I am originally from Singapore but I grew up in the UK so I am somewhat over familiar with the City but for the most part I do feel like a stranger myself. We try to go back every year to visit with the children and every year there are more and more activities. The only problem is that it has become relatively more expensive to return home with the strength of the dollar that your money just doesn’t go as far as it used to.
Singapore can be reached 6 to 7 hours either by Emirates or Singapore Airlines. The weather is hot and humid most of the year round with monsoon rains that can push a whole afternoon of activities out the window. SOTP recommends a 3 – 5 day stay in the City. There are so many hotels in Singapore but our favourite has to be The Four Seasons Singapore, and others can include The Conrad Singapore, The Raffles or The Shangri-la but in terms of location for us, The Four Seasons was unbeatable. (See The Four Seasons Review).
There are mosquitos in Singapore, and if you head into the local pharmacy named Guardian Pharmacy you can find these brilliant mosquito sticker patches that can be stuck onto your children’s clothes so you don’t have to keep spraying them with chemicals. I buy them in bulk for all our travels as I haven’t found them anywhere else but Singapore. In the photos, you can see my children have them on their clothes.
Our top 5 activities with children under the age of 12
#1 Singapore Zoo – it has always been a firm favourite with our family, and it is somewhere we go every year with the kids. The funny thing is that when I used to go there as a child, I swear that place was 10 times the size. There are white tigers, giraffes, polar bears or you can have breakfast with an orang utan. For those with older children, it is worth also checking out the Night Safari which I have heard is amazing but I have not yet tried out with my children as it is usually way past their bedtime.
#2 Hanging Gardens by The Bay – It was so much fun for the children. I was initially sceptical about how a few plants were going to thrill my demanding 4 but it is worth the trip to see the waterfalls, and replicas of the English countryside that left me feeling a little nostalgic. Maybe a holiday in the UK countryside next year?
#3 Universal Studios Sentosa – The theme park is located on a mini island off Singapore that you can cross over by car, ferry or cable car. (The Island used to be closed off to any vehicles in the past). Brilliant place for the children obviously, and great for mums and dads too. Brought back a lot of childhood memories for me to see some of the cartoons that I used to watch brought to ‘life’, and some of the rides for mums and dads were fun but the problem is who to leave the kids with while we were having fun on the rides.
#4 The Aquarium Sentosa – If you are at Universal Studios you could also cover the Aquarium. It is a great venue especially on a rainy day but a little overcrowded with too many tour groups, and these adults don’t think twice about stomping over a 5 year old to get the best glass view, Hold onto your little ones as it is easy to lose them.
#5 A stroll on Orchard Road. There are so many malls that it is can get a little confusing but our favourite would be Paragon Mall – head to the children’s section upstairs where there is a children’s area and Toys r Us just to keep the little ones amused. Tanglin Mall is known as the Yummy Mummy Mall – everything there is either for mum or kids. And if you really need, head to Takashimaya’s top floor where there is a giant book store, which is a favourite of mine to grab some more children’s books.
Kid friendly restaurants
#1 Din Tai Fung – delicious dim sum, and great noodles. Best to get there early. There are now a few outlets now at few malls including Paragon, Ion, and 333. You can’t book but it is casual and clean that the kids will be at ease.
#2 Jumbo Seafood – there is no point coming to Singapore without trying the chilli crab and black pepper crab. It is so divine that my kids were eating it even if it was spicy. The taste of the crab meat is so sweet.
#3 Newton Circus Hawker Centre. It is a bit of a tourist trap but they still do serve great string ray and other local foods if you feel like trying authentic Singapore style food. Most shoppings malls have a hawker centre or better known as Food Courts these days, which are cleaner versions of the brilliant originals. Try chicken rice, laksa, mee siam and char siew noodles to get a real taste of Singapore.
#4 Akashi Japanese at the Orchard Parade Hotel – still my favourite Japanese restaurant. You eat like you are in Japan, and it has a big selection of Japanese sakes and whiskeys for mums and dads.
#5 Trattoria LaFiandra – If Asian food isn’t your thing, you can head to this little restaurant that serves great Italian food, and it is super kids friendly. The pizza and pasta are top notch – my Italian family approves.