A Fam­ily’s Guide to Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing Sin­ga­pore

LuxeGetaways - - Contents - BY KATIE DIL­LON

Im­merse your en­tire fam­ily into the sen­sa­tional sights, sounds and tastes that are wait­ing to be dis­cov­ered in Sin­ga­pore.

Small-but-mighty, Sin­ga­pore is truly one of the great­est fam­ily va­ca­tion des­ti­na­tions in the world. I say this hav­ing en­joyed the city-state many times on holiday be­fore be­com­ing a par­ent. How­ever, I find that I love it even more now with my daugh­ter in tow. Where else can you im­merse in a color­ful melt­ing pot of Malay, Bri­tish, In­dian and Chi­nese cul­tures all in one place, or ex­plore fu­tur­is­tic gar­dens and rem­nants of a pri­mary rain­for­est at the same time? Then, there is the mind-blow­ing food (leave the diet at home); a kid-friendly air­port; world-class wildlife; and other theme parks, mod­ern con­ve­niences and lo­cals who have al­ways doted on my lit­tle red­headed girl. We never, ever run out of things to do Sin­ga­pore, and I miss it dearly when we are away.

WHERE TO STAY

The Ritz-Carl­ton Mil­lenia, Sin­ga­pore at Ma­rina Bay has some of the largest rooms and suites in town; and have un­ob­structed views of the Bay, Sin­ga­pore River and the city sky­line. Club level rooms pro­vide ac­cess to five daily food pre­sen­ta­tions at The Ritz-Carl­ton Club Lounge – a very handy con­ve­nience with kids in tow, in ad­di­tion to com­pli­men­tary car ser­vice to nearby ac­tiv­i­ties. Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Sin­ga­pore is on a peace­ful, tree-lined street that is just steps from Or­chard Road – ar­guably Asia’s most fa­mous shop­ping street, and the city’s hub of en­ter­tain­ment. Kids par­tic­u­larly love the rooftop pool with toys and a spe­cial pool­side menu just for them, a wel­come amenity, and com­pli­men­tary hand con­soles and DVDs. Sun­day brunch in Sin­ga­pore is leg­endary, and Four Sea­sons hosts one of the best with a su­per­vised Play­land com­plete with bouncy castle, arts and crafts, face paint­ing and more to en­ter­tain kids while adults leisurely make their way through the mul­ti­ple sta­tions.

Capella Sin­ga­pore is a lux­ury re­sort on Sen­tosa Is­land that faces the South China Sea, where mod­ern meets Colo­nial. Kids love swim­ming pools, and Capella has three, in ad­di­tion to pri­vate plunge pools in its manor and villa ac­com­mo­da­tions. The vil­las pro­vide one or two sep­a­rate bed­rooms and liv­ing ar­eas, grant­ing the com­forts of home that fam­i­lies of­ten crave while trav­el­ing. This is a great choice for fam­ily vacations cen­tered around the var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties on Sen­tosa Is­land.

THINGS TO DO

Over the years, Sen­tosa Is­land has devel­oped into one of the world’s great­est play­grounds, which still brings to­gether the leisure ac­tiv­i­ties of pretty white sand beaches and her­itage walks with the thrills of fa­mous theme parks. Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios (be sure to pur­chase tick­ets in ad­vance to avoid dis­ap­point­ment) sprin­kles movie-themed at­trac­tions and rides through­out seven zones, and of­fers VIP tours for those seek­ing red car­pet treat­ment. “Edu­tain­ment” here in­cludes the newly opened Kidza­nia where kids role-play var­i­ous adult ca­reers through­out a state-of-the-art, kid-sized city, and S.E.A. Aquar­ium, which show­cases Asia’s mar­itime her­itage with over 100,000 ma­rine an­i­mals. Fam­i­lies can also es­cape the heat at the Ad­ven­ture Cove Water­park, ride a luge or Seg­way, watch a myr­iad of per­for­mances and so much more on Sen­tosa Is­land.

