Sparkling Singapore

At the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula is a jewel called the Republic of Singapore. Nicknamed “The Little Red Dot,” Singapore is a city-state separated from Malaysia by a causeway measuring only 250 square miles. Within its compact borders, Singapore offers a whole world of experiences to its visitors from its artisan cuisine to its dazzling array of architecture styles.

Singapore is a treasure-trove of delights for every discerning traveler. Walk down the brightly colored busy streets that hold the delectable aromas of street food. Become enveloped in the warm and wet climate that has no defined seasons, only a tropical atmosphere. When darkness falls, the city turns up the lights and illuminates the silhouette of the skyline with its towering skyscrapers standing guard over the classic traditional buildings. Since this country is a blend of many cultures, religions, and languages, the people of Singapore are very welcoming and accepting of others.

Singapore is known for its cleanliness, low crime rate and unusual laws. For example, there are fines and/or prison sentences if you happen to get caught breaking the following laws:

  • Singing in public (three months in prison).
  • Connecting to another person’s wi-fi ($10,000 fine).
  • Feeding the pigeons ($500 fine).
  • Failure to flush a public toilet ($150 fine).
  • Smoking in public ($100–750 fine).
  • Walking around your house naked ($1,000 fine).
  • Littering ($300 or public service).
  • Selling chewing gum ($100,000 fine).
  • Spitting in public ($1,000 fine).

Fortunately, the Singapore government is aware that many of these laws are outdated.

Singapore has an exciting, yet small gay night life that includes clubs, restaurants and other establishments available for your enjoyment. Just don’t sing in public.

Points of Interest


The best way to get a feel for the culture of Singapore is to museum hop! The National Gallery of Singapore (nationalgallery.sg) features 8,000 artworks spanning 10 galleries. The Singapore Art Museum (singaporeartmuseum.sg), affectionately known as “SAM,” houses one of the world’s largest collections of contemporary Southeast Asian artwork in a 19th-century mission school, which will thrill architecture lovers. The Perankan Museum (peranakanmuseum.org.sg) is the place to go for a crash course in Perankan heritage and culture. The term “perankan” means “locally born” in Malay, and refers to the descendants of foreign traders who married local women centuries ago. This museum houses the finest collection of Perankan artifacts such as jewelry, furniture and textiles.


One this is for certain: Singaporeans love their food. Whether from hawker centers, food trucks, or luxury restaurants, it is all a unique blend of the cultural diversity that is Singapore. International chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsey and Mario Batalli all have restaurants in Singapore, and sometimes taking to the streets, you can find a diamond in the rough.

National Kitchen by Violet Oon

This restaurant offers its customer the best in Perankan cuisine. Choices could range from otak crostini (spiced coconut creamfish quenelle served on a buttered crostini) to ketsuri pie (citrus curd on a buttery shortbread crust topped with papaya and limau ketsuri compote, served with clotted cream). Last but not least, you could try the hae be hiam (spicy dried shrimp floss finger sandwich) with kueh pie tee (julienne of bamboo shoot and turnip poached in prawn bisque serviced in a deep fried “top hat” cup topped with a prawn).

Wild Rocket at Mount Emily

Embellish your palate at the Wild Rocket with a dinner of brioche bread with green onions, soft shell chili crab and Iberico pork char stew with shanghai kao cai and quinoa, and end the dinner with black sesame puree and vanilla ice cream. wildrocket.com.sg

At the open-air food complexes or hawker centers, you can find a melting pot of Chinese, Malay, and Indian cultures. One of Singapore’s most popular street foods, char kway teow can be found at the hawker centers. This dish is made up of flat rice noodles stirred with dark soya sauce, blood cockles, bean sprouts and Chinese sausage slices, topped with crispy cubes of deep-fried lard.


