SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE

30

Nov

SINGAPORE

Posted by: Swapnil

SINGAPORE

● Singapore, an island city-state off southern Malaysia, is a global financial center with a tropical climate and multicultural population.
● Its colonial core centers on the Padang, a cricket field since the 1830s and now flanked by grand buildings such as City Hall, with its 18 Corinthian columns. In Singapore's circa-1820 Chinatown stands the red-and-gold Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, said to house one of Buddha's teeth.

Brief History of Singapore
● "It is a place that cherishes its past as it looks to the future." The earliest known mention of Singapore was a 3rd century Chinese account which described Singapore as "Pu-luo-chung" ("island at the end of a peninsula").
● Little is known about the island's history at this time but this matter-of-fact description belies Singapore's colourful past. By the 14th century, Singapore had become part of the mighty Sri Vijayan empire and was known as Temasek ("Sea Town").

Singapore Today
● Singapore is not just one island but a main island with 63 surrounding islets. The main island has a total land area of 682 square km. However, its compact size belies its economic growth. In just 150 years, Singapore has grown into a thriving centre of commerce and industry.
● Its former role as an entrepot has diminished, as the Republic has increased its manufacturing base. Singapore is the busiest port in the world with over 600 shipping lines sending super tankers, container ships and passenger liners to share the busy waters with coastal fishing vessels and wooden lighters.
● One of the world's major oil refining and distribution centres, Singapore is also a major supplier of electronic components and a leader in shipbuilding and repairing. It has also become one of the most important financial centres of Asia, with more than 130 banks.

Fast Facts
● Singapore consists only of one main island and 63 other tiny islands. Most of these islands are uninhabited.
● Singapore is among the 20 smallest countries in the world, with a total land area of only 682.7 square kilometres. The USA is about 15,000 times bigger.
● Apart from Monaco, Singapore is the most densely populated country in the world, with 6,430 people per square kilometre.
● Symbolism of the National Flag: Red symbolises universal brotherhood and equality of man while white signifies purity and virtue. The crescent moon represents a young nation on the rise and the five stars signify the ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.
● The world's first night zoo, The Night Safari, is located in Singapore.
● Despite being largely urbanised, Singapore is the largest exporter of ornamental fish (25% of the world market).
● The world's highest man-made waterfall, standing at 30 metres, is located at the Jurong Bird Park.

Getting There
● Singapore Changi Airport (IATA: SIN).
● Singapore is one of Southeast Asia's largest aviation hubs, so unless you're coming from Peninsular Malaysia or Batam/Bintan in Indonesia, the easiest way to enter Singapore is by air. In addition to flag-carrier Singapore Airlines and its regional subsidiary SilkAir, Singapore is also home to low-cost carriers TigerAirways, 'Jetstar Asia and Scoot.
● In addition to the locals, every carrier of any size in Asia offers flights to Singapore, with pan-Asian discount carrier AirAsia and Malaysian regional operator Firefly operating dense networks from Singapore.
● As befits the country's main airport's major regional hub status, Changi Airport (IATA: SIN) and officially the ' airport in the world' (see Skytrax) is big, pleasant and well organized, with immigration and baggage distribution remarkably fast. The airport is split into three main terminals (T1, T2 and T3).
● Fortunately transfers are quite easy, as the three main terminals are connected with the free Skytrain service, which can be used without passing through immigration. Your departing terminal is more straightforward as Singapore Airlines designates T2 as departures for destinations in Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Africa while all other destinations will use T3. When you return to the airport and are leaving Singapore via Singapore Airlines, be sure to at least tell the driver your destination so he knows which terminal to take you to.

Currency/Conversion/Dialing Code

  • Singapore Dollar. 1 INR= 0.022 Singapore Dollars. Dialing Code- +65.
  • Emergency numbers:-Police:-999, fire/ambulance:-995

Time Difference

  • Singapore is 2 hours and 30 minutes ahead of India. Capital Airport Singapore Changi Airport(SIN)


Local Cuisines

➔ Food
● Chicken Rice.
● Chilli Crab.
● Fish Head Curry.
● Fried Carrot Cake.
● Hokkien Prawn Mee.
● Kaya Toast, etc.
➔ Drinks
● Teh and Kopi.
● Milo Dinosaur.
● Bubble Tea.
● Bandung.
● Teh Tarik.
● Chin Chow Grass Jelly.

