- Witty wonderland
- Vibrant Little India
- Bold boutique design doyen
- Chinatown’s sleepy shophouse streets
- Clash of the centuries
- Southern Sentosa Island
- Vine-entwined urban luxury
- Plush, polished CBD
Worth getting out of bed for...
- Zip up to the vertigo-inducing New Asia Bar or the City Space lounge bar in the Equinox Complex (www.equinoxcomplex.com), on floors 70–72 of Swissôtel the Stamford, for stunning views of Singapore. On a clear day, you can even see distant Malaysia.
- Arts and culture
- Boasting an iconic building, the National Museum of Singapore on Stamford Road (+65 6332 3659; www.nationalmuseum.sg) is well worth a visit. We also love Mint Museum of Toys (+65 6339 0660; www.emint.com) at 26 Seah Street, next to Raffles Hotel. This cleverly displayed private collection offers a privileged peek at the playthings of the past. For a fascinating reminder of how the well-heeled 19th-century locals used to live, drop into Baba House at 157 Neil Road, a meticulously restored early colonial Straits Chinese home (www.nus.edu.sg/museum/baba).
- Something for nothing
- For a welcome respite from the city’s urban sprawl, wander through the Singapore Botanic Gardens (www.sbg.org.sg) at dawn; its spectacular showcase of the region’s flora is worth the wake-up call. (The gardens open at 5am.) If you’re more nightjar than early bird, stroll along the Changi Point Boardwalk on Singapore’s easternmost tip at sunset.
- Singapore is renowned for its bargain watches, with up to 35 per cent off big-name brands. Try the Hour Glass (www.thehourglass.com), which has a handful of boutiques around town. Electronics are also cheap here – Sim Lim Square mall is the place to go for anything blinking, digital or with a screen (www.simlimsquare.com.sg). Charmingly narrow Haji Lane is lined with former 19th-century shophouses transformed into trendy little boutiques. Ogle the pretty lifestyle must-haves at Egg3 at 33 Erskine Road (www.eggthree.com). And – this being the natural home of the retail addict – you shouldn’t miss the giant, marbled mall experience for your vital Gucci and Prada fix. The pick of the crop are Ngee Ann City (www.ngeeanncity.com.sg), Paragon (www.paragon.sg), ION Orchard (www.ionorchard.com) and Mandarin Gallery (www.mandaringallery.com.sg). Bring a spare credit card.
- Book into Spa Botanica (+65 6371 1318; www.spabotanica.com) on Sentosa Island, a brisk 20-minute drive from the city, and indulge in a lazy day of wallowing in natural volcanic mud baths, soothing massages and cleansing facials. After your pampering, have an Italian lunch at Il Lido (+65 6866 1977) which boasts serene views of greenery and sea.
- Best beach
- Sorry to break it to you, but there are no beaches to speak of in Singapore – just narrow patches of sand. That said, for quality tan-time sashay to Sentosa Island, connected by a short bridge and cable car.
- Perfect picnic
- Have your hotel pack you a picnic basket and then head to East Coast Park, a popular spot for runners, cyclists and rollerbladers all doing their thing against a backdrop of sea, sand and sky.
- Singapore looks its best either at dawn or dusk, so slip on some joggers and head out to Alexandra Road. Cut through Forest Walk and along the curvaceous Henderson Waves Bridge for a ‘Me, Tarzan’ treetop view of the surrounding jungle.
- Wow them with sharks, dugongs and stingrays while you glide along beneath them in an 83m glass tunnel at Underwater World Singapore Sentosa Island (www.underwaterworld.com.sg), or try a rollercoaster ride at Resorts World Sentosa (www.rwsentosa.com). Then venture off to spot nocturnal animals at the Night Safari on Mandai Lake Road (www.nightsafari.com.sg).
- Singapore’s coast is lined with sports clubs – charter a boat or go windsurfing or sailing with SAF Yacht Club (+65 6758 3032; www.safyc.org.sg). Tag along with a guide from Singapore’s foremost culinary school, at-sunrice, on a Spice Garden Walk introducing Asia’s aromatic herbs; afterwards, demonstrations at the school show you how to spice up your Thai, Malay and Singaporean dishes (www.at-sunrice.com).
- One of the best ways to see Singapore is by boat. For a fabulously kitsch experience, hop on a replica Ming Dynasty junk and cruise around Sentosa and neighbouring islands Kusu, Lazarus, Sisters and St John’s (www.watertours.com.sg).
April Michelin-starred chefs roll into town for the World Gourmet Summit (www.worldgourmetsummit.com). May–June The Singapore Arts Festival showcases cutting-edge world premieres and performances (www.singaporeartsfest.com). September The Formula 1 teams thunder around Marina Bay (www.formula1.com). October ARTSingapore is south-east Asia’s answer to Art Basel (www.artsingapore.net). November–December Orchard Road is transformed into a twinkling fairy tale of Christmas decorations; it’s gauchely kitschy, but hard not to love just the same.