48 Hours in Singapore
Why 48 Hours in Singapore is not Enough
Singapore has long been a twin-centre holiday favourite – the ideal pairing for a far-flung Asian island – or a practical stopover for the long flight Down Under. With sizzling foodie credentials, a fascinating fusion culture and world-class shopping, it is somewhat surprising that Singapore has not quite managed to shrug off its reputation as bland and straight-laced. Yet scratch below the surface and you might just find 48 hours just isn’t quite enough to do Singapore justice.
This melting pot of Indian, Chinese and Malaysian cultures is a foodie’s paradise. Taking a stroll through one of Singapore’s many Hawker Centres is akin to an Asia-wide culinary tour as you choose from a dizzying selection of wanton, dim sum, noodles and much more. The city’s fine dining scene is just as eclectic. Sample seafood with an Australian-Japanese twist at Waku Ghin, tuck into sophisticated soul-food at Burnt Ends, or discover the meaning of ‘Octaphilosophy’ at French-Taiwanese fusion Restaurant André – just three of the big hitters making waves in Singapore.
A Flourishing Shopping Scene
Make no mistake: Singapore is a shopper’s paradise. Offering a cooling reprieve from the humidity, the vast shopping malls lining leafy Orchard Road are packed with local and international brands, and this area is hands-down the city’s best-known shopping destination. Those seeking quirky finds will enjoy the flea market and eclectic vibe of Bugis Village. For vintage discoveries and up-and-coming local designers, hip Haji Lane is a must for fashionistas, set in a row of colourful shop houses.
A Rich Mix of Culture and Architecture
It may be best known for its gleaming skyscrapers but Singapore’s diversity is evident in its buildings as you stroll through its distinctive neighbourhoods: from the intricately carved Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Chinatown, right through to the Norman Foster-designed colonial and modern fusion at the Capella Hotel.
Housed in an exquisite example of colonial architecture, the National Museum of Singapore immerses you in a vivid walk through Singapore’s fascinating history – bringing the story to life through first-person accounts. For those keen to delve a little deeper, more specialist museums allow you to explore specific periods of Singapore history. The Changi Museum - housed on the site of the former prison - offers a sobering insight into life in Singapore during the Japanese occupation in World War II. The Peranakan Museum explains the traditions and culture of early settlers, brought to life through displays of artefacts and textiles.
Gorgeous Green Spaces
For such a condensed area, Singapore offers a surprising number of green oases to escape the sticky city heat. The vast Botanic Gardens are a must-visit – with 74 hectares of beautifully manicured rare plants and the world’s largest collection of tropical orchids. A ferry ride from Changi terminal will transport you to the leafy island of Pulau Ubin where you can hire a bike and explore cycle trails lined with coconut palms, mangroves and secluded beaches. The new, state-of-the-art Gardens by the Bay are the perfect place to cool down by the waterfront as you take in the spectacular displays, including a vast flower dome and cloud forest.
Accommodation to Suit All Tastes
From sleek city boltholes to lavish resorts that are destinations in their own right, Singapore sets the standard for stylish spots to lay your head. Intertwined with the city’s history, Singapore Raffles Hotel – the birthplace of the Singapore Sling – is such an icon that it even has its own resident historian who can regale you with tales of the hotel’s colonial heyday. Tucked away in the heart of the city, Naumi is the epitome of boutique luxury – enjoy the bright lights of the city from the rooftop infinity pool. Fun-packed Sentosa Island boasts opulent resorts with an emphasis on fun for all the family. The Shangri-La offers an extensive programme of activities for the kids, leaving you free to enjoy some ‘me-time’ at the Spa.