Climate
Annual Weather Averages: February is the hottest month in Singapore with an average temperature of 27°C (81°F) and the coldest is January at 26°C (79°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 9 in September. The wettest month is December with an average of 269 mm of rain. Singapore is situated near the equator and has a typically tropical climate, with abundant rainfall, high and uniform temperatures, and high humidity all year round. Many of its climate variables, such as temperature and relative humidity, do not show large month-to-month variation.

Summer Activities:
● Paddle in the Dragon Boat Festival.
● Experience Ballet Under the Stars.
● Do the Green Trail.
● Catch the Openings of Gardens by the Bay.

Winter Activities:
● Birdwatching at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
● Attend Huayi, Chinese Festival of Arts.
● Visit the National Gallery Singapore.
● Take a ride on the Singapore Flyer.

Festivals of Singapore:
Pongal - This traditional Tamil harvest festival honours the Sun God Surya. During the four-day period, Little India stirs with ethnic dances and performances, a street-side mini village with cultural souvenirs, a mass cooking competition and a mesmerising festive light-up. When: 15th January.
Chinese New Year - The Lunar New Year is the most important period on the Chinese calendar. To welcome the New Year, Chinese families banish bad luck by spring-cleaning, and welcome good fortune with red and gold decorations and brand new clothes. Throughout the 14 days of festivities, families visit friends and relatives to eat dinner (steamboat is a popular choice), exchange oranges for prosperity and give kids red packets (hong bao). From 30 January to 19 March, Chinatown will also be bustling with folks buying traditional snacks, decorations and more. Celebrations not to be missed included the Chingay Parade and the 8th International Lion Dance Competition. When: 19th February to 5th March.
Vesak Day - Traditional chanting, tranquil candle light processions and offerings of joss sticks, flowers and candles all take place at shrines and temples during Vesak Day, as Buddhists celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. During this day of self-reflection, many Buddhists also opt to do good deeds like giving out cash and food to the needy, or setting free caged birds. When: 1st June.
Dragon Boat Festival - Crowds munching on sticky rice dumplings (zongzi) will be streaming to this exciting event that originated in China over two thousand years ago and now takes place in Chinese communities all over the globe. A festival of many names, it’s also known as Duanwu, Tuen Ng and Double Fifth Festival (falling on the fifth day of the fifth month). Head to Bedok Reservoir for the prestigious Dragon Boat Racing Festival, where competing teams will paddle furiously to the finish line in time with the intense beat of drums. When: 20th June.
Hari Raya Puasa - At the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Muslim families celebrate by wearing eye-catching new baju kurungs (traditional malay clothing) and visiting their families for a huge home-cooked feast. Non-observers can visit the nightly
bazaar at Geylang Serai, which runs throughout the fasting month. The countless stalls there sell all kinds of sweet and savoury snacks, ethnic clothes, jewellery and more. When: 17th July.
National Day - As Singapore celebrates their 50th year of independence, the Float at Marina Bay will host the sensational National Day Parade with dazzling bursts of fireworks, amazing choreographed dance routines, floats and lots of cutting-edge surprises all through the night. When: 9th August.
Lantern Festival - Celebrated on the day the moon is at its brightest, this light-hearted festival sees local Chinese families coming together in parks and gardens to feast on traditional mooncakes, pomelos and Chinese tea. For kids, the best part of this festival is playing with colourful lanterns – from traditional ones lit by wax candles to plastic or cellophane types in the shape of cartoon characters, animals and more. Chinatown’s streets also come alive with lion dances, dragon dances, night markets, traditional percussions and more. When: 27th September.

Best Places to Visit in Singapore

Marina Bay
Description -
● The label "Marina Bay" is a little fuzzy. Technically, it's the body of water created by reclaiming land around the mouth of the Singapore River and blocked off from the sea by the Marina Barrage, but Singaporeans associate the name "Marina" with the Marina Square shopping mall and the many hotel developments around it on the north shore of the river.
● The half to the south of the river, or Marina South, has to date been just empty land dotted with construction sites, but its centerpiece, the Marina Bay Sands casino and convention center, opened in April 2010 and there's lots more to come. In this article, Marina Bay is simply defined as everything to the east of Shenton Way and Esplanade Drive.
Getting There -
● Transport to Marina Bay is organised. The northern half (Esplanade & Promenade) is best accessed through the Circle MRT Line.
● The southern half is best accessed through the Downtown MRT Line (Bayfront & Downtown).
See -
● Marina Bay Sands Casino - Singapore's second casino, larger and glitzier than its family-oriented competitor on Sentosa, with 600 gaming tables and 1500 slot machines. Visitors can enter for free, but locals and residents have to pay $100 just to get in. An age limit of 21 applies, and you'll need to bring ID. Open: 24 Hours.
● Sands SkyPark - (Tickets from hotel lobby, Tower 3) Singapore's single most dramatic landmark, the SkyPark defies gravity, perched 55 stories above the ground like a surfboard on top of the three hotel towers. Views aside, for time being there's not much
bang for your buck though: the pool is open to guests only. The alternative to paying the entry fee is to visit the restaurants (see Eat) for lunch, which will set you back around $50, but you can freely explore the SkyPark afterwards. Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm. Entry Fee: $23/17 adults/children.

