Be prepared for various shifts in mood on this suggested itinerary. We advise that you start the day with a hearty breakfast at the Crossroads Café at The Marriot Hotel. This café is right in the middle of Orchard Road, Singapore's shopping belt. If it's a weekday, you'll feel the morning buzz, people grabbing a cup of coffee before heading for work, or having power breakfasts. After your meal, spend some time browsing along the well-known street. Most tourists seem to find the massive structure of Ngee Ann City shopping centre quite impressive.
Next take a cab for Pagoda Street, Chinatown, where you can lose yourself among the rows of gaily-coloured Peranakan shophouses. You can buy everything from sarongs to mahjong sets to Chinese antiques and medicines here, and bargaining is all part of the fun. Near Pagoda Street, on South Bridge Road, is the vibrant Sri Mariamman temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore dating back to 1827. Visitors are welcome; just leave your shoes at the entrance and step inside.
After that, it's another short walk to Neil Road, where you can have a delicious lunch of Beijing dumplings at the authentic Qun Zhong Eating House (21, Neil Road, Tel: +65 221 3060). After lunch, walk further uphill until you reach the Tea Chapter (9A to 11A, Neil Road, +65 226 1175), where you'll be served first-grade Chinese tea the traditional way -- in tiny teapots and cups.
When the sun's shining with less force towards the evening, hop into a cab again, this time for the well-known Botanic Gardens at the junction of Cluny Road and Holland Road. The 127-year old gardens are a haven of tranquility within the city. Soak in the cool and relaxed atmosphere of the lake, the landscaped parks and the four hectares of primary jungle.
It's also a good idea to visit the National Orchid Garden that's tucked within the Botanics and which boasts a startling variety of orchids.
For dinner, there's no better way to sample the local fare in the local ambience than at Newton Circus Hawker Centre, near Newton MRT. It's a busy, even chaotic place; the trick is to remember your table number, go to the various stalls and quote the number when you order.
After dinner, it's time for a little bar-hopping. Catch another cab to the Raffles Hotel at the junction of Bras Basah Road and Beach Road, and savour the hotel's colonial charm while sipping a Singapore Sling at the famous Bar & Billard Room. Then poke your head in at the equally famous Long Bar, also at the hotel, before heading for the nearby Chijmes on Victoria Street. The restored convent is now a-buzz with bars and nightclubs such as China Jump and Father Flanagan's, so let the spirit lead you.