Singapore, Asia’s gardenAny stay in Singapore should begin with a visit to the lush 101 hectares of the magnificent Gardens by The Bay. This gigantic green space made up of three different gardens is found behind the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel. The park is a mix of futuristic technology and nature, resulting in green technology like Supertree Grove, made up of beautiful metallic trees, which you can contemplate from the OCBC Skyway, an aerial walkway built 22 metres above the ground. When night falls, the lights in these futuristic trees offer a magical spectacle against the Malaysian night sky.
A natural reflection of the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore’s botanical garden reveals the diversity of the local flora. Before it was one of Asia’s Four Little Dragons, Singapore was just a small tropical island. Now a UNESCO-listed site, the garden will captivate you as you stroll through its tunnel of scented flowers or past its huge collection of orchids.A megalopolis with many facesWhen visiting Singapore, you are likely to notice the city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere first. The heart of this cultural diversity is found in the Chinese quarter. One of the city’s major gastronomic neighbourhoods, Chinatown also holds an important place in Singapore’s collective memory, as it was the first community in the city. As conversations in Cantonese echo around you, you will discover a neighbourhood composed of maze-like alleyways, mysterious Chinese grocery stores and polished Buddha statues. Presiding proudly over the heart of the neighbourhood, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum constitutes, along with the Chinatown Heritage Centre, one of the area’s biggest attractions.
After crossing to the other side of Singapore River, head for Serangoon Road. Flower necklaces, women dressed in saris and Bollywood chanting leave no doubt about it, you’re in the Indian neighbourhood. Work your way through the crowds to discover Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, with its roof representing all the Hindu gods. At the Tekka Wet Market, Little India reveals one of Singapore’s most picturesque everyday scenes. In Kamong Glam, amidst the Sultan Mosque, eastern-inspired restaurants and colonial houses, you will discover the Muslim face of Singapore.Head for the top above the bay of SingaporeHopefully you enjoy heights, because a visit to Singapore wouldn’t be complete without going to the top of at least one of its immense skyscrapers. Each year, thirty-some new skyscrapers are built in this fast-growing city. For this reason, a trip to one of the megalopolis’ many rooftop bars or restaurants is a very pleasant, if somewhat dizzying, experience. If you want to feel the city at your feet, head to the top of One Raffles Place and enjoy the splendid view of the Singapore skyline. It’s a perfect place to savour a cocktail, watch the sun set on the city and find the next high point on your itinerary: Marina Bay Sands. Its futuristic architecture makes this one of the city’s most emblematic buildings. Head to its rooftop, on the 57th floor, and enjoy dinner or a drink at the bar/restaurant Cé La Vi. After taking a photo of the panoramic view, make your way to the Club Lounge, where you can dance the night away to the DJs’ soundtrack.Singaporean flavours as street foodIn keeping with its cosmopolitan spirit, Singapore offers a wide variety of different dishes. To sample a few of them, simply find a street vendor in the area or make your way to the nearest Hawker Centre. One of Singapore’s most famous, the Maxwell Hawker Centre, is found in Chinatown. It is a veritable temple to local gastronomy, where you can sample Chinese specialities, such as crabs cooked in a spicy sauce and sweet-and-sour chicken skewers. Among all the gastronomic curiosities you have to choose from, the world’s least-expensive Michelin-starred restaurant, the aptly-named Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, is certainly worth a visit. Singapore is a truly remarkable city.
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