The con­ser­va­tion-minded Wildlife Re­serves Sin­ga­pore over­sees four wildlife parks that are each wor­thy of a visit if time per­mits. The Sin­ga­pore Zoo is fa­mous for its stun­ning land­scape and open ex­hibits where an­i­mals roam safely yet a bit more freely than at other zoos around the world. Moats and other hid­den bar­ri­ers sep­a­rate vis­i­tors, but do not be sur­prised to see an orang­utan swing­ing high above walk­ways, or spot a wal­laby hop­ping across a path right in front of you. High­lights here in­clude break­fast with orang­utans and mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to feed res­i­dent an­i­mals through­out the day. The Night Sa­fari, the world’s first noc­tur­nal zoo, has wildlife en­clo­sures lit to re­sem­ble moon­light. Af­ter en­ter­ing, im­me­di­ately line up for the 40-minute guided tram tour (the best way to kick-off a visit) through the park’s six geographical zones. Look also into the Bird’s Eye Tour at Jurong Bird Park where a per­sonal guide leads vis­i­tors on a pri­vate tour of the park, in­clud­ing the pop­u­lar Lory feed­ing and Wa­ter­fall Aviary that is home to over 600 free-fly­ing birds [Lories are small and very bright col­ored par­rots with a unique brush-like tongue, which al­lows them to re­move pollen and nec­tar from flower blos­soms]. Ad­di­tion­ally, the new River Sa­fari Park fo­cuses on wildlife in and around the world’s ma­jor rivers, in­clud­ing Sin­ga­pore’s two gi­ant pan­das: Kai Kai and Jia Jia.

You have prob­a­bly seen pho­tos of the illuminated steel Su­pertree Grove at Gar­dens by the Bay, and these fu­tur­is­tic trees are worth a visit – es­pe­cially dur­ing the evening light show. From Ma­rina Bay, take the Helix Bridge to the Sin­ga­pore Flyer ob­ser­va­tion wheel for more panoramic views over the city-state. Near here awaits an­other pop­u­lar fam­ily fa­vorite, DUCK Tours, which takes riders around Sin­ga­pore on WWII am­phibi­ous bus-boats through land and wa­ter.

WHERE TO EAT

Eat­ing is the un­of­fi­cial sport of Sin­ga­pore. Lo­cals take their food se­ri­ously so plan to en­joy ev­ery last bite, and hit the tread­mill later. It is the ul­ti­mate place to let kids travel through their taste buds (with noo­dles, rice, fruit and other kid-friendly foods easy to find), as you never know what fla­vors they might dis­cover, and quickly come to love.

De­spite its seem­ingly re­gional name, Chi­na­town Food Street, is a fan­tas­tic place to sam­ple the best of Sin­ga­pore’s mul­ti­cul­tural cui­sine at hawker stalls, kiosks and restau­rants. Here, it is easy to source lo­cal fa­vorites in­clud­ing sa­tays, oys­ter omelettes, kway teow, sam­bal stingray, In­dian cur­ries and much more. A re­cent ren­o­va­tion added a cool­ing sys­tem and roof so it is now en­joy­able all-day, everyday.

Hainanese Chicken rice is the na­tional dish of Sin­ga­pore, and the most fa­mous stall for it is ar­guably Tian Tian Chicken Rice in Maxwell Food Cen­tre. This pop­u­lar hawker cen­tre has over 100 stalls so the odds of find­ing some­thing to sat­isfy the crav­ings of kids and adults here are high. If your kids are ad­ven­tur­ous eaters, chili crab is an­other must-try dish. Jumbo Seafood has mul­ti­ple out­lets that serve it in ad­di­tion to a de­li­cious black pep­per crab.

Food for Thought now has two lo­ca­tions in Sin­ga­pore. The restau­rant in­side the Sin­ga­pore Botanical Gar­dens was de­signed to em­brace its stun­ning sur­round­ings; as well as the im­por­tance of com­mu­nity, fam­ily and eco-con­scious­ness. It has a kids’ play area con­ve­niently placed near din­ing ta­bles out­side and a menu that en­com­passes lo­cal fa­vorites and West­ern op­tions like scram­bled eggs, pulled pork burg­ers and lin­guine.

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Capella Sin­ga­pore

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