At the southern end of mainland Asia, just a four-hour plane ride from Hong Kong, sits the tropical island city-state of Singapore. Its vibrant culture and prime waterfront location have contributed to the development of its 5.5 million-strong multicultural population and busy eclectic neighborhoods. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, nature lover or culinary connoisseur, Singapore never fails to satisfy.
Located at the junction of North Bridge Road and Haji Lane, you’ll find the best burger of your life at the Amsterdam-inspired I Am… Cafe. The eatery offers up Dutch-style “fries & mayo” and a line-up of delicious charcoal-grilled burgers. Savvy locals opt for the classic Juicy Beef Burger with pineapple, onions and melted cheese, or the Chicken Satay Burger, topped with peanut sauce, chopped cucumbers and onions.
Head to Neon Pigeon for drinks and playful, inventive small plates like slow cooked octopus with cauliflower purée and shichimi, and miso-roasted pumpkin rice adorned with sugar snap peas, crispy garlic and egg yolk. Sweet-talk the bartender and you might just land yourself one of their coveted off-the-menu cocktails.
Located in Singapore’s northeastern corner, Pulau Ubin is one of the few places in the city that has blissfully avoided urban development. A 10-minute boat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal gets you to the island. Here, tourists and locals alike spend the day criss-crossing Pulau Ubin’s mangrove and many paths on rented bicycles. A particular draw is the Chek Jawa wetlands — a rich ecosystem where six natural habitats collide and cohabit.
Make your way to the hipster enclave of Tiong Bahru to take in one of Singapore’s oldest neighborhoods. Public Housing Development Board-built condos, which 80% of the population call home, line the streets. Stop in at the district’s many eclectic shops, reserving plenty of time for Books Actually, one of the city’s most celebrated independent bookstores. While wandering the aisles, you might run into the store’s two resident cats, Pico and Cake.
On the outskirts of Singapore’s Little India, the Wanderlust Hotel‘s imperial facade presides over Dickson Road. While the hotel was in development, owner Loh Lik Peng entrusted each floor to a different design agency, including award-winning firms Asylum, Phunk Studio and fFurious. Guests can choose one of 29 rooms on either the eye-catching Pantone floor, the pared-down Mono floor or the aptly named Whimsical floor. Enjoy lazy, rustic brunches at the hotel’s French-themed restaurant, Cocotte.
No visit to Singapore would be complete without a dip in the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel’s Infinity Pool — the world’s largest rooftop pool. Escape the city’s bustling energy and gaze at its gorgeous skyline.
Written by Alexandra Sehmer
Special thanks to Julia Baumann
Headline photo by BigBoom/Shutterstock