Esplanade Theatres on The Bay -
Singapore's equivalent of Sydney's famous Opera House, except that the two-lobed spiky Singaporean version deliberately bears a striking resemblance to the durian, a tropical fruit related to the jackfruit which is notorious for its sharp odour. Opera, dance, classical concerts and similar entertainment is offered daily. Prices for the main entertainment start from $20-30 for poor seats, up to over a $100 for good ones. For the traveller on a budget, there are usually free productions on the outdoor riverside stage on weekends.

Gardens By The Bay -
ardens by the bay is a futuristic park which consists of three waterfront gardens. Includes giant artificial trees that glow in the night time and two domed conservatories. Opening Hours: 5:00 AM-2:00 AM for outdoor gardens. 9:00 AM-9:00 PM for cooled conservatories and skyway. Entry Fee: $28/15 adult/child for two conservatories. $5 for skyway. Gardens are free.

Singapore Flyer -
Singapore's newest tourist trap, this 150-meter-tall observation wheel modeled on the London Eye is no less than the world's tallest. One rotation takes about 30 minutes, and for an extra $25 you can sip on a cocktail while admiring the views, but expect to share your capsule with as many as 28 people unless you stump up a cool $1,000 for a private ride. Discounts are widely available, grab a brochure from any tourist information counter. Opening Hours: 8:30 AM-10:30 PM.

Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix -
The Singapore Grand Prix is a motor race, currently on the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The first race held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit was the 15th round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship. It was also the first, and thus far only, night-time event in Formula One history. Night races are held in September, in conjunction with a comprehensive entertainment schedule. Officially known as the Grand Prix Season Singapore, the lead-up to the final race will include parties, race-themed events, music concerts, exhibitions and dining & shopping experiences.

Art Science Museum -
ArtScience Museum is the world's first ArtScience museum and the largest private museum in Singapore. It is part of the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort. It mainly hosts international traveling exhibitions and it has a small permanent
exhibition. Some of the exhibitions it has hosted include Genghis Khan: The Exhibition, Dalí: Mind of a Genius – The Exhibition, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal and Harry Potter: The Exhibition. Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm daily. Entry Fee: $15-$28 adult, $14-$27 senior citizen, $9-$16 child.

