City Guide

Singapore


Singapore can be bland and business-like, a little bit of Switzerland in Asia, while at the same time it’s a new regional design hub with edgy cafes and fantastic restaurants (two in the top fifty by Restaurant Magazine while it’s rival Hong Kong has only one, boo yah) and its own riot last year in Little India , albeit the first in forty years and it lasted only two hours. It also has the highest ranked Asian university and easily the world’s best airport (Viewport’s best timing is sixteen minutes from jet bridge to taxi), and with 12.5 million visitors expected this year, it takes the no. 4 spot for most visited city in the world. Not bad for a city state which had a lower per capita GDP than Kenya on independence nearly 50 years ago.

Viewport has its own little home in Singapore (our founder director is Singaporean) where we work with a few of our clients and we are regular visitors. So, just in case you want to get beyond the roof top pool at Marina Bay Sands and your gondola trip in the basement of the shopping centre, we have put together a small guide to some of our favourite things. We hope you enjoy the fun at Marina Bay Sands for the World Architecture Festival and the Inside Festival and good luck while in Singapore.

Watch

Peter Bogdanovich and Ben Gazzara on set

Before you get here, it might be worth watching one of Viewport’s favourite movies on DVD, set in a very different Singapore to the one you’ll see today,  based on a Paul Theroux story from the early 70s and filmed on location (sort of illegally – the producers had submitted a quite different script ) at the end of the decade.

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Photograph

People's Park Complex

Get your camera out and take a trip among some of our favourite buildings in Singapore. Typically we’ve gone a bit seventies in our choices but this was an exciting time in the post independent Singapore’s architecture scene with local architects creating new developments, as well as big names such as I M Pei, Kenzo Tange and Paul Rudolph adding to the rapidly growing city.

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See

The amazing Henderson Waves Bridge

Take yourself beyond the shopping malls on Orchard Road and once you have visited the Gardens By the Bay and taken a stroll around the more sedate Botanical Gardens and another walk through Singapore’s seedy side at Geylang, here are our top tips:

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Shop

Mustafa the greatest bazaar in town

Clearly this is a big reason to visit Singapore. Obviously you can cruise (and nearly the whole time in air conditioned comfort) along Orchard Road and marvel at the luxury of the Ion Orchard Shopping Centre and pick up a few expensive bits and bobs with posh labels. Or you can follow our suggestions.

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Eat

The amazing roof at Satay by the Bay

Easily among the most hotly debated topics of conversation is food. Where do you get the best Hainanese chicken rice or prawn mee (prawn noodles) or char kway teow (stir-fried ricecake strips) in town? So let us (and our friends) help you.

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Sleep

The dormitory at the Pod hotel

You are hardly going to need us to recommend Raffles or the Fullerton Bay Hotel. Or for that matter the well established design hotels such as the New Majestic or Wanderlust. But we do have a few suggestions:

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