Category Archives: Travel & Tourism

A Trip for the Ages

When you are planning a trip to Singapore, you will want to get your priorities straight before you start. Will you be staying in a hotel or searching for short term rentals? You will want to make sure you know what you want before you start.

Indians made for the fifth largest visitor group to Singapore in 2012, and this year the number is expected to cross the 1 million mark. If you are planning a holiday, here are the things you should consider before flying out.

Don’t miss: A trip to Singapore will be incomplete without a visit to its latest attraction, Gardens by the Bay. Planned as a green, floral tapestry covering 101 hectares, the first phase of the project, Bay South Garden, is open to public. You can visit two conservatories with plants, 18 super trees, or 25-50 m structures serving as vertical gardens, and nine F&B options. As CEO Dr Kiat Tan says, this $1 billion wonder is a garden masquerading as a theme park.

Best time to visit: It’s a year-round destination, but in December it’s at its best, from the Christmas light-up along Orchard Road, to ZoukOut, the annual musical fare.

Trip Trail: Experts suggest you keep aside four nights to do justice to Singapore, or three nights at the very least. Take a flight that lands in Singapore in the morning so that you can be off to a running start. Reserve the first day for the city tour on a FunVee bus, and if you are not too tired, you could take in the night safari before you crash. On Day 2, take it easy and soak in the myriad charms of the Bay South Garden, making sure you stick around for the light and sound show. Make your way to Sentosa on the third day. There are a lot of attractions here, so you will have to pick and choose what you want to do. If possible, keep Universal Studios for another day. The other option is to do the river safari, the Jurong Bird Park and zoo on day four. If you have time on your last day before you hit the airport, you can squeeze in some shopping too.

Air fare: With eight carriers and 430 weekly flights between India and Singapore, you can find one to suit your budget and schedule. Tiger Airways’ Chennai-Singapore return trip costs Rs 18,000 per person and Bang alore-Singapore fare is Rs 17,000. These low-cost carriers don’t fly out of Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata, so the fare from here is upwards of Rs 28,000.

Great Meals of Singapore

Whether you are looking for the best buffet in Singapore or the best quality dining restaurant in the area, it can be challenging to know where to begin. Singapore is a hot pot of cuisines to eat, incorporating a rich heritage of food dishes consisting of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian influences. If you are a local Singaporean, you would have seen these dishes in the hawker centers below your void deck, in the food courts of shopping centers and in the quaint shop-houses decades old.

These are the real dishes you need to eat in Singapore before you die. I know there are still dozens of dishes in Singapore that are true to our heritage, but if I were to cover them all, this list would take you 2 years to finish reading. As a Singaporean, there is no excuse to not trying these time-tested foods we all grew up with. As a tourist, this is a good check-list of authentic local cuisine in Singapore. These are the foods to eat in Singapore when you visit.

Many others have tried to cover Singapore’s food and although I appreciate Chef Anthony Bourdain for his wonderful exploration of Singapore food in his travel journals, I feel only a local can truly express the adequate love for our unique cuisine.

One of the many stories of Bak Kut Teh’s invention was that during the olden days of Singapore, a poor, starving beggar came by a road side pork noodle store to beg for food. The stall owner was in poverty, but wanted to help him. He boiled some of his left over pork bones and added whatever cheap spices he had to flavor the soup, including star anise and pepper which created a soup resembling tea in color. Thus pork bone tea was born. Another canon states that this was a tonic invented to ‘reinvigorate’ the Chinese coolies that worked in the Clark Quay area.

Bak Kut Teh has been in Singapore since we were still a developing country and deserves its recognition as a simple, humble dish. Most of the Bak Kut Teh here are the pepper variety with mild use of herbs like Star Anise. Choose pork ribs meat in your soup for a more tender bite. The other variant would be the Klang Bak Kut Teh, a dark and highly flavored herbal soup originating from Malaysia. When you are searching for an HDB for rent, make sure it has a buffet.

The Singapore Wanton noodles was probably influenced by Hong Kong cuisine, but has become entrenched in our culture over the years. The Singapore version is typically eaten ‘dry’, drenched with some light sweet sauce, slices of pork char siew and wanton dumplings filled with pork, with a small bowl of soup on the side.

Places to Stay in Singapore

If you are looking for a common room for rent in Singapore, you may not know where to start your search. An easy entry-point for first-time visitors to Southeast Asia, the absorbing city-state of Singapore has evolved from a colonial port into a slick shrine to wealth and consumerism. With fascinating Chinese and Indian quarters, excellent museums, world-renowned restaurants and great shopping, there’s plenty here to keep you occupied for days.

