Singapore has long been a favorite stopover for Australians flying to Europe. A place to stretch your legs, buy some duty free and maybe go for a Singapore Sling at Raffles if you have time.
However, Lion City is much more than just a stopover.
Beyond the orchid-lined corridors of Changi lies a rich, multicultural city; a destination where Asia’s most intoxicating cultures come together in one place. In fact, there’s so much to see, do, touch and taste that you could skip Europe altogether and be entirely satisfied.
Lavish hotels and moody cocktail bars, intriguing museums and Michelin-rated restaurants, not to mention theme parks that will get your heart racing, are just a taste of what awaits.
However, you must first travel to Singapore to experience it. Flag carrier Singapore Airlines, which operates more than 100 non-stop flights a week from seven Australian cities, is the perfect way to do this.
From the moment you check in, the Star Alliance member rolls out the red carpet, delivering a locally infused five-star experience that whets the appetite for what awaits you upon landing.
With a flight time of just over five hours from Perth, or around eight hours from Sydney or Melbourne, you have ample opportunity to enjoy the company’s renowned hospitality, comfort and cuisine. overhead, as well as recent upgrades designed to provide a deeper cultural connection.
The onboard experience has also seen notable improvements, with passengers treated to a new “multi-sensory journey”, with an iconic scent and soundtrack inspired by the intricate floral “Batik” pattern of its signature uniform.
Cuisine has also been taken to new heights, with fresh menus and even hawker center-inspired meals on select routes.
Upon arrival in bustling Singapore, the dazzling delights of the city are yours to discover.
After ticking off well-known sites like Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, it’s worth asking a local, “Where to go next?” “. After all, they live and breathe the city, with insights that will take you way beyond the tourist trail. Many are only too happy to point you in the right direction.
Here are some local tips to inspire you.
Tip #1 – Stay away from the main restaurants
Chinatown is the city’s most renowned cultural district. Visitors regularly flock to the shop-lined main street for lunch and dinner, lured by the bountiful feast on offer. But, just a road back on Mosque Street is Si Wei Mao Cai, a classic Sichuan restaurant beloved by locals for its rich, authentic flavors. They do not refuse the spice for tourists.
Tip #2 – Check out Redhill Market and Street Vendor Center
Hawker Centers are a unique experience in Singapore. You’ll find these street food halls dotted all over the city, with locals often stopping in for every meal of the day, thanks to the variety of top quality food – Chinese, Indian and Malaysian – at very reasonable prices.
Redhill is one of the city’s oldest hawker centers and fresh produce markets, though it goes unnoticed by many travellers.
For the full experience, visit on a Sunday morning when the locals are out shopping. They will usually stop for a “kopi” coffee and also have breakfast.
Tip #3 – Explore the “less traveled islands”
Although an island nation, Singapore is not just one land mass. There are several smaller ones dotted around her bangs. Sentosa is the best known, but it is worth exploring some of the lesser known alternatives such as the Sisters Islands, St John’s and Kusa (Tortoise).
These islands are all accessible by ferry from the Marina South Pier, or you can hire a private boat to visit them all, then drop anchor and watch the sunset set the sky ablaze.
Tip #4 – Taste Michelin-rated street restaurants
Singaporeans don’t eat to live, they live to eat. It also makes sense when you consider the quality that is on offer – there are almost 50 starred restaurants in the local Michelin Guide.
But, if you fancy something a little more rustic and authentic, check out the Michelin Singapore Bib Gourmand selection, which brings together the best street food in town.
Tip #5 – Visit a shrine at one of the most popular attractions
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is one of the busiest attractions in Chinatown. Instead of seeing the big Buddha on the ground floor and leaving, as most visitors tend to do, head to the rooftop garden.
Here you will find an oasis of peace housing the 10,000 Buddha Pavilion, which houses a prayer wheel engraved with intricate scriptures.
Tip #6 – Get on your bike in Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin Island is a short boat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. Over the past decades, it has been quarried from granite to construct some of the city’s famous buildings. Life today moves at a much slower pace, with the island a time warp until the 1970s when quarrying ceased. It’s a laid-back, low-key getaway where you can rent a bike and explore one pedal at a time.
What else is worth seeing? All you have to do is hop on a plane and find out for yourself.
With Singapore Airlines, the best of Lion City and beyond is yours to discover.