Sentosa
Description -
● Sentosa is a small island just south of Singapore, but it has a big reputation as Asia’s Favourite Playground. There are actually several islands close to Singapore such as Pulau Ubin which is great for biking, but Sentosa is the most accessible, and certainly the most developed. The island offers fun and adventurous attractions for all ages. There are restaurants, beach bars and shops, as well as beautiful, palm-lined white-sand beaches. So make sure you set aside at least a half day in your schedule for a Sentosa excursion - it's well worth it.
Getting There -
● Basic admission to the island will set you back at least $2 per person which is included in the transportation fares from the mainland to Sentosa. There is an ever-changing palette of combination tickets that may work out marginally cheaper if you plan to visit multiple attractions. The island itself is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, although many of the attractions are not.
● The best way is in to take the North-East Line of the MRT to HarbourFront and then make your way to Level 3 of Vivocity, where you'll find the Sentosa Express monorail to the island. The train operates every 5-8 minutes from 7AM to 11:45PM daily, and an round-trip ticket costs $4, island admission included. The cheapest way though, is to take an SMRT bus for $2.
● By taxi or private car, you'll need to pay $2 to $7 per vehicle to enter, and a $3 taxi surcharge also applies on the way out. It is now possible to walk across the bridge via the Sentosa Broadwalk.
See -
● Tiger Sky Tower - Asia's tallest observation tower. It takes you up to a height of 131 m above sea level and offers a 360-degree view of Sentosa, Singapore and the Southern islands. On clear days the outlines of Malaysia and Indonesia can be seen. Opening Hours: 9am to 9pm daily. Entry Fee: $10/7 adult/child respectively.
● Fort Siloso - Formerly the largest British naval base in Fortress Singapore, its guns staring balefully out towards the sea in preparation for enemy attack. The Japanese rode bikes down the peninsula instead; after your visit here, be sure to visit the Battle Box at Fort Canning Hill to find out what happened next. Now turned into a museum, you can follow a tour through the area (complete with lots of wax figures) to find out what the life of a recruit was like. Nearly doubled in size in 2004. Opening Hours- 10am to 6pm. Entry Fee- FREE.
● Madame Tussauds - Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm on Weekdays. 10am to 7.30pm on Weekdays and Holidays. Entry Fee: $39/$29 adult/child.
● Sentosa Merlion - A stretched-out 37-metre version of the statue by the Singapore River, which is lit up at night - note, the Merlion highly disappointingly no longer shoots lasers (if in fact it ever did) from its eyes. Admission enables you to take the elevator up into its mouth and gaze out over the nearby Port of Singapore, as well as experience some seriously cheesy exhibits downstairs. Opening Hours: 10am to 8pm. Entry Fee: $8/5 adult/child.
● Songs of The Sea - With the beach and the sea as part of the stage for the show, Songs of the Sea is a story of a young man with a beautiful voice who is charmed by a sleeping princess. The audience is treated to a unique experience where the laser lights, fireworks, water jets and fire jets are intricately woven into the story. Opening Hours: 7.40pm to 8.40pm. Entry Fee: $10 normal seats, 15 premium seats.
● Da Bogong (Tua Pekong) Temple, Kusu Island - An unassuming little Taoist temple dedicated to the Merchant God. This is the focal point of the yearly Kusu Festival (Oct-Nov), when pilgrims come to the island to pray for prosperity.
● Universal Studios - The first Universal Studios theme park in Southeast Asia opened its doors in March 2010 — but only partly, with some rides to be added later. During the soft opening period, tickets are limited and for time being only available online. There are seven zones: Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away and Madagascar, with tickets valid for all rides in all zones. The star of the park is Battlestar Galactica, the world's tallest "dueling" roller coaster, with two tracks battling it out simultaneously: "Cylon" suspends you in the air, with plenty of loops and
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inversions, while "Human" is seated and reaches speeds of up to 90 km/h. Opening Hours: 10am to 7pm Monday to Sunday. Entry Fee: Weekdays $68/50 adult/child, weekends $74/54.
● Voyage de la vie - A circus theatre spectacular, “Voyage de la Vie” (french for “journey of life”) is about the story of The Boy’s metaphoric journey to seek the true meaning of life. The story is told through song and dance, combining with the energy, physicality and athleticism of circus arts, resulting in a contemporary cutting edge performance art form which fully engages the senses and keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. The first circus theatre spectacular ever to be created in Singapore, it presents an international cast of circus stars brought together from 16 countries. Singapore Idol runner-up Jonathan Leong was also featured as the lead vocalist in this unique production.

Jurong
Description - The Jurong area in western Singapore is primarily residential and industrial. It is home to the Jurong Bird Park, the Singapore Science Centre, the Chinese and Japanese Gardens as well as various shopping malls.
Getting There -
● By MRT, the East West Line travels through Jurong, with stations at Jurong East, Chinese Garden, Lakeside, Boon Lay, Pioneer and Joo Koon; 60 minutes from Changi Airport (transfer at Tanah Merah Interchange) and 30 minutes from City Hall. The North South Line terminates at Jurong East MRT Station; 30 minutes from Woodlands.
● Jurong is well connected to the rest of Singapore by road, with Kranji Expressway linking them to the northern part of Singapore, Pan Island Expressway linking them to the eastern part of Singapore and the Ayer Rajah Expressway linking them to the south-eastern part of Singapore. Clementi Avenue 6 and Jurong Town Hall Road complement the 3 expressways, topping off the well-built road connection from Jurong to all parts of the island.
See -
● Jurong Bird Park - A 20.2 hectare open-concept park dedicated to, you guessed it, birds in all shapes and sizes. The Park specializes in birds from Southeast Asia and the more exotic and colorful tropical birds, and its collection of more than 8,000 birds from 600 species is among the largest in the world. The park is attractively presented and quite enjoyable even if you aren't a hardcore ornithologist. To ease the pain of slogging around in the tropical heat, you can circle the park with the Panorail monorail. It features the tallest man made waterfall, at 30 meters. Entry Fee: $18/9 adult/child, monorail $4.
● Chinese and Japanese Garden - Also check out the tortoise and turtle sanctuary in the Chinese Garden. $5 adult admission and $2 for leafy vegetables and food pellets let you get up close and personal with these wonderful creatures. Worth a visit during the Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival (Sept-Oct, exact date varies), when the garden is lit up with tens of thousands of lanterns, including complex installations with moving figures based on themes ranging from Hello Kitty to Chinese folk tales. $4.50, but $13/9 peak/off-peak during festival.
● Singapore Science Centre - Set up to promote interest and learning in science and technology via an assortment of exhibits. There are more than 850 exhibits in the various exhibition galleries firmly aimed at younger children (6-10) and it is not possible to view all the exhibits in one visit. There is also an interesting water park area near the front entrance.Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday. Entry Fee: $6/3 adult/child.
● Omni Theatre - Omnimax movies and planetarium shows can be viewed on a tilted 23m high screen. Opening Hours: 10am to 8pm Tuesday to Sunday. Entry Fee: $10/5 adult/child.
● Snow City - The first permanent indoor snow centre in Singapore; interesting enough for residents of the tropics but probably not on the top of the agenda for pallid Europeans escaping their own winter. Sledding, snowboarding and other wintry pursuits, including the inevitable subzero bar. Opening Hours: 10.30am to 6.30pm Tuesday to Sunday. Entry Fee: $12/18 for 0.5h.

