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Feature which appeared in December 2010/January 2011 issue of Travel Digest

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  1. 1. SINGAPORE Stunning Singapore Marina Bay Sands Traditionally thought of as a stopover destination, Singapore is increasingly becoming a popular destination in its own right, discovers saraH WeeKs on a recent girls’ weekend away. W hether it’s a girls’ weekend dazzling orchid-plants is set against the clock. If you’re an adrenaline-seeker away, a family holiday or a tropical foliage. Weave your way through who’s not afraid of intimidating heights, romantic couple’s retreat four distinct colour zones representing the MegaZip Adventure Park is filled with all that you’re looking for, four seasons, from the soothing pastels of manner of rides you must try. Tucked away Singapore can offer you a unique Spring, to the golden hues of Autumn and in Sentosa Jungle, the park has a flying fox experience. This thriving cosmopolitan city the cool monochromatic colours of winter which stands at 75 metres above the that’s brimming with diversity, as well as a and the bright hues of summer. The VIP ground and gets you up to speeds of multiplicity of culture, language, arts and Orchid Garden is reserved for the beat 50km per hour. Singapore is not known architecture, attracts more than 10,800 Kiwis Gardens’ hybrids, named after visiting for its natural waves, but thanks to Wave each year seeking exactly that – something heads of state and international dignitaries House Sentosa, they now have a thriving unique. Similar to Singapore’s melting pot such as Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana surf culture of sorts. Learn from of mixed cultures, I met up with two of my and Nelson Mandela. professional flowboarders as they perform girlfriends here, one from Malaysia and one In what used to be a small fishing their skills on artificial sheet waves that from Japan, for an extended weekend of village now stands Singapore’s most replicate real ocean waves – a good way to fun and frivolity! exciting playground. Sentosa Island is learn surfing! jam-packed with a myriad of activities for The National Museum of Singapore is WHAT TO SEE AND DO visitors to be a part of, from nature the nation’s oldest museum with a young Nestled in the central core of the attractions to historical sites, musical soul. A custodian of 11 national treasures, Singapore Botanic Gardens is the National events to museums and much more. the museum is a cultural and architectural Orchid Garden, its crown jewel. From the Sentosa Island is home to the Resorts landmark and hosts vibrant festivals and entrance, a waterfall with elegant bronze World Integrated Resort, as well as a events all year round in addition to cranes welcomes you into this beautiful theme park, wildlife reserves, gardens, presenting lauded exhibitions and garden park. Spread over three hectares, animal parks, adventure rides, restaurants precious artefacts. The museum provides this visual spectacle of over 60,000 and spas, ensuring non-stop fun around a multi-sensory experience of Travel DigesT, December 2010 / January 2011 13
  2. 2. SINGAPORE Singapore’s past, through interactive As dusk falls, the day has just started hand or foot – a great souvenir to bring elements including touch screen displays, for over 1,000 nocturnal animals at Night back home! smelling pods and oral histories, as well as Safari, the world’s first wildlife night park, The imposing and majestic ION old film reels. You can also delve into only a 30-minute drive from Singapore Orchard is the newest addition to the the rich history, traditions and culture of city. There are three ways to explore this famous Orchard Road shopping strip. early settlers in the former Straits fascinating park, by tram, by foot or a Amongst the largest in Singapore, this Settlements of Singapore, Malacca and combination of the two. See the animals shopping mall has more than 300 food and Penang and their links with other as they graze and hunt in natural retail outlets. Big luxury brands with new- communities in Southeast Asia at the environments. A highlight of the park is concept shops and flagship stores here Peranakan Museum. the Creatures of the Night show where include Prada, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Dior No visit to Singapore is complete animals demonstrate and amaze you with and Dolce & Gabbana. It also has its own without a trip up the Singapore Flyer and their predatory and survival instincts. art exhibition called ION Art, and a towering at 165 metres, it’s the