Asia’s poster gal for prim and proper has hit the big 5-0 with pizazz, and she’s never looked better – the dynamic cougar remains lusciously green, super efficient and refreshingly clean. But lest you forget, Singapore is also a saucy melting pot of fantastic food, retail and culture, so go on put your head right into this big pussy’s jaws.
Chic, compact and convenient. Here’s all you need to know: taking old City Hall as the centre, colonial Fort Canning, shoppy Orchard Rd and Holland Village are west, Little India is north, Malay Kampong Glam northeast, and East Coast is east, duh. Southeast is Marina, and south of the river are the CBD, Chinatown and Sentosa island. Easy, peasy.
Need to Know
Weather: There are two types of weather here: wretchedly hot and humid or wretchedly hot, humid and raining. Have a packaway umbrella with you at all times, plus a towelling bra, absorbent underpants, sunnies and plenty of talcum powder. You have been warned
Food 411:Singapore is famous – rightly so – for its eclectic cuisine, best experienced at hawker centres. These food courts might look drab and lack air con, but you can’t beat ’em for delish local fare: Bums down, sleeves up and dig in
Service: Inconsistent at best, yet a 10% service charge is added at most restaurants and bars. Tipping isn’t expected
Alcohol: The price of alcohol will leave you gasping, and at these prices, not for another G+T. Thank heaven for the extended happy hours
Mall, mall, mall, mall: This town needs another shopping centre like Kanye needs an ego boost
Art attack: The city’s biggest art fair, Art Stage Singapore is held in Jan; the next Singapore Biennale is Oct 2020 and Affordable Art Fair runs in Nov
Festivals: Two of the city-state’s most important festivals take place in Feb; Thaipusam is a Hindu tradition celebrated with a large, colourful procession, while Chinese Lunar New Year runs Jan or Feb: head to Chinatown to see the elaborate street decorations, but be warned most Chinese restos and shops shut during the holiday
Events: Singapore Arts Festival, repping SE Asian music, performance and film is held June-Sept. It would be remiss not to mention the Grand Prix, which takes place every Sept. Don’t too-hoots about men in fast cars? It’s so not about the vroom vroom, you’re there to party, Pamela
Do: Keen to see the city from up high? The top of Marina Bay Sands still has pants-down best view – pop for a squizz and a martini at sunset, but don’t linger
Don’t: Avoid Clarke Quay and Boat Quay like you would a dose of cholera – both are feral and overpriced. Club St, Duxton Hill and Keong Saik Rd are the top spots for a cheeky snifter