From its cinematic closeup as the exotic backdrop of the hit film Crazy Rich Asians to its growing popularity on top ten travel lists, the multi-cultural melting pot of Singapore is experiencing a moment.
The island nation is awash in a kaleidoscope of colors and a virtual assault on the senses from the aromatic food stalls to the colorful neighborhoods, jewel-toned gardens, and unique designs. Here are a few ways to experience all that is the magnificent land known as “The Lion City” while on board Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Satisfy your palate by sampling the delicacies at one of the famous hawker stalls. Maxwell Food Centre is one of the most popular where you can brush up your chopstick skills with local dishes such as chicken rice, Cantonese porridge, Har me (savory noodle dish), kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs and bak kut teh (pork soup).
Shopping is a national pastime in Singapore where the island contains more malls per square mile than any other country in the world. Orchard Road is a shopper’s paradise (think high-end stores and shopping malls) with three of the most frequented shopping destinations (Tang’s, ION Orchard and Paragon) where you can find the latest in designer brands. Once the home of nutmeg plantation farms, Orchard Road has over 5,000 stores, art galleries, coffee houses, bars and restaurants. If its local flavor you are after, the stalls of Chinatown Street Market are filled with clothing, candles and the requisite local trinket and souvenir.
Singapore’s 2lst-century botanic garden is also a feast for the eyes. Situated on a 101-hectare nature park, the Gardens by the Bay is the most popular tourist attraction with some 6.4 million visitors a year. Space-Age flower biodomes, one of the world’s largest indoor waterfalls, 16-story “supertrees” connecting a skyway with spectacular views of the China Sea, lush gardens and three waterfront gardens are just a few of the sights to see. Visit the Cloud Forest where tropical highlands sit 2,000 meters above sea level, see the whimsical outdoor garden and art sculptures and learn about the nation’s diverse history at the Heritage Gardens.
No visit would be complete without saying hello to the 2,800 inhabitants of the Singapore Zoo. Some 300 species of mammals, birds and reptiles are found at the Primate Kingdom, Tortoise Shell-ter, Australasia exhibit and the Retile Gardens. The Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife is a fun way to spend the morning with orangutans while the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia exhibit shows you all you need to know about baboons.
Culture and history are on full display at the Asian Civilizations Museum. Housing the area’s largest collection of pan-Asian antiquities and treasures, be sure to check out the centerpiece exhibit, the Tang Shipwreck that is comprised of 500 pieces rescued cargo from 1,100 years ago. And if you are interested in modern art, The National Gallery of Singapore contains the nation’s most extensive public collection. Located at the heart of the Civic District, 8,000 works of Singaporean and Southeast Asian modern pieces that chronicle the art history from the 19th-century to present day.