In the colonial district, you can visit: Saint Andrew's cathedral; the war memorial to the 50,000 Singaporeans killed during the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945; the 1929 city hall, where Singapore's independence was declared in 1965; the supreme court and its flying saucer-shaped structure, designed by Sir Norman Foster; the former supreme court and its dome, a miniature model of Saint Paul's in London (built in 1937); the museums (Museum of the History of Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum; National Museum and Fine Arts Museum); the site where Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, first landed on January 28, 1819; the Merlion, symbol of Singapore, half lion half fish, spouting water at the base of the financial centre's skyscrapers; majestic Fullerton hotel, a neo-classical building which was once the central post office; mythic Raffles hotel; Clarke Quay ad its bars, night clubs and fashionable restaurants; Boat Quay and its more traditional places; Singapore zoo; the botanical garden; Chinatown; Little India; Arab street; Orchard road, a heavenly shopping street.
From the top of Singapore Flyer, the world's highest ferris wheel towering at 541 ft (higher than the London Eye), you can admire Indonesia and Malaysia, the urban forest of skyscrapers and one of the world's largest cargo ship concentrations, while comfortably seated in the large glass capsules. The wheel goes around in 37 minutes. Singapore gives the possibility of enjoying more original activities such as bungee jumping and flight simulators. Another interesting experience: having your feet massaged by fish nibbling your toes! You can go on mini-cruises on the Singapore River to see the city centre from the river or hire a 'bumboat' (motorized sampans) to explore the surrounding islands, but also watch a concert, a play at the theatre or an opera performance at the Victoria Theatre and concert hall (which brings Sidney's opera to mind).
Shopping, of course! You ought to know that there is an underground city that awaits you in the form of a gigantic, air-conditioned shopping gallery, with the prospect of good deals!
Don't forget about the nature here! Experience the unique night-safari in the heart of a secondary forest, close to the world-renowned zoo, with the world's largest colony of orangutans. You can also go for a hike in Bukit Timah natural reserve, the last remaining sector of primary jungle on the island.
Singapore has some beautiful beaches so don't forget your swimming costume! We recommend Sentosa island beach.
If you are in transit and staying for a few hours and you have sufficient time, you can have a free tour of the city (request it from Changi airport's dedicated counter). Singapore's legislation is very strict (no tobacco, no chewing gum). Drug trafficking is punishable by death. Even though the air is very humid (75%), the constant heat can cause dehydration: remember to drink a lot of water. They drive on the left here so driving shouldn't be a problem. If you want to cover a short distance, why not use a rickshaw?: pulled by a bicycle, this original and traditional type of transport is very cheap and you can negotiate the fare. Bali and Phuket are just a two-hour flight away, Indonesia is a half-hour boat ride away, Malaysia is a 45-minute drive away, Malacca and the strait are a 2-hour drive away and Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, is a 4-hour drive away. It is a great opportunity to combine shopping and culture with a beach holiday!
Smoking in the street, less than 16 ft from some hotels will cost you a fine of ?500! Never throw your chewing gum on the floor, particularly considering that it is hardly even tolerated in your mouth! Drug trafficking is punishable by death. A drug test may be made upon entering the country: a person who tests positive may be accused of consuming drugs on the territory.
Singapore is unquestionably the hallmark of Asian gastronomy, it therefore has an incredible amount of restaurants serving a great variety of specialities at reasonable prices. From Chinese cuisine (Cantonese, Hokkian, Sichuan, Teochow), fish and crustaceans, vegetarian cuisine, Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian, Nyonya, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Burmese, Taiwanese, Italian or French cuisine, there is something for all tastes and budgets, from the simple eating house to the refined restaurants of luxury hotels. If you want to have a quick bite while still enjoying a variety of Asian delights, you must go to a "Hawker Centre". Hawkers used to peddle their wares by setting up and selling their specialities on the pavement and sitting on stools with small tables. In these centres, a single dish costs between S and S. Whatever you do, be sure to make time to stop off at the Long Bar on the first floor of the Raffles to try the famous Singapore Sling cocktail; this is the only place in Singapore where you can throw things on the floor, more precisely peanut shells!
Singapore is a major shopping destination, although you won't get as good deals as you would have in the past. From works of art, antiques and handicraft, to electronics, perfume, clothes, watches and cameras, you will find everything that you can think of in the various districts of the city and in the vast lobbies of Changi airport. Generally, department stores and shopping centres are open from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, or 9:30 pm. At the Muslim shopping centre Mustapha in the district of Little India, you will find absolutely everything: jewels, clothes, electronics, food, etc., but no cigarettes, alcohol or pork! For top brands, go to Orchard Road, the city's main street, where you will find the local Hard Rock Café, as well as Armani, Cartier, Vuitton and Chanel! The best deals are to be found during the Great Singapore Sale in June and July.
Watch this space!
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