world’s There is also an opportunity to experience huge observation deck named ION Sky, largest giant observation wheel with a a Japanese fish foot spa – not for the which opened late this year, making it the unique day-night panorama of Singapore squeamish! trendiest new shopping venue around. city skyline from East Coast to Marina Bay Holland Village is a favourite haunt for and beyond at every turn of the wheel. SHOPPING the expatriate community in Singapore, Each flight lasts for about 30 minutes in an Chinatown is one of the must-see owing to the laidback charm it exudes. It air-conditioned and UV-protected capsule, cultural enclaves for visitors heading to is the perfect place if you want to spend each of these 28 capsules can host up to Singapore. The heart of Chinatown is a the entire day relaxing, catching up with 28 people and be converted into a unique bustling, colourful mix of old and new, friends or simply listening to music. For moving venue in the sky for all occasions from family-run goldsmiths and medicine vacationers who don’t have much time to such as weddings, parties and product halls, to textile stores and dim sum explore every nook and cranny, Holland launches. Interestingly, the wheel was restaurants. Popular bakeries like Tong Village is a microcosm of Singapore, and rotating in a counter-clockwise direction Heng Oriental Pastry on South Bridge provides an array of shopping and when viewed from Marina Centre, but its Road, tea houses like Kwong Chen on entertainment options that you can only direction was changed in 2008 under the Sago Street, hawker stalls, as well as stylish find in Singapore, a mere ten-minute taxi advice of Feng Shui masters. bars along Club Street, are also housed in ride from Orchard Road. this precinct, making Chinatown NIGHTLIFE a well-balanced If there’s one thing Singaporians know heartland. how to do well, its par-tay and with a As its name variety of bars, restaurants and nightclubs suggests, Little for you to choose, you’ll be spoilt for India is choice! Clarke Quay is a colourful Singapore’s kaleidoscope of buildings housing foremost Indian antiques, restaurants, hip cafes, jazz clubs enclave. Its charm and more. At night, the entire zone is a lies in the fact that sight to behold with all five blocks of many of olden-day restored warehouses lit up and beamed trades can still be with an array of quirky alternative to found by its mainstream clubs. With an international roadsides, alleys presence in terms of partying options, this and back lanes. is a convergence point for people around Fortune-tellers the world to celebrate. and their parrots, Zouk, a nightlife Mecca housed in three flower vendors restored warehouses built along the selling garlands of Singapore River, is an internationally jasmine, kachang award-winning homegrown brand puteh (roasted synonymous with world-class clubbing and nuts) sellers on the edgiest parties in town. The allure of pushcarts and Zouk is generated by four distinct rooms street-side all within the one complex; Velvet newspaper Underground has a cosmopolitan feel and vendors are just usually plays R&B and Hip Hop style music, some of the while Phuture with its futuristic design, interesting sights impressive LED wall plays great dance to be found. You beats. Zouk of course hosts the best can even get international DJs and biggest parties henna tattoos within its Gaudi-inspired Moorish multi- designed on your level interiors. 14 December 2010 / January 2011, Travel DigesT
  3. 3. SINGAPORE WHERE TO STAY combine business with pleasure. Each a great way to boost your energy after a If you’re looking to escape the hustle room features a harmony of Asian long day shopping! And if you’re hungry and bustle, then a stay at Amara Sanctuary architectural influences and contemporary after your massage, the hotel’s Singapore- Resort in Sentosa Island, nestled design elements while three of the ten inspired StraitsKitchen offers the best of beautifully on a hillside surrounded by 3.5 rooms are built with a pool-facing private local cuisine in a market place setting – a hectares of gardens and natural tropical veranda including a day bed. A personal good place to dine if you’re interested in rainforest which is home to peacocks, is highlight for me would be the Marriott trying a wide variety of Chinese, Indian perfect for you! Originally used as the Bed-Revive-a ten-inch mattress covered and Malay specialities. A visually stunning army barracks of the English troops, the with a soft feather topper, plump Euro restaurant, it’s designed to show resort has uniquely blended colonial pillows