Singapore – perhaps one of the best known gateways to Asia as a whole. This bustling, extravagant city state is the perfect place for new visitors to the region, perfectly blending the West and the East in both style, flavour and signature, giving even the most discerning of travellers the perfect introduction to this part of the world. Nestled right on the very southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula, this city state is actually an island of its own with over half of the overall area of the island being reserved for green spaces and parks. In this sense, Singapore is a beautiful garden city with many opportunities for outdoor lovers to still get their fill of strolling through gardens and enjoying wide, open natural spaces.
Getting In and Getting Around
When you first arrive at the airport in Singapore, it may be confusing to find where to go to get into the city properly, so head to the Ground Transportation Desk, located in each of the Arrivals halls of the airport. This useful desk offers transport services for a flat fee to anywhere in Singapore which is an incredible deal when you consider that some of the options include 4-7 seater private transfer vehicles for $55-60 and even limousines for a flat fee of $50 per limo. Travel in extreme style and book yourself a limousine – a perfect way to start your luxury-filled trip to this colourful region and a better, more exclusive choice considering they’re cheaper than the private transfer vehicles!
With regard to getting around Singapore, you’re really spoilt for choice here. The island is well connected with rail, bus and light rail options as well as a multitude of ferries that provide services up and down the coast as well as to outlying Singaporean islands. While not a popular option due in part to the extensive public transit network, it’s possible to hire your own car, which may be a better option if you aren’t keen on taking public transport as taxis are often booked solid during peak hours for commuting and shopping. That being said, taxis are a very quick, efficient and affordable way to get around the island and even a trip from one side to the other shouldn’t often cost you more than $35 to $40. Some hotels provide transport options or be able to arrange taxis in advance for you, saving you having to do it yourself. If you aren’t adverse to rubbing elbows with the locals and other tourists on tighter budgets, the public transport system is incredibly affordable, including its tourist focused boats that ferry visitors from one dock to another.
Where To Stay
Even the most discerning of luxury-seekers will find that Singapore offers some of the worlds best options in terms of luxury accommodation including the prestigious hotels of Fullerton Bay and the Raffles – a true Singapore tradition.
Fullerton Bay Hotel prides itself on offering up an array of luxurious offerings to its guests. With several on site restaurants and a full wellness spa, you will find a number of ways to relax and unwind within the grounds of this beautiful and ornately decorated hotel. Set in the central heritage district of down town Singapore, the Fullerton Bay Hotel is ideally located for visitors to truly get the best out of their time in the city. The hotel also is host to some modernly and exquisitely decorated conference suites ideal for the business traveller along with 24 hour fitness facilities and a rooftop pool with stunning views of the area. If you aren’t convinced, the hotel has been rated five stars by Forbes Travel Guide for the fifth consecutive year, so you know you’re getting the best of the best at the Fullerton.
The Raffles is quite truthfully a Singapore tradition as far as opulent accommodation goes. Having opened in 1887, the colonial architecture and style is retained throughout the property, creating the perfect ambiance for those looking for something truly special. With 14 on site restaurants, as well as their own spa and wellness centre, any stay at the Raffles is sure to be complete and perfectly compliment your trip to Singapore. You can opt to arrive in style with Raffles’ Limousine service for a truly luxurious experience to kick start your stay at the hotel which boasts over 100 suites including 2 Presidential Suites as well as Hotel Gardens, the Jubilee Hall Theatre, Shopping Arcade, event spaces and outdoor swimming pool. The Raffles is the perfect example of quality luxurious accommodation featuring everything you need for your stay in Singapore, including 24 hour butler service on top of all the other prestigious frills.
Things To Do – Singapore Style
Perhaps one of the things Singapore is best known for is for some of its absolutely fantastic shopping and dining experiences as well as some of the other options for sightseeing including the Botanical Gardens, the country clubs and more. Singapore enjoys a location that is in the midst of several different cultures and has been positively influenced by them all – whether you’re looking for Chinese, Japanese, Indonesia or Malaysian cuisine (or even western!), you can find it here. Singapore has bustling and beautiful Chinatown and Indian districts that provide exceptional options for dining and tasting cuisines specific to those regions. For more upscale dining options, Restaurant JAAN in the Swissotel on Stamford road is considered one of the best with a rating consistently around 5 stars and provides stunning city views. On Bukit Pasoh road you will find Restaurant ANDRE, a more intimate, cosy Michelin dining experience that needs to be seen to be believed.
For those who want to sneak in a game or three of golf, Singapore boasts the Orchid Country Club – pristine grounds with beautiful fairways and even other options such as archery, swimming and even card games like Mahjong. If you are looking for a place to stay with all of these options at hand, the Orchid also is home to a number of beautifully appointed rooms that run upwards of $300 per night, but given the surroundings the price is well worth it.
Singapore is also home to the Botanical Gardens – a large swathe of outdoor natural plant life of differing varieties. There are also a wide range of different types of garden including Chinese and Japanese gardens as well as the Cloud Forest, Orchid Garden and the HortPark at Southern Ridges. The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is also a perfect place for outdoor lovers to go and get a look at some fantastic examples of flora of the area.
Singapore – Beyond the City
For a look at the formerly rural Singapore, take a trip to one of the outlying islands such as Palau Ubin – it makes for a fantastic outing to get away from the skyscrapers and general hustle and bustle of the city and is a beautiful, peaceful place.
So there you have a run down of Singapore for the luxury seeker. It’s a perfect place to get a taste of what South East Asia has on offer and a great introduction to the region. With so many things to see and do in such a small region, it’s easy to see why Singapore continues to delight travellers of all kinds, so come see for yourself!
Recommended tours by Explorient to Singapore and the Far East: