About a mile long, and never falling short on choices, Orchard Road is a haven for any shopping fiend. Our favourites are Zara, Fcuk, TopShop, G-Star, and the dream bookshop – Borders! Just outside the shopping district, yet just as exciting and hip, Marina Bay has some superb imports from Australia such as Harvey Norman (home furnishings and home appliances), and revered Melbourne-based skincare house – Aesop. Try Inbox 5, a 10,000 square foot boy-toy gadget haven, or Mango, the Spanish chain that the local Singapore women swear by.
Located near the Singapore River, Clarke Quay is home to the mother of all flea markets on Sundays. If you are looking for bargains from the IT World – then Sim Lim Square located between Chinatown and Little India is the place to be. Step into Club Street, the place to be seen at – Singapore’s hippest hotspot. So are the funky and weird buys at Asylum, ultra-cool Scandinavian brands at Style:Nordic, or Egg3 – home to a cocoon of gifts from Cambodia, Thailand and Japan.
Lastly head to Holland Village the haunt of Singapore’s expatriates and explore Lim’s Arts & Living – a major stockist of South East Asian artifacts, Anthropology Homeware – where you are bound to find something surprising, and enter another world at Galerie Cho Lon – unique for one-off antiquated pieces from the Orient. And if you wake up at 2 am with a sudden urge to shop – then go to Mustafas in Little India – the mother of all bargain shopping malls that is open 24 x 7.
As Anthony Bourdain of Discovery T&L’s No Reservations says, “Aw, man I love the kooky, crazy food culture that’s a fantastic mix of influences…”
There is so much international food and drink, its difficult to make any kind of recommendations. But if its Malay, Chinese, Pernakan or Indian cuisine – then there is no better place than the hawker food centres spread all across Singapore. Here what’s on the plate is more important than the service or the tableware. From the world famous Chilli Crab or Hainanese Chicken-rice to steaming idlies and dosas from India; from spicy Rendang curries of Malaysia to local favourites such as Black Pepper Crab or Rojak – the choices are plenty.
Vegetarian restaurants in Singapore usually feature recipes handed down from many generations of vegetarian families of Chinese and Indian origin. There are plenty of Indian choices – Annalakshmi, Bombay Woodlands Restaurant, and Komala’s Vilas. But for something special, you must dine in at the 5-star award-winning Ling Zhi’s Vegetarian Restaurant. Nothing matches the creative combinations of mushrooms, tangy fruit, and vegetables. With creatively named dishes such as “Fire in the Belly” and “Monkey Head Mushrooms with Shredded Ginger”, going green has never been so much fun!
For those looking for fine dining there are scores of choices – Chinese food at Din Tai Fung, in Paragon Mall on Orchard, which is ranked as one of the world’s top 10 restaurants by NY Times; Paulaner Brauhaus where you can taste traditional German food while you wash it down with some of the best beer in the world; sit in at Ras, an authentic North Indian restaurant boasting a minimalist 60’s interior and mouth-melting butter chicken and palak paneer; die and go to heaven at Ember, the restaurant of Chef Sebastian Ng, whose culinary skills were honed at Four Seasons and the Raffles. The good news about food in Singapore is that you wont burn a hole in your pocket if you don’t want to!
Put the prudish image of Singapore behind you – the city has come a long way! Squeeze in at Zouk – the dance club that put Singapore on the party map. Along with its stylish bars – Wine Bar @ Zouk and Velvet Underground, this is where you want to be. Mohamed Sultan is the bar crawl of Singapore – and it's best stop is the Siam Supper Club, famous for its house specialty drink - 18 Bronze Men (its capable of stopping any further crawling!).
More relaxing are the chill-out lounge bars on Club Street – Bar Sa Vanh (part of the Indochine chain) with its soothing vibes, and Beaujolais Wine Bar – where you can enjoy a glass of red wine with fine cheeses. Going American means spending time at the popular Brewerkz famous for its gold-medal winning India Pale Ale, where you can see beer being made! If you want to get dizzier, then head for the New Asia Bar on the 72nd floor of the Swissotel Stamford, where the floors are sloped 20 degrees off centre to give you a surreal experience!
And don’t miss out on the old favourite – the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel, home to the Singapore Sling. The floors are piled high with peanut shells – yes, this is one place you can litter without being fined!