Singapore is not just a stand-alone island but an island with over 60 surrounding islets. The main island has a total land area of about 689 square kilometres / 263 square miles. Hotel guests will find the city's major attractions all a short distance from Fairmont Singapore. Explore ancestral cultures of Singaporeans at the Asian Civilisations Museum, shop till you drop on Orchard Road, or visit Singapore's premier island resort getaway, Sentosa Island. All easily accessible by public transport.
Asian Civilisations Museum
With the mission to connect Singaporeans to their ancestral cultures, the Asian Civilisations Museum was established in 1993. It presents a broad yet integrated perspective of pan-Asian cultures and civilisations.
CHIJMES (pronounced 'chimes') started as a convent girls' school and orphanage in 1854. The convent was closed in 1983 and declared a National Heritage Site. Today, CHIJMES is an attraction that offers an exciting dining, shopping, leisure and entertainment experience. The restored chapel, provides a spectacular backdrop for musicals, recitals and other theatrical performances. One of the last few cloistered convents in the world, the fine Gothic architecture offers a great photographic opportunity and is well worth a visit.
The ethnic districts of Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India are testimonies to the island nation's rich ethnic, cultural and historic heritage. The districts are home to religious monuments as well as quaint shophouses, from traditional herbs and textiles to decorative items and antiques.
Situated along Singapore River, Clarke Quay is a colorful kaleidoscope of restaurants, wine bars, entertainment spots and retail shops. The bustling market atmosphere of bygone days comes alive amidst the rows of charming shophouses, pushcarts and five-foot-way merchants.
North of the Singapore River is an area filled with colonial buildings constructed during the British rule. These buildings include the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, Parliament House, the Supreme Court, City Hall, Singapore Cricket Club, St Andrew's Cathedral and Raffles Hotel. Most of the buildings have been restored to their former glory.
Kampong Glam and Arab Street
Nothing in Singapore beats Arab Street for bazaar-style shopping with true ethnic character. The street itself is a riot of colorful textiles from all over Asia, sold at very low prices. Here you can browse through hole-in-the-wall shops, haggle to your heart's content and come away with the most delightful purchases at bargain prices. The little streets in this area form the historical focal point of Muslim life in Singapore.
Best seen on foot, Little India, located along Serangoon Road, is awash with the scents and sights of the subcontinent. Stroll along this road and the neighbouring alleyways to take in the quaint, old-fashioned shops selling spices, sarees, trinkets, Indian jewellery and daily products used by the average Indian household.
You haven't shopped in Singapore unless you've been to Orchard Road. This world-famous stretch is a favorite shopping area in the city. Whatever your budget, you can almost always find something to buy. Most shopping centres have an anchor tenant (usually a major department store) and other smaller retailers. Gems for the picking range from designer labels, mid-range goods and budget items. Some popular department stores to check out are Robinsons, Tangs, Ngee Ann City, Wisma Atria, Centrepoint, Scotts and Plaza Singapura.
Peranakan culture is the blending of Chinese and Malay cultures that emerged in the 19th century as Chinese-born in Singapore, Penang and Malacca began adopting Malay fashions, cuisine and architectural style. At Peranakan Place, situated along Orchard Road, this colorful and unique culture is vibrantly depicted in the beautiful buildings.
Singapore's premier island resort getaway, it is hard to imagine that the island was once a fishing village that later became a British military fortress. Attractions found on the island include stunning beaches, a butterfly park and insect kingdom, a dolphin lagoon, a wax museum, an underwater aquarium and the musical fountain.
Singapore Art Museum
The Singapore Art Museum at Bras Basah Road, just across from the Singapore History Museum, is housed in a beautifully restored school building (the former St Joseph's Institution). It features paintings, sculptures and installations drawn from its 4000-strong permanent collection of South-East Asian modern and contemporary art as well as touring 'blockbuster' shows.
Singapore History Museum
The rich heritage of the island is depicted here through showcasing the trends and developments leading to modern-day Singapore. The history of Singapore is told through 20 dioramas, William Farquhar's collection of drawings, a Peranakan house, Fort Canning, Tiger Balm King's decorative carvings and a secret society lodge. The museum is housed in a grand colonial building topped by a giant silver dome, which was built in 1887.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Situated near Orchard Road, the 52-hectare Botanic Gardens possess an array of botanical and horticultural attractions with a rich history and a wonderful plant collection of worldwide significance. It also houses the National Orchid Garden, featuring some 60,000 orchid plants.
Singapore Zoo / Night Safari
Acclaimed by zoologists and tourists as one of the best zoos in the world, Singapore Zoo is set in 170 acres of parkland next to a lake. There are more than 1600 animals in residence and 170 different species, 50% of which are endangered species from South-East Asia. The Night Safari, opened in 1994, is the world's first and only night zoo, which provides a rare opportunity to see nocturnal animals in their active state.
A truly magical and exotic land, Singapore is just waiting to be explored by inquisitive visitors. For more information on the city’s attractions, please visit the Singapore On-Line Guide: www.visitsingapore.com