Holiday, Attractions and Shopping in Singapore
This is the fourth hub on islands around Peninsular Malaysia. The previous ones are
- 1st hub on Pulau Langkawi
- 2nd hub on Pulau Perhentian
- 3rd hub on Pulau Pinang
- 5th hub on Pangkor Laut Resort
Now, this time we will be visiting –Singapore. Located in the south of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore is an island country.
The English name of Singapore is originated from the Malay name Singapura (Sanskrit for "Lion City"). According to legend, Srivijayan prince Sang Nila Utama landed on the island in the 13th century. He saw an unusual animal which he thought was a lion, and he decided to establish a new city called Singapura. However, there have never been any lions anywhere on Singapore or elsewhere on Malaya, so the mysterious animal was more likely to be a tiger.
Founded as a British trading colony by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles in 1819 and since independence it has become one of the world's most prosperous countries and houses the world's busiest port. Singapore consists of 63 islands, including mainland Singapore. There are two man made connections to Johor, Malaysia namely the Johor-Singapore Causeway in the north, and the Tuas Second Link in the west. Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons, uniform temperature, high humidity and abundant rainfall.
Singapore is a small country on a small island, but with just over five million people it is a fairly crowded city and is second only to Monaco as the world's most densely populated country. This affluent cosmopolitan city state with Chinese, Indian and Malay influences, scrumptious food, great shopping and vibrant nightlife, makes Singapore is an extraordinary holiday destination.
Tourism is one of Singapore’s largest industries. About 10.2 million tourists visited Singapore in 2007. To further draw tourists, the government has legalized gambling and two integrated casino resorts have opened their doors. Food has also been promoted as an attraction for tourists, with the Singapore Food Festival being held every July to celebrate Singapore's cuisine. Singapore is also promoting itself as a medical tourism hub. Apart from being a holiday destination, Singapore is a business destination with a key role in international trade and finance. Singapore is the world's fourth leading financial centre after London, New York and Tokyo.
Attractions in Singapore:
Shopping and Dining
Singapore's Central Shopping Belt starts from Tanglin Road all the way down Orchard Road and Bras Basah Road to MarinaBay. This is where you experience world class shopping.
If you have no time to shop the entire Central Shopping Belt, I would suggest you head straight to Orchard Road. This is the nucleus of the Central Belt or best of the best. This bustling boulevard is said to be similar to London’s Oxford Street or Hong Kong’s Tshimshatsui.
Shopping outside the Central Shopping Belt.
The Riverside area by River Valley Road houses both the newest as well as the oldest shops in Singapore. Goods here may surprise you. From Riverside Point you can cross over the bridge to Clarke Quay. From a busy commercial hub used by stevedores, traders, fishermen and others in the 1800s, Clarke Quay has beautifully transformed its warehouses into a lively lifestyle and entertainment centre of restaurants, wine bars, entertainment spots and retail shops. Check out the Royal Selangor Pewter Store here for the latest pewter designs.
As a national heritage site, CHIJMES (pronounced "chimes") is an attraction offering an exciting shopping, dining, leisure and entertainment experience. CHIJMES is a hotspot for vibrant nightlife and yet many people like to stroll along these charming colonial buildings during the day to shop at the boutiques and to admire its unique design and architecture. A beautiful five building gothic style complex, the CHIJMES Hall and the restored chapel, also provides a breathtaking backdrop for musicals, recitals and theatrical performances.
Suntec City Mall. This giant 83,850 square metre shopping mall, the largest in Singapore, is divided into four thematic zones namely Galleria, Tropics, Entertainment Centre and Fountain Terrace. The Galleria showcases a wide selection of famous brand names alongside souvenir shops. Besides G2000 flagship store, Mango's largest Asia store is also located here. Speciality shops offering home furnishings, casual wear, lingerie and leisure products are located in the Tropics zone. French hypermarket Carrefour offers some of the lowest prices in town. At the heart of the mall is the Fountain of Wealth, certified as the world's largest fountain by The Guinness Book of Records.
