Underneath its business city look, Singapore unfolds an unusual charm that is worth exploring. With its futuristic architecture, gastronomy, multiculturalism, its neighbors call it the « garden city » has more than a few up its alleys. Focusing on an exciting destination, to be visited right away with the family!
Singapore: an island, a city-state … a charming town!
1. SINGAPOOR IN A NUTSHELL
- Capital: Singapore
- Currency: Singapore dollar
- Language: English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil
- Political regime: authoritarian parliamentary republic
- Cost of living: high to very high
- The best time to visit Singapore: from May to September, it is a little less humid but hotter; the monsoon period extends from November to February, it is more humid but less hot!
2. POST CARD
Being a former British colony halfway between Asia and Oceania, Singapore is at the confluence of many cultures. Through its neighborhoods we cross a little bit of China, Indian influences and we hear Malay as well as English.
The city likes to combine contrasts with some success: Its ultra-modern skyline is framed by lush vegetation that gives it the nickname of « garden city » while the richness of its colonial past marry nicely with the hectic pace of modernity… Far from the eccentricities of its neighbors in Southeast Asia, Singapore asserts itself as the city of balances and deploys a quite unique charm.
3. MUST-SEE PLACES
- Discover the richness of Singaporean multiculturalism in the authentic district of Little India. A farandole of colors and exotic flavors unfolds in the traditional market of Tekka. The most observant have fun counting the many statues of sacred cows, which symbolizes wealth!
- Meditating in the Sri Mariamman Hindu temple, at the sound of bells being rung by believers to attract good fortune. Its sculpted tower, richly decorated, declines all the colors of the rainbow: a real treat for the eyes!
- Take a tour at the trendy shops of Haji Lane, in the heart of Kampong Glam. Dotted with debuting creators and intimate cafés, the place is conducive to strolling. Children love to stroll through the street-art facades that give color to the neighborhood. Finish the walk under the golden towers of the Sultan Mosque, jewel of the district.
- Take a detour to Chinatown, its garlands of red lanterns, its traditional shophouses and the delights of street food. We love to eat on the go in this neighborhood teeming with life.
- Admire the skyline from Marina Bay and be charmed by the futuristic lines of its architecture. After the iconic Marina Bay Sands, continue this open-air architecture lesson by observing the Art Science Museum, an impressive steel flower hanging over the bay.
- Go greet the Merlion, an emblematic statue of the city and the origin of its founding myth. With its lion’s head and fish body, it evokes both the strength of the cat and the beneficial proximity of the sea. It also reminds that in the past, Singapore was just a fishing village…
- Get away for a moment from the city’s frenzy for a cultural break at the National Gallery. The museum brings together the best of South East Asian art and offers through its Gallery Kids, a great number of activities and guided tours for toddlers.
- Look for some freshness in the tropical hustle and bustle of the lush vegetation of Singapore’s Botanical Garden. Among the tropical palms, do not miss the orchids that come in a thousand colors.
- Be amazed by the Garden by the bay and its astonishing tree-shaped greenhouses on which a wide variety of plants and flowers grow. Toddlers love the suspended walkways that connect these fantastic trees and deliver a unique perspective on the city. Every evening, this extraordinary garden is the theater of sound and light: not to be missed!
- Be seduced by the unusual charm of Sentosa Island and the meanders of its history. Fort Siloso, a 19th century British military relic, offers your tribe a real journey back in time.
- Go green on the island of Pulau Ubin 15 minutes by boat from the city. Preserved from the fast-moving urbanism, it is easily explored by bike. Families cannot miss Chek Jawa’s mangrove forest. It can be crossed on charming pontoons that snake between the vegetation. Lucky are those who come across the monkeys, squirrels and even… wild boars!
♪ It’s an amazing garden ♪ The Garden by the Bay
4. HOTELS FOR FAMILIES
- The Hotel Capella Singapore is nestled in the green surroundings of Sentosa Island, off Singapore. This intimate address invites families to relax comfortably on the shores of the China Sea. A bathing atmosphere in a preserved environment, only a few kilometers from the beating heart of the city-state! To the tribes’ delight, the hotel offers yoga sessions and painting workshops dedicated to families. The Capella is perfectly located, just minutes from the Sentosa theme parks: a paradise for children! https://www.littleguestcollection.com/fr/hotels/capella-singapore/ Itinerary.
