Singapore is often dismissed for being an Asia for beginners. But if one gives the tropical island state a chance, one soon notices how multifaceted the megacity really is. Hotels in Singapore are close to the world-famous harbour promenade between mega buildings and English villas or along the turbulent shopping mile Orchard Road. Chinatown and Little India bear witness to the rich history of the city state.
The downtown of Singapore connects opposites: In the oldest part of the city, Victorian colonial buildings such as the Old Parliament House and the Victoria Theatre stand next to architectural masterpieces and gigantic glass skyscrapers. The international financial world is at home here. Businessmen, holidaymakers and strollers mingle downtown. Those who stroll along the Waterfront Promenade at Marina Bay marvel at fireworks of architectural masterpieces, one even more breathtaking than the next. The Artscience Museum shaped like an orchid blossom, the Esplanade Theatre and specially the platform of the Marina Bay Sands resting on three towers are the landmarks of Singapore. In the evenings, the megabuildings outdo each other with glittering light shows reflected in the dark harbour basin. Those who are looking for a luxurious hotel in Singapore will be spoilt for choice in downtown. The super-trees in Park Gardens by the Bay are also worth a visit.
Orchard Road is the shopping mile of Singapore. Here, there is colourful hustle and bustle all day long. Futuristic shopping malls like the ION Orchard or the 313@somerset bring together luxury brands like Prada, Dior or Louis Vuitton and fashion labels like Esprit, Zara and Uniqlo under one roof. Technology stores, jewellers and restaurants are also lined up along Orchard Road. At the colourfully illuminated stores, which are decorated in all colours and lights, huge trees provide shade. Art lovers and architecture fans with an eye for detail will find statues by contemporary artists and designers along the road. 24-hour shopping has not yet been introduced in Singapore. Those who want to look at the statues and the architecture in peace can visit Orchard Road early in the morning or in the evening. Many hotels in Singapore also have their own art collection. Fashion enthusiasts feel comfortable away from the big shopping mile in the boutiques on Haji Lane, between North Bridge and Ophir Road.
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures. The city developed under the influence of the English. Seventy-five percent of the inhabitants come from China, 14 percent are Malay and 8 percent are Indian. At first glance, a Chinatown seems obsolete in this multi-ethnic state. Nevertheless, the Chinatown on the edge of the Central Business District can be recommended without reservation. Small, colourful houses, Buddhist temples and stores make up Chinatown. The smell of incense sticks penetrates the nose. Special highlight: In the evening, Smith Street becomes a food street. Tables simply stand on the street, snack bars and small restaurants serve exotic specialties. Little India shines in numerous colours. Rarely has one single colour been chosen for the walls of the houses. Here, there are Hindu temples to gaze at. The numerous restaurants make the district a culinary paradise.
The reputation as the cleanest city in Asia precedes Singapore. But the island state does not shy away from severe penalties. Spitting out chewing gum, dropping garbage on the street or smoking in public are punished with heavy fines. Importing more than 17 cigarettes and eating in public places is prohibited. Posters and signs with instructions often remind of social rules.
Tropical Island & Climate: Singapore's tropical location is often forgotten when you look at the glossy photos of the downtown hotels. Singapore is very hot and has a high humidity. The dry season between March and September is usually recommended as the best time to travel.