A visit to Singapore would not be complete without a visit to these fascinating architectural creations:

  • The Armenian Church of St. Gregory The Illuminator was built in 1835 and is the oldest church in Singapore.
  • St. Andrew’s Cathedral reaches to the heavens with its imposing tower and spire which encountered two lightning strikes in 1852.
  • The Central Fire Station was built with distinctive red and white brick, and it is Singapore’s oldest existing fire station.
  • The Sri Mariamman Temple (Little India), one of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temples, is dedicated to the goddess and destroyer of evil, Kali. The front tower (Rajagopuram) was added in the 1980s with colorful and intricate statues and detailing.
  • Sultan Mosque is a focal point for Singapore’s Malay residents. It sits in what was once the heart of Malay royal land.
  • The Arts House was built in 1827 and was used as Singapore’s first Parliament House, but now is a multi-disciplinary arts venue.
  • The Henderson Waves presents a challenge with a 10-kilometer trail through exotic natural settings.
  • The Singapore Flyer is no ordinary observation wheel. It takes you 165 meters above the ground (as high as 42 stories) on a 30-minute journey in one of the 28 glass capsules as you enjoy Singapore’s stunning scenery.
  • Marina Bay Sands is an architectural masterpiece. Three 55-story towers are the foundation for a literal park in the sky–200 meters in the sky!
  • The Botanical Gardens features sculptures of sculptures, a swan lake, tropical trees and the National Orchid Garden, which has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to more than 60,000 plants.
  • Gardens by the Bay has breathtaking and unique horticultural arrangements. Visit an actual forest in the clouds (up to 50 meters high) which houses the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.


The Singapore gay bar and nightclub scene has evolved rapidly over the last few years. Most gay venues are located on or close to Neil Road in Chinatown, and after the sun goes down you’ll find a number of gay-friendly venues, from chill-out bistros to banging nightclubs. Singapore also hosts regular gay parties, but again, these come and go, so the best way of staying up-to-date is to ask around.

Tantric Bar / May Wong’s Cafe / Backstage Bar

One of Singapore’s longest-running and most popular gay bars, Backstage Bar has both indoor and outdoor areas. This cozy bar turns into a party venue where you dance to some upbeat tunes. This three-in-one venue is a quite an institution in Singapore’s gay nightlife scene and is easy walking distance from Outram Park in Chinatown, a stone’s throw away from the looming skyscrapers of the CBD. This place started off as just the “Backstage Bar,” but its newer Tantric Bar seems to be the most popular choice nowadays, with hip dance music and potent cocktails keeping the diverse crowd happy until throwing out time (when most of the guys stumble across the street to carry on the party at Taboo Club—)

Taboo Club

While other gay clubs come and go in Singapore, Taboo Club is one of a handful that has stood the test of time and still thrives today. Things only really get going here after midnight, when the boys roll up tipsy after a night of bar hopping.

DYMK—“Does Your Mother Know?”

DYMK is located in a lovingly restored old shop-house with a focus more on relaxed tunes and creative cocktails mixed by friendly bartenders. Stop in the daytime to relax or at night when things heat up. Music is generally mainstream hits


Marina Bay Sands

Located along the Marina Bay waterfront, Marina Bay Sands features three cascading hotel towers topped by an extraordinary sky park, “floating” crystal pavilions, a lotus-inspired museum, retail stores featuring cutting-edge labels from international luxury brands, trendy restaurants from celebrity chefs and endless entertainment at the theatres, the hottest night clubs, and a Las Vegas-style casino. Swim on top of the world in the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool, gazing down on the glittering city-skyline from 57 levels above as the lines between fantasy and reality blur—just amazing! marinabaysands.com

Conrad Centennial Singapore

The Conrad Hotel is located within the business and shopping districts of Marina Bay, minutes from Marina Sands which is a part of the Millenia Singapore development, and houses a lifestyle shopping mall with direct access to more than 1,000 shops and over 300 dining options around the area. conradhotels3.hotel.com

The Lion City

Singapore’s national icon is the mythical Merlion—a creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. The body represents Singapore’s beginning as a fishing village and the lions head stands for Singapore’s original name: Singapura, or Lion City.

At Merlion Park, the statue of the Merlion stands facing east for prosperity, spouting water from its mouth, and has greeted passersby for years.

At Merlion Park, the statue of the Merlion stands facing east for prosperity, spouting water from its mouth, and has greeted passersby for years.

Now is the time to visit Singapore!

For travel recommendations:
email RSicilio@TRIPSandCRUISES.com
visit TRIPSandCRUISES.com
call 800-411-8747

Rick Sicilio is the owner of Travel and Tours in Pittsburgh. He is an avid, worldwide traveler and has visited 68 countries to date. For over 21 years, Rick and his staff have been assisting clients to embrace their wanderlust and travel the world.