For a bird’s eye view of Singapore head to the Singapore Flyer, a 165-metre observation wheel with 360-degree views of the island.
The concierge recommends…
Hotels in Singapore
For your stay in Singapore there are hotels that will suit every budget and travel need. The city’s efficient transport system makes travelling around a breeze, and it’s easy to find hotels within walking distance of a train station.
If you want to be in the thick of the action, pick a central location like Orchard Road, Singapore’s most famous shopping street, or close to the energetic nightlife hubs around Clarke Quay, Robertson Quay or Club Street. For a budget hotel in Singapore you’ll find good choices in Little India and Kampong Glam.
Singapore hotels in the central business district (CBD) or at Bugis, Outram Road and North Bridge Road are good for business travellers, with plenty of entertainment nearby.
Families might appreciate the quieter residential areas with easy access to the centre, like Tiong Bahru and River Valley, or a beachside retreat on Sentosa.
Eating Out in Singapore
Singapore’s culinary scene lies at the heart of local life. Choices range from Chinese, Indian and Asian street food at budget-friendly hawker centres in Maxwell Road, Lau Pa Sat and Tiong Bahru Market to award winning fine-dining restaurants like Restaurant Andre or Tippling Club.
For a special night out, try a rooftop restaurant such as Stellar at 1-Altitude to enjoy panoramic city views while you feast on modern European or Asian fare.
The chef recommends…
image via Flickr by Calgary Reviews
Shopping in Singapore
Singapore’s vibrant local shopping streets and glitzy international malls should satisfy even the most demanding of shoppers.
Around Orchard Road you’ll find glamorous malls like Takashimaya, Paragon and Ngee Ann City, filled with high-end boutiques, luxury labels and gourmet food products. For popular local brands try exploring central malls like Marina Square, Millenia Walk or Raffles City Complex.
If you’re on the lookout for souvenirs, you can pick up Asian antiques, artworks and colourful fabrics along the quirky streets of Little India, Chinatown and Kampong Glam.
Local shopping in Singapore:
Culture & Nightlife in Singapore
Singapore’s cultural scene reflects its unique racial mix. The streets of Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India are filled with traditional shophouses and temples. A trip to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple or Sultan Mosque provides a glimpse into the religious traditions of the local Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim communities. You’ll find throngs of devotees in traditional garments playing musical instruments at Sri Mariamman’s frequent temple processions.
You can trace Singapore’s history through the art, artefacts and multimedia displays at the National Museum of Singapore. Traditional Chinese beadwork, porcelain and sarong kebaya dresses are on display at the Peranakan Museum.
Singapore nightlife takes in everything from sleek rooftop bars to chic beachside hangouts and stylish nightclubs. For an evening of feasting and late-night revelry head to Clarke Quay orClubStreet. The vibe is quieter at Robertson Quay, or at Dempsey Hill, where a relaxed evening can be enjoyed.
Live music venues in Singapore
Leisure in Singapore
Lovers of the outdoors can find plenty to please in Singapore’s parks. You can rent a bike and follow the island-wide park connector network. You’ll enjoy coastal views, tropical greenery and cooling breezes on a ride from East Coast Park to the popular Changi Village Food Centre, which dishes up some of the best nasi lemak (coconut rice) on the island.
Nature lovers can take a treetop walk on the suspension bridge at MacRitchie Reservoir, a leisurely stroll around the hilltop at Fort Canning Park or enjoy panoramic views of the city from the Southern Ridges.
For families, the landscaped roof of the Marina Barrage, looking out over the city and Marina Bay, is a popular spot for picnics and kite flying. Ride the Singapore Cable Car over to Sentosa resort for beach watersports, golf, theme parks and views of the harbour from the Imbiah lookout.
Thrill seekers can try indoor skydiving at iFly Singapore on Sentosa or hurtle through the air in a reverse bungy or GX-5 extreme swing at Clarke Quay. Get closer to nature in the Bedok Reservoir and tackle the family friendly treetop ziplines at the Forest Adventure.
Best eats in Singapore
Most travelers have a bucket list. I have been lucky enough to have checked quite a few off my personal list, but one place I have not yet reached is Jakarta. The 13,000 islands of Indonesia are astonishing, and having spent a month in serene Bali, my dreams now turn to city life. Enter Jakarta, the massive capital on Java, the mixes cultural influences from around the world.
image via Flickr by Stenly Lam
What drives us, we nomadic types? What causes us to leave stable jobs, lovely homes, friends and family, to throw ourselves out into the world? To force discomfort upon ourselves by the mere act of having no home base, no tribe to reach to for comfort? To live a life outside our comfort zone, both mentally and literally?
Time is always surprising; It seems like just yesterday, not nearly 27 years ago, that I first locked eyes with Jim, in Ken’s living room. Jim, full-bearded and scruffy, just off the boat from Alaska. Myself, fully focused on going to school for international law and moving to Paris. An unlikely pair? Apparently not~ Six days after our first date Jim asked me to marry him, and the rest, as they say, is history. Astonishingly, June 2nd we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. 25 years… it seems unreal, and presents a very literal example of how fast time moves by.
Cambodia remains one of the countries that ranks highest on our list of those places that most pulled at our heartstrings, and makes us long to return. There is, undeniably, the crown jewel of the ruins of Angkor Wat, the long boat trip to Battambang, and the traumatic and powerful sites of Tuol Sleng and Choueng Ek at Pol Pot’s Killing Fields. There are gorgeous beaches, that we still need to get to ourselves. But, during our time in the country we experienced so much more of this very poor, and yet vibrant country, particularly in the capital city of Phnom Penh.
Stopovers. In our experience, they’re generally a waste of time, money, and effort. At various times we have decided to break up a long flight with a stopover in, say, JFK, and I have to say, they never live up to our hopes. Instead of a luxurious sleep in, for instance, before a 17 hour flight to South Africa, we were advised we needed to check out by 10am or pay a late check out fee, which amounted to an entire additional night at the hotel! After an expensive, not great night, we still spent hours sitting at JFK. Not my idea of a great time.
While all of Vietnam is filled with magic around every corner, but Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Town, had more photo ops than most. Here, one of the many shops offering up their colorful wares.
In these dark, damp, long nights of winter, my soul longs for the tropics. Warmth, humidity, exotic flowers, fascinating culture, and inexpensive traveling….. oh Bali, how I miss you!!! Here our fantastic cottage in Ubud.