The long holidays are right around the corner and it’s time to start turning your attention to vacation season. Where will you go and what will you do? Sure, you could stick to the same well-trodden paths and head out on the same holiday routes or you could tap into your sense of adventure and travel and think about a long haul trip.
It’s a lot to think about, particularly in terms of cost and the logistics of the travel itself but if you’re celebrating something special such as a graduation from Baylor University, a significant birthday or anniversary, what better way to mark the occasion than with the trip of a lifetime?
How Far Will You Go?
It’s a good question and one that will really boil down to finance. Alongside the most far flung destinations are the stop over countries on the way. If you do a little reading around, you may even find that one of these stopovers looks like exactly the right place to take your family to and it’s one such Asian destination that we’re going to take a look at in this blog.
The Lion City simply makes a fantastic family trip, especially if you haven’t travelled to this part of the world much previously. It’s a hub for travel, so you can use it for a relaxing stay or jet off to Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and so on. For many visitors it’s part of a stopover before going on to countries such as Australia or New Zealand, but with so much to do, Singapore is one destination you should give some serious consideration to.
This island state is hot all year round, there are times when it’s rainer than others but despite the wet season it maintains a consistent level of heat and humidity throughout the year, staying as warm at night as it does in the day. You’ll live in sandals and summer clothes and really the only time you’ll need a sweater or long trousers is if you visit the vigorously air conditioned cinemas, travel on the MRT metro system or perhaps go out for dinner. Even then, you’ll soon shed them when you step back out onto the streets.
But aside from the climate, what else is there to do and see in Singapore?
As you might imagine, with weather so warm you’ll need plenty of water to cool down. If your accommodation doesn’t have a pool, never fear you can hit the beach and the many various water parks dotted across the island.
Head over to the fun island of Sentosa, just a short walk over a bridge from an MRT stop. Here you’ll find the state’s many tourist attractions all in one place. Visit Universal Studios, the aquarium, Adventure Cove water park and of course the beach. If your younger ones are a bit fed up with sand in their sandwiches, then walk five minutes to the Port of Lost Wonder, a free water park for younger children complete with giant pirate ship and water slides. There’s shade for all, cafes and changing facilities.
If you know anything about Singapore you’ll know that Singaporeans love their food and are extremely proud of what the island has to offer. Naturally, seafood is prevalent with chilli crab something of a national dish. It’s a must try and the best places to sample the best, freshest food is at the island’s hawker centres. These are simply street food stalls brought under one roof and are found in most neighbourhoods.
For the best seafood stalls, head to Chomp, Chomp in the Serangoon Gardens neighbourhood or to Newton Food Court, right down the road from Newton MRT stop. Get there earlier in the evening for a good seat but be prepared to share tables with locals.
The Zion Hill hawker is another extremely popular choice with outdoor as well as undercover seating. Grab a plate of the famous Hainanese chicken and a cold beer or lime juice and watch the world go by.
Far from being a compromise the island’s hawker centres are renowned for their high quality food and for just a few dollars you’ll have a meal that have you returning to your favourite stalls again and again.
But naturally on this cosmopolitan island you’ll also find food from across the world, so if you’re craving Japanese sushi, Korean BBQ, Italian or Greek, you’ll find them all here.
That strange building that resembles a flower, majestic on the Marina Bay skyline? This is the ArtScience Museum and it’s well worth spending half a day exploring its exhibition halls.
Perfect for children and adults alike the interactive and fun displays will make it hard to leave.
You might also appreciate the cool and lofty halls of the National Gallery and when you’re done checking out the world class exhibitions head to the roof for lunch or a glass of wine at the Smoke and Mirrors cocktail bar and its impressive view of the famous Singapore skyline.
Thanks to the impressive MRT system getting around town is a breeze. The fastest and most comfortable way to travel you’ll be zooming around and discovering some of the unique areas on the island. For the hustle and bustle, not to mention shopping make it Chinatown for a great mix of food, souvenir hunting and an hour spent at the temple exploring Chinese culture. If you’re in the mood for some award winning food, you’ll also find the island’s only Michelin starred hawker food shop.
Then hop back on the MRT for a trip to Little India and the sights and smells of this enclave. Explore the beautiful shops and pick up a snack and drink on your way through. Head to nearby Bugis to start your evening with a cocktail and some music.
If you’re looking for a relaxing day then set aside a day on the East Coast. Take a walk through the nearby neighbourhood for a little bit of shopping and international restaurants before heading to the beach. The palm lined beaches are a perfect place to spend a slow day. Reserve a BBQ pit online if you want to cook alfresco but with cafes and a hawker centre on the promenade, you’ll have your pick of food outlets.
For younger children there’s a fun and interactive park that offers a break from the sand and sea.
For another morning’s entertainment why not head to Arab Street. Get your bartering hat on and grab a beautiful, elegant wall or floor covering to take home as a souvenir.
Make Tiong Bharu another of your stop off points. A truly international area, you’ll find the island-famous bakery plus a vast array of bars and restaurants. Speaking of which, if you’re looking for some fabulous evening eateries then head to Duxton, a stone’s throw from Chinatown with a great choice for an evening meal and Sunday brunch.
No trip to Singapore would be complete without visiting the famous Orchard Road shopping district. Gaze in wonder at the huge malls which take up miles of road. From high end to local, there is literally everything you need in one of these malls. Even if you don’t appreciate the shopping you’ll appreciate the air con and the fact that the malls are mainly all connected underground, keeping you out of the midday sun completely.
In every mall, you’ll also find a food court. Not as cheap and some would argue as good as a hawker centre, it nevertheless offers a huge variety of dishes at a much cheaper price than the mall restaurants. Follow the same principle of grabbing a tray and taking a tour of the stalls before you decide on the dish for you. Unlike a hawker centre, most food courts will also take cards.
To round off your trip to Singapore take a look at its colonial past with a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel. Sip your drink at the bar and take a handful of peanuts, not forgetting to throw the shells on the floor as is traditional.
Singapore is a fascinating city. Full of history and ancient culture it has placed itself at the forefront of technology and as a financial powerhouse. Alongside the fantastic tourist offer and many places to visit live the real people of Singapore who take their lunches at the hawker centres and are proud to call the island their home.
While you’re exploring the modern make time for one or two of the smaller museums that tell you about the island’s rich history and discover what makes it such a unique and fascinating country to both live in and visit.
You’ll be spoilt for choice on things to do on your visit to the Lion City, so start your research today to find out what all the fuss is about Singapore. You won’t regret taking a chance on a long haul adventure of a life time.