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on’t let its size fool you. Singapore might be a

tiny island state but, as the saying goes, small often means perfectly formed, and that well describes this destination. For those unfamiliar with the so-called Lion City, it’s probably best known for two things: the famous Raffles Hotel and the mass of high-rise skyscrapers in the business district. But scratch beneath the surface and you’ll soon discover there’s far more to this city than meets the eye. The lack of space means

different cultures and religions have intertwined to create a bit of a melting pot, and that’s all part of this city’s charm. Juxtapositions of old and new architecture are commonplace here, with historic buildings, temples and mosques often just a stone’s throw from modern developments. Made up of the mainland

and 62 surrounding islands, Singapore is typically used as a stopover destination for those travelling farther afield, with regular flight connections opening up the rest of southeast Asia and Australasia. But with plentiful attractions

and stunning hotels, it’s also quickly becoming a popular port of call on numerous cruise lines’ Asian itineraries. Seabourn’s new ship Seabourn Encore, for example, is even holding its launch celebrations in Singapore later this year.

And its appeal is clearly widening as the number of UK visitors to Singapore increased by 4.8% in 2015, with almost 474,000 people paying a visit. You’ll often hear the phrase

shiok being bandied about by locals when they’re eating, drinking and generally having a good time. Shiok means ‘extremely awesome’, according to my guide Josephine Wee, and by the end of the trip I was shouting ‘Shiok!’ from the rooftops (quite literally, after a few drinks at LeVeL33, the world’s highest microbrewery). Forget Singapore slings: the

combination of sun, amazing cuisine and intriguing heritage ensured that I had more of a Singapore fling with this city during my visit.

w MARINA BAY Why? This is the modern side of Singapore that the world has come to know and love over recent years. At the centre of this stylish district is the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel and since it was built in 2010, it’s quickly established itself as the heart of Singapore’s cityscape. Built on reclaimed land,

this relatively new addition to Singapore’s skyline has attracted a number of new sights and entertainment venues, with everything from a theatre arena and an observation wheel to a golf course and a massive plant sanctuary.

What to do? The only question is where to start: Marina Bay has become a bit of a marvel in its own right and it’s often at the top of the hit list for tourists. Gardens by the Bay is without doubt one of the city’s best attractions. Here you’ll find 18 solar-powered ‘supertrees’, which look like something out of hit movie Avatar. A 128-metre aerial walkway connects two of the trees, giving an amazing view of the city, while those who’d rather keep their feet on the ground can head to the Supertree Grove as the sun sets to watch the free Garden Rhapsody Light Show which occurs twice a night. The shows (7.45pm and 8.45pm daily) last 15 minutes and are often themed depending on the season or special events.

w CHINATOWN Why? This district is a sharp contrast to the rest of Singapore. The majority of the city is built up, shiny and pristine, but head to Chinatown and you’ll come across low-rise buildings crowding along little alleyways. What to do? The inside of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is stunning, even if it’s not as historic as it might look (it was built in 2007). Despite that, it’s definitely worth a visit. The street market also attracts a lot of tourists, with everything from silk robes and chopsticks to lanterns and tea sets on offer. Be sure to come hungry:

from high-end restaurants to quick-but-tasty street-food stalls, there’s no shortage of authentic Chinese eats.

w KAMPONG GLAM Why? It’s one of the hippest and most bohemian parts of Singapore. Its landmark is the Sultan Mosque and its stunning golden domes are the focal point of the area. What to do? The bars and restaurants of Haji Lane are often abuzz with activity. Filled with independent stores and several quirky coffee shops – including The Selfie Coffee where customers pay more if they want to have a Polaroid taken while there – it is a lively area to explore day or night.

w LITTLE INDIA Why? This bustling area is one of Singapore’s most vibrant, crammed full of restaurants and shops, from traditional traders such as fabric dealers and dressmakers to modern clothing and furniture boutiques. Serangoon Road and the

surrounding streets are also home to Hindu and Chinese temples, mosques and churches, offering a perfect way to delve into the city’s varied cultures and heritages. The cultural enclave of Little India beautifully evokes a Singapore of days gone by, and its rustic appearance and heritage is a big draw. It’s certainly a far cry from the

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