What’s new in Singapore

With a new marketing campaign and a growing skyline of futuristic hotels, Singapore is commanding travellers’ attention, says Stuart Forster

Many travellers explore Singapore during stopovers yet it’s a destination that rewards longer stays. Rooftop bars, luxury hotels and a vibrant culinary scene mean there’s plenty of appeal beyond sightseeing.

To this effect, the country’s tourist board recently released a global campaign ‘Made in Singapore’ with the aim of inspiring travellers to choose the destination as their next holiday spot. The campaign highlights ‘quintessentially Singapore experiences’ and explores how ordinary moments are turned into extraordinary experiences.

Speaking of the campaign, Singapore Tourism’s newly appointed Regional Director Europe, Kershing Goh, said: “Made in Singapore showcases the unexpected twists in our everyday moments and will elevate Singapore within the consideration of any potential travellers.”

Adding: “From iconic attractions to hidden gems, we look forward to continuing our collaboration with trade partners, to inspire travel to the country.”

Looking ahead, Goh believes that Europe will be a top market in 2024.

“Singapore’s tourism sector recovered strongly in 2023 with 474,000 visitors from the UK. Furthering the recovery momentum is the increase in flight capacity from multiple cities including new and additional flights from Brussels and London, as well as a slew of exciting new hotels opening and a calendar packed full of entertainment.”

What’s new

The Singapore Grand Prix (September 20-22) is a reason for Formula 1 fans to visit in 2024. HyperDrive, the new e-karting at Sentosa Island’s Palawan Beach, offers insights into the thrills of racing.

Footpaths and viewing points make Fort Canning Park ideal for a stroll. Inside the park, the newly refurbished Battlebox – a museum within a command bunker dating from 1936 – conveys Singapore’s capitulation to Japanese forces in 1942.

Several hotels have recently undergone refurbs, including the Pan-Pacific Singapore, Conrad Singapore Orchard and Mandarin Oriental, Singapore.

With 142 rooms and suites, Artyzen Singapore opened in November as the first of the chain’s properties outside of China. Overlooking West Orchard Road, it has a 25-metre infinity pool and roof garden. The principal restaurant, Quenino by Victor Liong, serves degustation menus and Café Quenino becomes a cocktail bar nightly.

Near Singapore Botanic Gardens, the 204-room Edition hotel also opened in November. With Ian Schrager designs, it has the restaurant Fysh at Edition by acclaimed Australian chef Josh Nil, a rooftop lounge-bar with a swimming pool plus a spa.

In a redesigned 1930s building from where Chinese immigrants used to wire money home, 21 Carpenter is one of Marriott Bonvoy’s Design Hotels. Near Clarke Quay, the 48-room hotel opened in December. Its garden terrace, infinity pool and bistro offer guests stylish spaces.

Singapore Airlines is to add a five-times- weekly direct service from London Gatwick to Singapore Changi Airport, starting on June 22, 2024. The airport has reopened Terminal 2, complete with a 14-metre-tall digital display, dubbed ‘The Wonderfall’, a brand-new garden (Dreamscape), plus a year-long free bike rental initiative for passengers who have a layover in Singapore.

Top experiences for 2024

Singapore gardens
Gardens by the Bay

Enjoy rooftop views: Reminiscent of a ship balanced on three skyscrapers, the Marina Bay Sands resort is an iconic landmark whose 56th-storey SkyPark Observation Deck (from £16.50pp) presents views over the Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Strait. Travellers with something to celebrate may appreciate the Sunset in the Sky experience, which includes chocolates and Champagne (from £46pp).

Tables at Smoke and Mirrors, the rooftop bar at the National Gallery Singapore, are ideal for drinks while viewing Spectra – the Marina Bay Sands’ 15-minute light and water show – held nightly at 20.00 and 21.00, plus 22.00 on Fridays and Saturdays.

The 280-metre CapitaSpring skyscraper also presents panoramic views from 1-Arden Sky Garden on the 51st level.

Open from Monday to Friday, the building also warrants a visit to experience the Green Oasis, a four-storey vertical garden ingeniously integrated within its framework.

Sightseeing in a sidecar: Clients are likely to enjoy seeing Singapore from the sidecar of a restored Vespa scooter.

Tours offer a thrilling way of travelling between points of interest while hearing insights personalised by local guides.

The Kampong Glam and Civil District tour is an opportunity to discover aspects of Singaporean heritage while scooting past landmarks including the Raffles Hotel.

The tour also zips along sections of Singapore Grand Prix street circuit.

Singapore air
Jewel Changi Airport

Discover a gem: Changi Airport is a place to while away hours between connecting flights. It’s attractions include the HSBC Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. It is surrounded by the indoor Shisheido Forest Valley, whose trails take around 30 minutes to complete. The upper floor is a leisure zone featuring a canopy walkway, mazes and nets to bounce on.

Sample Singaporean cuisine: In 2020 UNESCO added Singapore’s multicultural hawker culture, community dining and culinary practices to its list of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. Singapore is dotted with hawker centres offering moderately priced, flavourful food served at communal tables.

Lau Pa Sat is open 24 hours. At 19.00 Boon Tat Street is transformed into Satay Street with tables spilling onto the tarmac. Served with sauce, satay skewers are grilled over charcoal at stalls and delivered to tables.

Book it with… Audley Travel
A 15-day Historical Singapore and Malaysia trip is priced from £4,130pp and includes international flights plus time spent in Singapore before exploring neighbouring Malaysia. audleytravel.com