Cosmopolitan Singapore is renowned for its reputation as a spotlessly clean economic powerhouse but peel back its layers and you’ll find a city fit to bursting with personality. Take in modern art, local history, verdant national parks, cutting edge technology and, lest we forget, it’s a street food mecca. When you’ve had your fill, head skywards and absorb the city’s bright lights from one of our favourite rooftop restaurants or the Singapore Flyer.
As the major gateway to South East Asia and with one of the world’s best airports, Singapore is a popular stopover. It’s a destination in its own right however, offering a mesmerizingly multi-cultural heritage. The island city-state is an epicentre of diversity, known for its fusion of Malay, Peranakan, Indian, Arab and European cultures which manifest themselves in the colourful shophouses, traditional food stalls and art-deco style buildings of Little India, Chinatown, the Arab Quarter and beyond.
There’s glamour in spades, whether you’re drinking in the glittering views and evening light shows from Marina Bay Sands, sipping champagne from a trackside VIP suite overlooking the Grand Prix or sampling Michelin-cuisine in high-end dining establishments. Equally, you can wander through the backstreets of off-the-beaten-track neighbourhoods where you’re never far from delicious yet affordable local eateries, their tables spilling out onto the street. Elsewhere, enjoy this modern urban oasis with a stroll around the botanical gardens, treat yourself with a dose of retail therapy along Orchard Road or browse the priceless antiques on Haji Lane.
Wix Squared has some exceptional guides to get you under the skin of the country including:
- Rural guides to take you outside the city for farm-to-table dining experiences and an insight into traditional, low-carbon farming techniques
- Passionate foodies to reveal the array of local cuisines through hawker centres, markets and private homes
- Historians to lead you through the city by bicycle or e-scooter, spotting classic landmarks en route
- Feng shui masters to explain the secrets in the design and construction of the city’s most famous buildings to ensure fortune and prosperity
- Experts in traditional trades to introduce you to local artisans still using techniques passed down through the generations
- Naturalists to accompany you through the spectacular Botanical Gardens and provide an in-depth understanding of the exotic flora within
- A WWII specialist to teach you about the country’s wartime experience and life during the Japanese occupation
- Cultural connoisseurs to uncover the captivating stories of Singapore’s different ethnic groups
Itinerary Starting Price
Itinerary starting price: From £800 per person, for 3 days including accommodation and private transfers (not including flights).
Singapore is one of only three city-states in the world, along with Monaco and Vatican City.
Singapore celebrates its independence from Malaysia (9th August) with a parade, fireworks and a public display of its culture and heritage.
What to Eat
Singaporean chili crab is one of the nation’s signature dishes, designed for hands-on, sleeves-rolled-up feasting.
What to Read
‘Crazy Rich Asians’ by Kevin Kwan, takes a deep-dive into the extravagant lives of Singapore’s elite.
What to buy
Stock up on Tiger Balm, in its familiar hexagonal tin. This traditional medicinal ointment is used for headaches, colds and insect bites amongst other ailments.
Steeped in history, 133-year-old Raffles retains its old-world charm and colonial glamour, despite its recent restoration. It boasts distinctive architecture, a resident historian and the iconic Long Bar, birthplace of the Singapore Sling. Alternatively, re-live Singapore’s history at The Fullerton, once the General Post Office. Within walking distance to the Marina Bay area, the historic structure conceals stunning Andre Fu-designed interiors.
Amongst Singapore’s burgeoning boutique hotel scene, stand out options include the Maxwell and Duxton Reserves, both housed in pretty heritage buildings in colourful Tanjong Padar. In the centre of the action is Naumi, sleek and contemporary with its own international art collection. For a change of scene, opt for riverside retreat, The Warehouse Hotel, a meticulously restored industrial trading house or the tranquil environs of beachfront Capella Singapore on Sentosa Island.
Marina Bay Views
If looking out over the glittering waters of Marina Bay is a must, opt for the fan-shaped Mandarin Oriental where the 527 rooms and suites offer floor-to-ceiling windows, or the Ritz-Carlton with its 4200-piece contemporary art collection. Glass-fronted Fullerton Bay is the place to see and be seen and, for the ultimate wow-factor and Singapore’s finest views, the triple-towered mega-resort, Marina Bay Sands, boasts Sands SkyPark, a 57th floor roof terrace complete with jaw-dropping infinity pool.
