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Singapore: Four cultural highlights

With Singapore celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence this year, these four cultural experiences give a flavour of the island’s colourful past and present.

Singapore

Singapore Botanic Gardens: Located a few minutes away from bustling Orchard Road, the Botanic Gardens, opened in 1859, is Singapore’s oldest garden and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July. The site includes the National Orchid Garden, with more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids on display, including orchids named in honour of State visitors and other VIPs. The Cool House, a tropical highland cloud forest, provides a welcome respite from the heat. There are several venues within the Gardens that can be used for groups, including Burkill Hall, a restored two-storey colonial house overlooking the National Orchid Garden. It can host up to 80 on one level and 100 on the second level for events.

Mount Faber: For panoramic views of Singapore’s business district, head to Mount Faber, a hill located 100 metres above the sea, and enjoy a typical Singapore-style breakfast at Spuds & Aprons restaurant. Located on top of the hill, the venue opened an alfresco dining space in May 2014, which seats up to 250. There is also an indoor space for 70 for dinner or 100 for cocktails. Visitors can also enjoy some stunning views by riding the Singapore Cable Car between Faber Peak and Sentosa Island.

Images of Singapore Live: The attraction, located on Sentosa Island, charts the history of Singapore from 1819 to the present day. It reopened in March this year, with the inclusion of live actors and special effects to create a more immersive experience. The attraction includes the ‘Spirit of Singapore’ boat ride, which takes visitors on a leisurely trip through ‘sights’ including a tropical Singaporean garden, the F1 Singapore night race and the Singapore flyer.

Singapore runaround: Experience a tour of the city as locals do, via riverboats, subway and trishaws, exploring key neighbourhoods including Little India, Arab Street, the Singapore River and Clarke Quay. Groups can also combine the tour with a visit to the Peranakan Museum, housed in a former school, which has a comprehensive and impressive collection of artefacts from Peranakan culture, highlighting Chinese, Malay and Indian heritage.