The island nation on the tip of peninsular Malaysia is famous for being green, clean, safe, and home to some of the world's best shopping. But the tropical metropolis, where both short and long cruises start and/or end, has loads of offerings including exciting cuisine and a buzzy waterfront.
What We Love
Eating: Singaporeans pride themselves on being foodies. Experience the eclectic taste of the nation at one of the casual stands or food courts. They may not look to be much, but for equivalent of about $6, you'll get a tasty plate of chicken rice (the national dish), a bowl of laksa (coconut-based seafood and noodle soup), fried noodles, and rice of many varieties.
Shophouses: In the neighborhoods of Little India, Chinatown, and especially Joo Chiat, rows and rows of colorful shophouses line the streets. Built in the late 1800s to early 1900s, the buildings, which held businesses below and living quarters above, are a hybrid of colonial and regional Indian and Chinese architectural styles.
Best Known For
Singapore Zoo: The national zoo is home to a dizzying array of animals in a cage-free environment. Visitor highlights include breakfast with orangutans and the night safari.
Botanic Gardens: The older of the two, near Tanglin Road, dates back to the 1860s. Here, the region’s first rubber seeds were planted and cultivated for plantations, changing the economy of the region and the world. It’s a lovely place to walk with its towering trees and an orchid garden. The newer Gardens by the Bay, a nature park near the downtown waterfront, is more contrived, but still worth a visit.
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Who It's Best For
Modern Marvelers: The new constructions of Singapore are superlative homages to of-the-minute technological architectural advances.
Armchair Travelers: Singapore is easy — the roads are safe, you can drink the water, and everything works. In Asia, that is a special thing.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Construction: The joke in Singapore is that the national bird is the “crane.” New office and apartment towers and MRT lines (Singapore’s subway system) are under constant construction, bringing banging, clanging, and traffic diversions a go-go.
Serious Rules: While you won’t get arrested for chewing gum if you brought it with you (you can chew gum; it’s not allowed to be sold here), eating on public transportation and littering, among other actions, are major no-nos.
Heidi Sarna is a Singapore-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Condé Nast Traveler and USA Today.