Hop aboard a ferry which leaves every hour from Jardine Steps at Singapore’s World Trade Center, and sit back and enjoy the view of the city as it wends it way through Keppel Harbour. Then put on your walking shoes for a cultural journey through Chinatown, including have your fortune read and shop for antique porcelain, fabrics and semi-precious stones in Little India and Arab Street.
A smorgasbord of cuisines — Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian — has earned Singapore the reputation as Asia’s dining capital. Fine restaurants abound, but a visit would be incomplete without a full tasting tour of the hawker centers scattered through the city. Ask a local for his favorite stall, and order a bargain feast of dim sum, durian cakes, and a Singapore curried chicken — and wash it down with a Tiger, the popular local brew.
The world’s first wildlife park built for visits at night, Singapore’s Night Safari opened in 1994 at the Singapore Zoo, and the park now sees about a million visitors a year. Through the use of subtle lighting techniques, guests are able to view over 1,000 nocturnal animals of 100 species in naturalistic habitats. nightsafari.com.sg
Singapore is surrounded by a sea of islands, the best known of them Sentosa, off the southern coast. Linked by a bridge, this large-scale holiday resort is Singapore’s take on a theme park, with gardens, a wax museum and a maritime museum, aquariums, monorails, cable cars, sandy beaches, and a pair of championship golf courses. Sentosa is promoted as the “Island of Tranquility.” We’ll leave that definition to you.
As bold and dramatic as the southern belle with whom it shares a name, the Scarlet Hotel is a downtown-Singapore delight. The rooms may be small, but the hotel is so visually enticing with over- sized chairs, rich red and gold accents and funky chandeliers, you’ll feel as if you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole into Alice’s topsy-turvy world of dreams. thescarlethotel.com