Parents’ Travel Guide: What to Do in Singapore
Jump into a culture filled with delicious food, must-visit attractions and plenty of opportunities for relaxation at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.
Nestled at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, rainforest remnants dot the concrete jungle of cosmopolitan Singapore and its collage of Chinese, Malay, Indian and British cultures. What was once a little fishing village is now a dynamic hub of eclectic architecture, a staggering range of cuisine, art, hip nightlife and seemingly countless family attractions. This colourful mix of global influences and time periods create an unforgettable experience from your base at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.
- Cultural diversity. A tumultuous history, geography and commercial success have created a melting pot of ethnicity and religion. Most people speak more than one language and it’s neat to experience a place so globally cohesive that even kids notice.
- Incredible food. Leave the diet behind and embrace the opportunity to dive into decadent chili crab, nasi lemak, spicy laksa, char kway teow noodles, satay and more. Wash a meal down with teh tarak, tea and condensed milk tossed between mugs to create a thick froth.
- Easy logistics. Virtually everyone speaks English. Taxis are clean, reliable and inexpensive. Singaporeans love kids and they’re welcome almost everywhere. Organic baby food, diapers and any cuisine imaginable is within walking distance of the Hotel. Even Changi Airport has butterfly gardens, playgrounds and delicious food.
- Green and clean. There’s a reason why Singapore’s nickname is “The Garden City.” Litter is absent and eco-friendly practices are the norm. In addition to the world-famous Singapore Botanic Gardens, every available space is full of immaculately-pruned, dense tropical plants and palms, including expressway dividers.
What the kids will love
- The rooftop pool. Rarely crowded—with shaded day beds, poolside treats and plenty of toys—this is one of my daughter’s favourite hotel pools. Two years ago, it helped cure her fear of swimming, likely due to its comfortable size and depth. For that, I’m eternally grateful.
- Wildlife Reserves Singapore. The famous Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park and the new River Safari are all managed by the Reserves. If time permits, visit them all. Study the website in advance to time a visit during animal feedings and shows of interest.
- Kids Sunday Brunch. It’s excessive, extravagant and may spoil you for a lifetime, but never miss an opportunity to brunch in Singapore. At the Hotel, you should plan on not seeing the kids much during this hearty meal—the supervised Kiddie’s Playland offers face painting, a bouncy house, kid-friendly eats and other entertainment.
- Amenities galore. With a pop-up tent, colourful kids’ table and treats, there will always be something to keep the kids entertained while at the Hotel.
What you will love
- Shopping. Next to food, shopping is probably the next most popular Singaporean pastime. Steps from the Hotel lies the glory of Orchard Road, a 2.2-kilometre (1.4-mile) haven for global and local fashion mixed with entertainment, even the President of Singapore’s official residence. Grab a map from the Concierge to navigate the area’s walkways and tunnels.
- Hawker centres. Cheap, cheerful, casual and bursting with cuisine options, these open-air buildings full of food stalls are loved by locals and tourists alike. Don’t miss out on experiencing Singapore’s famous street food.
- The Spa. Book a chemical-free, Asian-inspired massage, facial or reflexology treatment. Finish by enjoying a healthy bento tray. If you dare attempt to keep the kids quiet, it’s even possible to enjoy a massage in your room.
- Seasonal highlights. Special events happen year-round, from summer’s Great Singapore sale and Formula One racing in the fall to Chinese New Year festivities.
- Cool ethnic neighborhoods. Little India has colourful Hindu temples and great shopping for silk and gold. You can buy holistic medicine and dim sum in Chinatown. In Kampong Glam, there’s the Sultan Mosque and quirky shops with spices, trinkets and Persian rugs. To learn about Peranankan culture, visit Joo Chiat and Katong Street.
Arriving from a different time zone? The multiple Bvlgari clocks near the Hotel’s One-Ninety restaurant will tell you what time it is across the globe.
Four Seasons’ Jiang-Nan Chun presents classic Cantonese fair in a luxe setting during lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Try the five-course set lunch or signature dishes of braised abalone with kailan and double-boiled herbal soups.
Kids under the age of five eat free at One-Ninety, which serves local and international favourites throughout the day.
5 family to-dos
1. Get close to wildlife. We are big fans of the special experiences on offer at the Wildlife Reserves Singapore parks. Breakfast with the orangutans at Singapore Zoo is a fun experience, but on this trip we booked the Feeding Frenzy Tour at Jurong Bird Park, the world’s largest aviary. The privately-narrated tour by cart tempered the heat, and we fed bread and bananas to a variety of exotic birds.
2. Sentosa Island. Especially with older kids, plan to spend time on this resort island, home to the region’s only Universal Studios and S.E.A. Aquarium, the world’s largest. Build sandcastles, play volleyball and swim in the South China Sea at festive Siloso Beach. Ride the cable car, swing from a trapeze and participate in water sports here.
3. Night Safari. Arrive to the world’s first safari park for nocturnal animals right when it opens at 7:30 p.m. Head straight to the tram for the 45-minute narrated ride through the seven geographical regions of the world. If the kids have energy after the tour, wander the park and see a show. Or, be daring and dip your feet into the park’s fish spa on the way out.
4. Enjoy the views. Board the Singapore Flyer, the tallest observation wheel in the world, for panoramic views of Singapore and even parts of Malaysia and Indonesia.
Or, pair a visit to the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck on the 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort with a few hours at the nearby ArtScience Museum, where high-tech exhibits demonstrate the link between art and science.
5. Relax. As tempting as it may be to plan a full itinerary, embrace the slower pace dictated by this tropical climate. A half day spent at the park mixed with rest and a little pool time worked perfectly for us.
You can also enjoy the Four Seasons experience at The Regent Singapore, A Four Seasons Hotel.