x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Singapore: Vibrant island city has much to offer

The Life: Singapore has long been an important business destination for many across the Middle East. It has become a bastion for retail, commerce and comfort, so finding yourself on a business trip is unlikely to disappoint.

Singapore has some impressive skyscrapers. Sam Kang Li / Bloomberg News
Singapore has some impressive skyscrapers. Sam Kang Li / Bloomberg News

The island city of Singapore has long been an important business destination for many across the Middle East. It has become a bastion for retail, commerce and comfort, so finding yourself on a business trip is unlikely to disappoint.

Singapore became a major port city of the British Empire after it was founded by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles as a trading colony in 1819. Today, the South-East Asian nation has one of the world's busiest ports, a highly rated airport and a free-market economy that has become an example for other Asian and Gulf countries.

Eating out: There is no shortage of places to eat in Singapore. Its rich cultural heritage has ensured a vibrant culinary scene. Ku de Ta in Marina Bay Sands offers splendid views as well as a rich and modern Asian menu. The restaurant has set business lunch and dinners. One of Singapore's most prized dishes is the pepper crab. This makes for a messy affair, so best to avoid for serious business meetings. A popular place with many locals is Jumbo near the Quay area.

Where to stay: A wide variety of hotels are dotted around the city, from Fairmont, St Regis and Sheraton. Marina Bay Sands, close to the convention centre, is a good spot with one of the main shopping malls and various entertainment facilities within close proximity.

Airport hotel: Crowne Plaza Hotel at Changi Airport was voted one of the world's top 10 airport hotels in 2011 so is a definite must-visit for the business traveller on a stopover or on a tight schedule.

Off hours: Given the lack of land space, Singapore has some of the world's most impressive skyscrapers, many of which offer great views. The Marina Bay Sands infinity pool makes for a nice backdrop for a night-time visit to a bar. For a less glitzy but no less glamorous way to spend your evening, browse around Raffles to experience Singapore's colonial past. Probably one of the nation's most famous landmarks, this 125-year-old five-star hotel has had a guest list that reads like a who's who.

How to get there: Singapore is just under eight hours away from the UAE. Emirates flies twice daily to Singapore and Etihad flies directly, as does Singapore Airways.

Currency: Singapore $1 = Dh2.9.

 

thamid@thenational.ae