Make the Most of Your Business Trip to Singapore

The small island-city state of Singapore is immaculately clean and lusciously green with gleaming new skyscrapers next to colonial-era buildings and glossy shopping malls and restaurants.

Dig a little deeper and you’ll find a rich heritage represented by traditional colourful shophouses and a melting pot of cuisines in the city’s hawker centres.

Being practically on the equator, the Lion City has two types of weather: hot and wet or hot and wetter. Although the wet season is from September to February, there is no bad time to visit. Carry an umbrella with you at all times anyway to protect you from the downpours or the sun.

Half a Day

The multimillion-dollar Gardens by the Bay may steal all the limelight but Singapore’s Botanic Gardens are still glorious. This sprawling tropical eden includes lakes, secluded pathways and the famous Orchid Garden. Go early in the morning or late afternoon when the heat is less oppressive.

Tiong Bahru is Singapore’s arty, hipster neighbourhood. Head here for cafes, independent boutiques and art galleries refreshingly eschewing malls for converted art deco blocks and shophouses. Be warned though, the whole area is on the small side.

Uniquely Singaporean are the hawker centres – food stalls grouped together, complete with health and safety ratings – so essentially street food for softies. The centrally located Lau Pa Sat is the prettiest with its Victorian, wrought-iron, carousel design. Try the satays. 

Where the business crowd meets

If you’re doing business in the central business district (the compact area bordered by the Singapore river and the bay), you’ll be spoilt for choice for lunch spots and after-work hangouts. A perennial favourite is the Lantern Bar, a glamorous pool-side terrace on top of the chic Fullerton Bay Hotel, overlooking the water. 

The art deco-esque Black Swan is great for salads and surf ’n’ turf in a sultry but casual setting (19 Cecil Street), while Gunther’s, a short hop over the river, is in a charming shophouse and serves contemporary French fare to the expense account set. 

Eat, stay, play

Wild Rocket: Willin Low creates clever, delicious dishes inspired by hawker and local food in a minimalist setting. 10a Upper Wilkie Road,

Iggy’s: Newer names have come on the scene but Iggy’s still holds its own with a recent refurb and a new chef. 581 Orchard Road, Level 3,

The Warehouse Hotel: Singapore’s most talked about hotel opening of the year is a converted riverside warehouse. The space retains its industrial design flavour with quirky details. 320 Havelock Road,

Parkroyal on Pickering: On the fringes of Chinatown and the CBD, this hotel has a spectacular, verdant design and includes an infinity pool with city skyline view. 3 Upper Pickering Street,

National Gallery Singapore: The city’s Civic District has recently been spruced up with the main attraction being the National Gallery, a stunning monolith of two colonial structures cleverly joined with modern architecture. Inside is one of the world’s largest collections of Southeast Asian art. 1 St Andrew’s Road,

The original version of this article appeared in the Australian Financial Review

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Gillian Rhys

Globetrotting travel and lifestyle writer Gillian has lived in London and Hong Kong, but now calls Singapore home. Follow Gillian on Twitter @GillianRhys and Instagram @gillian.rhys

  • Gillian LOVES... Hidden away rooftop bars, white wedding cake colonial architecture, living by the sea, affordable taxis, Changi airport. 

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