Singapore offers some of Southeast Asia’s greatest diversity of entertainment in a variety of creative venues, from indoor and outdoor parks, to museums and unexpected swathes of green spaces, making the compact city-state a great walkable destination for the whole family.
Many families head straight to the world-class Sentosa Island, and for good reason too. The big-ticket, all-day attractions reside neatly in one place at Resorts World Sentosa, but the island also houses a multitude of bite-sized thrills that the whole family can laugh and bond over, such as the Skyline Luge, Flying Trapeze, Butterfly and Insect Park, Segway tours and MegaZip flying fox.
One highlight of Sentosa is the S.E.A. Aquarium, which houses more than 100,000 underwater creatures from over 800 species across 49 different habitats. Experiences include the Discovery Touch hands-on pool, where staff members share lessons about a selection of underwater creatures, the ‘Ocean Dreams’ overnight sleep-out for kids and the VIP Guided Tour. The vast Open Ocean aquarium, with its resident manta rays, is sublime. You could spend all day on the tiered floors just gazing into this one tank alone.
From sea creatures to land mammals, River Safari, nestled between the ever-popular Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, offers an educational journey through the world’s greatest river eco-systems and a chance to see such extraordinary creatures as giant puffer fish from the Congo, alligator snapping turtles of the Mississippi and giant salamanders from the Yangtze. Take the Amazon River Quest boat to spot some of the great mammals of this epic waterway, including jaguars, giant anteaters and red howler monkeys. Make sure you leave time for the Giant Panda Forest,where the residents Kai Kai and Jie Jie draw huge crowds.
Away from Singapore’s concrete sprawl, Sungei Buloh wetland reserve is a 160-hectare mangrove swamp, where you can take an audio tour along the 500m boardwalk, or the more immersive five- and seven-kilometre treks to spot myriad critters, such as collared kingfishers and sea eagles, tree-climbing crabs, mudskippers and even saltwater crocodiles in their natural habitat. Don’t forget insect repellent!
Sungei Buloh is accessible via Kranji MRT station, which is also the starting point for Kranji Countryside, which brings together a number of specialist farms, such as koi, goats, beekeeping, orchids and organic veggies, which can be visited on the Kranji Countryside Express. There’s plenty of hands-on experiences, including cooking classes (for age five to adult) at Bollywood Veggies, feeding animals at Farmcentre, or making pottery at Thow Kwang Clay Artists. www.kranjicountryside.com
Back in the city, one of the legacies of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee in 2015 has been a number of new family-oriented venues promoting Singapore as a leading cultural capital of Asia. Among these is the National Gallery Singapore, with the world’s largest public display of modern Southeast Asian art, and the gallery’s Keppel Centre for Art Education, the first dedicated art education facility in Singapore and the surrounding region. Comprising four immersive and interactive environments, including Art Corridor, Project Gallery, Playscape and Children’s Museum and Workshop, the Keppel Centre for Art Education features immersive zones conducive to active play and discovery, as well as areas for educational hands-on activities and workshops.
Already a global business centre and foodie hub, Singapore’s family credentials continue to blossom. Plan in advance for discount tickets and special events, and, suitably exhausted, you’ll probably need a holiday to recover!
Jakarta to Singapore
Flight Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Frequency 63 ﬂights per week
From Colours May 2016