and a warm feather duvet – pure exhibition cooking areas or show kitchens, architecture and modern design concepts bliss for a pure night’s rest after a so you can watch your food being cooked to provide a five-star resort experience. long flight! right before your eyes. The resort offers ten villas, 12 courtyard Grand Hyatt Singapore, strategically One of Singapore’s most luxurious suites and 91 sanctuary rooms, a secluded located in the heart of Singapore’s hotels is the Mandarin Oriental, infinity rooftop pool, tropical garden business and entertainment hub, offers Singapore, which features an impressive setting pools and a newly-launched bistro 264 grand rooms and suites in its recently- newly-designed atrium lobby with 527 dining restaurant, Shutters. Favourite refurbished Terrace Wing and 403 grand rooms and suites, four executive floors dishes of mine include Wagyu Beef Satay deluxe rooms and suites in The Grand and a premium Oriental Club Lounge, and Singapore Chilli Crab! The resort also Wing. Modern and chic in design, each offering views of the ocean, Singapore offers guests a chance to experience The guest room creates a warm and relaxing Harbour or the city. The hotel recently Yurt Mongolian Spa, based on traditional ambience. Located in the centre of this unveiled its new swimming pool and deck medicinal principles and therapies of hotel is a lush waterfall garden, adding to area surrounded by lush tropical Mongolia – they even have a real Yurt! the hotel’s feng shui uniqueness. The landscape, emphasising the spectacular The Singapore Marriott Hotel, located hotel also offers a spa and fitness centre, views of Singapore’s city skyline, including along Singapore’s famous shopping centre Damai, meaning “peace”, a haven for the five Oriental-inspired private cabanas. Orchard Road, has recently released their mind and soul where you can experience The hotel’s Dolce Vita restaurant located exclusive collection of pool terrace rooms total body rejuvenation. During my visit, I next to the pool now offers enhanced – perfect for guests who are looking to decided to try the Damai Orchid massage, alfresco dining with new views. With Travel DigesT, December 2010 / January 2011 15
  4. 4. SINGAPORE accolades from its superb Italian cuisine by Michelin-starred Chef Marco Padrelli, the restaurant has a popular following with a great seafood selection; it makes the perfect setting for a romantic dinner. Singapore’s city skyline was forever changed with the introduction of the landmark building, Marina Bay Sands, which opened its doors earlier this year. It’s clear no visit to Singapore is complete without a visit here! With over 2,500 rooms and suites, Marina Bay Sands Hotel is easily Three bathing beauties: Milica Milenkovic, Malisse Tan and Singapore’s biggest hotel. Guests can Sarah Weeks in the infinity pool choose from views of the South China Sea at Marina Bay Sands, SkyPark. or Marina Bay and the Singapore skyline. Included in the hotel are 230 luxury suites that come with butler service and favourite colour!) complete with a women privileged access to VIP areas. But the poised in a gorgeous purple dress floating crowning jewel of this hotel would have to across the feature wall and a designer be The Sands SkyPark, an architectural chair – this hotel is every fashionista’s masterpiece nestled on top of the three dream! Although the rooms are not very hotel towers. This 1.2 hectare tropical oasis large in size, the designers have made is longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall and excellent use of space by adding windows large enough to park four and a half A380 connecting the bathroom to the bedroom jumbo jets – trust me, it’s BIG! Its home to and mirrors, all making use of natural light. restaurants, lush gardens, infinity edged Located on the fourth floor, the chic hotel swimming pool (for hotel guest’s use only) lobby overlooks the stunning outdoor and an observation deck open to the pool and Bar Canary, serving signature public. You will not find a better 360- Veuve Clicquot cocktails and the all-day degree view of Singapore from here! One dining restaurant Open House featuring helpful tip – make sure you allow for check- four open kitchen stations. in time, as this hotel is very popular and in Seated on Marina Bay’s prime high demand! waterfront location in the CBD, The Sleeping on Singapore Airlines new business class Park Hotel Group’s flagship property – Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, which Grand Park Orchard – officially opened in opened in July this year, comprises of 100 October this year and the 308-room