Teeming with food, bars, shopping, wildlife, day spas and swanky hotels, Singapore has all the vices covered. The diamond-shaped compact metropolis may be deemed unadventurous for the intrepid traveller but is ideal for swooning lovers looking for fun date ideas in Singapore. Walking around any time of the day or night is safe; the food is sanitary, and you can practically eat off the immaculate streets. Who wants to worry about a disgruntled tummy or your safety in the wee hours when other attractions beckon both far and by your side?
You know you’re soaring on romance when you can look down on the nightly laser-light show at Singapore’s landmark Marina Bay Sands. The complex is one of the best romantic experiences in Singapore and includes a sky-park with one of the city’s finest restaurants Ku De Ta, and a sexy infinity pool trickling off the edge of the 57th floor. Craving more giddy drinks? Check out the red lantern affair at Kinki Restaurant + Bar or 1-Arden, 51 storeys above the city, serving Australian wines and the world’s tallest urban farm.
Chinatown heaves with markets, tea houses, and dim sum. Here you’ll find everyone’s favourite, Maxwell Hawker Centre, and with around 100 stalls, there is serious debate over who has the best fish head curry and laksa, but Tian Tian consistently attracts long queues for its chicken rice. For those times you’re longing for Hainanese Chicken Rice, try this recipe.
The Satay Club may have relocated several times since its opening in 1940, but the open-air stall in its current location at Gardens by the Bay continues to waft heavenly barbequed meat across the city. East Coast Seafood includes several seafood restaurants with Long Beach famed for its crab doused in black pepper crab to be torn apart with abandon is another fun date idea in Singapore.
Just 30 minutes from the concrete jungle, a more exotic one awaits at Singapore Zoo with Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park. The River Safari allows visitors to get up close (but not too personal) with capybaras (world’s biggest rodent), jaguars and flamingos on a boat ride through a mock Amazon. The experience includes cheeky interactions in the Squirrel Monkey Forest and the Amazon Flooded Forest with frolicking manatees, giant river otters and turtles in a simulated flooding of the Amazon rainforest. The highlight for many is the pandas in the Yangtze River Zone in the Rivers of the World, which also includes species from the Congo, River Nile, Ganges, Murray and Mekong Rivers. Combine the River Safari with an exploration of the zoo, night safari and the Jurong Bird Park allowing for at least a couple of days to get wild.
With 77% of Singapore’s 5 million residents being Chinese with a mix of Malay, Indian and Eurasian, relish in the multiculturalism while caressing the Persian rugs on Arab Street in Kampong Glam, splurge at the Mustafa Centre, the 24-hour shopping complex in Little India or haggle over the tea sets in Chinatown.
Once known for its seedy nightlife, Bugis Street is now notorious for its cobblestone lanes teeming with over 800 clothing and souvenir shops and eateries. Lose yourself and credit rating in the city’s largest retail and lifestyle destination Vivo City before collapsing on the rooftop amphitheatre and sky-park.
Orchard Road isn’t for the faint-hearted and with over two kilometres of high-street fashion interspersed with high-end shopping malls, stilettos mightn’t be at the top of the list. Don’t despair as there are plenty of eateries to refuel, this is Singapore after all, where the local greeting of ‘’sudah makan’’ means, “Have you eaten?” Go mad during the Great Singapore Sale which runs for eight weeks from 30 May until 27 July with bargains all over the city.
A few minutes away from the CBD, an oasis awaits within Bishan Park 2 at Aramsa Garden Spa. Drawing on a mix of eastern and western techniques, packages include energising, rejuvenating and relaxation therapies as well as aesthetic treatments like facials, nail treatments and shaping-up programmes. The national park includes river plains, including Kallang River crawling with wildlife and several dining options, from casual brunch to cuisine as healthy as nature intended to a candle-lit garden sanctuary.
But for gardens, you must go to Gardens by the Bay by Marina Bay, featuring a majestic Cloud Forest Dome with 30-metre indoor waterfall, Flower Dome and sculptural trees.
The colonials amongst you will retreat to The Raffles Hotel, named after the island’s founder Sir Stamford Raffles, for a Singapore Sling beneath the mechanical rattan fans. Or snuggle up at Tanjong Beach Club on Sentosa Island for a sandy chill and cocktails lingering long into the night.
Fly: Low cost airline Scoot now flies from Perth prices starting at $159 www.flyscoot.com
Getting around: The MRT is efficient and taxis are cheap and clean with English speaking drivers.
Carmen Jenner was a guest of the Singapore Tourism Board (www.stb.gov.sg) and Scoot Airlines.