Trip Tips : LUXE City Guides – Sundown Singapore
(Reuters) - Among the ranks of Asia’s powerhouse players, Singapore is often depicted as the squeaky clean poster girl for gleaming glass modernity, priggish protocol and no-fuss efficiency.
But don’t judge this slick city-state by its cover: it also boasts divergent cultural heritage, knockout cuisine, a burgeoning bar scene and a heart-stopping skyline at night.
Despite having recently hit the big 5-0, Singapore shows no signs of slowing. In fact, this once smalltown kitty cat has transformed over the years into a buzzing metropolis well worthy of its moniker, the Lion City. So forget the cliches, you’re in for a roaring good time...
Although there are a few curiosity-piquing new stays in the pipeline (such as the Philippe Starck-struck South Beach and bonkers Hotel Vagabond), for now nothing beats marina-side darling Fullerton Bay Hotel (fullertonbayhotel.com).
Ensure you snag one of their elegant, teched-out pads with a balcony and waterfront outlook, which is particularly spectacular as the Singapore horizon sparkles to life. The rooftop pool and Andre Fu-imagined Lantern bar are also in prime position for drinking in that view. Book ahead for a sunset kickback on one of the coveted front-row daybeds.
To get a real taste of local history, skip along to the Peranakan Museum (peranakanmuseum.org.sg), a pastel-pretty manse offering a crash course in Baba/Nyonya life with intriguing artefacts, antiques and photos.
As you’ll no doubt learn, Peranakan identity originates from the 16th century intermarriage of Chinese merchants and women from the Malacca Straits. This cultural coupling spawned an aromatic, punchy cuisine – still unique to the region today – combining Chinese cooking methods with indigenous ingredients such as coconut milk, galangal, tamarind and lemon grass.
Blue Ginger (theblueginger.com) is a delectable initiation into exactly that. A 10-minute cab hop away and set across a funkily converted shop house, the tongue-tingling fare ranges from robust beef rendang and smoky squid curry to banana leaf-enveloped fish cakes. Service can be slow, but it’s friendly.
While once there was a dearth of decent drinking dens (and an abundance of expat boozers and generic hotel lounges), the scene is fast gaining global recognition, with a couple of establishments sneaking onto The World's 50 Best Bars list this year. Continued...