- In the heart of the city, the hanging gardens of Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore are the emblem of this boutique address. With its many walkways and terraces this eco-responsible hotel is a true oasis of greenery for families in search of tranquility. The clean, contemporary lines of the rooms invite you to relax. Children and adults alike enjoy cooling off in the exceptional infinity pool on the roof of the hotel.
- Prestigious address, the Shangri-La Singapore welcomes you in a luxurious setting. This 5-star establishment has three wings, decorated and furnished with elegance and refinement. Families prefer the resolutely kids-friendly Tower Wing and its amazing themed family suites. Sleeping in a wooden cabin or safe inside the walls of a castle is a dream come true! The Buds Kids-club by Shangri-La and its immersive play areas will delight your toddlers.
Capella Singapore Hotel, luxury, quiet and … family
5. KIDS-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS
Din Tai Fung offers a tasty cuisine whose key word is harmony. This Taiwanese chain, distinguished by a Michelin star, has made a name for itself around the world. The restaurant revisits the Chinese classics with freshness and lightness. The food lovers enjoy the steamed pork ravioli (Xiao long baos in its original version), the restaurant’s signature dish. Practical information: Paragon, 290 Orchard Road, #B1-03 Singapore 238859 ; +65 6836 8336.
- Open Farm Community is an urban farm that proves that Singapore is a green city right on the plate! This creative and innovative address, offers a morning cuisine of influences that pays tribute to seasonal products. In addition to the tasty kid’s menu, your toddlers enjoy the playground meant for them, the fun sandbox and the vegetable garden tours. Practical information: 30E Minden Rd, Singapore 248819 ; +65 6471 0306.
- The Gourmet Paradise, Dempsey Hill, is home to many restaurants. We love the Chop Suey café for the unpretentious elegance of its kitchen and its pleasant wooded terrace. For lunch, the crab omelet is a must, as is the Sichuan pepper chicken. Practical information: Block 10, Dempsey Road, #01-23 Singapore 247700 ; +65 9224 6611.
- The Cassia, Restaurant of the Capella Singapore Hotel, offers a cuisine inspired by cleverly reinvented Cantonese. In an opulent decor, designed by Hong Kong interior designer André Fu, Chef Lee Hiu Ngai celebrates the contrasts and the alliance of flavors by putting spices in the spotlight. Among the delicacies of the menu, the famous chicken broth sometimes accompanied by shiitake mushrooms, enhanced by the lobster aroma or the crunchy Chinese cabbage, is a must! Practical information: 1 The Knolls Sentosa Island, Singapore 098297 ; +65 6591 5045
6. TAKE A DRINK
- To gain height, the 1 Altitude is the highest rooftop bar in the city. This chic perch delivers a 360° panorama of the entire city and offers breathtaking cocktails at 282 meters above sea level. For night owls, the Altimate Level 61 is the private club of 1 Altitude: the promise of a crazy night! Practical information: 1 Raffles Place, 048616 Singapore ; +65 6438 0410. Itinerary. https://goo.gl/maps/ewsgJ3jmyqqV6dxh8
- Marina Bay Sand is a must-see in Singapore. The atypical silhouette of this resort is inseparable from the city. After watching it from afar, there is nothing like taking the time to sip a cocktail at the skybar CÉ LA VI. Kids love to take a dip in the Infinity Pool, the famous infinity pool at this legendary resort. Practical information: L57, Sands SkyPark, Hotel Tower 3 ; +65 6508 2188. Itinerary.
- Casual and particularly kids friendly, Café Melba welcomes families with open arms. It is the perfect place to enjoy an aperitif with your family. The menu offers a large selection of wines, some cocktails but also juices and delicious milkshakes for toddlers. While Mom and Dad are sipping their drinks, toddlers can play with a ball in the park or storming the bouncy castle! Practical information: 90 Goodman Road, Goodman Arts Centre, #01-56, 439053 Singapore ; +65 6440 6068. Itinerary.
