A tried and tested guide to the realm that‘s beyond Changi Airport
For the fourth year in a row, Singapore’s Changi Airport has been awarded the World’s Best Airport by millions of travellers in the Skytrax Awards.
It served a record 58.7 million passengers last year and with its giant swimming pool, award-winning leisure amenities and top-quality dining options we know it’s easy to love Singapore simply for the Changi experience.
However, have you thought about venturing out of the terminal to explore Singapore’s South? Here’s our ‘tried and tested’ guide on where to shop, stay and dine in Changi’s surrounds…
The Bugis/ Kampong Glam district is a great place to base yourself – it’s close to major shopping, dining, business and cultural hotspots and is around a 15-minute taxi ride from Changi Airport.
Located in the heart of it all is the Mercure Singapore Bugis. It’s a trendy and brand spanking new hotel that’s within five minutes walk from Bugis MRT station. It’s also right next to the amazing Bugis+ and Bugis Junction shopping complexes – this could be a good or bad thing!
This hotel is Accor’s latest Singapore offering which boasts 395 beautiful and unique rooms. For something a little different stay in the two-leveled Loft Room, it’ll feel like you have your very own little apartment right in the centre of the action (that’s complete with the trendiest artwork by Beatrice Martinet from Toine Bangkok).
What we love
All rooms are equipped with a handy smartphone which gives all guests access to free unlimited Wi-Fi, 10 free international calls to selected destinations and an up-to-date City Guide that’s accessible in multiple languages – that’s a huge tick from us.
The hotel also features a stunning infinity pool on level seven (great for photos), a 24-hour gym, rooftop Sky Deck with breathtaking city views + four great options to wine and dine.
You’re based in one of the trendiest neighbourhoods where the perfect soy latte or 63-degree eggs are just a stroll away. You’ll find some great hipster cafes with a distinctive Singaporean flare in Haji Lane, Bali Lane, North Bridge Road and Arab Street.
For an Instagrammable breakfast (that tastes just as good as it looks) head down a little street called Jalan Kubo and pop into Symmetry for their lazy weekend brunch. Symmetry is a rustic and cosy little nook with exposed bricks, retro signs and in true hipster style, palates hanging from the ceiling.
Its fare has been inspired by both Australian casual dining and French and Singaporean cuisine and is made to share. Choose a bold option from their menu – like the Merguez Shakshouka: poached eggs, lamb shoulder ragout, cucumber raita and garlic cheese bread. They even have brunch desserts! If that didn’t win you over, their coffee is divine.
Although it’s not located on the more popular streets as listed above, that’s part of the charm of this homely little café.
1. The Mercure Singapore Bugis is right next to Bugis+ and Bugis Junction – two very impressive shopping complexes. You’ll find all your favourite brands inside – UNIQLO, Sephora, Pandora. Shopaholics will be very satisfied here.
2. For the bargain hunters, Bugis Street is across the road and features more than 800 shops – fashion, music, electronics, food and drinks. If you want to avoid the ‘touristy’ shops, then head upstairs where you’ll discover traditional art and handicrafts, books and other hidden treasures.
3. ION Orchard is the place to go for lovers of luxury. It’s Singapore’s most glamorous shopping complex, complete with its very own art gallery. Inside, you’ll find YSL, Dior, Burberry and an array of wonderful dining options. It’s located on Orchard Road, just a short stroll from Orchard MRT Station.
1. Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay is Singapore’s premiere arts centre and is one of the busiest in the world. With around 3,000 yearly performances, you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy! The two-hour behind the scenes Esplanade Tour is well worth it if you have the time – find out more here.
2. Get lost in Gardens By The Bay. A beautiful 250 acres comprising of three distinctive waterfront gardens that contain more than one million plants from around the world, including unique species! It’s in the world’s ‘top 20’ most checked-in places on Facebook and is Singapore’s number one attraction on TripAdvisor.
3. Universal Studios Singapore is Southeast Asia’s first Hollywood movie theme park located on Sentosa Island. It features rides, shows and attractions based on your favourite blockbuster films and TV shows. Discover more here.
If it’s good enough for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, it’s good enough for us, right? The iconic Raffles Hotel is a favourite amongst the royals and was opened at the height of the British colonial rule in 1887.
This five-star luxury hotel sure does “wow” from the moment you arrive. The famous Sikh doormen welcome you to walk the red carpet into the lavish hotel foyer and you’ll start to feel you’re on the set of an old Hollywood movie! Pause for a moment and take in the history and elegance of the space before turning right where you’ll find your beautiful dinner destination (please book ahead!).
Raffles Grill offers classical and contemporary French cuisine, with all the special trimmings… beautiful silverware and glassware, period furnishing, fresh flowers and eye-catching crystal chandeliers.
Start with a fine wine or Singapore Sling (Raffles is the birthplace of the famous drink) and go with the signature dishes, such as the scallops and veal shank.
After dinner, explore the stunning gardens that make up one-quarter of the land at raffles.
Dress Code: Smart casual. Pool attire, blue jeans, slippers, shorts and baseball caps are not permitted. Gentlemen should be in collared shirts, long trousers and close-toed shoes.
- Train – Experience Singapore’s world class rail system (MRT).
- UBER/Taxi – Download the UBER app or jump in a cab – don’t take a black cab as they’re pretty pricey (we’ve learnt from experience!)
- Double Decker Bus – We’ve all seen them, the hop-on-hop-off buses in many capital cities, but have you ever been on one? It’s a truly wonderful and affordable way to discover the city.