What to do in Singapore: The Black Book
LUXURIATE IN THE LION CITY.
By Rebekah Raisor
October 30, 2018
Singapore, a derivative of the Sanskrit words siṃhá, “lion” and pura, “city”, is an island country and sovereign city-state on the southernmost tip of the Malay Peninsula. Though small, Singapore has a grand reputation. Most travelers are aware of the chewing gum ban and strict enforcement of local laws, and sure, they’re important to brush up on and follow, but don’t let a few simple restrictions stand in the way of visiting this gorgeous city and enjoying every experience it has to offer.
Though the majority of travelers come from China, Indonesia, and India, many Americans are buckling up for the long-haul flight from Newark direct to Changi. Clocking in at nearly 19 hours, it’s the longest flight in the world, meaning once you’re back on land, you’ll be more interested in a hot shower and a cold cocktail than a tour of the airport. Just make sure you arrive early for your return flight. Rated number one airport in the world, Singapore’s Changi has much to offer. With its sleek and futuristic architecture, green spaces, 40-metre-high waterfall, kinetic rain sculpture, butterfly garden, restaurants, art installations, pool, and playgrounds, you’ll find plenty to do while awaiting your boarding call.
WHERE TO STAY
Parkroyal on Pickering
Centered in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore’s Chinatown, Parkroyal on Pickering’s hotel-in-a-garden concept is architecturally alluring and well-located. Wake up to barista-style coffee or mimosas in the Orchid Club Lounge, then stroll the neighborhood for lunch.
Since Singapore is positioned almost directly on the equator, weather is hot and humid most of the time. Cool off in Parkroyal’s stunning 4th floor infinity pool and secure a birdcage cabana.
Singapore’s most iconic hotel, home of the Long Bar Singapore Sling, recently underwent a two-year renovation. Updated amenities and redesigned bar, restaurant, and social areas breathed new life into this stunning and luxurious space. With several suite styles, a resident historian, adorned doormen, and crisp, white architecture, you may never want to leave the grounds.
The Fullerton Hotel
Once home to Singapore’s General Post Office and the Exchange Reference Library, The Fullerton is full of neoclassical history. This bespoke, romantic spot offers views of Marina Bay, in-suite dinner options, and five exquisite restaurants.
Where to Drink and Eat
Singapore is a multicultural country whose population is made up of mostly Chinese, Malay, and Indian ethnicities, making the food as diverse as its people. While many countries treat street food and its vendors like problems to be solved, Singapore has created entire institutions devoted to keeping street food and the culture surrounding it alive. Hawker centers make clean work of it by maintaining an immaculate outdoor eating area complete with a staff dedicated to keeping tables cleared and foot traffic flowing.
Remember that scene in Crazy Rich Asians where Rachel experiences the ultimate Singaporean food welcome? Nick parades her from stall to stall ordering laksa and grilled seafood, dumplings, rice, and noodles. As Collin (played by Chris Pang) says, “Singapore is where you go for a foodgasm.” With options from crab and prawns to laksa and Hainanese chicken rice, the Newton Food Centre is where to go for a laid-back, delicious meal.
28 Hong Kong Street
Look twice, pass it thrice, ask four Singaporeans for directions. Unless you know exactly where you’re going, you’ll miss the entrance to 28 Hong Kong Street — Singapore’s award winning speakeasy. While Singaporean in location and Hong Kongese in moniker, this bar is mostly American inspired, taking inspiration from hip hop and pop culture. The cocktails are the real stars here, and while there are bar food options, they are made from scratch and designed to compliment the cocktails perfectly. The ambiance is sleek and inviting with shadowy tables for a private feel.
CÉ LA VI
Perched atop the famous Marina Bay Sands resort, C’est La Vie combines a 360° view of the city with elegant Asian cuisine and a swanky atmosphere. If you’re interested in dinner, call ahead and make reservations. Walk-ins are welcome at the Skybar and Club Lounge.
Old Cheng Du
Centered in the heart of Chinatown, Old Cheng Du opened in 2009 and was the first restaurant in Singapore to serve authentic Sichuan cuisine. Now, there are countless Sichuan restaurants across Singapore, but Old Cheng Du stands apart. Chefs here are meticulous and have tailored classic dishes to Singaporean tastes.
National Kitchen by Violet Oon
National Kitchen by Violet Oon is the collaboration of Manoj M. Murjani’s luxury lifestyle brand and Violet Oon’s culinary vision. Together, they have created one of the most gorgeous dining spaces in Singapore with culinary artistry to match. Dinner here involves a fully immersive, luxurious experience featuring classic Nyonya dishes with haute-cuisine flair.
What to See
Gardens by the Bay
Singapore is known for its ample green spaces interspersed with architecture, as well as futuristic design. Gardens by the Bay displays both prominently in an ultramodern park featuring horticulture and landscape design. The park is made up of seven main attractions.
Supertree Grove & Observatory + OCBC Skyway
Bay East Garden