7. THEME PARKS
The island of Sentosa is fully dedicated to recreation and is full of activities for toddlers. In a radius of a few kilometers, there is a wide variety of choices!
Thrill-seekers meet up outside the doors of Universal Studio Singapore. The park transports its visitors to the world of films that have marked the history of cinema. Located less than 5 minutes from the hotel, this amusement park is the perfect place to have fun in sets inspired by ancient Egypt and Jurassic times. The little ones will be particularly charmed by the section dedicated to the cartoon Madagascar! Practical information: From 52€/adult and 39€/child. Sentosa Island, 098269 Singapore. Itinerary.
Among the island’s unmissable experiences is the South East Asian Aquarium (SEA), for a deep immersion in a wide variety of aquatic species. The children will be speechless in front of the pools, real glass tunnels that give the impression of being 20,000 miles under the sea! Practical information: From 26€/adult and 19€/children of less than 13 years old. Sentosa Island, 098269 Singapore.Itinerary.
A few steps further, the slides and pools of the Adventure Cove Waterpark are the perfect place to cool off and have fun. Wave pool, fantastic slides or a quiet river to descend in buoy, are on the program: there is something for every taste! Practical information: From 25€/adult and 20€/children of less than 13 years old. Sentosa Island, 098269 Singapore. Itinerary
For those who prefer the charms of the sea, take a detour to the beach of Palawan which extends its crescent of fine sand at the edge of the Sea of China. Harmonious and planted with palm trees, it evokes the most beautiful beaches of Southeast Asia. Mom and Dad can relax: swimming is supervised! Itinerary
Sentosa and its amusement parks, a paradise for thrill seekers
8. WEATHER & CLIMATE
Singapore enjoys a tropical climate, hot and humid with an average of 20°C to 30°C throughout the year.
The weather varies according to seasons and regions. Each year, the country goes through a rather dry season (from May to September) and a season of rain or monsoon which extends from December to mid-February.
Beware, Singapore is hit by thunderstorms 186 days a year! They are brief but rather violent: torrents of water can fall within minutes. If you are faced with what the locals call the « Sumatra Strike », get out of the water quickly or out of the pool, avoid open spaces and seek hard shelter.
9. MOVING ABOUT
- Singapore is a megalopolis particularly well served by a network of buses and metros performance. The city-state, renowned for its urban planning and impeccable organization, is easily traveled by public transport.
- In Singapore, the subway is called Mass Rapid Transit (MRT): Clean, fast and partly aerial, you can discover the city from a different angle. Tribes who intend to borrow it several times a day can buy the Singapore Tourist Pass.
- The bus, fast and affordable takes you on both sides of the city. Toddlers love two-story buses that allow them to climb in height! The website of the local company will help you to define the best route for your escapades.
- In Singapore, taxis are kings! This option may be more advantageous than public transport, especially for large families. To catch them, go to taxis stands, protected areas of rain and heat, specifically designed for this purpose.
10. SOME TIPS…
- In Singapore, cleanliness is de rigueur. Even if this makes sense, it should be remembered at times: throwing your chewing gum or butt on the floor is strictly forbidden! Moreover, it is forbidden to smoke in all public places. While less clear, it is forbidden to eat and drink in the subway. Plainclothes agents inflict heavy fines on offenders caught in the act.
- Since Singapore is a city garden, to enjoy its green spaces in peace, it is necessary to stay away from snakes, lizards and monkeys (they can be aggressive if they see food: do not feed them!)
- The tropical sun is sometimes deceptive for the whole family. The UV rays are virulent and sunscreen with the maximum protection index (50 SPF +) is essential for adults and children. Do not forget the hats, sunglasses and anti-UV clothing of your young children. Our article on organic sun protection for babies will undoubtedly help you to make the best choice.
- To keep your bags safe, Mom and Dad check our travel checklists for babies of 1 day to 3 years old, toddlers from 3 to 6 years old and children from 6 to 12 years old: pajamas, toys, band-aids, mosquito repellent, swimsuits, armbands or after-sun care… Everything is there!
Sources : Carnets de traverse ; Le Routard ; Visitsingapour.
Mylène, 28 years old, art lover and travel addict, from Strasbourg, France