Proving itself to be so much more than just a stopover destination, this tiny diamond-shaped island is bursting with both hidden gems and iconic sights.
From its breathtaking skyline to infinite green spaces, glitzy shopping malls and seemingly endless array of world-class restaurants, Singapore packs a mighty punch. In fact, a mere 24 hours is just not enough time but following our carefully curated itinerary will ensure you get the most out of your whirlwind stay.
Get your beauty sleep at Marina Bay Sands Hotel
World-renowned Marina Bay Sands Hotel offers guests a truly unique 5-star experience in the heart of Singapore’s buzzing financial district. Famed for its striking architecture and Instagrammable infinity pool, this opulent paradise is a destination in itself.
This is a hotel that redefines the very concept of luxury. Designed by the innovative Moshe Safdie at a staggering cost of £3.5 billion, the triple-towered structure is a pretty remarkable feat of engineering. Each room boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, with lead-in deluxe rooms offering majestic views of Gardens by the Bay, the harbour or Singapore’s glittering city skyline. Defined by a soothing palette of earthy tones, even the standard rooms are artfully designed to create a private sanctuary where you can unwind in style. If you can find time in your busy schedule, take a moment to rejuvenate with sunrise yoga, workout using the fitness club’s state-of-the-art equipment, or soothe your soul with some head-to-toe pampering in the sprawling Banyan Tree Spa. And the jewel in its crown? At three times the length of an Olympic pool, the world’s longest infinity pool sits atop the North Tower. Grab a cocktail and enjoy as you take in the jaw dropping panorama; taking a lap of luxury in this sky-high retreat truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
As one of Singapore’s few breakfast spots to open at 8am, PS. Cafe is perfect for getting a head start with your jam-packed day. Just moments from the heart of Orchard Road, this glass-sided restaurant opens out onto a lush tropical rainforest, offering a real sense of escape from the nearby hustle and bustle. Sunbeams peek through the foliage and bathe each table in a soft golden glow, giving the space a distinctly al fresco feel. Serving up beautifully presented breakfast classics; from eggs benedict to chorizo chilli hash, fluffy pancakes and superseed granola, it’s easy to see why this charming bolthole has become a favourite amongst expats.
Next up, a spot of retail therapy. Singapore is synonymous with shopping and there’s no better way to escape the sweltering morning heat than with an air-conditioned mall crawl on Orchard Road. Once a small lane lined with fruit orchards, today Asia’s most famous shopping street is brimming with high-end retailers, coveted designer boutiques and malls to suit every taste and budget. You’ll be spoilt for choice here, but if you’ve got a penchant for shoes don’t miss the chance to check out the ever-evolving Pedder on Scotts; an innovative space home to over 100 international designers. Footwear fanatics, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for six specialised zones of shoe utopia… Striking a perfect balance between luxury brands and high street staples, here you’ll find the oh-so-fabulous Alexander Wang and Christian Louboutin alongside street-ready Adidas, Converse and Vans.
Pit-stop lunch at Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle
Shopping is hungry work, so take a foray into the depths of Chinatown to sink your teeth into an authentic Singaporean lunch. Complete with neon sign and a row of cooked chicken hanging from hooks, Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle blends seamlessly into the chaos of Chinatown Food Complex. But this humble stall has a unique claim to fame: it sells the world’s cheapest Michelin-star meal. The star of the show is the soya sauce chicken and rice; Chef Chan’s signature dish costs just SGD $2 and every bite is a delight. Succulent, flavoursome chicken sits on a bed of rice drenched in dark, aromatic sauce with a generous helping of steamed nuts, a dish that will have your tastebuds singing. Other must-orders are the juicy pork ribs, moreish char siew noodles and leafy greens cooked in oyster sauce. Expect queues around the block (since being unexpectedly propelled to fame, Chan now prepares a whopping 180 chickens a day), but trust us when we say it’s worth the wait.
Chinatown Food Complex, 335 Smith Street Monday – Friday: 10.30am – 7.00pm (closed Wednesday) Saturday – Sunday: 8.30am – 7:00pm
Discover the green jewel of Singapore, Gardens by the Bay
Where else can you wonder at the largest glass greenhouse in the Guinness World Records, walk behind the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and be immersed in a misty cloud forest all in one afternoon? Just a hop, skip and a jump from Marina Bay Sands Hotel lies Gardens by the Bay; a futuristic botanical park showcasing over one million plant species from every continent. Spend a few hours delving into this horticultural playground and discover the secrets of the plant kingdom whilst marvelling at the botanical beauty and architectural phenomena surrounding you. Complete with David Attenborough’s seal of approval, this is one to satisfy your wanderlust.
Start by stepping into Cloud Forest; a surreal realm home to a 35-metre misty mountain. This fascinating structure is covered with a rich carpet of orchids, carnivorous pitcher plants and delicate ferns and moss, all sourced from tropical highlands up to 2,000 metres above sea level. Look out for the Secret Garden, where you can catch a glimpse of a new installation of miniature orchids so tiny you’ll need to view them through a magnifying glass! Next up is the Flower Dome. So much more than just a collection of pretty flowers, in the Flower Dome you can wander amongst thousand-year-old olive trees, get up close to the African Baobab and observe prickly succulents from deserts across the globe. But the real highlight is the solar-powered Supertree Grove, documented by the latest series of BBC’s Planet Earth 2. These iconic tree-like vertical gardens were inspired by the mighty Karri trees of southwestern Australia, as well as the magical forest in Studio Ghibli film ‘Princess Mononoke’. With a living skin that hosts over 200 plant species, they’re a fascinating example of a man made structure becoming a natural habitat for flora and fauna alike, and a testament to Singapore’s dream of building ‘a city within a garden’.
At a loss for what to do before dinner? Perched atop popular hangout Ann Siang Hill, Oxwell & Co.’s intimate rooftop bar is the perfect spot for basking in the rosy Singapore sunset. On the way up look out for the eccentric British-inspired decor, including a series of bizarre paintings of animals dressed to the nines in Elizabethan attire, which adds to its secret society vibe. Oozing casual elegance, the roof is decked out with rustic wooden tables, vintage green phone box and twinkly fairy lights. To top it off, there’s even an organic herb garden that’s specially grown for the Hendrick’s-exclusive drinks menu. So after you’ve taken a few sunset snaps, try one of their signature botanical cocktails for yourself! Our top pick is the deconstructed Piña Colada, which defies all expectations of mini umbrellas and sickly coconut with its lightly torched coconut cream and delicious rum-infused pineapple juice.
In the shadow of a beautifully illuminated church, the fairy-lit CHIJMES courtyard makes for a very chic dinner spot. Nestled in the heart of this alfresco setting you’ll find Privé; a classy restaurant with an unassuming air. This little oasis is surrounded by a bamboo portico that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into someone’s back garden. A leading player in Singapore’s ever-changing food scene, their diverse menu more than lives up to its promise to deliver a memorable dining experience. Favourites include spicy spaghetti arrabiata with pan-roasted slipper lobster, smoked duck and orange salad and local dish seafood Laksa. And if you’re still left wanting more, the wonderfully decadent sticky date pudding has accrued quite the cult following about town, and for good reason.
After dinner, head down to the Event Plaza for a spectacle that will have your Instagram followers green with envy. This mesmerising 15-minute light and sound extravaganza is the only way to end your day of city-tripping on a high. Set to an orchestral soundtrack composed by award-winning music producer Kenn C, the exquisitely choreographed work of art features gyroscopic water fountains, a soaring phoenix and a dazzling display of colourful projections dancing across the waterfront, telling the story of Singapore’s journey from small merchant port to the cosmopolitan hub it is today.
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