A High-powered Weekend in Singapore
Following the news that Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump have arrived in Singapore to begin the historic US-North Korea Summit, the interest in this small city state has sky-rocketed. To help Mr Trump and Mr Kim make the most of their free time during their trip to Singapore, we have decided to create a brief guide on the best sights and experiences Singapore has to offer. If the two leaders are unable to find time in their busy schedules to make time for a spot of sightseeing, perhaps our humble guide will be of use to other, less distinguished, visitors.
If a traveller to Singapore wants to follow in the footsteps of the two heads of state, there are a large number of luxury hotels to choose from. One of our top suggestions would be a stay at the Mandarin Oriental. This hotel is ideally situated on the harbour and offers stunning views of the city either from the comfort of your room, or the rooftop bar. In a city famous in gourmand circles, the hotel has no fewer than six restaurants, serving dishes from all over the world, to choose from.
Another spectacular, modern, option would be the Marina Bay Sands which has quickly become one of Singapore’s iconic landmarks. The hotel’s unique architectural style, often compared to cricket stumps, adds to the character of the Marina Bay sky-line, which provides the excellent backdrop for the annual Singapore Grand Prix.
Alternatively you may choose a glamorous historic option such as the legendary Raffles, birthplace of the Singapore Sling. This is a hotel steeped in history and synonymous with luxury in this part of the world. The Raffles is currently closed for refurbishment but is planned to re-open later this year.
For those less interested in the trappings of luxury, the Clarke Quay hotel is a good consideration. Clarke Quay is Singapore’s entertainment district, so this hotel will provide an excellent location for those travellers who prefer to be closer to the action.
When it comes to sightseeing Singapore has plenty to offer. While Singapore is the 19th smallest country in the world by land area, it is jam-packed with interesting sights and experiences for all ages and tastes to enjoy. One of the most recent additions to the Singaporean sky-line is the impressive Gardens by the Bay nature park which was completed in 2012. The Gardens by the Bay development is an important part of the Singaporean government’s ‘city in a garden’ strategy, an attempt to improve its citizens’ standard of living by improving the level of greenery and flora in the city.
The Gardens by the Bay have quickly become a must-see attraction on any trip to Singapore. They offer visitors the chance to explore several gardens dedicated to showcasing plant life from various climates. There is also an elevated walkway between the park’s iconic supertree structures, which offer a panoramic aerial view of the area. The view of the Singapore sky-line from the gardens is unrivalled and is a great spot to view the nightly Marina laser show.
Singapore, though, certainly has more to offer than just the Gardens by the Bay. It’s famous for being a cosmopolitan city and its efficient MRT public transportation system makes it an easy city to explore. A day exploring Singapore is almost like exploring south and East Asia in microcosm. Taking in the wonderful street food and temples of China town and little India is a must. Another must see sight is the historic botanical gardens. This botanical garden was used to perfect the cultivation of rubber trees after the seeds were smuggled out of Brazil in the late 19th century.
Once you’ve had your fill of exploring the main sights, there are a few options to kick back and unwind. You could take the cable car from the main city to Sentosa Island, which is not only the location for the US-North Korea summit but is also famous for its often overlooked beach. Another option could be to undergo a good dose of retail therapy on Singapore’s famous shopping street, Orchard Road.
No trip to Singapore would be complete without sampling some of the gastronomic delights on offer in the city. With a total of twenty nine restaurants being awarded a Michelin Star, there’s never been a better time to go on an epicurean tour of Singapore. One must-eat local delicacy is chilli crab, but if you’re an avid fan of Indian or Chinese cuisine, there’s a range of eating establishments to sample.
Although a visitor to Singapore wouldn’t need longer than a few days to see the main sights, Singapore’s location on the tip of the Malay Peninsula makes it an ideal starting point, or final destination, for wider trips to South East Asia. Many long haul operators have flights to Singapore and Changi airport is consistently voted, by customers, one of the best airports in the world.
Singapore is the ideal gateway for any trip to Malaysia. Whether you wish to sample the fabulous street-food of Penang, kick back on some of Malaysia’s white sandy beaches, or hop over to Borneo and spend some time with orangutans., all are just a short flight or drive away. Singapore is a great hub for any trip to Malaysia due to its proximity, but Singapore can also easily be combined with other destinations farther afield.
Singapore airlines offer great routing and prices for trips to Indonesia. The modernity and dynamism of Singapore is a great juxtaposition to the spirituality of Indonesia’s ancient Buddhist monuments, its awesome natural wonders or Bali’s thriving cultural heritage.
Whether you plan to stay in Singapore for a weekend or a whole week, there’s plenty of interesting sights to see and delicious food to eat. Let’s hope that Mr Trump and Mr Kim not only bring peace to the Korean peninsula, but also manage to see some of the sights of this fascinating city.