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Singapore Guide

Marina Bay - How to decide

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How to decide

Water + towering skyscrapers in every direction is always going to mean that the Marina Bay area takes its place as one of the prettiest, most desirable places to stay in Singapore. It’s also well-placed in the centre of all the action, overlapping the Central Business District to the west, the Civic District to the east and the throbbing nightlife scene of Clarke Quay to the north.

Who is it For:

- Anybody with limited time (but a generous budget)
- Business guests working in the nearby Central Business District

What's Good:

- The views
- Numerous swanky restaurants and bars
- Close to major attractions such as the Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay, Merlion etc.

What's Not So Good:

- Not so many budget hotels
- No real ‘local’ Singaporean atmosphere


Orchard Road - How to decide

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An absolute haven for shoppers, Orchard Road boasts more malls than anywhere in Singapore – and pretty much anywhere in the world. The road stretches from Orchard MRT in the north to Dhoby Ghaut MRT in the south, and there’s several quaint lanes off the main strip of shops that offer more of a neighbourhood-vibe, with some of Singapore’s coolest cafes and hip bars. It’s also a good place for anyone looking to escape the city a little; a short walk north and you’ll find green suburbs, parks and local hawker centres presenting a more authentic side to Singapore.

Who is it For:

- Shoppers!

What's Good:

- Malls, malls and more malls
- Cute cafes and bistros in the surrounding neighbourhood

What's Not So Good:

- Busy with pedestrians particularly at weekends
- Limited in the way of nightlife

Clarke Quay - How to decide

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Singapore’s party hub sits at the mouth of the river, a short walk north from the Marina Bay. Arrive in the day, and you might wonder what all the fuss is about, with the pedestrian walkways almost deserted (even the most generous of all-day happy hours struggle to draw in the crowds). When the sun goes down, however, Clarke Quay shows its true colours; pick your spot either by the waters’ edge or underneath the futuristic bubbles that cover the gauntlet of bars, restaurants and clubs.

Who is it For:

- Party animals
- Foodies
- Backpackers (look out for those daytime happy hours on food and drink)

What's Good:

- Lots and lots and lots of bars
- Cosmopolitan atmosphere next to the water’s edge
- Some of Singapore’s main nightclubs, such as Attica, Home Club, and Zouk (10 minutes away)
- Centrally located and decent connections with the rest of the city via MRT

What's Not So Good:

- Can be busy late into the night
- Little in the way of local life
- Few cultural attractions

Sentosa - How to decide

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Jammed-packed full of family-friendly activities and attractions, Sentosa is the place to come for fun. Famous for its manmade beaches (the sand is imported in from Malaysia and Indonesia), the island is also home to growing dining and nightlife scene, although big-name attractions such as Resorts World Sentosa, Underwater World, Universal Studios and the Skyride remain the main tourist magnets.

Who is it For:

- Families
- Anybody looking for a resort-style vacation
- Beach lovers
- Anybody looking to escape the city 

What's Good:

- Dozens of family
- Friendly attractions like Resorts World Sentosa and Universal Studios
- Clean and pretty beaches (albeit manmade)
- Abundance of greenery

What's Not So Good:

- Getting to the mainland can be time consuming, particularly at night
- Little in the way of shopping


Chinatown - How to decide

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The original settling place for Chinese immigrants to Singapore still retains a distinctly oriental feel, even though the city’s ever-expanding Central Business District is gradually edging its way in. Generation’s old medicine shops sit in the shadows of towering office blocks in the south of the region, whilst cheap and delicious hawker centres, interesting temples and sprawling night markets make up the rest of the region.

Who is it For:

- Business travellers in the nearby Central Business District
- Backpackers on a budget
- Culture seekers

What's Good:

- Plenty of cultural sights and authentic shopping opportunities
- Good mix of luxury hotels alongside cheap rooms for budget backpackers
- Easy to walk to the CBD and Clarke Quay
- Trendy emerging nightlife scene
- as well as the famous Chinatown Night Market

What's Not So Good:

- Shopping malls here tend to be quite dated

Little India - How to decide

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For an authentic slice of India - some 4,000 kilometres away from the subcontinent - there’s no better place to head than Singapore’s Little India. The district is well-connected by two MRT stops, and is just a 15 minute ride into the city centre. Head to Seragoon Road to find the heart of the action, with its multi-coloured shops houses, bustling mini-bazaars, wall-to-wall curry houses and cheap fashion and electronic malls. Things liven up here in evening as friends gather for a beer, biryani and a good catch after a long day at work.

Who is it For:

- Backpackers and travellers on a budget
- Those looking for an alternative taste of Singapore
- Bargain hunters and Indian food-lovers!

What's Good:

- Some of Singapore’s cheapest fashion and electrical stores
- Good range of mid-range and budget hotels
- Incredible array of Indian food
- Easy to walk to some of Singapore’s other ethnic districts

What's Not So Good:

- Can get extremely busy with pedestrians, particularly on Sunday evenings
- Few luxury hotels
- Shops and malls here are outdated (but cheap!)
- Few late-night bars and clubs

Bugis and Kampong Glam - How to decide

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Bugis and Kampong Glam somewhat merge into one area, with the main Bugis strip now chocker-block with malls, restaurants and new condos, whilst Kampong Glam (a few minutes’ walk west) offers more of a cultural, and altogether fun vibe. Also known as the ‘Arab Quarter’, Kampong is where you’ll find traditional silk shops and hawkers next to hip cafés and boutiques, whilst there’s an active (albeit small) nightlife scene to be found around Arab Street, (don’t forget to check out the magnificent Sultan Mosque too). Bugis and Kampong Glam is popular with trendsetters who like their beers brewed in small batches and fixed-gear bikes outside their coffee shops.

Who is it For:

- Backpackers and travellers looking to save money
- Anyone interested in independent shops, bars and restaurants

What's Good:

- Excellent mix of modern malls, cute boutiques and long-running family stores
- not forgetting Bugis Street Market
- the largest in Singapore - Exciting (but limited) nightlife scene
- Huge variety of restaurants and hawker stalls
- Good mix of five-star hotels, mid-range stays and budget dorm rooms   

What's Not So Good:

- A little far away from the city (around 25 minutes)
- Fewer taxis than the main downtown areas, particularly at night

Civic District - How to decide

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Singapore’s Civic District is where you’ll find a good proportion of the city’s government buildings, museums, parks and memorial spaces. Easily accessible from City Hall MRT and a short walk from the Marina Bay, this compact downtown area also has a thriving restaurant and nightlife scene and is home to one of the most famous hotels in the world: Raffles Singapore Hotel. Walk northwest across the river and you’ll be right in the thick of Singapore’s nightlife action at Clarke Quay, while a short stroll west will take you on to some interesting ethnic enclaves, including Little India and the Arab Quarter.

Who is it For:

- Art and museum fans
- Anybody wanting a strategic location within walking distance of different neighbourhoods

What's Good:

- Long list of museums, art galleries and architecturally famous buildings
- Transport connections with lots of bus routes and two MRT lines at City Hall
- Plenty of green space, especially at Fort Canning Park
- Lots of fine-dining restaurants

What's Not So Good:

- Not many budget options in terms of eating and drinking
- Nighttime atmosphere not as vibrant as other areas in Singapore

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