Singapore has strong links to Perth – the same time zone, the home of many fee-paying students, and a popular destination for medical conferences (e.g. recent combined RACS and ANZCA conference). It may seem too confined as a long-term prospect for space-loving Australians, but it is clean, modern, tourist-friendly, safe and diverse for the visitor.
People love to shop and do commerce in Singapore, so is it a popular destination for Perthites.
Orchard Rd is famous for its designer label malls but the city abounds with them, all trying to outdo each other with the latest and greatest.
Add in a convenient flowing public transport system – the affordable option for most – and provided you take heed of school holidays to avoid overcrowding, you (and the kids) can have a ball. At every turn something new is on offer – the drink with a view, rooftop swimming pool, extraordinary indoor and outdoor gardens, night life, galleries and displays with architecture to marvel at, theme parks, and more.
In fact, the city and surrounds have a Disney World feel to them. Even after five days you will run out of time.
Compared to Perth, birds (of the tweeting sort) and people walking dogs are sparse, and you have to mortgage the home and kids to own a car. People eat out often and English is the universal language.
This means if you stay away from the tourist strips, meals don’t cost a fortune and are easy to order.
It’s usually steamy and hot, day and night, and in the middle of the day, can slow you down but if you take your time and jump into the nearest mall for some air-conditioned comfort, a sightseeing walk is well worth the effort.
For visitors who want access to things by line of sight or a short walk, stay centrally or take the extensive underground train network.
As an example of accommodation on offer, The Fullerton Hotel, which was on the original Singapore foreshore and had a lighthouse to prove it, has sacrificed some opulence for a taste of history and an outlook and location to compensate.
You can go to their rooftop Italian restaurant and Lighthouse Bar or the hotel is very near the night-time eating strip along Singapore River’s edge.
Across the old bridge, the hop-on hop-off tourist double decker bus offers one of three routes to help you discover Singapore.
Jump off for a stroll through the famous Raffles Hotel (and a near mandatory sip of its traditional Singapore Sling cocktail in the rear courtyard), or anywhere along the Orchard Rd shopping precinct, or a stop at the Singapore Flyer (a replica of the London Eye), Chinatown and Little India precincts.
The bus will also take you to the lush botanical gardens with its renowned orchid display.
Another stop not to miss is the Marina Bay Sands casino, convention centre and shops with the flower-shaped ArtScience Museum alongside – you can walk through to the astounding Gardens by the Bay with the climate-controlled Flower and Cloud Forest Domes and Heritage Gardens..
For the kids or those young at heart, the cable car to Sentosa Island, with the water park, Universal Studios and the S.E.A. Aquarium, is a long day’s sightseeing with plenty to do.
The day and night safari visits to the zoo are a treat, provided you avoid weekend and school holiday queues.
Twelve airlines run services between Perth and Singapore and there are any number of holiday packages available and with flight time just a little over five hours, you can be in the city of the Merlion in time for dinner.