- 5.5 million
- English, Malay, Tamil, Mandarin
- Singapore dollar
When you’re next doing the big trip to Europe it’s worth considering a stopover in Singapore. Then again, for lovers of holidays filled with shopping, eating and culture it provides all of those in a small, convenient package. This is the gateway to Southeast Asia, where people from right across the continent have settled to provide an enticing mix of cultures. It’s also one of the most modern destinations in this part of the world, with attractions like the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay offering free concerts, and nearby Gardens by the Bay pushing the limits of what a city park can be.
Explore the markets in Chinatown and try a fresh hot serve of char kway teow (stir-fried noodles). Meditate in the rooftop garden at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, which, as the name suggests, is home to Buddha’s tooth (or so they say). Peruse the pastel-coloured heritage buildings of Joo Chiat/Katong after eating laksa. Take a trip to Little India and, if you’ve got room for more food, order a snack of delicious roti prata (round pancakes). Satisfy your hunger for shopping in the 24-hour shopping mall, Mustafa Centre, where you can find everything. If you haven’t already guessed, eating is Singaporeans’ favourite pastime (closely followed by shopping), and you cannot leave without making your way through a stacked-high plate of grilled meats on Satay Street or cracking it big time when eating the nation’s most famous dish, Singapore chilli crab (No Signboard Seafood is our go-to spot).
While it’s a supremely urban destination, there are parts of Singapore where you can see chill out in nature. Catch the ferry to Palau Ubin and wander along the boardwalk at the Chek Jawa wetlands. Be captivated by the colours on display at the National Orchid Centre, or discover the remnants of the city’s past at Fort Canning Park.