As recently as 1819, the city of Singapore was a sleepy little fishing village. But one day, Sir Stamford Raffles, a representative of the British East India Trading Company, stepped on shore and the rest is history. In came tea, porcelain, and silks from China; spices, teak, and mahogany from Indonesia. Out went textiles, coal, and iron. What started as a business coup for Raffles ultimately made the city one of the world's busiest ports. In addition to its reputation as a major shipping center, Singapore is an enchanting city where East and West intermingle. The population is made up of more than 2.7 million Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Europeans. Two-story Chinese shop houses; gray-stone Victorian-style government buildings, and multi-story concrete and glass buildings stand within a stone's throw of each other.
You can find great duty-free bargains along Orchard Road and superb restaurants serving the finest cuisine from around the world. And after a day of bargaining and buying, why not relax with an authentic Singapore Sling?Package Includes:
- Choice of accommodations
- Hotel taxes and service charges
- Airport welcome by English-speaking destination representative
- Roundtrip transfers between airport and hotel via motorcoach with an English-speaking guide (for travel prior to April 1, 2012)
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should go?
Singapore is one of the premier shopping destinations in the world.
Food from Indonesia, Malaysia, India, China, and elsewhere can be found in the finest restaurants or purchased from street vendors.
What's the climate like?
Singapore’s weather is very similar year round. Its location just off the equator supplies plenty of hot, wet weather year round.
How do I get around town?
Singapore Changi Airport is approximately 45 minutes from the city center.
For travel prior to April1, 2012, roundtrip transfers between airport and hotel are included with your air and hotel vacation package. Travelers can also purchase private care transfers; see the Activities + More tab for more information.
Trishaws are a very inexpensive, fun means of transportation. Pedal power provides a memorable experience in sightseeing with a Trishaw driver providing commentary. Agree on the price beforehand.
MRT (Mass Rapid Transit)
The MRT is a passenger train (subway) that has service throughout the city. The train runs every 3 to 8 minutes from 6am to midnight, very clean and safe.
The Singapore Bus Service (SBS) and Trans Island Bus Service (TIBS) operate regularly and are inexpensive. Visitors are able to purchase a one-day or three-day Explorer ticket. These can be purchased at most hotels.
Singapore has more than 10,000 air-conditioned taxis. Rates are standard among all taxi companies.
What kinds of dining and nightlife are available?
Since every ethnic group that migrated to Singapore brought its own food, Singapore’s dining scene is as diverse as its culture. Main influences can be found from Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian cuisine. Two of the largest restaurant concentrations are Boat and Clarke Quays, on the Singapore River. Newton Food Centre is one of the city’s most popular outdoor food courts, and nearly every shopping center has its own food court. Some good choices include:
- Banana Leaf Apolo
A humble Little India curry house that may be the most famous in Singapore, There’s no ambiance but the food is fabulous.
- Blue Ginger
An elegant Peranakan (similar to Thai cuisine) restaurant. Tanjong Pagar and Orchard Road locations.
- Chilli Padi
The dishes here are fiery, spicy, and, most importantly, delicious. Most meals are prepared with generous amounts of homemade chili paste and fresh herbs, so be sure to specify exactly how spicy-hot you want your food to be.
- Hua Ting
An award-winning, Orchard Road Chinese restaurant where chef Chan Kwok strikes a careful balance between tradition and innovation.
A beautiful, white-on-white dining room just off the Fullerton Hotel with a menu that uses classical techniques and luxury ingredients from around the world.
A fantastic Japanese restaurant know for its chef, Yoshio Nogawa, and his insistence on absolute freshness, which produces the finest sushi and sashimi this side of Osaka.
Mohamed Sultan Road is Singapore’s premier spot for nightclubs.
Where should I go shopping?
Endless shopping malls and sidewalk vendors line the streets throughout Singapore making it one of the premier shopping destinations in the world. Prices are fixed in most shopping malls, department stores, and boutiques, but shopkeepers in Little India, Arab Street, and Chinatown use the price tag as a starting point for bargaining.
Stores that display a red-and-white Merlion sticker in the window are members of the country’s Good Retailer Scheme, which offers a guarantee of quality. Stores in Orchard Road and Marina Bay have their own quality assurance organization, the Singapore Gold Circle.
The best time to shop is the Great Singapore Sale, sometime during June and July (in 2007 it was May 25 – July 22) when most malls and department stores mark everything down 20-30%.
Some of the main shopping centers include: Orchard Road, Marina Square, Suntec City Mall, PARCO-Bugis Junction, and Bugis MRT station.
When are the local events?
Many ethnic and religious festivals follow the lunar calendar. Dates change yearly often cycling through the 12 months of the year. Check current dates with the Singapore Tourism Board before booking for a specific festival or event.
January or February. Hindu festival now banned in India. Devotees honor Lord Subramaniam with acts of body-piercing masochism — definitely not for the squeamish. Dates for the festival are based on the lunar calendar.
Chinese New Year
January or February. Chinatown is lit up and there are fireworks and night markets.
Hari Raya Puasa
January or February. Three days of joyful celebrations celebrating the end of Ramadan.
Singapore Food Festival
April. Local and international delights, featuring many different cuisines. The Singapore Food Festival is more than just a feast — it's a whole new eating experience.
Dragon Boat Festival
May or June. Commemorates the death of a Chinese patriot who drowned himself as protest against government corruption. It is celebrated with boat races across Marina Bay and by eating rice dumplings.
August 9. Singaporeans celebrate their country's independence. The government, social groups, and various communities arrange the National Day Parade.
October or November. A colorful festival that is celebrated by all Hindus worldwide. Also known as the Festival of Lights. The Hindus consider Deepavali as one of the most important festivals to celebrate.
The complete transformation of Clarke Quay was completed in early 2006. Go at night; during the day it's very quiet with not much happening.
Each store is wonderful, but for kid’s clothes, go to Forum; superb housewares can be found at Tang; and discount handbags are good deals at Takashimaya.
Really High Tea
For high tea with a breathtaking view, head up to the Equinox restaurant on the 69th floor of the Swissotel The Stamford.
You can go shopping whenever the mood or need strikes as the Mustafa Centre is open 24 hours a day and offers more than 120,000 products.
Toys and More Toys!
The Mint Museum of Toys opened in 2007 and contains 50,000 toys that were collected by one man over the past 50 years. Some toys are still in their original packaging and are from all over the world.
Singapore Art Museum
Located within a beautifully restored British colonial building, it contains the world’s largest public collection of 20th-century Southeast Asian art.
Good to Know:
|March – August
|June – July
|Mandarin, Malay, Tamil, and English. English is almost universal.
|13 hours ahead of the U.S. Central Time
|Government legislation requires all people traveling via air to and from the United States and Canada to have a valid passport. For details on passports, visas, and health requirements, see Entry Requirements.
|Tipping is unusual in Singapore.
|Due to the heat, dressy casual is the norm.