Stopovers to Australia: Singapore
Chinatown. Little India. Arab Street. Few cities wear their multiculturalism quite so openly and charmingly as Singapore. Once you get away from the shops, that is.
Image credit: “Singapore” by Jxcacsi – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Take the restaurants, high end retailers, cheap electronics and nightlife as read – Singapore has them all in abundance – and search out the city’s many other attractions.
Things to do in Singapore
The enclaves: It’s as if the whole of the Asian continent has been crammed into one city. Singapore’s ethnic communities are a vibrant, sometimes dizzying whirl of sights, sounds and smells. Take time to explore (see sidebar).
Changi village: The infamous Japanese POW camp is still here, the prison and chapel left as a memorial to the Allies once imprisoned there. Happily, Changi has more to it than history, with a beach, boardwalk and cafes that make a stark but welcome contrast to the prison.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve: Built on the site of a former quarry, this nature reserve of reservoirs and rainforest is enormous and enormously popular with locals and tourists.
Singapore Botanic Gardens and the National Orchid Garden are within its grounds.
Marina Bay light show: Water sprays, fire bursts and lasers zap across the bay every night in a twice nightly (three times on Fridays & Saturdays) show. Impressive – and free.
Do I need a visa for Singapore?
You won’t normally need a visa for stays of up to 30 days, for either tourism or business trips. You must ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months from your date of entry into the country.
What vaccinations do I need for Singapore?
Check with your GP eight weeks prior to departure to ensure your standard UK vaccinations (diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and TB) are all up to date.
Additional recommendations: Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B. Ensure you have your rabies vaccinations when travelling through most parts of SE Asia as it is surprisingly easy to come into contact with infected animals.
Consider speaking to your GP about malaria prevention tablets
Best time to visit Singapore?
Singapore sits just north of the Equator so the climate varies little. It’s hot and humid (frequently very humid) with rain most days, usually in brief showers during the evening.
April is the warmest month, June the driest, January the coolest and November the wettest. There are 2 monsoon seasons: December to March and June to September.
All of which means the best time to visit Singapore is whenever you feel like it!
While in Singapore you must see...
Although it has been ‘restored’ it’s still home to plenty of shops and shrines, the latest being The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Inside you’ll find a museum, thousands of Buddha figurines and enough gold to bankroll a small country.
Fortune tellers tout for business, street vendors roast nuts, the spice shops launch a stunning assault on your sense of smell while the brilliant colours in the sari shops keep your eyes busy. And towering above the entire scene is the busy opulence of the Hindu temple. A neighbourhood to wander and absorb.
The golden onion dome of the Sultan Mosque dominates an area full of perfume, spice and textile shops. If your senses have just recovered from Little India prepare to have them overloaded again. We’d suggest a break in one of the many cafes and restaurants to get your breath back.
The ethnic enclaves are so diverting that it’s easy to forget that the local Malay culture is the dominant one. Take time to discover suburban, Malay Singapore.
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