Southeast Asiaâ€™s Garden City retains the perfect work-life balance
S I N G A P O R E
Celebrating 51 years of independence, Southeast Asia’s Lion City continues to showcase the perfect example of the work-life balance that so many nations remain envious of today Writer: Emily Jarvis
Singapore onsidered the gateway to Southeast Asia thanks to its world-leading port infrastructure, it should come as no surprise that Singapore – with its intricate blend of distinctly oriental influences and modern affluent living – is revered as a lucrative hub for global industry. The architecturally unique high-rise neighbourhoods often inspired by its Peranakan heritage form the backdrop to a microcosm of Asian ethnic groups who enjoy the city state’s yearround festivals, culinary delights and convenience-led retail culture which all help to create the everyday city buzz. Hidden among Singapore’s densely populated landscape are more than
50 major nature parks as well as four reserves, making for several pictureperfect views at vantage points across the city. The Garden State pushes the boundaries of infrastructure to ultimately create an offering of iconic green spaces; from the stunning Gardens by the Bay, to the must-visit Singapore Botanical Gardens, a popular tourist attraction recently recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Delving deeper into the city, it is no secret that Singaporeans love their food, and there’s certainly plenty to love. The city offers a multitude of legendary tastes and dining experiences; from street food hawker centres and stalls to celebrity Michelin restaurants and late night cocktail bars.
Maintaining the work-life balance without losing site of its heritage, Singapore is considered one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Peel back the layer of squeaky clean sovereignty and you’ll soon find there’s more than meets the eye
Facts and figures Transport links
Leaving Singapore’s award-winning contemporary Changi Airport and being greeted with a swarm of high-rise buildings, constant footfall and bustling city noise can be a very disorientating prospect to firsttime visitors. However, Singapore is there to lend a hand with its very efficient, clean and extensive public transportation system that offers access to every corner of the island; including bus, MRT (mass rapid transit system), taxi, rental car and motorbike transportation. Thanks to a tourism boost and subsequent infrastructure injection every year since the Singapore Grand Prix race was re-launched in 2008, significant investment in the city’s rail network, road infrastructure and other transport links has been a triumph that has made moving from place to place to see the famous sights of Singapore a simple feat. Running from 6am-midnight daily, the MRT is a quick, affordable and convenient way to get around the city-state; operating a colourcoded system that connects Changi Airport with downtown Singapore, the CBD, Orchard Road, Little India, Chinatown and Marina Bay, as well as all the suburbs in the north and western districts. This mode of transport is made all the more
English, Tamil, Malay, Mandarin Area: 719.1km² Population (2015): 5.535 million GDP (2014): $308.051 Currency: Singapore dollar Time zone: UTC+8 Dialling code: +65 Internet TLD: .sg Tallest building: United Overseas Bank Plaza One (280m) Climate: Tropical Highest recorded temperature: 36.7°C
economical through the optional purchase of an EZ-Link card which has a similar function to other top-up travel systems globally such as the Oyster Card on the London Underground. Singapore’s streets are filled with the continuous flow of traffic, which makes identifying transport links a much less daunting task. While taxis are fairly cheap if you are used to paying global inner city prices, Singapore has a fastgrowing Uber tribe for those looking for convenience over cost-saving. The country’s hugely popular retail scene benefits from Singapore’s huge trade of physical goods from the third busiest port in the world; from the extravagant garments available at ION Orchard to the young hipster fashions of retail hotspots such as VivoCity.
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S I N G A P O R E
The business end
Second only to Monaco as the world’s most densely populated country, Singapore often tops the list as one of best places to do business. The world’s only island city-state continues to strengthen its name in this regard as one of the world’s leading financial centres thanks to its low tax regime, stable Government and highly educated, affluent population. Recently named as the world’s most expensive city by the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), the financial powerhouse is now home to more than 120 banks and almost 500 trading companies and funds, and continues to retain its title as the only Asian country with an AAA sovereign credit rating. Since independence from Malaysia in 1965, extensive land reclamation has seen the Lion City increase the
sovereign state’s total size by 23 percent – or 130 square kilometres – as well as develop an urban biodiversity conservation model through a greening policy. The result is an enchanting Garden City neatly intertwined with a spotless, modern city centre, densely populated with a uniquely rich diasporic population. A smorgasbord of multinational giants such as Shell, Microsoft, Unilever, Singapore Airlines, Barclays, GlaxoSmithKline are all housed in the city state, having placed emphasis on Singapore’s access to world-class tech, sound financial policies and subsequent investor confidence emanating across its core industries including oil & gas and manufacturing. Of course it is difficult to talk about Singapore without mentioning the spectacular F1 night race at Marina
Bay Street Circuit, which, now in its ninth year, hugely contributes to the country’s tourism influx; with last year’s event bringing in a total of more than 260,000 spectators over the three-day weekend. The country’s ability to facilitate the upfront investments and organise the construction of the temporary infrastructure required for the street race each year epitomises the balance of live-work-play that is adhered to by Singaporean culture. Thanks to this, local hotels continue to reap higher occupancies yearon-year and, in the long-term, the event has become a catalyst for further industrial and economic development thanks to a rising GDP; firmly positioning Singapore as the ultimate business and leisure destination in Southeast Asia.
Microsoft Singapore, One Marina Boulevard
The Gateway, Singapore houses the regional headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline's Emerging Markets and Asia-Pacific pharmaceutical, consumer healthcare and ViiV businesses
A Location For
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Pleasure A Life Of
Simplicity A business hotel with a life
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> 345 Guest rooms and suites > Outdoor heated swimming pool > 24-Hour gym > All-day dining > Rooftop bar and deck
29 Taikoo Shing Road, Island East, Hong Kong T +852 3968 3968 F +852 3968 3988 firstname.lastname@example.org
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EAST is a business hotel with a wonderfully balanced approach to life. When it’s time for work, EAST is plugged into business. When it’s time to unwind, you’ll find everything (and everyone) at EAST calm and very relaxed.
