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4 hours in Singapore

Published: 31/08/2016 - Filed under: Home » Archive » 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 » September 2016 » Lifestyle » Home » City Guides »

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Just coming off the celebration of 50 years of independence in 2015, Singapore is looking more impressive than ever. With its three soaring towers straddled by a giant ship, architect Moshe Safdie’s Marina Bay Sands hotel has redefined the city skyline.

Sadly, only hotel residents can use the dazzling rooftop infinity pool, but there are plenty of other reasons to swing by, even if you haven’t booked a room.

Exquisite views can be had from the Skypark observation deck and Ku De Ta lounge 57 stories up, while the lobby features several fantastic art pieces, such as Sol Le Witt’s delightfully colorful Wall Drawing #917, “Arcs and Circles,” mounted

behind reception in Tower One.

The adjoining Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands – not to mention the casino – beg a longer visit.


Singapore has always prided itself on its green spaces, from its Botanic Gardens to the interconnected walkways linking the Southern Ridges. But never have they been as accessible – or as spectacular – as Gardens by the Bay.

The Skypark at Marina Bay Sands looks down on this otherworldly eco-park, which opened next door to it in 2012, but it’s far more impressive at ground level.

It’s free to wander around the exotic vertical gardens of the Supertree Grove in Bay South (open 5:00 AM – 2:00 AM daily), but if you have 15 minutes to spare in the evening, plan your visit around one of the twice-nightly sound-and-light shows.


Home to the fascinating Chinese Heritage Centre, the serene Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, one of the city’s best, it’s easy to while away four hours in Chinatown alone, located at Bayfront station, three stops from Gardens by the Bay on the MRT.

Take a stroll down Club Street, which is seeing a revival as Singapore’s hottest drinking and dining enclave. By day, brightly colored shophouses provide a charming backdrop for a casual lunch at Oxwell and Co ( or Club Street Social (

Pedestrianized at night, Club Street and adjoining Ann Siang Road are great for people-watching, as barflies clamor for cocktails at “secret” watering holes such as Operation Dagger (7 Ann Siang Hill).


Everything old is new again in Singapore – including its oldest council estate. Built in the 1930s, this constellation of low-rise art deco flats, a short amble from Chinatown, started out as one of the island’s most exclusive addresses.

But when sky-scraping condominiums began to shoot up in the 1970s, Tiong

Bahru lost its A-list appeal – until around 2010, when 40 Hands Coffee ( opened on Yong Siak Street, and stimulated the neighborhood.

One of the first of a new wave of cafés to open in the city-state, 40 Hands lured local hipsters back to the playground of their youth. There are now more than a dozen (try Tiong Bahru Bakery on Eng Hoon Street) nestled alongside traditional kopitiams (coffee shops) on Tiong’s tiny streets, along with a handful of trendy boutiques.

It’s a great spot to enjoy a lazy latte away from the city bustle.


A five-minute taxi ride from Tiong will take you to Gillman Barracks (, one the city’s major art spaces housing 17 galleries. Formerly a colonial army camp, it was transformed into a contemporary arts cluster in 2012 and is celebrating its fourth anniversary this month.

Showcasing temporary exhibitions by local and international artists – from Malaysian-born Heman Chong to Japan’s Yayoi Kusama – many of the showrooms are free to visit, so you can take your pick. With more than a half dozen food and

drink establishments, visit the Naked Finn ( for a great lobster roll – so you can enjoy one last meal in Singapore before heading to the airport.  

By Sarah Reid

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