It seems as though wherever you go in Singapore you’re reminded of how young the nation is despite its amazing display of modernity. Everywhere you look, you see old buildings and traditions occupying the same spots with the new. The Central Business District (CBD) located at along the Singapore River is a testament to this. Despite being a concrete jungle with glittering superstructures including some of the tallest buildings in the country, the CBD also houses older buildings such as pre-war shop houses from days gone by. National monuments in the CBD area include the Chjmes, a historic building complex in Singapore, which was originally the Catholic Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) along with quarters known as Caldwell House. Both are now respectively used as a multi-purpose hall (CHIJMES Hall) and art gallery with restaurants and shops within.
Although not many, the pre-War buildings here which survived the Japanese occupation have been beautifully conserved and are tourist attractions in their own right. If local craft is what appeals to you then be sure to drop by the lively Lau Pa Sat, formerly a wet market housed under a Victorian-styled cast-iron structure. Stroll through Raffles Place, the city’s financial pulse and take a break with a traditional snack of half-boiled eggs whilst sipping local coffee in one of its quaint little cafes. Take a picture with the Father of Singapore himself, Sir Stamford Raffles – his statue of course, which stands gazing proudly at the development the country has seen over the centuries.
The CBD is also linked to other touristy and shopping locations in the city so starting your tour of the country here is a great idea. You could even go up to Fort Canning, a historical site on which you will find the Battle Box and re-live the day that the British surrendered to the Japanese. Over recent years Fort Canning has also been the site for the highly popular Womad, which features World Music performers from all over the world.
Best Hotels In Singapore
If your preference veers towards livelier quarters then stick around the CBD area where you can take your pick from many hotels surrounding it. Luxurious comfort awaits you in the Amara Hotel. Providing tranquility in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, this hotel which is in the heart of the financial district, is also strategically located near touristy areas such as Chinatown. With a starting rate of SGD192 (USD131) a night, you can be rest assured that even the Sandman won’t bother you!
If you want nothing but a good night’s rest with no frills attached, then the M Hotel is right for you. Who needs chandeliers when you all you need after a hot day touring is a nice cool shower and perhaps to surf the World Wide Web thanks to high-speed internet access available here.
Be prepared too for fine dining with a choice of Japanese, Continental or International buffet spreads, guaranteeing your stomach will have nothing to grumble about. Rooms start at SGD150 (USD103) per night and it comes with a much needed friendly hospitality which is great after a tiring day.
For about the same price but with a more bohemian feel, try out the Scarlet Hotel, a boutique hotel with a vivacious, dramatic feel. Opulence is evident in every detail here with heavy but tastefully classic decor. Your first steps into Scarlet will seemingly transport you into another world altogether. Sit back and allow yourself a little 5-star treatment with a dash of pizzazz. Situated in the amazingly vibrant area of Club Street, the hotel shares the same spot with boutique spas, wine bars, art galleries and others. It’s a great place for those who are into arts especially with a starting rate of SGD165 (USD114).
Want the oriental feel? Head for the Berjaya Hotel Singapore which, although not quite in the CBD area as it is located closer to the heart of nearby Chinatown, has been crowned one of the hotels of distinction in Asia. Modern amenities combine with a traditional ambience gives it a warm and cosy, utterly homely feel. Spiral staircases and double-glazed French windows add to its charm. Berjaya Hotel Singapore exudes hospitality inside out. It’s pretty affordable too, at rates beginning from SGD 119 (USD81). Throw in a romantic candlelit dinner in its Italian-Mediterranean restaurant and you’re guaranteed the ultimate holiday experience.