If you're looking for the trends of the West coupled with the originality of the Far East, Singapore is the perfect place to be! When the British claimed the strategic port as a colony in 1819, the island of Singapore (from Singapura, meaning ‘Lion City') was a swamp dotted with small villages called kampongs. Today, Singapore is a modern, vibrant city of luxury and indulgence that has embraced its rich heritage and diverse culture, making it a fantastic tourist destination.
The cuisine in Singapore also can't be beat. While you're there, you can get a complete taste of Asia. Singapore features world-class Chinese, Thai, Malay, and Vietnamese cuisine. A visit to Chinatown is a great place to start!
The great thing about eating out in Singapore is that you can pay as little or as much as you like for almost any type of food. Try out some of the local favourites such as Chicken Rice, Char Kway Teow or, if you are feeling adventurous, Fish Head Curry in the food centres (called hawker centres). Favourite hawker centres with plenty of variety are the very central Lau Pa Sat in the CBD and Newton Food Centre near Orchard Rd. A typical hawker centre dish will cost between $3 and $7.
If you crave a meal outside of the busy food centres, look no further than Dempsey Village. This area used to be famed for its military barracks but has since been converted into a village of trendy bars and enticing restaurants.
Another must-eat is Singapore's famous Chilli Crab. Whilst you can taste this national dish all over Singapore, the experience is best at the original restaurants on the East Coast Park shoreline where you can sit and watch the sun set over the sea.
Singapore really comes alive after sunset - the architecture lights up, the bars become full and the city is abuzz. For a drink with a view, head up to New Asia Bar (71st floor of the Swissotel The Stamford), Lantern (Fullerton Bay Hotel) or Sky on 57 (57th floor Tower 1, Marina Bay Sands).
If you're looking for something special, head to the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel, the home of the Singapore Sling. Try this signature cocktail and contribute the peanut shell piles on the floor in one of the most elegant hotels in the world!
Harry's Bar in Boat Quay offers great views of the river, the contemporary Singapore skyline and colonial buildings of the past.
If clubbing is more your thing head to Clarke Quay on a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday night for big parties, live music and DJ sets. Legendary nightclub Zouk on Jiak Kim Street is internationally renowned for its live DJ sets, and annually hosts a Dance Music festival on the beach, ZoukOut, which attracts 20,000-strong crowds from across the globe.
If you want to see the entire city in one glance, head to the Singapore Flyer. Designed almost like a giant Ferris wheel from the future, the Singapore Flyer is the biggest observation wheel in the world. It offers tremendous views as far as you can see. But the Singapore Flyer is more than just a ride. It is modelled after the Eiffel Tower - complete with a variety of restaurants and shops.
Families will also love a trip to the Night Safari where you can take a tram ride around the park see the animal world come alive at night!
Sentosa Island offers a great day trip for all. Only 10 minutes from the city, you can get to Sentosa by taxi or shuttle bus, by cable car from Mount Faber or by monorail from Vivo City shopping centre. Once on Sentosa, check out historic Fort Siloso of World War II importance and take in the view from the 37-metre tall statue of the mystical Merlion. Take a day to explore Sentosa's newest attraction, Universal Studios Singapore, complete with roller coasters, theme park rides and your favourite characters from Madagascar, Shrek and Jurassic Park!
For a quieter trip, hire out bikes and explore the kampong life on Pulau Ubin. You can get here by taking a 20-minute bumboat ride from Changi Village.
If you are after some tradition, head to the cultural precincts dedicated to each of the major ethnic groups that make up the Singapore population: Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street.
If you happen to be visiting during the Lunar New Year, Chinatown is the place to go see lion dances, try bak kwa (a dried meat) and visit the busy markets.
Little India is filled with shops selling Bollywood films and materials for traditional Indian dress. Here you can also have a taste of fragrant Indian cuisine served in the traditional way - on a banana leaf!
Arab Street, the Malay precinct, offers sights of Singapore's most beautiful mosque and the restaurants nearby are famous for their shisha (hookah), a flavoured tobacco smoked through an ornate glass pipe. At night here, you will find hundreds of people sitting on carpets in alleyways or at café tables in the streets smoking from these pipes. You must be over the age of 18 to smoke shisha in Singapore and these cafes stay open past midnight.
It is said that shopping is a national pastime for Singaporeans. A major commerce centre, Singapore is home to the busiest port in the world. And, all of that commerce carries over into the streets. Singapore is a major shopping hub. And if you're looking for the very best shopping in Singapore, head to Orchard Road. In a 1km strip, you can find countless shops, boutiques, malls, and cafes.
New shopping malls in Singapore typically have designer goods and big brands situated at street level and high street labels such as Zara, Uniqlo or Topshop on basement floors. Orchard Road is made up of three sections linked by an underground train system called the MRT. It is cheap to get between the areas and each offers different malls carrying different brands and shops.
Whether you're on Orchard Road or someplace else around the city, people-watching is an incredibly popular activity in Singapore.
Singapore boasts a colourful history and the CBD has been carefully constructed around key historical monuments and buildings. Get a feel for colonial Singapore by taking a stroll along the Singapore River, having a peek inside the Fullerton Hotel (which was instrumental in making Singapore's seas pirate-free) and visiting Raffles Hotel.
The Asian Civilisation Museum illustrates the region's history and culture. Take a moment to stop by the war memorial and learn about the Japanese Occupation of Singapore during WWII.
If you're looking for a great place to stay, most of the hotels in Singapore can be found on the western side of the city. However, there are also plenty of Singapore hotel rooms on the east side of town that come with dazzling waterfront views. Orchard Road is also home to some of the most elegant hotels in Singapore.
Most hotels are located centrally, and there are two recently opened resorts in Singapore where you can stay - one is located in the heart of the city at Marina Bay, and the other is on Sentosa Island. These new resorts house everything from entertainment, restaurants, bars, pools, shopping centres and even casinos!
Stay in affordable yet chic boutique hotels or go all out in some of the most beautiful and luxurious in Asia. Wherever you go and whatever your budget, you can expect the room to be comfortable and the service to be impeccable. Most hotels have their own pools and spas.