Iconic attractions, eclectic neighbourhoods, tantalising cuisines or tranquil spots to unwind – Singapore is one city that has it all!
Energetic and entrepreneurial duo, Michael and Carlene Duffy, recently returned from a family holiday in Singapore with their children, Paddy and Stella. Known for their renovation and design work including appearing on reality show ‘The Block’, here they share their favourite Singapore moments and advice for family holidays.
Tip 1: Jurong Bird Park
At Jurong Bird Park we had our first ever flamingo experience, seeing them in the flesh and as a flock was quite spectacular. We highly recommend the live bird show, which Paddy was thrilled to take part in, especially when a cockatoo flew onto his arm, right on cue. In all, it was a really pleasant, relaxing experience that provided some insight into Singapore's wildlife.
Tip 2: Sands SkyPark Observation Deck
Head to the top of Marina Bay Sands hotel because from the rooftop observation deck, you not only see a breathtaking view of the city, but you also get to appreciate the magnificent scale of the 'ship' that sits atop the three building structures. We’ve never seen anything like it, and it's pretty gobsmacking to think about the engineering involved in its construction.
Tip 3: Slappy Cakes
Slappy Cakes is like dessert for breakfast so it was a real hit with the kids. They got a kick out of being able to choose their own combination of batter, toppings and sauce and to be able to cook it themselves at the table gave them a real buzz. There was no contest for our kids, it was chocolate with chocolate with chocolate!
Tip 4: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
Like most 8 year-old boys, Paddy is enchanted by dinosaurs so the Natural History Museum was right up his alley, with its installation of dinosaur skeletons. The museum was also filled with a huge range of taxidermy which provided a very cool insight into the history of Singapore’s wildlife.
Tip 5: Universal Studios Singapore
Coming from the theme park capital of Australia, we know our way around a theme park, but Universal Studios Singapore™ is on another level. With rides specially designed just for the Singapore park and attractions including Jurassic Park, Sesame Street, Madagascar, Transformers, Shrek etc., you could easily fill an entire day here. The live shows were a particular highlight for us and Paddy and Michael got a real thrill out of the famous Transformers ride
Tip 6: S.E.A. Aquarium
Because the S.E.A. Aquarium is below ground level, you feel like you’re really in an underwater world! We watched hundreds of different species of sharks, fish, manta rays, and jellyfish swimming all around us. We were closer than we’ve ever been to any sea animal and yet it was surprisingly peaceful.
Tip 7: Eat at a Hawker Centre
Dine at a hawker centre for an affordable, delicious and authentic meal.
We ate at some very impressive restaurants in Singapore but you can’t leave without experiencing hawker centres like Satay by the Bay. It’s inexpensive, authentic street food and you can check out the mandatory quality rating before you try. It was one of our favourite meals of the trip and we tried lots of local favourites including satay (grilled meat skewers), chicken rice, and fresh seafood at Boon Tat Barbeque Seafood.
Tip 8: Attend a Festival
Check which festivals are taking place during your visit.
We were fortunate to visit Singapore during Chinese New Year, a time when celebrations were in full swing, providing us with a cultural feast. We witnessed Chinatown at its best. We recommend checking out what festivals and celebrations might be happening before you visit so as not to miss a taste of Singapore’s culture.
Tip 9: Take a Dip in the Hotel Pool
Schedule a break in the afternoon and book a hotel with a pool.
Singapore prides itself on world class hotel offerings and I recommend booking a hotel with a pool. The day’s activities can be tiring and Singapore boasts warm weather year-round so a splash in the pool was a welcome reprieve for the whole family.
Tip 10: Explore the City at Night
When the sun goes down, the city stays alive and we felt perfectly safe to go out exploring at night. As it was Chinese New Year at our time of travel, Chinatown was particularly bustling and provided the kids a cultural experience as well as some inexpensive souvenir shopping for keepsakes that will always remind them of their Singapore holiday.