Retreat to the outskirts and opt for a peaceful refuge such as Villa Samadhi, tucked away in leafy Labrador Nature Reserve with just 20 individually decorated rooms. Alternatively, the opulence of cliff-top Sofitel Sentosa Island and its 27 acres of tropical grounds overlooking the South China Sea is hard to beat. Bookend your stay in Singapore on board the Eastern & Oriental Express which links the city with Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur and offers superlative service, plus all the magic of a bygone age.
Step back in time as you wander through the riot of sounds, sights and scents that suffuse the backstreets of some of the island’s most diverse neighbourhoods. Our expert guides reveal cultural relics around every corner, from the Sultan Mosque in Arab Street and the restored shop houses on Pagoda Street, to the colonial grandeur of the iconic Raffles hotel and the heady mix of spices and jasmine permeating the markets in Little India. You’ll come across glittering temples nestling in tiny fishing villages and be introduced to authentic Peranakan traditions.
Not for nothing is Singapore known as the ‘Garden City’. Nearly half the city’s land area is green space and its numerous parks and wonderful gardens are world class, providing a serene respite from the busy streets. Join our naturalist guide at the Botanical Gardens and enjoy the floral extravaganza of over 1,000 species of orchid, meander through the Gardens by the Bay, home to plants from around the world split into two climatic zones or work up a sweat hiking the MacRitchie Treetop Walk which soars above the jungle canopy.
With cuisine highlighted as one of the most important aspects of Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage, this is a true foodie’s paradise and, as a melting pot of diverse cultures, the country leaves you spoilt for choice. While away a lunchtime with your gourmand guide at the frenetic yet well-managed open-air hawker centers – the lifeblood of Singapore – where locals jostle for Hainanese chicken rice, wonton noodles and kaya toast; pick up your morning coffee fix from the nearest Kopitiam – a cultural institution – and don’t forget about the city’s ever-expanding fine dining scene.
High-tech, multicultural Singapore is an ideal destination for families, where children can learn about diverse societies, explore bio-diverse environments and discover the newest, most exciting technologies. Our hit-list includes KidZania, an interactive mini-city where younger travellers can learn real-life skills through role-playing activities; the ArtScience Museum, where children can use digital media to create their own world; Singapore Zoo for a safari by day or by night and of course a trip to Sentosa Island, where theme parks are followed by sandcastles on the beach.
For such a seemingly modern city, Singapore’s past is rich and fascinating. Our historians can bring it alive, retracing the steps of history through the cemeteries and memorials of WWII, the impressive architecture of the colonial period, when Singapore became one of the world’s busiest ports, and an array of other landmarks that help tell the city’s story. To add colour to these experiences, we can arrange encounters with artisans whose techniques and traditions have been passed down from ancestors who lived through these periods.
Singapore’s attractions extend beyond its buzzing cityscape and we recommend spending a day exploring the nearby skyscraper and car-free offshore islands, home to the city’s last traditional villages where agriculture and fishing play a key part of daily life. Explore the islands by bike and witness the old way of life of Singapore many decades ago. We can also take you into the countryside around the city to learn about today’s sustainable farming techniques from local farmers, rounded off with a farm-to-table lunch.
Discover Malay’s two great cities, beginning your trip in Singapore before continuing to Kuala Lumpur and then heading onwards to discover the rest of the country: the rustic charms of Penang, the un-spoilt natural landscapes in the Cameron Highlands and the beaches of Langkawi.
Combine the exhilaration of urban living in Singapore with beach bliss, cultural excursions or thrilling adventure in the Indonesian archipelago. Singapore Airlines makes the hop to Java, Bali or Lombok a breeze for the classic combination of activity and relaxation.
Link two highly contrasting cities by boarding the Belmond Eastern & Oriental Express, rolling through the countryside from dynamic Singapore to the old-world charm and authenticity of Bangkok. Fly onwards to the white-sand beaches and sparkling waters of the Andaman Sea.
As one of Asia’s prime party cities and the gateway to a wide range of onward travel destinations, Singapore is an ideal setting in which to celebrate with guests from across the globe. Some of the best chefs in the world reside here and the venues are numerous.
This is where our expertise comes into play, by handpicking the best option for you, whether that be a lofty rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city, a private pod on the Singapore Flyer or exclusive use of a private colonial mansion.
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