I’ve just spent 5 days in Singapore exploring all the strangely wonderful things to do beyond the typical tourist attractions. As with any city, some of these are still worth seeing and doing if they take your fancy, but I couldn’t have been more surprised at what lie beyond the misconceptions regarding Singapore as plain, boring and perhaps even sterile (not my own words). If you do plan on visiting Singapore, I would highly suggest you stay a couple of nights and take the opportunity to also experience the Singapore only locals seem to know about by embracing Singapore’s Peranakan Heritage. If you’d like to follow in my footsteps, here’s an overview of my time in the modern day international business hub with a twist that is Singapore.
Check in to the InterContinental Singapore
If there’s one thing I appreciate about Intercontinental Hotels around the world, its their consistency. These hotels have always offered me some of the highest tier of service that can be found in luxury hotels and are often more friendly and down to earth than their competitors. There must be some hidden ingredient to the way they train their staff, because the service at the Intercontinental Hotels is always flawless – greeted by name (on arrival mind you!), upgraded when available, drink orders always remembered in the all-inclusive Executive Club, and the staff are always interested in how you spent your day and happy to give recommendations.
The Intercontinental Hotel Singapore is located in the Bugis area in an old Peranakan heritage shopfront building. This is incredibly central and the shopfront balcony in my room on the Executive Club floor level was a particularly special insight into Peranakan heritage. Everything you could ever need was within walking distance and if you didn’t want to embrace the humidity, taxi fares in Singapore are surprisingly reasonable.
Room rates from $245 per night; Executive Club Shophouse Suites at $448 per night.
High Tea Time
If you cannot afford to stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Singapore, you can still experience the same level of service by embracing Singapore’s colonial heritage and enjoying an afternoon of High Tea in the lobby. The setting is impeccably grand, with regal furnishings and rich tones to make you feel as though you’ve stepped inside a time warp. Light pours in through the double story ceilings and if you didn’t know any better, you’d feel as if you were in Great Britain itself!
Around the Neighbourhood of Bugis
The hotel building is an original façade dating back to Colonial days in Singapore. With that comes a range of buildings in the immediate vicinity that are also from colonial times, making this a truly fascinating area to explore on foot.
Also nearby you will find a strong contrast by visiting the colourful and creative Haji Lane and Arab Street. This area is very ‘in’ with the younger scene, so it makes for a great place to grab cheap eats or a casual drinks in the evenings.
Getting there: Singapore Air (singaporeair.com) fly direct three times a day from Melbourne in 7 hours, Sydney in a little over 8 hours, Brisbane in 8 hours.
Also on Singapore:
For further insight into Peranakan Heritage, consider Singapore’s Peranakan Museum
World of Wanderlust visited Singapore as a guest of the Singapore Tourism Board. This was a fantastic opportunity to explore Singapore more in depth! My opinion is as always, my own.