Singapore is the ultimate modern city, a melting pot of people, design, and ideas. Often called the Lion City, this convenient gateway to Southeast Asia boasts one of the world’s most dazzling skylines, its glittering sea of skyscrapers making it one of the best places to enjoy a rooftop cocktail.
Among these glamorous buildings is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel with its distinctive infinity pool and observation deck a staggering 57 storeys high.
Despite Singapore’s futuristic landscape, you’ll still get fascinating glimpses of the past. Iconic landmarks such as the luxurious Colonial-style Raffles Hotel, the many churches, temples and mosques of Pagoda Street, and the city’s colourful street festivals make for a mish-mash of architectural styles and beliefs.
You’ll get that sense of nostalgia in Chinatown too, where you can chow down on hot bowls of Singaporean laksa alongside the locals and browse for all manner of quirky trinkets. Singapore truly is heaven on earth for shoppers – and if the city’s famous tropical heat gets too much while you’re exploring the markets, you can simply nip into one of its many air-conditioned malls or hawker centres for relief.
You’ll also find respite from the bustling city with a visit to Singapore’s plentiful green spaces, such as the innovative Gardens by the Bay, which has two cooled conservatories, Mediterranean plants, and an incredible light show, and at Singapore’s Botanic Gardens, a World Heritage site where you can get back to nature among the thousands of plants species, lakes and attractive statues.
Best time to go
Its location near the equator means Singapore is tropically warm all year round, with higher rainfall from November to January. From July to September there are many festivals and events such as the Great Singapore Sale and Singapore Food Festival.
How much will it cost
Singapore now has prices in line with its status as a developed city but you can still find bargains. Transportation and food are cheap and reliable, and tipping is not necessary in the popular hawker centres selling classic Singapore dishes. If you’re keen on shopping try Mustafa Centre, Bugis Street or Lucky Plaza – and be prepared to haggle.
The Singapore health system is well regarded, with modern facilities and excellent medical staff. Food hygiene is good and tap water is safe to drink. Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance in case of a serious accident or illness.
New Zealanders do not need a visa for stays up to 30 days. Your passport will need to be valid for six months.