In Singapore you can literally shop till you drop. However, depending on where you come from and your purchasing power, it may not be cheap. I am from Malaysia where the Singapore Dollar is more than double our Malaysian Ringgit; hence I do not find the goods here cheap. “Dollar to dollar comparison, you know.” Having said that, window shopping in Singapore can be really enjoyable due to the wide range of goods offered here from exclusive, to designer, to branded, to non branded, to flea markets stuffs. If you come from the Euro zone or United States, you will find the goods here cheap. I can go on and on describing about shopping in Singapore. Let’s move on to other attractions.
A former fishing village turned British military base, Sentosa was transformed into a fascinating island resort. Beach lovers can enjoy the 3.2 kilometres long sandy beaches stretching across Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong. You can indulge in a host of sea sports and leisure activities such as swimming, cycling, in line skating, canoeing, horse riding, playing volley ball or simply relax at the beach bars scattered along these beaches.
Golf lovers can have their fill of fun in Sentosa Island as well. Sentosa Golf Club caters for corporate business clientele and discerning golfers. This impressive Golf Club boasts two fabulous 18 hole championship courses. The courses are frequently played by dignitaries and celebrities visiting Singapore. These courses are scenic, challenging and offer one of the best golfing experiences in the region.
Sentosa Underwater World is one of Asia's most exciting tropical oceanarium and home to more than 2,500 fishes from 250 different species. The main attraction is the Dugong, a sea cow that entertains visitors with its acrobatic movements.
Fort Siloso has Singapore's largest collection of Word War II memorabilia. The fortress provides a sensory adventure of a recruit's life, with coastal guns, war games, tunnels and soldiers and it is definitely recommended for those who are curious about life in the army.
Sentosa CineBlast. Get set for a mind blowing experience with the latest high definition wide screen projection, digital technologies and state of the art 6 axis motion system where objects come alive before your very eyes. A truly eye opening experience.
Not to be missed on Sentosa Island is the newly opened Resort World Sentosa. This integrated resort has 6 hotels, casino and the famous Universal Studios.
The Casino is open 24 hours. This is Singapore's first casino and is located underneath the Crockfords Tower hotel. There are 500 gaming tables offering 19 different games, but the emphasis is on Asian favorites like baccarat, roulette, tai sai and pai gow, with poker a distinct minority. A dress code applies: no slippers, no singlet and no shorts. Visitors get free entry, Singaporean or residents have to pay entrance fee of S$100.
Universal Studios Singapore. This is the first Universal Studios theme park in Southeast Asia. There are six zones: Hollywood, New York, Sci Fi City, The Lost World, Far Far Away and Madagascar. The star of the park is Battlestar Galactica, the world's tallest "dueling" rollercoaster, with two tracks battling it out simultaneously.
The inaugural Singapore Grand Prix took place on September 28, 2008 on a street circuit around Marina Bay. It was the first ever Formula One Grand Prix to be staged at night, with the track fully floodlit. Be here on a Formula One weekend and experience the F1 fever!
Hotels with View on the Formula 1 Circuit
•Fullerton Hotel - No other hotels brings together the old and the new quite like Fullerton. The building was completed in 1928 with grand architecture and inside you will find the most exquisite and luxurious atmosphere.
•Swissotel the Stamford - One of Southeast Asia’s tallest hotels, Swissotel promises excellent 5 star deluxe accommodation, business and leisure experiences.
•Raffles Hotel - Declared a National Monument in 1987, Raffles Hotel today stands as a jewel in the crown of Singapore's hospitality industry. Awarded 'Best Luxury Hotel' by 20th Annual TTG Travel Awards, 2009.
•Marina Mandarin Singapore - The Marina Mandarin Singapore is a world class, 5 star luxury hotel that enjoys an excellent location in the heart of the city.
•Pan Pacific Singapore - World's Leading Business Hotel 2007/08/09. Pan Pacific Singapore has 6 award winning restaurants and offers magnificent view of the city.
