You’ll probably know Singapore best as a popular stopover destination. But that would be a disservice to this incredibly unique island country and city-state. From the world-class airport to its melting pot of cultures, futuristic architecture and vibrant street food scene, Singapore will leave you wowed before you even step out of the airport.
Singapore has long been an attractive flight route for South Africans heading to other destinations in Asia or Australia/New Zealand.
“Stopovers are an ideal way to rest between long-haul flights, explore a new city and make your holiday last that little bit longer,” says Antoinette Turner, General Manager Flight Centre South Africa. “But Singapore offers much more than the appeal of a stopover destination alone.”
On 30 March 2023, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (FCTG) – encompassing Flight Centre Travel Group brands in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the USA and Canada – signed a three-year multi-million-dollar Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to team up and drive increased visitors to Singapore via FCTG’s global network.
“Whether you have six hours or two days, Singapore is the perfect stopover destination. The airport is out of this world, it’s easy to get around the city, and you can squeeze a lot into a short time,” says Turner.
Flight Centre South Africa has picked out its top Singapore spots, whether you’re just stopping over or spending a week exploring:
In an innovative city that seldom stays the same, many new attractions have opened over the past 12 to 18 months to delight new and returning visitors.
New attractions include:
Multiple attractions on Sentosa island, including the Central Beach Bazaar, Skyhelix and Scentopia. Enjoy the day-to-night carnival beach experience, Singapore’s highest open-air panoramic ride and an unforgettable, sensory rainforest orchid experience where you can create your signature scent.
Mr Bucket Chocolaterie is a trendy lifestyle destination that celebrates all things chocolate – think of a very grown-up, fancy version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. With unique flavours inspired by the diversities of the region, the shop aims to build a sustainably sourced local chocolate community.
The Children’s Museum Singapore – adults are welcome too, but you must bring your kid! This charming museum tailored for the young ones will delight the over 18s as well. Housed in a 100-year-old+ double-storey building, the museum is designed to be a place of wonder for all children to engage with Singapore and the world. Journey back to olden-day Singapore and discover Malay heritage and the wonderful exhibitions, such as how different cultures celebrate birthdays in Singapore.
Classic Singapore attractions
The world’s best airport
The first airport in the world to hold the title of the “World’s Best Airport” by Skytrax for eight consecutive years, Singapore’s Changi Airport is an attraction in its own right. Do a few laps in the rooftop swimming pool, enjoy the numerous flower gardens or marvel at the world’s first airport butterfly garden, home to more than 1,000 butterflies.
Don’t leave without snapping some selfies at Jewel Changi Airport, where you’ll find the world’s largest indoor waterfall.
Feast the senses
Singapore’s food scene alone is reason enough to explore. The country’s local cuisine reflects its mix of Chinese, Indian, Malay and European heritage, with appealing subtleties and tastes.
Singapore is the ultimate foodie destination. Visitors can eat the best food at a hawker centre (formalised street food court) for just a few dollars. Try Maxwell Road Hawker Centre or eat with the locals at Old Airport Road Food Centre, one of the oldest hawker centres in the city. For those looking for a more discerning culinary experience, Singapore boasts 52 Michelin-starred restaurants, according to the 2022 list.
Explore the world’s greenest city
From the famous Botanic Gardens – a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015 – to the 250-acre Gardens by the Bay, Singapore is well on its way to achieving its vision of being the world’s greenest city.
Quick tip: A night-time visit to Gardens by the Bay is not to be missed. The ‘Supertrees’ collect solar energy and, at night, are lit up to create the most fantastic spectacle of colour and light.
A melting pot of cultures
Take to the streets to admire the architecture and energy of Chinatown, Little India and Emerald Hill. Every corner yields a new Instagram shot, and when the humidity gets too much, you can duck into the nearest café to cool down and enjoy a sweet iced tea.
Futuristic views and sundowners
In a compact city of futuristic skyscrapers, the best way to view the skyline is from above.
Rooftop bars, such as CÉ LA VI on the 57th floor of the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel, are ideal for sundowners. The drinks aren’t cheap, but it will be worth it for the incredible view.
For travellers lucky enough to stay at the Marina Sands, be sure to snap the ultimate selfie at the famous infinity pool. You can admire the Marina Bay Sands as seen from across the harbour, the giant Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay and the city skyline from the infinity pool (While only hotel guests are allowed in the pool area, you can catch the same view from the above mentioned CÉ LA VI bar, right next to the pool, without being a hotel guest).
Or head to Southbridge’s Oyster Bar for a different 360° view of Singapore’s skyline.
In a place that boasts so many “world-firsts” or “world’s only,” Singapore is much more than just a heart-stopping stopover destination.