Sipping a Singapore Sling cocktail in the wicker and palm ambiance of Raffles Hotel is a Singapore must-do experience. With its tropical garden courtyard and elegant galleried architecture, the terracotta-roofed white hotel has been a byword for colonial elegance since 1887. It was named after the founder of Singapore, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.
Swags of famous names from Noël Coward to Somerset Maugham have stayed here, along with more recent stars like Michael Jackson and Beyoncé. You can learn more about the building’s history and see fascinating ephemera at the on-site Raffles Museum. If you’re not staying here, dress up to experience high tea in the Tiffin Room, or order that Singapore Sling in the Long Bar. The hotel has a swag of other upmarket restaurants, cafes and watering holes.
The Kranji War Memorial, located in northern Singapore, is an impressive structure built in 1946 immediately following the Second World War to commemorate the soldiers from the allied and regional countries who fought and died protecting Malaysia and Singapore from the invading Japanese forces.
Made up of a cemetery of nearly 5,000 servicemen and a separate memorial bearing the names of more than 24,000 others, the war memorial is divided in three segments to represent the different branches of the military, the Air Force, Army and Navy. Of the tombstones, about 850 remain without names.
Upon entering the memorial, there is a large bronze door nearby a reference book for each of the names within. On Remembrance Day, which is typically held in November, there is a rather large service at the memorial to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.
Having moved from the prison site to its new location directly across the Changi Gaol in 2001, the Changi Memorial and Chapel is a testament to those prisoners of war who were made to suffer and perish during World War II.
In the memorial, several artifacts from the period show how Singaporeans, particularly those prisoners being held in the Changi prison, had suffered under Japanese occupation during the war. Boasting tons of personal affects including emotional letters, drawings and photographs, the memorial tells the stories of more than 50,000 people who had been there between 1942 and 1945.
Entrance is free or for a nominal fee, visitors can elect to embark on a one hour guided tour of the complex that goes through paintings made years later by several internees who recreated what life as a POW was like inside the prison. Visitors can also purchase an audio tour or stop over to watch one of a few informative videos with footage from the era.
Sprawled over a huge area on the third floor of Suntec City's Towers 3 and 4, the Alive Museum is billed as Singapore's largest 3D visual attraction. Less of a museum and more of a series of interactive optical illusions, the Alive Museum is filled with over 80 trick art, digital art, experimental art, and object art installations.
With a focus on creating a fun and interactive 3D experience, the concept of the Alive Museum originated in Korea, with each piece of art being conceptualised and hand-painted in Korea or Singapore. Visitors are invited to get involved and become a part of each installation across the different areas of the museum, where 3D painting techniques combine with mechanical and digital technologies to create illusionary images. The Alive Museum is a huge attraction for visitors to Singapore, who go not only for the visual experience in itself, but for the opportunity to get their cameras and smartphones out to take the ultimate selfies.
As Southeast Asia’s first ever movie theme park, Universal Studios Singapore® contains 20 fun rides, including five large roller coasters and two water-based rides. The park was first opened in 2011 after mega-director Steven Spielberg signed on as a creative consultant to aid with its layout.
The family-oriented park offers a slew of exciting attractions that includes a festive walk, water park, marine life park and maritime experiential museum and aquarium. The area also includes some of internationally recognized accommodations such as the Hard Rock and Equaius hotels.
In all, Universal Studios Singapore, which is located on Sentosa Island, covers just over 20 hectares, or 49 acres, of space and features rides from some of the most famous movies ever produced, including the Transformers, Madagascar and The Lost World. The park even manages to accurately mimic the streets of New York, Hollywood and ancient Egypt in separate themed zones.
Singapore’s Garden by the Bay redefines the whole garden strolling experience. Spanning over 250 acres, or 100 hectares, the gardens are located near to the Marina Reservoir and feature three large garden spaces in what many people consider to be a virtual garden city.
The Bay South Garden segment, which opened midway through 2012, is perhaps the most impressive, with two bio-controlled conservatories, dubbed Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome. In them is plant life found on the different corners of the earth, from the Mediterranean to both cool and arid climate areas.
Another fascinating part of the gardens are the huge tree-like structures known as the supertrees, which provide an environment for vast collection of exotic and rare ferns, orchids and vines. At night the supertrees light up, giving an especially unique look into gardens.