Singapore skyline

Singapore Makes the Cut on Multiple Top 10 Travel Lists

5 Reasons Why You Should Plan a Vacation in the Lion City


The verdict is out! And Top 10 lists from Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Frommer’s, Brides magazine and other reputable publications prove that Singapore is hot! Over the past year, this vibrant city-state has increasingly become the go-to travel destination after the box office success of the romantic-comedy film, Crazy Rich Asians.

The Lion City is a fascinating hybrid of colonial heritage and forward-thinking culture with more than 5 million residents that create a melting pot of charms and experiences – a perfect vacation for travelers of all ages and travel personalities, including foodies, cultural immersionists, and curious explorers. And if you haven’t already considered a trip to Singapore, here’s 5 reasons why it will be one of the hottest places to visit in 2019.

Haji Lane
HaJi Lane - In Kampong Glam, vacationers can visit hipster haven, Haji Lane, where beautifully curated boutiques and an eclectic mix of bars and cafes await.

1. Live It Up – Crazy Rich Asians Film Tour 

After the blockbuster movie, Crazy Rich Asians, raked in more than $200 million at the box office last summer, more people are flocking to Singapore to see the awe-inspiring film locations and iconic landmarks featured in the famous film. Enjoy a nostalgic movie location tour of Singapore for unique experiences. Consider staying at Raffles Hotel – the real-life Kingsford Hotel – where Nick and Rachel stay when they first arrive in the country. Visit Chijmes, where Araminta and Colin’s elaborate $40-million wedding was shot for the film. Explore the 19th-century Catholic convent that has been transformed into a chic venue, often used for weddings and banquets for the rich and famous. Explore the 250-acre Gardens by the Bay to see the Supertrees and waterfall where the reception takes place. Experience the trendy Ann Siang Hill, where old and colorful houses have been transformed into restaurants and boutiques. It serves as the beautiful backdrop in the movie as Eleanor strolls along the street on her way to meet Rachel at a Mahjong parlor. In addition to Ann Siang Hill, Marina Bay Sands, Cluny Park, Joo Chiat Road and Bugis Street are just a few more places that will help bring those magical movie moments to life during this unique tour of the Lion City.  

Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay
supertrees - A mixture of engineering and horticulture, the Supertrees at the Gardens by the Bay are a must-see attraction in Singapore. 

2. Host of the Oscars of the Food World – The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2019

From its traditional food served at hawker centers to its signature Singapore Sling to the 39 Michelin-starred restaurants that serve a variety of Asian cuisines, Singapore is a major food city. It has long been seen as a culinary crossroads for Chinese, Malay, and Indian elements with European influences. So, it’s no surprise why Singapore was chosen to host the World’s 50 Best Restaurants competition this year, making it the first time the “Oscars of global gastronomy” will be held in Asia. Guests have the unique opportunity to witness the hottest culinary trends and attend unique masterclasses and bespoke dinners created by the world’s finest chefs.

The highlight of the event is revealing the annual list of the world’s best restaurants, carefully decided by more than 1,000 culinary experts. In addition to hosting the World’s 50 Best Restaurants competition, Singapore will also host Asia’s 50 Best Bars this year (2019) and next year (2020), as well as the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2021. A clear message that the Lion City has established itself as Asia’s premier hub for its premium cocktails and innovative culinary scene. Don’t miss out on exploring some of Singapore’s award-winning drinking spots like ATLAS and Manhattan as well as its Michelin-starred restaurants, like Candlenut – first Michelin-star Peranakan restaurant or Corner House serving gastro-botanica cuisine with a Singapore-twist at the UNESCO Heritage Site Singapore Botanic Gardens and Odette. Make sure you add these hotspots to your list of things to do!

Maxwell Food Centre
maxwell food centre - You can't leave Singapore without visiting this food haven full of hawker stalls and vendors selling a variety of tasty cuisines.  

3. Who Knew an Airport Could Be an Attraction – Opening of the Changi Jewel

Changi Airport is already home to the world’s first Butterfly Garden in an airport, but soon there will be yet another unparalleled experience for vacationers visiting Singapore. The new Changi Jewel – that you will see after passing through the immigration gate – is set to open in April 17, 2019. It’s already being touted as an unparalleled airport experience you have to see to believe. Changi Jewel is an amazing complex that features a 131-foot-tall cascading rain vortex (tallest indoor waterfall in the world) and Singapore’s largest indoor plants collection. Locals and visitors from around the world will be able to take a leisurely stroll through the airport’s 5-floor terrace garden that includes a life-sized animal Topiary Garden, an Orchid Garden, a Sunflower Garden and a Cactus Garden. 

Changi Jewel's Waterfall
changi Jewel - This beautiful lifestyle complex features a 131-foot cascading rain vortex, making it the tallest indoor waterfall in the world.  