Chinatown
Description - The area between Pagoda Street and Smith Street has been tarted up considerably for tourists, but workaday Chinatown continues south and east, merging seamlessly into the Central Business District. Tanjong Pagar is the unofficial home of Singapore's gay community, with many watering holes in restored shophouses, while Club Street caters more to the expat and yuppie crowd with small, intimate eateries offering excellent (if pricey) Western fare. Unlike most of predominantly Hokkien Singapore, the dominant Chinese dialect in Chinatown is Cantonese.
Getting There - Exit A (Pagoda Street) of North-East MRT line's Chinatown station will deposit you right in the heart of the action. Outram Park, Tanjong Pagar and Raffles Place are also all within walking distance, as is Clarke Quay and the Singapore River to the north.
See -

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple - Towering above southern Chinatown, this four-story temple was completed only in 2007. The imposing main hall hosts a 27-foot statue of Maitreya Buddha, and the sacred relic itself, reputedly one of Buddha Shakyamuni's teeth, can be found on the fourth floor (visible only during daily ceremonies at 9-11 AM, 2-3:30 PM, 6:30-8 PM). On the roof is the 10,000 Buddhas Pagoda, hosting a large Tibetan-style prayer wheel. Every Tuesday and Thursday(8.30am-4pm), the temple is offering “Discovering Buddhism’ English programme for travellers to gain experiential taste of Buddhism within a day. Opening Hours - 9am to 6.30pm. Entry Fee- Free.

