Wondering where to eat, drink, shop, play and soak up culture, art and nature in Singapore? These insider tips will give you advice on how to best experience the destination.
Food & Drink
Experience the mingling of cultures and tastes that have flavored Singapore during its half-century of independence, culminating in a delectable dining scene that’s full of innovation. Singapore is a foodie’s paradise and its culinary character is truly defined by its local food, which includes must-try dishes like: chili crab, fish head curry, Hokkien prawn mee, laksa, rojak and roti prata. Well known for its delicious hawker fare, Singapore has morphed into a fine dining oasis with many award winning restaurants, such as Restaurant Andre, Waku Ghin, Jaan, Les Amis, Iggy’s, Burnt Ends, Shinji by Kanesaka and Tippling Club. Singapore’s sophisticated drinking society may be loyal to fine wines but there is more than enough room for boutique whiskies, craft beers, Japanese sake and cult cocktails. The Singapore Sling cocktail (made famous by the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel) celebrates its 100th birthday in 2015 and widely regarded as the national drink of the country. Favorite bars in Singapore include: Kudeta, 1-Altitude, Lantern, Ce La Vi and Southbridge.
The melding of Singapore’s rich tapestry of cultures into a harmonious collective is the country’s biggest attraction. Sitting at the international crossroads of commerce, Singapore is home to a range of ethnicities. This diverse cultural make-up is reflected in the neighborhoods that were settled by the early migrants: Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam (Malay district). Today, these enclaves have become cultural hot spots for boutique hotels, innovative restaurants and up-and-coming art galleries. With four official languages (English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil), Singapore’s people are also bound together by one common language: Singlish (short for Singaporean English), a delightful slang consisting of English, Malay, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese and Tamil words.
If you're in the mood for both international and local masterpieces, Singapore's wide range of galleries, museums and fairs have got you covered. Some favorite museums include: ArtScience Museum, Museum of Art & Design (better known as MAD), Singapore Art Museum and the newly opened Singapore Pinacothèque (Pinacothèque de Paris’s first venue outside of Europe). The City Hall and former Supreme Court buildings have been transformed into Singapore’s National Art Gallery, which opens in Nov 2015. Music lovers can catch world class performances at stunning venues like the Esplanade and the Victoria Theater and Concert Hall.
Since it achieved independence in 1965, Singapore has been on a path of robust economic growth – attracting retailers from all over the world. Today, Singapore’s stylish scene is a showcase for local designers and top international brands, and ranges from glamorous malls to up-and-coming boutiques tucked into hip neighborhoods. Shopping highlights include: Orchard Road’s ION Orchard, Paragon, Ngee Ann City, and Keepers (featuring local designers and artisans); Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade; and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.
Pockets of amazing natural wonders can be found throughout Singapore, providing a welcome respite from the bustle of the city. Singapore is nicknamed the “Garden City” and over 50% of the country is covered in greenery. Gardens by the Bay with its futuristic Supertree Grove, Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, is a superb, must-see attraction in Singapore. The Singapore Botanic Garden, which was just appointed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a great place to unwind and soak up nature and is home to The National Orchid Garden, which boasts the world’s largest orchid display. Singapore’s TreeTop Walk, a free-standing suspension bridge in MacRitchie Reservoir, creates a mid-air pathway that winds its way through a forest canopy.