Singapore assails the senses with its annual F1 Grand Prix night race, wall-to-wall gleaming shopping malls, futuristic and colonial architecture, and an ever-changing cityscape filled with thousands of iconic skyscrapers. Having rocketed to become Asia’s culinary capital, Singapore is a tiny cultural melting pot, mixing up mosques and Hindu shrines with upscale eateries and a vibrant arts scene.
The epitome of a cosmopolitan city, what Singapore lacks in size, it makes up for with ambitious architecture, glitzy shopping, flashy casinos, theme park thrills, and some of the world’s best street food. Once a gateway for exploring southern China and Southeast Asia, it has rocketed to becoming a hip destination in its own right.
You don’t have to be a shopaholic or gourmand to relish Singapore, but it helps. Head to Orchard Road to max out your credit card on designer bargains, shop for curios in the rickety markets of Little India, Chinatown and Stadium Cove, and sample a staggering range of local cuisines from the hawker stalls.
For a true taste of life and culture, soak up the atmosphere at the Thian Hock Keng Temple (meaning Temple of Heavenly Happiness), wander around the mosques of the Arab quarter, and relax in the peaceful Botanic Gardens. For superb city vistas, take the cable car trip to Mount Faber, or ride in one of 28 large capsules on the Singapore Flyer - the world's highest observation wheel boasts 360-degree views and takes in landmarks like Marina Bay Sands, the Vegas-like setting for the Singapore Grand Prix.
It is hard to get bored on a trip to Singapore. By day, tour history at the Asian Civilisations Museum, watch a concert at the spiky-domed Esplanade, and unwind on Sentosa Island’s golden beaches. By night, head to Clarke Quay, a refurbished riverside development of old warehouses that buzzes with trendy bars, upscale restaurants, jazz clubs and more. For the quintessential when-in-Singapore experience, hit the Long Bar on the second floor of Raffles Hotel to knock back a Singapore Sling - the national drink, supposedly created here in 1915.
Further thrills include visiting the rainforest at Bukit Timah Reserve, taking breakfast with an orangutan at Singapore Zoo, and exploring wildlife at the unique Night Safari - the world's first nocturnal zoo where the crowd-pleaser is the Tram Safari Experience, a guided tram ride that takes you across seven of the world’s geographical zones.
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