Raffles Hotel is a colonial-style hotel in Singapore, dating from 1887, and named after Singapore's founder Sir Stamford Raffles. Managed by Raffles International, it is known for its luxurious accommodation and superb restaurants. The hotel houses a tropical garden courtyard, museum and Victorian-style theatre.
Address: 1 Beach Road; Telephone: 6337 1886; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www.raffleshotel.com; Transport: The hotel is located on Beach Road and can be reached by MRT from City Hall Station
Singapore's Chinatown is an ethnic neighbourhood featuring distinctly Chinese cultural elements and a historically concentrated ethnic Chinese population. Chinatown is located within the larger district of Outram.
As the largest ethnic group in Singapore is Chinese, composing approximately 75% of the population, Chinatown is considerably less of an enclave than it once was. However, the district does retain significant historical and cultural significance. Large sections of it have been declared national heritage sites officially designated for conservation by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
Transport: To reach China Town by MRT, the nearest station is Outram Park (EW16) or Chinatown (NE4)
Little India is an ethnic neighbourhood found in Singapore that has Indian cultural elements. Little India lies to east of the Singapore River—across from Chinatown, located west of the river—and north of Kampong Glam. Both areas are part of the urban planning area of Rochor.
Little India is distinct from the Chulia Kampong area, which, under the Raffles Plan of Singapore, was originally a division of colonial Singapore where Indian immigrants would reside under the British policy of ethnic segregation. However, as Chulia Kampong became more crowded and competition for land escalated, many ethnic Indians moved into what is now known as Little India.
The Little India area is reported to have developed around a former settlement for Indian convicts. Its location along the Serangoon River originally made it attractive for raising cattle, and trade in livestock was once prominent in the area. Eventually, other economic activity developed, and by the turn of the 20th century, the area began to look like an Indian ethnic neighbourhood.
www.littleindia.com.sg; Transport: Little India is a 15-minute walk from the Colonial District, Bencoolen Street or Beach Road. From Orchard Road, bus 65 or 111 to Serangoon Road. By MRT travel to Dhoby Ghaut, and from there on foot or Bus 65 or 111
Kampong Gelam and Arab Street
Kampong Gelam is said to have taken its name from the Gelam tribe of sea gypsies who lived in the original Malay village southwest of the Rochor River. Sir Stamford Raffles allotted the area as an ethnic enclave to the Muslim population and it became the focal point for Arab trade and traditional Malay culture. Baghdad, Muscat Street and Haji Lane resonate with tradition as cane, straw, rattan and pandan leaf goods spill out onto the streets. The spectrum of fabrics flowing onto the pavements of Arab Street comprise chiffon, silk, cotton georgette and include the batiks of Indonesia and Malaysia. Located between Kandahar and Aliwal streets is the Istana Kampong Gelam. It was built as the royal palace of Sultan Ali Iskandar Shah, the son of Sultan Hussein who negotiated the handover of Singapore to Britain. The government recently took possession of the building with plans to transform it into a Malay heritage museum. Another significant building in the area is the Sultan Mosque (open daily 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm). The glistening necks of the domes are decorated with the bases of thousands of glass bottles.
Transport: The Arab Quarter is a 10-minute walk from Bencoolen Street. Take bus 7 from Orchard Road to Victoria Street, if commuting by MRT, stop at Bugis
Singapore Zoological Gardens
The Singapore Zoo has been thoughtfully created to simulate the natural habitats of its resident animals. Eight zones recreate the geographic regions of the animals indigenous to it and include the South East Asian rainforest, African savannah, Nepalese river valley, Burmese jungle and South American pampas. These vistas can also be explored after daytime during the famous Night Safari, billed as the first of its kind. The zoo can be explored along its meandering walking trails or from the comfort of a tram that winds its way along a circular route. It is home to more than 2,000 animals representing over 240 species, the highlights of which include the Komodo dragons, polar bears and primate kingdom. Animal shows are held daily, and children can enjoy camel rides or share food with an orang-utan in the zoo's Children's World section. A Guide to the Zoo is available on arrival with details of feeding times and other activities. It includes a map and suggested itineraries incorporating the major shows and attractions.
