Singapore is known as a stopover destination to places such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Australia; this city-state has emerged as a vibrant, multi-cultural hub that offers business travelers more than meets the eye. The Lion City is a fascinating hybrid of colonial heritage and forward-thinking culture with more than 5 million residents that create a melting pot of charms and experiences. If you plan on visiting Singapore for business, here’s 7 reasons why you should consider extending your stay to explore this vibrant bleisure destination.
1. Crazy Rich Asians Film Tour
After the blockbuster movie, Crazy Rich Asians, raked in more than $200 million at the box office last summer, more people are flocking to Singapore to see the awe-inspiring film locations and iconic landmarks featured in the famous film. After enjoying the movie as part of your in-flight entertainment, enjoy a nostalgic movie location tour of Singapore. If you’re not staying at Raffles Hotel, at least consider visiting the real-life Kingsford Hotel – where Nick and Rachel stay when they first arrive in the country. Visit Chijmes, where Araminta and Colin’s elaborate $40-million wedding was shot for the film. Explore the 19th-century Catholic convent that has been transformed into a chic venue, often used for weddings and banquets for the rich and famous. Explore the 250-acre Gardens by the Bay to see the electric trees and waterfall where the reception takes place. Marina Bay Sands, Cluny Park, Liao Fan Hawker Chan, Joo Chiat Road and Bugis Street are just a few more places that will help bring those magical movie moments to life during this unique tour of the Lion City.
2. Shopping at the New Design Orchard
For business travelers who have spare to shop or soak in some local culture, don’t miss a stop to stroll through Design Orchard. This amazing mall showcases more than 60 local designers that specialize in fashion, beauty, wellness and artisanal wares. Peruse stores that highlight some of the country’s top brands, such as Onlewo, and fashion retailers, like Ginlee Studio. Pick up decadent confections at Benns Chocolates or the Plain Vanilla Bakery; sip tasty artisanal tea at Monogram Tea; or create your own fragrance at Oo La Lab.
And don’t miss a visit to the second-level fashion incubator called the Cocoon Space, where Singapore’s brightest independent designers hone their talents using on-site resources. And if you’re lucky enough, you may be able to catch a special event in the amphitheater located on the rooftop. This eye-opening creative space that showcases local talent is another must-see attraction in the Lion City.
3. Opening of the Changi Jewel
Another amazing perk for business travelers is the new Changi Jewel – located near the Changi Airport. Plan ahead and spend a few hours exploring this amazing complex that features a 131-foot-tall cascading rain vortex (tallest indoor waterfall in the world) and Singapore’s largest indoor plants collection. Locals and visitors from around the world can take a leisurely stroll through the airport’s 5-floor terrace garden that includes a life-sized animal Topiary Garden, an Orchid Garden, a Sunflower Garden and a Cactus Garden.
With more than 280 retail and dining outlets, the new Changi Jewel will also be a shopper’s paradise and a foodie’s heaven, providing visitors with dozens of shops selling local brands as well as a variety of restaurants serving diverse ethnic cuisines. The best part about visiting this multi-level complex is that you don’t have to be traveling to engage in these awesome experiences. It’s open to the public! We just recommend planning some extra time to really explore the Changi Jewel, where fun, unforgettable experiences await.
4. Explore the Diverse Cuisine of This Popular Food City
Break for lunch or after a long day of meetings, explore Singapore’s diverse cuisines. From its traditional food served at hawker centers to its signature Singapore Sling to the 39 Michelin-starred restaurants that serve a variety of Asian cuisines, amazing travel destination has become a major food city. It has long been seen as a culinary crossroads for Chinese, Malay, and Indian elements with European influences. So, it’s no surprise why Singapore will host the World’s 50 Best Restaurants competition this year, making it the first time the “Oscars of global gastronomy” will be held in Asia.
Singapore will also host Asia’s 50 Best Bars this year (2019) and next year (2020), as well as the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2021. A clear message that the Lion City has established itself as Asia’s premier hub for its premium cocktails and innovative culinary scene. Don’t miss out on exploring some of Singapore’s award-winning drinking spots like ATLAS and Manhattan as well as its Michelin-starred restaurants, like Beni and Odette. Make sure you add these hotspots to your list of things to do!
5. More Frequent Flights to Singapore
Over the past year, new direct flights have made it easier to travel to Singapore for an extended vacation. In October 2018, United Airlines started its second direct flight from San Francisco to the Lion City. And Singapore Airlines – voted the No. 1 airline in the world by Travel + Leisure readers – restarted its nonstop service between Singapore and San Francisco, in addition to service from Newark Liberty International Airport to Changi Airport, making it the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight. The airline relaunched these non-stop flights 5 years after they were cut because they had become too expensive. And for travelers who don’t enjoy layovers, this provides a direct flight option and easier access to Singapore.
6. No Language Barrier
American businessmen and women may feel more at home in Singapore because English is a primary or secondary language. You can visit this exotic destination without the hassle of having a language barrier. Although Mandarin, Malay and Tamil are the three official languages of Singapore, the city-state made the top 3 of an annual ranking in English proficiency conducted by English education company EF Education First. And knowing that locals speak English fluently, usually puts American tourists at ease when it comes to asking for directions to popular attractions, trying new food on a restaurant menu or chatting with the locals to find off-the-beaten-path spots. A language barrier can be a deal-breaker for some tourists, but you don’t need to worry about that when traveling to Singapore. Visiting this country – where English is spoken – provides tourists with an amazing opportunity immerse themselves into Singapore’s rich history and multi-ethnic cultures.
7. Indulge in an Immersive Cultural Experience
Year round, travelers visit Singapore for its iconic attractions that make it uniquely different from other popular travel destinations. So, if you have some extra time during or after your business trip, consider a visit to the $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands complex – the focal point of the bay – where there’s a Science Museum, Casino and various shopping, dining and nightlife options for tourists. And you can’t miss out on taking a dip in the infinity pool at the luxurious Marina Bay Sands Resort or be mesmerized by the jaw-dropping views form the resort’s rooftop – the perfect spot for the watching the spectacular light show every night at 8.
Another spectacular attraction that lights up the night sky is the colorful Gardens by the Bay, where this 250-acre futuristic park and its Supertree structures provide an impressive skywalk over gardens and climate-controlled greenhouses. Couples looking for an intimate spot for cocktails and or dinner with a spectacular view should consider dining at IndoChine, located at the top of the tallest Supertree.
Visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens, celebrating its 160th anniversary this year. The Gardens – Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site – has a 4-core concept: a heritage core retaining the old favorites and charms of the historic Gardens (Tanglin), the tourist belt of the Gardens (Central), the educational and discovery zone (Bukit Timah), and the Learning Forest, designed to integrate the Gardens’ existing rainforest to form an enlarged forest habitat. In addition to its historical landmarks, the Gardens has a National Orchid Garden that includes an Orchid Checkerboard and a Celebrity Orchid Garden. And the beauty of these world-renowned gardens is that it’s centrally located in the heart of Singapore, which claims the name “City in the Garden” honestly.
Learn more about the 'bleisure' travel trend of extending business trips into leisure time, check out Bleisure Travel: What is it and how will it impact your travelers (and your bottom line)?
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