On a recent trip to Singapore I took a day trip to Malacca in Malaysia by coach. Malacca is a small historic town with plenty to see and it all fits into a day, albeit a long one, with a delicious buffet lunch at a central hotel, it is well worth the visit at a reasonable price. Don't forget to take your Passport!
From most Singapore Hotels or day trip Coach Companies
Located in a beautiful building in central Singapore, having undergone massive redevelopment several years ago, this museum is a real must for anyone visiting the city. The exhibitions here are truly world class, presented in an innovative and interesting way, and provide a real snapshot into the Singapore of past and present. Entrance fees are minimal, and the staff on hand are plentiful. A must for old and young visiting the city.
93 Stamford Road, Singapore, 178897
Until very recently, Singapore was your quintessential Asian city in accommodation terms. Everything had to be big, big, big: every fixture grand, every room opulent. The Raffles though was (and still probably is) the very best of that bunch; in fact, it’s the stuff of legends. Since opening in 1886, the last Singapore tiger was shot underneath the Bar and Billiards room (1902), the first Singapore sling was mixed at the Long Bar (1915), and, like Chateau Marmont in LA, a series of film stars have called it home. All the writers that you might associate with the waning years of the empire – Joseph Conrad, W Somerset Maugham, and Rudyard Kipling – have lived here. English colonels gathered here to sing “There Will Always Be an England” after Singapore surrendered to Japan in 1942. In short, Raffles embodies all that was glamorous about the Far East in colonial times. Nowadays, it’s still a glamorous bolthole. Its near-perfect Victorian imitation décor now looks a touch naff, but, with 2.5 staff per guest, you’ll be pampered like Gardner and Taylor were half a century ago. Its own Indian food is brilliant but so are the vendors outside the hotel – try the curries, noodles and satays safe in the knowledge that no food in Singapore makes you ill. And its rooms are perfect for relaxing in after a 13 hour flight. You can even stay in a Personality Suite, named after Conrad, Kipling, Chaplin, Wayne and others.
1 Beach Road Singapore 189673
Tel: +65 6337 1886
Fax: +65 6339 7650
Go to Sentosa Island and climb to the top of the 361-foot tall Carlsberg Sky Tower for a breathtaking view of Singapore. Or visit the Botanic Gardens for a great escape from the city and a charming education in tropical flora and orchids, with black swans and enormous fan palms. Or try the inspiring Night Safari, which you can take by tram. And if you like religious architecture, take a trip to the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple or the Sultan Mosque or the Thian Hock Keng Temple.
Or you could take a simple walk. Start from Collyer Quay and Clifford Pier (where most European colonists and Asian immigrants first set foot on the island); meander past the General Post Office (now the Fullerton); walk along Cavenagh Bridge onto North Boat Quay; take in the Empress Place Building and Raffles’ statue; admire Old Parliament House then take a breather at the Singapore Cricket Club. Walk on to Raffles City and while there, grab some lunch. Perfect.
An icon for Singapore is the ultra-hygienic eating stalls. Nowhere else in the world do they have such hawker food stalls with freshly cooked foods of all kinds - for example, chilli crabs, shark's fin soup, mee goreng, fish head curry and many more. You can even get a fantastically cooked steak to your liking, or oysters with eggs all cooked in front of you within minutes. All ingredients are fresh and very hygienic - carefully and strictly monitored by the Singapore government.
The best place for lunch or dinner with an exotic feel is Newton Place Hawker Centre, where it's easy to park and even easier to get a cab. It is only a stone's throw from Orchard Road (Singapore's famous shopping street). If you are feeling a bit peckish at 1am Newton is the place to go for some Taiwan porridge which is served from 9pm till 3am at their Coffee Lounge. The Goodwood Park hotel is one of the oldest on the islandand is considered a national monument to the British colonisation of Singapore dating back to 1900. It is splendid for business and families alike. If you would like something to do, go to East Coast beach where you will see a number of seafood restaurants on the beach - about eight of them side by side to choose from.
