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29th Apr 2010

48 hours in… Singapore

Life is short and there’s a big ol’ world out there. You’re a busy man, so with that in mind we offer our quick guide to 48 hours in one of Asia’s must-sees: Singapore.


Life is short and there’s a big ol’ world out there. You’re a busy man, so with that in mind we offer our quick guide to 48 hours in one of Asia’s must-sees: Singapore.

Singapore is becoming an increasingly popular transit point for Irish and other European travellers plodding along the well worn route to-and-from Europe to Australia so if you’re lining up the obligatory year out down under then there is a good chance you will find yourself with a day or two to kill in the Lion City.


Singaporeans love their food, but a lot of their dishes can be quite heavy as a breakfast option. A notable exception is Kaya – a jam-like spread made from egg and coconut. It sounds rank but is actually quite nice. Pop along to any hawker centre or roadside café and buy a Kaya set – it comes served with toast, fried or boiled eggs and Kopi – the country’s signature sweet, strong coffee.


Singaporeans take mall shopping to new heights and low taxes on imports and economies of scale mean there are serious bargains to be had. The centre of the action is the Orchard Road/Scotts Road area – a string of dozens of shopping centres, which would take half a day to get around each. Many stores open until midnight.


Laksa is probably Singapore’s most famous dish after chicken satay. The soup noodle dish with the coconut and curry twang, comes in a load of different styles and with various meats and vegitables included. This is a must-try if you’re in town and can be had in practically every restaurant you stroll past.

After hours

Fancy being in a field in the dark? In a car? With a hyena standing on the roof and peering at you through the windscreen? If so, Singapore’s famous Night Safari might be just up your street.  The 40 hectare site contains over 1,000 primarily nocturnal animals including lions, snakes, leopards and loads of boring antelope-like animals. They open from 7.30pm to midnight every day and you’re looking at S$22.00 (€12.12).

Day Two


Shake off the dregs of your hangover and head for Crepes & Co, an eatery which has become a bit of a landmark on the Sukhumvit Road since its opening in 1996. The menu offers a range of over 350 dishes with fillings from all over the world, and most can’t be found anywhere else in the country.

Day trip

Land reclamation has led to the decimation of Singapore’s natural beaches. However, you can still find a sandy spot on one of the smaller islands dotted around Singapore. The most popular of these is Sentosa – which draws some five million people a year. The island features a two-kilometre long Fort Siloso beach as well as a number of resorts and other attractions. The best way to get the island is to take the North-East MRT to Harbour Front before connecting to the Sentosa Express monorail. You will be on the beach within minutes.

Evening entertainment

Singapore is one of the most expensive places in the inhabited world to have a beer, so a trip to the island state could be an opportune time to give your liver the chance to lick its wounds. Head down to Chinatown – the more well-preserved parts of which will give you an idea of what the city looked like in times gone by. Go get your eat on in Smith Street – there are literally hundreds of hawkers selling some of the best Chinese food, often with a Malay twist, you’re likely to have anywhere. It’s cheaper than the neighborhood takeaway so make sure to over-indulge.

The lowdown

Where: Singapore, the former British colony, is located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula between Indonesia and Malaysia. It boasts a population of 5 million people.

Currency: Singapore dollar with one buying you about €0.55.

Getting there: Dozens of airlines fly into Singapore’s excellent Changi Airport although the city’s spot on the ‘Kangaroo Route’ between Europe and Australia means you will most likely be flying in with Qantas or British Airways.

Where to stay: The Singapore Raffles is one of the most famous places to get your head down on the planet. That said, the prices match its reputation. If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Drink: Beer in Singapore is expensive, but the Lion City is also responsible for arguably one of the top five beers ever made – Tiger.

For herself: There are spas dotted all over Singapore and they come in a range of prices starting from around $70 up for basic treatments. The more upper-class joints are located on Sentosa or along Orchard Road. However, there are plenty of smaller operations, particularly around Chinatown, which you can happily shove your better half into for a couple of hours.

What to say: Hi, Kawan! (Hey! Friend!)

What not to say: Aku sepak, kang tauI! (I’ll kick you!)

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