With more than 280 retail and dining outlets, the new Changi Jewel will also be a shopper’s paradise and a foodie’s heaven, providing visitors with dozens of shops selling local brands as well as a variety of restaurants serving diverse ethnic cuisines. The best part about visiting this multi-level complex is that you don’t have to be traveling to engage in these awesome experiences. It’s open to the public! However, if you are traveling for a cruise, you may want to consider the Fly-Cruise Lounge Program at the Jewel, which cruise guests can pre-book for their cruise in or out of Singapore. That means you can enjoy a day exploring Singapore or the Jewel without worrying about your luggage. We just recommend planning some extra time to really explore Singapore and or the Changi Jewel, where fun, unforgettable experiences await.

4. Local Designers Galore – Shopping at the New Design Orchard

Avid shoppers and cultural enthusiasts shouldn’t leave Singapore without visiting the new Design Orchard, which just opened in January. This amazing center showcases more than 60 local designers that specialize in fashion, beauty, wellness and artisanal wares. Bring home a bit of Singapore with Onlewo’s unique lifestyle pieces made from specially designed fabrics inspired by local heritage, culture and nature or pick up decadent confections at Benns Chocolates or the Plain Vanilla Bakery; sip tasty artisanal tea at Monogram Tea; or create your own fragrance at Oo La Lab.

And don’t miss a visit to the second-level fashion incubator called the Cocoon Space, where Singapore’s brightest independent designers hone their talents using on-site resources, including professional sewing equipment. And if you’re lucky enough, you may be able to catch a special event in the amphitheater located on the rooftop. This eye-opening creative space that showcases local talent is another reason why you should add Singapore to your travel bucket list this year.

Design Orchard Onwelo
Local Designers - Bring home a bit of Singapore with Onlewo's unique lifestyle pieces made from specially designed fabric inspired by local heritage, culture and nature.

5. Enticing Highlights – From Mesmerizing Marina Bay to Beautiful Botanic Gardens  

Year round, travelers visit Singapore for its iconic attractions that make it uniquely different from other popular travel destinations. Consider a visit to the Marina Bay Sands complex – the focal point of the bay – where there’s an ArtScience Museum, casino and various shopping, dining and nightlife options for tourists. And you can’t miss out on taking a dip in the infinity pool at the luxurious Marina Bay Sands Resort or be mesmerized by the jaw-dropping views from the resort’s rooftop.

Another must-see attraction is the colorful Gardens by the Bay. This 250-acre futuristic park and its Supertree structures provide an impressive skywalk over gardens and climate-controlled greenhouses. Couples looking for an intimate spot for cocktails and or dinner with a spectacular view should consider dining at IndoChine, located at the top of the tallest Supertree. It’s also the perfect spot for the watching the spectacular light show every night at 7:45 and 8:45. Honestly, it’s a sight to behold from almost any vantage point around the bay! 

Botanic Gardens
Singapore Botanic Gardens - Celebrating its 160th Anniversary, Singapore's first UNESCO World Heritage Site includes a Learning Forest and National Orchid Garden.

Also consider visiting the Singapore Botanic Gardens, celebrating its 160th anniversary this year. The Gardens – Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site – has a 4-core concept: a heritage core retaining the old favorites and charms of the historic Gardens (Tanglin), the tourist belt of the Gardens (Central), the educational and discovery zone (Bukit Timah), and the Learning Forest, designed to integrate the Gardens’ existing rainforest to form an enlarged forest habitat. In addition to its historical landmarks, the Gardens has a National Orchid Garden that includes an Orchid Checkerboard and a Celebrity Orchid Garden. And the beauty of these world-renowned gardens is that it’s centrally located in the heart of Singapore, which claims the name “City in the Garden” honestly. It’s just one of 5 reasons why Singapore will emerge as one of the hottest travel destinations in 2019 . 

Shop Houses in Singapore
SHOPHOUSES - Take a stroll along Bukit Pasoh's colorful streets to see the brightly-painted shophouses, where you can sip on green tea and learn how to play mahjong.

In addition to these 5 reasons to visit Singapore, there are also direct-flight options to cut down your travel time, which allows you more time to enjoy this unique travel destination. In October 2018, United Airlines started its second direct flight from San Francisco to the Lion City. Singapore Airlines (SQ) – voted the No. 1 airline in the world by Travel + Leisure readers – also has nonstop service between Singapore and Los Angeles and other U.S. cities, including New York (Newark Liberty International Airport). In September, SQ will provide non-stop service to Seattle 3 times a week, making it easier to plan an extended vacation in Singapore.

You can also feel at ease traveling in Singapore knowing that locals speak English fluently, since English together with Malay, Mandarin and Tamil are the official languages spoken. This allows you an amazing opportunity to immerse yourself deep into Singapore’s rich history and multi-ethnic cultures. Plan your extended vacation now. You’ll thank us later!

Marina Bay Sands Rooftop Infinity Pool
marina bay Sands - Take a dip in this luxurious hotel's rooftop infinity pool and enjoy the jaw-dropping panoramic views. (photo credit: Andrew Tan)

Inspired by this article and want to speak with an expert travel agent about how you can plan an unforgettable vacation in Singapore? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with an expert travel agent, who can customize the dream Singapore itinerary you deserve.