Clean, modern, efficient, and expensive. These are all words that are used to describe Singapore. This tiny nation at the tip of the Malay peninsula is the wealthiest and most developed of all Southeast Asian countries. That being said, visitors can still find exotic culture, food, and arts in Singapore. From shopping malls to hawker stalls, casinos and parks, Singapore has something to offer everyone, provided you have the cash to throw down.
Shopping is a national past time in Singapore, and Orchard Road is the place to be to score that new Louis Vuitton bag or catch a half price sale at your favorite brand-name store. The 2.2 kilometer street features 22 shopping malls and 6 department stores that offer shops ranging from high-end luxury fashion to popular mid-range brand name stores, unique boutiques, and kiosks selling cheap trinkets and discount clothing. There is also a multitude of restaurants, cafes, and entertainment venues, making it easy to take a break from a frenetic day of pounding the pavement for sales.
Besides excellent shopping, Singapore has a rich tradition of vibrant cuisine. The cosmopolitan mix of cultures here has lent itself to a truly diverse dining scene, with restaurants serving up spicy Malay, Indian, and Chinese dishes, as well as sushi, pasta, pizzas, hamburgers, seafood, and contemporary fusion cuisine. Singapore’s most famous dish is Singapore chili crab, which can be found in abundance in Chinatown dining establishments.
To truly appreciate Singapore’s gourmet diversity, head to a hawker stall where you can sample tasty treats such as grilled satay, hokkien mee (fried noodles), laksa (seafood and rice noodles in a tangy coconut milk broth) black pepper crab, and sweet, glutinous rice balls. Little India and Chinatown are also great places to try regional dishes.
Night owls will find much to do in Singapore after dark, with many lively nightclubs, pubs, wine bars, karaoke joints, and open-air complexes packed with drinking establishments. Clarke Quay is one of the most popular places to go on Friday and Saturday nights, with hundreds of restaurants, bars, and shops lining the Singapore River. The central area is covered with a lofty rain cover, and futuristic columns emit blasts of cool air and mist to cool down patrons. Other popular nightlife spots include Boat Quay, Robertson Quay, Sentosa Island, and the famous Zouk Nightclub.
For fun and entertainment, Sentosa Island is a one-stop destination, located just a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown Singapore. The island has many sandy beaches, historical forts, the Sentosa Golf Club, the Resorts World Sentosa Casino, Universal Studios Singapore, the MegaZip Adventure Park, and many more entertainment venues for people of all ages.
Marina Bay is another exciting destination, resting on the shores of the bay, and overlooking the Marina Bay reservoir. The spacious area includes a golf course, shopping mall, the Esplanade Theatre, and the impressive Marina Bay Sands complex, which has thousands of hotel rooms, restaurants, shops, and the Marina Bay Sands Casino.
It may not be cheap, but Singapore certainly has plenty to offer all types of travelers. In addition, it is one of the safest countries in Southeast Asia, and the modern amenities and infrastructure make it easy to get around. Moreover, the official language here is English, so travelers will have no problems communicating with locals. If you are looking for a destination in Southeast Asia that is exotic, yet developed, and exciting, yet safe, Singapore may be your best bet.