Warm and pink sky tones bath Singapore's skyline at sunset , with reflections on the water

Our guide to the districts of Singapore

In Singapore, you can cycle through primary rainforest, swim in the world’s biggest rooftop infinity pool, have cocktails in a swanky bar and go for wanton mee at a generations-old hawker store — and still have time for more.

It may be less than half the size of London, but Singapore’s sheer diversity means it’s far more tricky to define. There are its ethnic enclaves — Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam — where traditions tick on amid modernity, and old kopitiam coffee shops rub shoulders with the trendiest boutiques and sushi bars. There’s the Civic District, where grand old colonial buildings contain stunning art collections, museums and concert halls. Then there are its magnificent green spaces, which cover nearly 50% of the city and range from Victorian botanic gardens to cutting-edge supertrees and biodomes.

Sentosa Island’s nutty, Vegas-esque collision of casinos, rollercoasters and shopping malls is balanced by Pulau Ubin, where mangrove swamps and kampong villages persist on an island little changed since the sixties. And all this before we’ve even mentioned Marina Bay — with its crazy light shows, F1 pit buildings, futuristic gardens and resort hotels.

It may be no bigger than a full-stop at the end of the Malay Peninsula, but the island city-state of Singapore has a richness and complexity that belies its tiny size.

"Nobody in Singapore drinks Singapore Slings. It's one of the first things you find out there. What you do in Singapore is eat. It's a really food-crazy culture, where all of this great food is available in a kind of hawker-stand environment." – Anthony Bourdain

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Nearly everyone who comes to Singapore will begin their journey in Changi, but very few will actually get out and explore. All the more reason why you should.

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Come to Chinatown to experience Singapore at its most traditional and its trendiest, side-by-side.

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It’s not for nothing that Singapore is known as the “Garden City”, and the Jurong Gardens are among the best of the bunch.

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It’s hard to imagine that when the Civic District was first built, its domes, colonnades and and gleaming white walls looked out over primary jungle.

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If the Civic District is the grand older statesman of Singapore, Clarke Quay is its rebellious, party-loving teenager.

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Established by the Dutch but named after an Englishman (architect Hugh Holland), European influence of all sorts has radiated out of Holland V for decades.

The InsideAsia team in Bristol

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