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road; Telephone: 6269 3411; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.zoo.com.sg; Transport: Bus 171 from the city to Mandai Road and transfer to 927 at the first bus stop. Or take MRT to Ang Mo Kio to connect with bus 138; Opening time: The zoo is open daily from 8.30am to 6pm; Admission: S$15 (adults), S$7.50 (children). Zoo and Night Safari: S$30 (adults), S$15 (children)
The park is contained within a 20-hectare (49-acre) stretch of land in the Jurong Lake area. It is one of the world’s most extensive bird collections and the largest in South East Asia. Eight thousand birds comprising 600 different species inhabit the park and range from Antarctic penguins to New Zealand kiwis. Walking trails cut through the tropical landscape. Incredible sights to look out for include the Waterfall Aviary, which at 98ft (30m) it is the world’s highest manmade waterfall. The Penguin Parade has a large pool set against a landscape of rocks, cliffs, nesting alcoves and burrows; it has a viewing gallery where visitors can see penguins 'flying' underwater through a 98ft (30m) wide window. The South East Asian Bird Aviary is a breathtaking spectacle that includes the experience of a simulated thunderstorm. Other bird shows feature flamingos, macaws, hornbills and cockatoos. The park also includes facilities for young children to enjoy including the new Splash 'n Slide Station.
Telephone: 6265 0022; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www.birdpark.com.sg; Transport: Take the MRT to Boon Lay Station and take SBS bus 194 or 251; Opening time: Daily 9am to 6pm; Admission: S$16 for adults, S$8 for children. Concessions and packages available
Singapore Art Museum
The beautifully restored building (formerly St Joseph's School for boys) rests serenely on Bras Basah Road. The museum has 14 galleries that showcase the national art collection and plays host to a range of special exhibitions and outreach programmes. More than 7,000 permanent artworks represent the largest collection of 20th century Southeast Asian art. Tours are available in English, Japanese and Mandarin.
Address: 71 Bras Basah Road; Telephone: 6332 3222; Website: www.singart.com; Transport: Take the MRT to Dhoby Ghaut (N1) or City Hall Station (C2). SBS bus 7, 14, 16, 36, 97, 131 or 162; Opening time: Monday to Sunday 10am to 7pm. Extended hours on Friday until 9pm ; Admission: Regular shows: S$3 (adults), concessions S$1.50. Blockbuster shows: S$5 (adults), concessions S$2.50. Free entry after 6pm on Fridays
Singapore Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens sweep across an area of 52 hectares (128 acres) constituted by primary forest and specialty gardens in close proximity to the city centre. The National Orchid Garden is the world's largest orchid garden featuring more than 20,000 varieties set amongst water features and an exotic bromeliad collection from South and Central America. The park also contains many rare plant specimens in addition to the specialty gardens decorated with frangipanis, roses, ferns and desert plants. Outdoor concerts in the gardens can be enjoyed on the Symphony Lake or French cuisine can be savoured at the Au Jardin restaurant.
Address: 1 Cluny Road; Telephone: 6471 7361; Website: www.sbg.org.sg; Transport: SBS bus 7, 105, 123 and 174 or SMRT 75, 77 and 106 from Holland Road; SBS bus 66, 151, 153 and 154, or SMRT 67 and 171 from Bukit Timah Road; Opening time: Daily 5am to 12pm; Orchard Garden: 8.30am to 7pm; Admission: Free, but there is a S$5 charge for the Orchid Garden
Chinese and Japanese Gardens
Chinese and Japanese landscape designs are embodied in these neighbouring gardens. The Imperial Sung Dynasty style is clipped to perfection within the13-hectare (33-acre) Chinese Garden. It boasts the world’s largest Suzhou-style Bonsai garden outside of China, containing over 1,000 plants. The symmetry and simplicity of Zen aesthetics is the motif of the Japanese Gardens with its peaceful rock gardens and summerhouses.
Address: 1 Chinese Garden Road; Telephone: 6261 3632; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Transport: Take the MRT to the Chinese Garden stop; Opening time: Daily 6am to 11pm; Admission: Free, but there is a S$5 charge for the Bonsai Garden