Singapore is one of Asia’s most photogenic cities, blending old-world charm with modern sophistication.
The 927 rainbow-coloured louvred windows that adorn the Old Hill Street Police Station are among the most photographed in Singapore. For much of their existence, though, they were painted a dismal grey.
The six-storey building was constructed in 1934 to house more than 1,000 police officers and their families. After a refurb in 1997, the building at Hill Street and River Valley Road was converted into an art exhibition space.
Half-fish and half-lion, the 70-tonne concrete Merlion is the mythical symbol of Singapore. The statue is 8.7m tall and has a fountain of water spurting out into Marina Bay.
Marina Bay Sands is an unmissable icon on the Singapore skyline. Opened in 2010, it’s often described as a celestial surfboard on stilts. The three 55-storey towers include extravagant hotel rooms, while on top is an affinity pool and cocktail bar.
A cruise down the Singapore River in a traditional ‘bum boat’ is one of the best ways to explore the Lion City. A 40 minute cruise from Clarke Quay with Water B or Singapore River Cruise will pass under six bridges and takes in major attractions like the Merlion and Marina Bay Sands. It costs S$25 for adults.
The imposing Palladian-style Fullerton Hotel is one of the first wonders to greet you as you sail down the Singapore River, and it’s best admired at night. Built in the heart of Singapore’s commercial centre in 1928, it was the largest and most expensive building ever built in the city at that time.
Soaring up to 50m high, the iconic Supertree at Gardens by the Bay provide shade in the day and come alive with an exhilarating display of lights and sounds at night.
Little India gets even more vibrant every year thanks to the big and beautiful murals commissioned for the annual ARTWALK Little India.
“A Ride through Race Course Road” (above)is a mural in a narrow alley between shophouse 50 and shophouse 48, at Race Course Road, of course. It’s 20m long and 8m high.
Shah Rizzal’s “Layers” (above) is a whimsical reproduction of the iconic shophouses you’ll find scattered throughout Little India. You’ll find it adorning a wall off Serangoon Road.
Hidden on the wall under a “five foot walk” is a mural depicting three Indian dancers in traditional dance moves.
Located at 141 Serangoon Road, in the heart of Little India, is Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. The temple is dedicated to Kali, the ferocious Hindu goddess of power or energy.
During Japanese air raids in World War II, many people sought refuge at the temple while praying for Kali’s protection.
The former City Hall and Supreme Court buildings have been refurbished to become the National Gallery of Singapore. It’s the largest visual art gallery in the city.
Stroll past St Andrew’s Cathedral most evenings and you’ll hear its bells echoing through the civic district, with its imposing tower and spire lit up against the night sky. Gazetted as a national monument in 1973, the Anglican cathedral is the city’s largest.
Once used as a British military base and a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, Sentosa Island is now a popular tourist destination, attracting more than 20 million people each year.
Sentosa Island is home to a 2km-long sheltered beach, Fort Siloso, as well as two golf courses, 14 hotels, Resorts World Sentosa, S.E.A Aquarium and Universal Studios Singapore.
Retail therapy is one of Singapore’s enduring pastimes and Orchard Road is the city’s most popular retail belt. Originally a nutmeg plantation in the 1800s, Orchard Road these days is home to a sea of gleaming malls like ION Orchard and 313@Somerset, as well as high-end boutiques and department stores like Robinsons.
It’s been dubbed the world’s smelliest fruit (turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock), which explains why it’s banned on Singapore’s MRT. The overwhelming stench of the fruit even forced an emergency landing for an Air Canada plane recently. The divisive Durian fruit actually has a creamy taste not unlike mango. Just hold your nose while eating it.
For a taste sensation you’ll want to remember, Boon Tat Street (Satay Street) is where you’ll find the most mouth-watering satay sticks hot off the burners. Go for a mixed platter of chicken, beef and mutton – all washed down with a Tiger beer.
Reinstated to its original location at Raffles Hotel Arcade, the Long Bar was freshened up with handsome dark timber, overhead fans and plush seats as part of the hotel’s recent makeover. You still get to discard your cracked peanut shells on the floor while sipping a legendary Singapore Sling, created there in 1915. Be warned, the Long Bar attracts hordes of tourists and the queues can be a real turn off.
© 2019 Bernard O’Riordan (Travel Instinct). All Rights Reserved
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