Singapore is one of the most unique destinations in the world – a tiny island nation, which started off life as a colonial trading post and today is one of the cleanest, safest, exciting, and best-designed cities in the world.
Singapore is the perfect East meets West experience. Its towering skyscrapers, technological innovations and quiet efficiency collide colourfully with its multi-cultural diversity and well preserved heritage. Experience the cities colonial heritage with its landmarks such as The Raffles, where you can enjoy sipping a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar. Or take a walk through Chinatown with its colourful shophouses converted into hip hotels. And the city is home to some of the best dining in Asia – restaurants strung along Boat Quay and Clarke Quay set against the backdrop of the city’s futuristic skyline. For children, there is a state-of-the-art zoo with night safaris for nocturnal viewing and thrilling attractions at Sentosa Island. And let you hair down at stunning nightclubs and bars on Mohammed Sultan, be seen at Zouk, or sway to the rhythms of the Ministry of Sound.
Whether you are taking your first cautious steps to traveling outside India, or you are a recently relocated expatriate in India looking for an Asian travel experience, there is no better place to start off – in Singapore. The city is often visited in combination with Malaysia or Thailand due to its proximity to these countries, or popular as a stopover for those traveling into Asia and beyond.
No trip to Singapore is complete without a visit to Sentosa Island, Singapore’s premier island resort. Find out what happens under the sea at Underwater World, and get hands-on with starfish, stingrays, and baby sharks. Then via a travellator, observe the resident fish folk in a see-through tunnel as they glide past in their natural environment. Appreciate the intelligence of the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins as they display their skills and friendly personalities in various performances. Or for some adrenalin, take the Sentosa Luge – part toboggan part go-cart – and go down a long winding course that promises the thrill of speed and an adrenaline rush.
But Sentosa has so much more to offer. And the best way to take it all in at a more leisurely pace is to stay in one of two resorts on Sentosa. Its a great place to getaway for a few days with the family. And make use of the excellent public transport to make the occasional foray into the city to do some shopping for the soul!
The Indonesian island of Bintan may lack Singapore's tempting shopping malls, but its gorgeous beaches and excellent hotels make it the perfect extension to a Singapore stopover. The island has ten resorts catering to wide variety of budgets including the signature Banyan Tree Bintan Resort & Spa. The island’s resorts boast a plethora of amenities – world class golf courses, spas, fine dining, water sports, and nightclubs. Most of all, it’s a great place to get away from the frenzy of Singapore and enjoy a pampered resort holiday. Just avoid the monsoon months between November and February.
Bintan has a split personality when it comes to choosing where to stay. On its north west coast are the spectacular resorts, golf courses, watersports, and fancy shopping malls that are strung across like a necklace of pearls, each one trying to outdo the other. Choose any one of these places depending upon how much you want to spend, and you are assured of a great family vacation or a romantic and pampered interlude.
But cut across the island and head out to the eastern coastal road, and a different more real picture of Bintan emerges. Small fishing communities, small streetside hamlets with lazy shops, and a few rustic backpacker-style resorts are the only thing you will find. But the sea is a stunning aquamarine blue, there are plenty of tear-drop shaped coral islands off the coast for castaway trips, and kite-surfers rip up the wind. This is Bintan for the intrepid traveller.