Bright, clean and colourful, the island city-state of Singapore is full of contrasts.
Futuristic architecture, blooming city gardens, open-air markets and a fusion of vibrant cultures – Singapore has so much to explore, with surprises at every turn. Here are a handful of the best places to discover in the vibrant city-state.
1. Night Safari
Night Safari is the world’s first safari park for nocturnal animals. Welcoming more than a million visitors each year, the park provides a unique experience where you can see thousands of animals in their nighttime habitats.
Travel around the park on a guided tram ride that delves through seven geographical zones, from the foothills of the Himalayan mountain range, crossing the Indian Subcontinent and along the plains of Equatorial Africa. Feeling homesick? Hop off the tram and trek into the outback to discover native Australian wildlife in their walk-through habitat.
2. Lau Pa Sat
Lau Pa Sat, Hokkien for ‘old market’ dates back to 1825 and the market’s original wrought iron structure, imported from Scotland, still stands today. Famous for its wide selection of local food and delicacies –think satay and barbecued seafood, Hainanese chicken rice, fish head curry and rojak – it’s a gourmet paradise and a delicious nod to Singapore’s colourful hawker food culture.
3. Little India
As the name suggests, Little India is Singapore’s foremost Indian enclave, known to the local Tamil community as ‘Tekka’. A cacophony of car horns, bicycle bells and vibrant chatter, Little India is one of the most vibrant and culturally authentic districts of Singapore.
The district’s charming, olden-day trades can still be found in back lanes, alleys and roadsides, where you you’ll come across fortune-tellers and their parrots, garlands of jasmine, sellers on pushcarts and kachang puteh (roasted nuts).
For a change of pace, Singapore’s rural northwest corner is well worth a trip. The Kranji Countryside Association promotes local agriculture, eco-tourism and conservation, and encourages farms to open to the public, giving visitors the chance to appreciate the natural environment and get an up-close understanding of where food comes from.
On your rural tour, pay a visit to Bollywood Veggies, a 10-acre farm housing a food museum, cooking school and fresh farm produce. Connect with the land, enjoy the pleasure of discovering food sources and pop into the farm’s Poison Ivy restaurant to round off the day.
Visit Chinatown and get lost in its vibrant markets, brightly coloured shop houses and local ingredients at the underground wet market. The precinct is as old as Singapore itself and has seen its fair share of history throughout the years. To really get an understanding of this significant local culture, be sure to stop by the Chinatown Heritage Centre – an authentic depiction of how the early Chinese immigrants lived, worked and played when they first arrived in Singapore
This open-air moonlit food centre on Marina Bay is a must for the spectacular views, retro-inspired food carts and delicious food. Makansutra celebrates the original Singapore supper culture with all the bustling noise, mingling smells and cheery stallholders.
If making food decisions is a little overwhelming, give the Makansutra Gluttons Bay Sampler a try. On offer are up to 10 of the best local dishes served on a banana leaf such as fried carrot cake, chilli crab, char kway teow and soup kambing. Dishes change with seasons and availability, so you can be sure you’ll get the freshest, tastiest offerings.
For more Singapore travel ideas visit yoursingapore.com
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