When you don't want to go shopping...
Reputation: shopping and crowds.
Why you should go: a huge variety of food. Surprising green spaces. A melting pot of ethnicities. English is an official language and widely spoken.
A quick note about accessibility in Singapore: Singapore is easy to get around even if you've got a pushchair or use a mobility device. The MRT (underground train), museums, gardens and zoo all cater for people with mobility devices.
Everything’s free unless stated.
Mooch around at Raffles
For many, it's not a trip to Singapore without a stop-off at Raffles Hotel. Grab a Singapore Sling and throw peanut shells on the floor in the Long Bar. Sit and relax in the calm courtyards. Or dine in the open-air Raffles Courtyard. Our favourite thing at Raffles is the curry buffet in the Tiffin Room. The food is outstanding.
The hotel buildings, including the lobby, are open only to guests but you can still see the famous turban-ed doorman at the main doors.
Get thee to the Botanic Gardens
Singapore Botanic Gardens are an oasis of lawns, trees and ponds. We swear that it's a couple of degrees cooler than the rest of Singapore. And it's open until midnight every day.
Check out the National Orchid Gardens which are beautiful and feature thousands of orchids. Plus, they are actually cooler than the rest of the Gardens. There's an entry fee for the National Orchid Gardens and limited access for people with mobility devices.
If you're feeling hungry, there are a couple of reasonable places to eat. The Botanic Gardens are suitable for people with mobility issues.
Eating is THE national pastime. So skip the hotel restaurant and head to Clarke Quay or Boat Quay for international dining or Lau Pa Sat hawker market. Scattered throughout Singapore are mini indoor hawker-style food courts called Kopi Tiam. They serve quick, tasty food and are recommended for any meal of the day.
Get (almost) out of the city
Gardens by the Bay is a great twist on a public garden. The highlight is the man-made 'Super Trees', which collect and distribute rainwater to the rest of the gardens. There's a walkway between the trees, 22m (72 feet) above ground. The gardens also contain two climate-controlled conservatories: the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. It's well worth visiting at least one. We visited the Cloud Forest, which was heaven on a hot day.
An entry fee applies, and additional fees apply to the walkway and the conservatories. Food is available on-site.
Visit the zoo
Singapore Zoo is outstanding. Wherever possible, it uses cage-less barriers between you and the animals, which can be a little disconcerting when admiring the big cats. It can get very hot so there are air-conditioned rooms scattered throughout the zoo if you need to cool down.
If you fancy something a little different, do the Night Safari and see the animals when they are generally most active: at night. Tip: tickets for admissions after 9.15pm cost 50 percent less. You'll save 15 percent off regular ticket proices if you buy them online.
Our advice is to avoid going on the weekends as it gets busy. To get to the zoo take the MRT to Choa Chu Kang and then get bus 927 or take the MRT to Ang Mo Kio and get bus 138.
Explore Little India
A world away from the shimmering glass of the CBD is Little India. Here, you'll find the shop-houses which used to dominate Singapore, quiet alleys, food stalls, sari and jewellery shops, and a whole different side of the city-state.
If you go shopping just once...
We're going to make two recommendations. Our personal favourite is the small and manageable Hilton Hotel arcade on Orchard Road. Think Balenciaga, Mulberry and Alexander Wang among the luxury labels available here.
You'll find almost every international brand you can imagine at any price-point at ION on Orchard Road. The ground level and basement can be very crowded but the upper levels are more sane.
Shops in Singapore are notorious for opening a little later than their advertised hours so don't bust a gut to arrive at opening time.
Where to stay
Accommodation in Singapore is expensive so Oasia Hotel Novena is a God-send. The rooms are a reasonable size for Singapore, tastefully decorated and have great showers. And yes, there's a swimming pool.
Oasia is located on the edge of the CBD and directly above Novena MRT station so you can get everywhere quickly. It's connected to a small local mall which contains various inexpensive food options, plus there's a supermarket (Cold Storage) if you'd rather self-cater.
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Contributor: Ann-Marie Nansett
Updated: 30 April 2016