For a little red dot barely visible on the world map, Singapore has done well for itself. Having a booming economy, squeaky-clean streets, and a hotel with a terrace on the roof resembling a ship means it can now be considered one of the must-sees in Asia for tourists. With its interesting amalgamation of cultures and gastronomic delights – as well as the handy fact that almost everyone speaks English – Singapore is often a stopover for those wanting to experience the warmth (metaphorically and literally) of Southeast Asia.
So now that you’ve seen Singapore, had the amazing chilli crab and laksa, swum in the pool in the sky and taken a selfie with the Merlion – what’s up next?
Singapore’s closest neighbours, luckily for you, happen to be some of the top tourist destinations in the world. Hop on a ferry for a cheap, 45-minute ride to Batam or Bintan, Indonesian islands with beautiful sandy beaches and countless spa and beach resorts offering everything you could ever dream of for a tropical holiday. Bask in the sun, go snorkelling near the shore, take a boat out for a dive, try your hand at waterskiing or wakeboarding, then wrap up the day with a rejuvenating Balinese massage and delicious seafood freshly caught offshore. If shopping is more your thing, you can visit a traditional market on the island and experience bargaining for local produce, handicraft or antiques.
Fancy buying clothes, jewellery, bags or shoes at amazingly low prices instead? Other shopping havens are just a short flight away – Hong Kong and Bangkok are favourite weekend getaways for locals, who more often than not return home laden with big smiles and cheap steals. With huge megamalls and countless shopping districts and streets touting cheap wares, you can unleash the shopaholic in you without worrying about burning too big a hole in your wallet.
If you need more persuasion, the food in Hong Kong is hugely popular even with Singaporeans already used to delicious local fare. Savour authentic dim sum, treat your sweet tooth to pineapple buns and sweet buttered rolls saturated with condensed milk, and finish with popular beverage yuanyang (tea, coffee and milk).
But if you want to leave Asia, the world is at your feet. Singapore’s award-winning Changi Airport flies to more than 200 destinations worldwide. For a breath of fresh, cool, less humid air, grab a flight from Changi to Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Singapore’s national carrier Singapore Airlines often offers direct flights to Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airportat competitive prices; check the Singapore Airlines website for more details.
There, you can admire beautiful scenes not found in Asia – check out the iconic windmills, take a boat cruise along the city’s many canals (Amsterdam is known as the ‘Venice of the North’), or enjoy al fresco dining in Dam Square right in the heart of Amsterdam.
Besides Amsterdam, a myriad other destinations await you from Changi Airport. Take a direct flight to Paris for some authentic macarons and French onion soup, and make sure to grab a selfie with the Eiffel Tower before you leave. Stroll along the Avenue desChamps-Élysées for a feel of high-fashion glitter, then visit the Mona Lisa at the Louvre for a look at her mysterious half-smile.
If that doesn’t sound appealing, nothing’s stopping you from grabbing a flight to Rome instead for a jaunt in the ruins of the empire that used to rule the land around the Mediterranean and most of continental Europe. Visit the Colosseum to witness the arena where gladiators used to fight to death, toss a few coins at the Trevi Fountain before finishing the day with pasta and pizza, done the way only the Italians can.
The world is your oyster; besides Amsterdam, direct flights to France, England or Italy and many more destinations are available from Changi Airport.
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