A favourite long-haul stopover, in the past Singapore has received plenty of criticism for being too dull and sterile. Its slick veneer certainly caters to package tourists and for those to stay close to the plazas of Orchard Road and fail to venture beyond, to explore the country’s key sights, well, they’re missing out. Like its nearest Southeast Asian neighbour, Malaysia, Singapore is an intriguing blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Western influences.
Start your tour off with a visit to the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay; a $600 million edifice that’s part of the local landscape, there’s a non-stop line-up of international and local performances here. Later visit Singapore’s Bollywood-rich Little India where you’ll get a chance to purchase a variety of produce, spices and other trinkets.
The tour then continues on to Singapore’s celebrated cultural heartland – Chinatown. A bustling commerce centre, the area is home to a vaguely coarse nightlife scene and off the main thoroughfare is the best way to see the local way of life. Round off this approximately eight-hour tour with a visit to Singapore’s mascot – the famed Merlion (a mythological being with the head of a lion and the body of a fish) at Merlion Park.