Chinatown Heritage Centre - An excellent museum chronicling how Chinatown came to be and the privation suffered by early migrants. The centre is on the left if you walk straight from the Pagoda St exit of Chinatown MRT station. Opening Hours - 9am to 8pm daily. Entry Fee - $10.00/6.00 adult/child.
● Jamae Mosque - One of Singapore's oldest mosques, built in the 1830s by Tamil Muslims in an Indian style. Note the stepped minarets outside. Entry Fee- Free.
● Pinnacle Duxton Skybridge - Singapore's tallest public housing project has a 50th story viewing deck that offers some of the best city views around at a fraction of the cost of the Singapore Flyer, but payment must be made by ez-link card. Opening Hours- 9am to 10pm. Entry Fee - $5.
● Sri Mariamman Temple - Singapore's oldest and most important Hindu temple and worth a visit for the intricately carved gopuram (statuary above the entrance), which gave adjacent "Pagoda Street" its name. This is an active temple, so take off your shoes and don't disturb the worshippers. The Thimithi fire-walking festival is held here one week before Deepavali, usually Oct/Nov. Entry Fee- Free. Photos and videos permit $3/6.
● Singapore City Gallery - 3-storey visitor gallery with large scaled models of the entire country (ground floor) as well as the city centre (incredibly life-like), which provide good orientation of the country for first-timers. The gallery tells the history of Singapore's urban planning, various planning, design, and conservation strategies adopted to create a good living environment, sustainable development, and many others. Learn the story of Singapore's transformation from 3rd to 1st world, play games on land planning, and the expanse of land reclamation done on the island country. Opening Hours - 9am to 5pm. Entry Fee - Free.
● Baba House - Located at the fringes of Chinatown among a row of shophouses, the Baba House is a showcase of Peranakan culture in Singapore and features traditional furnishings typical of Straits Chinese households. The house has a distinctive blue exterior and can be visited by appointment only. Entry Fee- Free.
● Little India and Arab Street
Description - Little India is, as the name promises, the centre for the large Indian community in Singapore. While a rather sanitized version of the real thing, Little India retains its distinct identity without degenerating into a mere tourist attraction and is one of the most colourful and attractive places to visit in Singapore.
Getting There - The North-East MRT line's Little India and Farrer Park stations, near Serangoon Road, are convenient entry points into the area. Bugis station on the East-West line is also within walking distance (see Bugis). Getting taxis in Little India can be difficult, especially on weekends. It's best to either book by phone or head to the major roads on the edges to flag one down.
See -
● Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple - Little India's busiest and oldest temple, dating back to 1881 — although the present structure was completed in 1986. The temple is particularly busy on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Be sure to take your shoes off before venturing inside. Entry Fee - Free.
● Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple - A Thai Buddhist temple though it's kept alive by local Chinese. A sign outside retells its interesting history during WWII. You should also walk (clockwise) around the Buddha statue to investigate the shrine hidden in its base. Staff at the counter will be very happy to assist with fortune telling. (A small donation is appreciated). Entry Fee- Free.
● Mustafa Centre - Singapore's supreme discount department store: floor after floor of absolutely everything at rock-bottom prices, ranging from Rolex watches and washing machines to fresh mangoes, bags of lentils, tailored suits and airline tickets. The exchange counters in front are probably the best place in Singapore to exchange any currency you can think of (and many you can't) at competitive rates. Mustafa Centre also offers travel, hotel reservation and visa assistance services. Note: There are now
many mini-Mustafa outlets scattered along Serangoon Road, but the original and by far the largest is the one facing Syed Alwi Rd. Opening Hours - 24hrs.
● Orchard Road Description - Orchard Road has an extensive network of underpasses that connect many of the malls providing even more shelter from the blistering equatorial heat and, on occasion, rain. Weekends in the area are often packed with locals and visitors alike out to consume en masse. Only at the eastern Bras Basah end do the shopping malls peter out, with some fine colonial architecture and a few of Singapore's top museums to be found instead. The Christmas decorations along Orchard are mildly famous and entirely over the top, with reindeers cavorting through palm trees and gingerbread houses topped with fake snow.
Getting There - The MRT stations of Orchard, Somerset, Dhoby Ghaut and City Hall on the North-South Line follow the alignment of Orchard Rd. Change to the North-East Line at Dhoby Ghaut or the East-West Line at City Hall.
See -
● Battle Box - The former HQ of the British army during World War 2, now turned into an air-conditioned museum complete with animatronic figures retelling the events of the days before surrender. Nearest MRT station Dhoby Ghaut, but it's a steamy hike up the hill. Opening Hours - 10am to 6pm. Entry Fee- $8.
● Istana - Completed in 1869, this Malay-Indian hybrid building was once the Government House of the colony of Singapore, before being repurposed on independence as the official residence of the President. The 100-acre grounds occupy some of Singapore's choicest real estate and incorporate several gardens and even a 9-hole golf course. There is a Change of guard ceremony every first Sunday of the month. The Istana is open to the public on only five days a year: Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Labour Day and National Day. Entry Fee - Non-Singaporeans $1.
● National Museum of Singapore - The star of the show is the permanent Singapore History Gallery, a 2800 sq.m. multimedia extravaganza covering six centuries of island history, navigated with a super-flexible, if occasionally somewhat confusing, interactive audio guide system that lets you choose the events and items to focus on. There are also four Living Galleries focusing on food, fashion, film and photography, plus various temporary exhibitions and a few nice cafes and restaurants. Opening Hours - 10am to 9pm. Entry fee (Permanent exhibition) $10/5 adult/child.
● Ion Orchard - The star of the show is the permanent Singapore History Gallery, a 2800 sq.m. multimedia extravaganza covering six centuries of island history, navigated with a super-flexible, if occasionally somewhat confusing, interactive audio guide system that
lets you choose the events and items to focus on. There are also four Living Galleries focusing on food, fashion, film and photography, plus various temporary exhibitions and a few nice cafes and restaurants. Entry Fee - Permanent exhibition $10/5 adult/child.