One of Asia’s success stories, tiny little Singapore’s GDP consistently ranks it as one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Along with that wealth comes a rich culture borne of a multiracial population. Get lost in the mad swirl of skyscrapers in the central business district, be transfixed by the Bolly beats in the streets of ramshackle Little India, hike lush rainforest in Bukit Timah or just succumb to the retail mayhem of Orchard Rd. It’s affluent, hi-tech and occasionally a little snobbish, but Singapore’s great leveller is the hawker centre, the ubiquitous and raucous food markets where everyone mucks in together to indulge the local mania for cheap eating.
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Recommended things to do & see
Our top picks for Singapore
Set on a peninsula jutting into the Upper Seletar Reservoir, the Singapore Zoo is world class. Its 28 landscaped hectares and open concept (no cages) are a far cry from the sad concrete confines some zoos retain.
Singapore Science Centre
The endearingly geeky Singapore Science Centre is chock-full of exhibits covering a variety of themes, from optical illusions to maths (ugh), the human body and even climate change. Many displays are of a push/pull/twist-and-see-what-happens variety but our favourite is the gi-normous Tesla coil that frenetically shoots up sparks to the ceiling. No touching, kids!
A 10-minute chug from Changi Point Ferry Terminal lands you on the shores of Pulau Ubin. There's no timetable; boats depart when 12 people are ready to go (not usually too long). Singaporeans like to wax nostalgic about Ubin's kampung (village) atmosphere, but it's only a matter of time before the developers come knocking. For the moment though, it's a rural, unkempt expanse of jungle full of lizards, weird shrines and cacophonic birdlife.
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