S I N G A P O R E
Outlook recommends “Singapore is known as a bustling metropolis that also happens to be one of the cleanest and safest cities of its size in the world.” – Tripadvisor HOSPITALITY
TRANSPORT LINKS Avis Singapore
Harilela Hospitality With extensive experience in hotel development and management, Harilela has forged alliances with many of the leading hotel groups across Southeast Asia. The Company has recently expanded its hospitality presence in Changi to cater for the increasing number of business and leisure visitors to Singapore; delivering an increasingly sophisticated service to this growing passenger base. Today, the Group has its very own Ambassador Hotels in Changi Airport and its proven investment strategies continue to embrace new ideas and ways of thinking in line with the evolving hospitality landscape. Drawing upon a number of synergies, expertise and operational support from its Ambassador Transit operations, the Company’s Holiday Inn ventures have gone from strength to strength in Singapore.
SPORT & LEISURE Marine Life Park™ Singapore Botanic Gardens
RETAIL Orchard Road (ION Orchard) VivoCity
FOOD & DRINK
MUSEUMS National Museum of Singapore Peranakan Museum Trick Eye Museum
“You can tell a lot about the quality of the food stall by the length of its queue.” – Yoursingapore
The Avis brand is one of the most recognised car rental brands in the global vehicle rental industry. With a network of five locations – including three at Changi International Airport Terminals 1, 2 and 3 – Avis has a wide range of rental and leasing options available for discerning and new business travellers; comprising 91 different models from 19 car manufacturers.
Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre Celebrity restaurants at Marina Bay Sands
Singapore National Museum
S I N G A P O R E
“Chinatown in Singapore is a sharp contrast to the rest of the city, with low rise buildings and culture bursting out onto the streets, from the fragrant smells of traditional cuisine to the bold red and gold tones that run through the neighbourhood. This is an area that’s proud of its heritage, and has it very much on display. There are ornate Chinese, Buddhist and Hindu temples, museums galore and plenty of opportunities to soak up the bustling streets lined with old shophouses. Here’s our list of the best things to see in Chinatown Singapore.” – Singapore-Guide
A centre for the large Indian community in Singapore, Little India has a distinct identity as one of the most colourful and attractive places to visit in the city-state, away from the hustle and bustle of city life and into a world filled with the sounds of Bollywood and the unmistakable smells of incense and spices from the roadside bazaars. Visit during Diwali in October to witness the spectacular street decorations, celebrations and lighting.
A popular island resort in Singapore, visited by some 20 million people each year, Sentosa will have you spoilt for choice. A favourite leisure destination, the island has a plethora of world-class activities on offer, including Universal Studios Singapore, Fort Siloso, two golf courses, the Merlion, a huge array of cuisines for the discerning foodies, a two kilometre beach and more. Home to Resorts World™ Sentosa, an integrated resort experience, visitors are encouraged to release their inner child for the day.
The Night Safari gives a unique meaning to the phrase, ‘enjoying the Singaporean nightlife’. “As dusk falls, the shutters open at the Night Safari, welcoming you into a world of nocturnal creatures and their dimly-lit homes,” details Yours Singapore. Operating for more than two decades and expanding to a size of 35 hectares of dense rainforest, the world’s first nocturnal zoo is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Singapore with more than 2,500 resident animals including the endangered Asian elephant, Malayan tapir and Malayan tiger.
World Gourmet Summit
Singapore's Marina Bay Street Circuit lighting up the annual F1 calendar
THE MAIN EVENTS Singapore Grand Prix
Host of the first night race in F1 history, Marina Bay Street Circuit will once again offer-up the dramatic highs and lows of the sport’s prestigious drivers to enthusiasts in attendance from all over the world. An event deeply rooted in Singapore’s tourism segment, “We envision it to be a national festival, and one that presents many opportunities for participation for everyone, both visitors and Singaporeans alike”, said Singapore’s Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr S Iswaran. This year, the excitement continues into the night with a free concert available for holders of official race tickets with internationally-acclaimed artists including Kylie Minogue, Queen and Adam Lambert, Imagine Dragons, Bastille and more appearing over the weekend. Dates: 16-18 September, 2016 Website: http://www.singaporegp.sg
“2016 was a milestone year for The World Gourmet Summit, as it celebrates 20 sumptuous years of great food, fine wine and unique dining. A glorious feast of events brings together a stellar cast of international culinary stars, homegrown talents, visiting industry personalities and discerning individuals who appreciate fine wines and cuisines. As the World Gourmet Summit reflects on the past two decades, it looks forward and continues to deliver more memorable gastronomic experiences.” – World Gourmet Summit Dates: TBD, 2017
Singapore International Film Festival
“The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is the largest and longest-running film event in Singapore. Founded in 1987, the festival has become an iconic event in the Singapore arts calendar that is widely attended by international film critics, and recognised worldwide for its focus on Asian filmmakers and the promotion of Southeast Asian films. The festival serves as a catalyst in igniting public interest in the arts, and encouraging artistic dialogue and cultural exchanges.” – Singapore International Film Festival Dates: 23 November – 4 December, 2016
“Currently sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, the Singapore Marathon draws up to 13,000 runners (elite and amateur) from all over the world. Starting at Esplanade Bridge, the route loops through the CBD and beachfront East Coast Park, finishing at the Padang. It's a tough marathon, owing to the island's humid weather, but a spectacular one – during which the city grinds to a momentary halt.” – Timeout magazine Date: 3 December, 2017 Website: www.marathonsingapore.com
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Singapore Business Travel Guide - Asia Outlook Issue 22