Here is a Rough-Guide-Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei-cover but what about accommodation? Whatever kind of trip you’re planning, here’s the lowdown on where to stay in Singapore from the new Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Get your bearings first with our online guide here.

Little India proper and beyond – the zone extending up to Lavender Street, reachable via Farrer Park or Lavender stations – is the best place to find budget accommodation, although hotels are hit and miss. The area around Arab Street also has a few good places to stay.

For boutique on a budget: Moon 23. A boutique-hotel experience that won’t strain your wallet, with stylishly kitted-out rooms boasting snazzy wallpaper and iPhone docks. For flash packers: A sprawling place, its size matching its ambition to be a “flash packer” hostel taking the concept of comfort on a budget to new heights.

The grid of streets between Bras Basah Road and Rochor Road has been rendered a bit sterile by redevelopment, which has also wiped out nearly all the cheap accommodation that once packed Bencoolen Street; now it’s mostly modern mid-range hotels that remain. The area remains a good choice if you can afford it, as it’s within easy walking distance of the Singapore River, Little India and the eastern end of Orchard Road.

There are only a few places to stay among the grand Neoclassical buildings of the Colonial District, the area immediately north and east of the Singapore River that forms the core of downtown Singapore. If you’ve got deep pockets, however, there are two places worth seeking out.

Chinatown runs a close second to Little India and Lavender Street in its selection of guesthouses, and also boasts a good many upmarket and boutique hotels. Boat Quay, right on the south bank of the Singapore River, is dominated by restaurants and bars, but has two worthwhile places to stay, including the splendid Fullerton hotel.

Marina Bay accommodation is synonymous with modern four-and five-star affairs, all located at the rather bland Marina Centre district next to Beach Road, with the obvious exception of Marina Bay Sands. All of these locations will help you with your search for a master room for rent in Singapore.

For five-star service: Ritz-Carlton Millenia. Arguably king of the pricey hotels in Marina centre, with magnificent views across to the financial District, even from the bathrooms, where butlers will fill the bath for you.

The Beauties of Singapore

Peering over the rooftop pool deck of Marina Bay Sands, shopping up a storm on Haji Lane, or ogling at the super trees in Gardens by the Bay, it’s almost impossible to imagine Singapore was little more than a fishing village just over a century ago. On the eve of its golden jubilee, there’s no better time to discover the delights of the Lion City. You may want to go ahead and start searching for an affordable room rental in Singapore, because this is just the beginning.

In 2015, Singapore celebrates 50 years of independence. The National Day Parade on 9 August will be bigger than ever, but the party will actually last all year. Starting with the countdown to 2015, key calendar highlights include the opening of the National Gallery Singapore the launch of the Jubilee Walk walking trail covering historic locations in the civic district and the Marina Bay area, and existing annual events like Chingay and the Singapore International Festival of the Arts, which will be held in the spirit of Singapore’s golden jubilee.

Flavors from Malaysia, China, Indonesia, India and beyond collide to create the delicious hybrid cuisine Singapore has become famous for. And while the queues for Tian Tian chicken rice at Maxwell Road Hawker Centre show no signs of dwindling, there are some impressive new players on Singapore’s food scene. In recent years’ weekend brunch – served everywhere from Australian-style cafes (try Common Man Coffee in Robertson Quay) to the city’s top hotels (think gourmet buffets and free-flow champagne) – has become a religion, and celebrity restaurants are huge: Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street kitchen will be the eighth celebrity eatery for Marina Bay Sands when it opens in 2015.

Singapore’s lotus-shaped Art Science Museum and Gillman Barracks, a colonial army base transformed into a contemporary arts space, are barely three years old between them, but Singapore will get its biggest and best art space yet in late 2015. Housed in two of Singapore’s most iconic national monuments – City Hall and the former Supreme Court building – the National Gallery Singapore will showcase the region’s largest collection of South­east Asian and Singa­porean art. With a ten-day festival dedicated to its mid-2015 opening, it’ll be an occasion indeed.

It’s difficult to name another world city that boasts as many eco-attractions as Singapore. Building on its portfolio of iconic parklands such as the Botanic Gardens and the sleepy jungles of Pulau Ubin, the city-state has given birth to several new awe-inspiring green spaces in recent years, from Gardens by the Bay (don’t miss the light show at 7.45pm and 8.45pm every evening) to the Southern Ridges, the Green Corridor to Singapore Zoo’s new River Safari. It doesn’t stop there, either: tots will be able to play on one-of-a-kind giant slides at Admiralty Park when it reopens in 2015 following its redevelopment. The great thing is, you can find a room for rent with no agent and start your trip today.