If you are feeling more adventurous go on a boat ride to the Indonesian Island of Batan for the day from the Pier - right in the financial district. You can obtain the timetable of departure times from the tourist board - it is pretty reasonable. Serangoon (Singapore's little India), where you can find lots of Indian cafes and restaurants, has excellent Indian food where you can also find the famous 'teh tarik' (literal meaning is 'tea pulled'). It is sweet milky tea that is cooled down by pouring tea from one glass to another from about two or three feet apart depending on the skills of each waiter.
Whilst at Serangoon go to MUSTAFA's shopping centre. It is the Indian version of Debenhams but you will find almost everything exotic there and pretty reasonably priced. Whilst there also visit Tekka Market. It is the first wet market in Singapore where you will find more hawkers' stalls, shopping and local restaurants. It really is fascinating.
It is very very safe as crime is low and the people are very sophisticated and highly educated. You can find almost anything in Singapore. It is a multicultural country and more and more westerners are opting to live and work there, and they are well catered for.
If you fancy a bit of waterskiing go to Ponggol (along the coast) and hire out a boat - they will offer an instructor/driver with the hire of the boat with the gear (at a fee of course). You certainly do not have to worry about the weather. Fancy some original Malay satay - then the Esplanade is the place to go to. Depending on the time of the year you may even be lucky enough to get some Malay entertainment along the way. Want to hit the nightclubs but don't know which ones? There are about 20 nightclubs from samba to R&B, disco, blues, jazz, Chinese etc. all side by side at the World Trade Centre (or rather right next to it). They are open seven nights a week and some close at 5am. If you fancy a blues night out then try The Crazy Elephant at Clarke Quay, where you can sample a lychee martini. How exotic is that! I could go on - just do a bit of research or ask around at your hotel concierge and they will tell you. I am sure you will be spoilt...
Please be aware that no chewing of gum is allowed in Singapore and travellers are not allowed to bring in more than a cigarette packet of 20s into Singapore or there is a hefty fine.
If considering heading to Singapore's world famous zoo, it's worth purchasing their safari pass for $30, (approx £10) which will give you access to the main zoo which is amazingly lush and beautifully laid out. After visiting the day zoo you can have some dinner in the separate night safari park adjoining the zoo, with a vast choice of fresh cooked food. The night zoo features hundreds of nocturnal creatures that can be witnessed either from the trams that roam the park or some footpaths. The zoo gets extremely dark and could be a bit frightening for children, especially the free flying bat enclosure and hearing tigers roar from somewhere within the tropical foliage, but a fantastic day/night out that is definitely worth a visit. Highlight of the night safari has to be seeing a mother elephant sleeping curled up around its calf. Beautiful!
80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore 729826 Taxi was the recommended way to get to the zoo as there is no direct bus or MRT.
If you have a couple of hours to spare one evening after a hard day of conferencing why not visit the world's first Night Safari at Singapore Zoo? You get to explore wildlife in a tropical jungle at night! And in case you're thinking zoo=bad, think again. Singapore Zoo is a model of the 'open zoo' concept. The animals are kept in spacious, landscaped enclosures, separated from the visitors by dry or wet moats. It's magical.
Open 7.30pm till midnight with last admissions at 11pm. Hop on a bus or take a taxi - 30 mins from city centre.
If passing through Singapore's Changi Airport and you have five hours or more between flights, you can have a FREE tour of Singapore. Just look for the Free Tour Desks and sign up. They take you on a quick coach tour into the centre - you get a short trip on a "bum boat" as well - and bring you back to the departures lounge. Its easy to do and its free!
Singapore Changi Airport
A programme of morning and evening walking tours led by enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides, giving a good feel of the atmosphere of the different areas of Singapore.
They are run by JOURNEYS PTE.LTD: pick up a leaflet at a visitors' centre or see their website at http:www.singaporewalks.com
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