East Meets West in Singapore
East Meets West in Singapore
Singapore is one of those unique destinations where you can find a range of authentic cultures all packed together in a single space. If you’re a gourmand or an avid shopper, Singapore is the place to be.
Shoppers will have their pick of local shops or fancy retail stores with recognizable brands, including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Marks and Spencer. The prices are extremely reasonable, so this may be the perfect opportunity to splash out and get some terrific bargains. The flea markets also offer a wide variety of trinkets at cheap prices that you can take home as gifts and souvenirs of your trip. Head to the malls for some seriously fantastic deals on electronics.
Singapore’s ethnic quarters are definitely worth a visit, especially to sample the cuisine at the local restaurants and food courts. You’ll find a vibrant local community here that is always pleasant and welcoming. Take your pick of the cuisine from Chinatown, Little India, Geylang Serai (home to the Malaysian community), and the American/European quarters. As you can imagine, each quarter has the sights, sounds, and cooking aromas that you would expect of the immigrant populations that moved to Singapore and made it their home.
Unaccompanied ladies may want to avoid Geylang Serai at night, though, because it is the country’s only legal red-light district. The brothels here are indicated by their bright red walls. It is definitely worth coming here, though, for the street markets where you can find antiques, rugs, jewels, and a bustling spice market.
For a taste of European elegance, check out the former British Army barracks at Dempsey Hill, which has now been converted into a beautiful complex of restaurants managed by celebrity chefs, art galleries, spas, bars, and more.
History lovers should make some time to visit the Kampong Glam area, which was once the seat of the royal family. The palace of the former Sultan has now been converted into a heritage museum, which offers some fascinating insights into Singaporean history. In fact, although Singapore is known as the Lion City, it is unlikely that any lions have ever been here. The sighting that led to its name is said to have been a case of mistaken identity and that the animal was more likely to have been a tiger.
The Botanic Gardens is one stop that you should not miss, particularly if you’re a nature lover. You’ll find a thousand species of orchids and over 2,000 hybrids. Walking through the rainforest and taking in the sights and smells of the gorgeous flower beds is an unforgettable experience with plenty of great photo opportunities.
Accommodation options are plentiful and range from super classy (and super expensive) to humble and cosy (but great for a budget). Major hotels, such as the Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons, are available with all of the expected creature comforts. The Fairmont is arguably in the best location since most of the major tourist attractions are within walking distance. Travellers on a budget have their pick of low-cost hotels, bed and breakfast lodges, and guest houses.
Singapore has something for everyone and is truly an international destination with its mix of cultures that blend so easily together. For a taste of Asia meets Europe, put Singapore on your travel itinerary
Searching for best deals on shopping in Singapore? Check out the Singapore Shopping Festival!