hotel rooms, five individually-themed suites and metre high floor-to-ceiling windows is set to be a fashionable icon along a luxurious Presidential Suite, each with overlooking the sparkling waters of the Orchard Road. Each floor is themed a magnificent views and exclusive balconies. bay and guests are greeted by an opulent different colour and style – my room on Set amidst the hotel, Clifford, the modern 800-bottle fine wine library meticulously the 11th floor was themed purple (my brassiere is illuminated by splendid ten- handpicked from all over the world. NSK at Work B ased in Singapore, NSK at Work agencies, (Events & Tours) was set business and up in late 2000 by Sabura entertainment Bagum and Naki Hameed. The duo events groups, zap their brand of pizzazz and both locally personalised service into the planning and and management of every event. internationally. Together with their dedicated group of NSK is the Official NSK staff tailor events, from meetings staff, clients are presented with tailored Travel Agent for Singapore Cricket Club’s to sports events, to individual events which are well-thought out and Annual Rugby Sevens Tournament and requirements. followed up with attentive service. has assisted to manage the spouse tour To date, NSK has been working during the last APEC Summit in Day and co-ordinated the sales meeting closely with corporate firms, travel Singapore, World Blood Donor Family for Merrill Lynch India. 16 December 2010 / January 2011, Travel DigesT
  5. 5. SINGAPORE WHERE TO EAT rich mug of teh tarik (sweet milky tea), Singapore. Even with the influx of The best way to experience Singapore’s Horlicks or a warm cup of Milo. Kaya is a vendors, the stalls’ offerings are very local cuisine is to dine at one of the many local spread made of eggs, sugar, coconut varied and you will easily spoilt for choice famous “food markets”. All you need to milk and pandan reserves. One of the here. Some must-try items here at do is find a table (which can be difficult best places to get your kaya fix in Maxwell Road Hawker Market include the during busy periods) and order your food Singapore is Ya Kun Kaya Toast, which famous Tian Tian Chicken Rice, the and it’s delivered right to you – easy as sells a delectable range of kaya toast traditional congee with pork and century that! Sharing a variety of dishes is the spreads, as well as at the many local egg from Zhen Zhen Porridge stall and the best way to experience a bit of everything coffee shops. popular char kway teow from the Marina if you’re a little unsure of what will tantalise Newton Food Centre, also widely South Delicious Food stall. your taste buds. known in Singapore as Newton Circus, is Previously called Telok Ayer Market, the perpetually packed with locals and tourists HOW TO GET THERE Lau Pa Sat Festival Market is a spread of alike. Besides the excellent seafood, Singapore Airlines flies directly to food stalls touting famous local delicacies succulent satay and pulsating atmosphere, Singapore and their new A380 provides such as satay and barbecued seafood. this is also a great place to people-watch. luxury of a new standard. Flyers can relax in First opened in 1825, it used to extend It is common in Singapore to quickly snag one of their individual cabins featuring a real over the sea so merchants could load and a table for your group before taking turns bed, sliding doors and window blinds in their unload produce directly onto the boats. to order dishes. When you’re here, do Singapore Airlines Suites, or their spacious Today Lau Pa Sat is most famous for is its order the famous chilli crab and Business Class seats offering all the room you wide selection of local food and barbecued seafood, and sample a need to work or just sit back and unwind. delicacies, where visitors can find almost veritable slew of other local delicacies. The new Economy Class is designed to offer everything and anything under one roof. Experience an authentically you a roomier seat featuring the latest The fact that it is open 24 hours daily Singaporean dining experience by having entertainment and exquisite menus as part of makes it even more of a draw and they’re a meal at Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, their inflight service. famous chicken rice is very good! located in the heart of Chinatown, which l Sarah Weeks flew courtesy of Kaya toast is a popular breakfast snack has over 100 stalls, providing one of the Singapore Airlines and was hosted among Singaporeans and goes well with a biggest varieties of local food in by Singapore Tourism Board. Travel DigesT, December 2010 / January 2011 17