•The Ritz Carlton Millenia - A luxurious oasis nestled in the heart of Marina Centre. Plan your stay at this impeccable 5 star hotel and experience luxury of the highest order.
Not to be missed here is the Marina Bay Sands. Marina Bay Sands is an integrated resort which opened on 27 April 2010 at Bayfront Avenue in Marina South, Singapore. Marina Bay Sands was developed by one of the world's biggest gaming companies, Las Vegas Sands. Marina Bay Sands houses the second casino in Singapore. Marina Bay Sands is the world's second costliest casino, after MGM Mirage's CityCenter in Las Vegas.
When the sun sets, Singapore transforms from a business hub to a buzzing network of bars and nightclubs. Executives switch into relax gear and unwind during the night. Clubbing at Singapore is a must if you want to feel the night pulse of the city. Experience the city by day and you get just half of the picture. Nightlife spots in Singapore:
- Clarke Quay and Riverside
- Orchard Road
- Sentosa - Harbour Front
- Civic District
- Marina Bay
- Central Business District (CBD)
- Holland Village - Dempsey Hill
- Mohammed Sultan Road
Click here for Interactive Map of Singapore.
Chinatown is an astonishing place with wonderfully restored shop houses selling all sorts of product from jade Buddhas to textiles to Chinese herbs. The area was first designated for the Chinese by Sir Stamford Raffles and nowadays it has become a favourite destination for shopping and yummy food. Chinatown offers more than just the restored shop houses; there are many significant monuments and cultural heritage buildings in here, especially along Telok Ayer Street and Pagoda Street. These include the Chinatown Heritage Centre, Thian Hock Keng Temple, Eu Yan Sang Chinese Medical Hall, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple and Al-Abrar Mosque. When in the area be sure to try Singapore’s famous hawker food. The best time to visit Singapore's Chinatown is during the Chinese New Year when locals decorate their shops in red with all sorts of decoration items including huge red lanterns.
Geylang is also known as a round the clock food destination with dim sum outlets and food stalls selling various exotic items such as pig’s brain soup and frog’s leg porridge. Geylang area is also renowned as a red light district but it is certainly not the only one in Singapore. Not many people know, Singapore has actually no less than six red light districts. Do you know that prostitution is legal in Singapore?
Little India isn't hard to find… follow the aroma of exotic spices or the scent from burning incense and you will find it. A vibrant commercial centre for the Indian community spreading out along Serangoon Road, Little India is one of Singapore's most colourful districts. Populated by the descendants of the Indians who arrived in Singapore in the mid 1800's, the colour, smiles and smells are all authentically Indian and authentically warm. Most hotels in this area are in the modest 2 to 3 star range and offer good value for money. Many visitors come to this area for shopping and dining, especially on Indian vegetarian food.
The Singapore Zoo is acclaimed as one of the world's most spectacular zoos. The use of natural barriers like streams, rock walls and vegetation to separate animals from visitors enhances the "open" zoo concept. Spreading over 28 hectares, it is home to over 3,600 mammals, birds and reptiles, including rare and endangered species. The Zoo's orang utan breeding programme has created a large community of these gentle, endangered species.
Singapore's nightlife is truly wild with Night Safari! This world class attraction showcases animals from Asia, Africa, Europe and America. The Singapore Night Safari offers an unusual glimpse into the nocturnal animal kingdom, with more than a thousand animals to be seen.
Singapore was part of the Straits Settlement during the British East India Company trading era and has a British colonial past. Hence, the rich multi cultural heritage and history. Here is a list of Singapore Museums for those who want to know what Singapore is like in the olden days.
- Asian Civilizations Museum
- Changi Prison Chapel and Museum
- Malay Heritage Centre
- National Museum of Singapore
- Peranakan Museum
- Singapore Art Museum
- Singapore History Museum
- Singapore Mint Coin Gallery
- Singapore Navy Museum
- Singapore Philatelic Museum (stamps)
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Holiday, Attractions and Shopping in Singapore
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