Singapore Sling

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Travel Features >> Singapore Sling

Singapore Sling

April 28, 2011

Stirfries are a hot favourite on Singapore’s many street stalls. A tantalising blend of ingredients tossed together in an irresistible melange; the end result is one in which you may find it difficult to tell each component apart- but who cares? It’s delectable nevertheless- and much like Singapore, in fact- all of South East Asia in one easily manageable (and extremely palatable) helping.

There’s loads to see and do here- from feeding ugly iguanas at the Jurong Reptile Park to feeding yourself at one of the many restaurants along Boat Quay or Clarke Quay! If you’re wondering where to begin, may we suggest the island of Sentos, a chockfull of attractions- water amusement parks, landscaped gardens, an ethnic village, a fabulous aquarium (Underwater World) and the 37mt high, dazzling white Merlion statue which virtually symbolises Singapore. Stick around till nightfall; watch a stunning show of dancing fountains, then take the cable car back to Singapore.

Stroll through the tranquil Chinese and Japanese Gardens, or pay a visit to the Singapore Zoo, one of Asia’s best. Go on an hour-long tram ride or a walk through the Night Safari, a stretch of land where wildlife from across the world can be seen in a habitat of dense forest and moats- no cages, no restrictive bars. Spend some time admiring the feathered denizens of Jurong Bird Park, or if you’re culturally inclined, explore Singapore’s colourful ethnic quarters. Check out Chinatown, all incense smoke and traditional medicine shops (be prepared to see some strange items here: whole dried octopus, dried seahorses and more!), or walk down into neighbouring Little India which is, like the real thing, all spire-topped temples and dosas, filmi music and vivid colour.

Go shopping in Orchard Road’s many boutiques; take the funicular up to the summit of Mt Faber for a panoramic view of the city; spend an evening feasting on street food in the city’s famous `hawker centres’. Attend a performance of the latest Broadway musical, or spend an evening watching Chinese opera.

Welcome to Singapore. Charming. Different. Absolutely inimitable.

Making your way here…
Singapore’s hot (and not just temperature-wise), so there’s no trouble getting here. Plenty of airlines- including Singapore Airlines- operate flights to and from Singapore’s spiffy Changi Airport, which is one of the best in the world. Alternately, if you’re coming in from Malaysia, take the transnational trains or coaches which connect the two countries. And if seasickness doesn’t bother you, there are ferry services to and from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

…and getting around
Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), the local train service, is quick, efficient and economical, so it’s best to use it. Wherever the MRT doesn’t go, opt for the buses or the quaint red trams- also very good (as everything in Singapore tends to be), or take a taxi. Unlike the rest of Asia, Singapore isn’t a place you need to haggle over taxi fares- here, metres always work, and cabbies never try to fleece you.

A Roof over Your Head…
Yet another problem to worry over- in other countries. Singapore has plenty of places to stay, beginning with the legendary Raffles, where the Singapore Sling was invented. There are loads of other options too, all the way from posh five-star deluxe properties and more affordable middle-rung and budget hotels, to local inns, dormitories, and hostels.

… a Good Meal, a Great Bargain and more.
If you like living it up, Singapore’s the place to go! There’s loads to feast on here, with upscale restaurants, cafes, hawker centres (very much like food courts) and street stalls selling everything from Chinese, Malay and Indian grub to Continental, fast food, Mediterranean- and Singapore’s very own, Nonya food. There’s no shortage of places to discover in your search for a great meal; but you could try Boat Quay and Clarke Quay for a start. Singapore’s also a good place to shop- there are malls, boutiques and stores all across the city, ranging from the big-brand ones on Orchard Road to the big-bargain ones like Mustafa, in Little India.

…and one Last bit of Advice.
Watch your step in Singapore. The Singaporeans themselves call it a `fine city’, and not without reason- penalties are slapped on for every infringement of the country’s very strict laws. Littering, smoking, chewing gum, carrying a durian onto the MRT, being caught with drugs- all can bring punishments ranging from fines to lashings to death. So be good!

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