What to do in Singapore on Family Holidays
There are different kind of travelers in today’s highly fragmented travel world. From backpackers, to luxury travelers, to solo travelers, to solo woman traveler, to solo divorced traveler, to adventure travel junkie, to biker to family traveler like me you name it and we have a traveler for the same. As I love to travel with my family I consider myself to be a family traveler and am always looking for great places to travel for family vacations.
Let us take a closer look at Singapore as a family travel destination of choice.
As a family traveler, I am looking at following one by one.
- Safety in Singapore: Whether you are a family traveler, business traveler, Solo traveler, Solo Female traveler, Solo divorced traveler, Solo divorced female/male/LGBT traveler, Biker, adventure junkie, backpacker, luxury traveler, 50 plus traveler, 50 plus woman solo traveler, retired traveler, working half the year traveler, pilgrim traveler or whatever you brand yourself safety is every body’s first priority, because you need your body and soul together to travel. Here Singapore gets 100 out of hundred marks as Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world. Not once I felt threatened, unwelcome or unsafe even when I was on the road in the middle of the night on the riverfront. There were families both local and visitors around me who were enjoying. Petty crimes like chain snatching, pick-pocketing, tourist traps are one of the lowest in Singapore. So if you are using the necessary common sense you are extremely safe in Singapore.
- Activities for Kids: With two kids in tow we look for places where they will not feel bored and with enormous theme parks like Universal Studios that have shows to cater to every taste and age your kids will never be short of activities to look forward to. But theme park is only one thing, even the museums and art galleries in Singapore think about children. When we visited the Asian Civilizations Museum ( ACM ) for a traveling exhibit from Kolkata Museum in India, we found they had activities for kids. So while parents look at the artifacts closely the kids can draw and participate in treasure hunt inside the museum and hone their drawing and painting skill and learning about our heritage in a fun way. Highly recommended for kids above 4 years of age, to visit one of the many historical and modern museums in Singapore. Some of the other activities conducted for kids at the museums include storytelling, musical performances, toy making etc. Check the ( ACM ) museum website for more information to plan your trip.
- Learn about Mother Nature: Our plant is more threatened today due to our actions than it was ever in history. As responsible global citizens, we need to learn, appreciate, respect and conserve other species here as most of them came here before us. But due to lack of time most of us are happy to watch them on Television rather than do something concrete. The first step to learning about nature is to observe them from close quarters. Unfortunately, we do not have time to travel to distant places, but this is where Singapore scores. With one of the best Zoo in the world, a huge SEA Aquarium to observe marine life and Gardens By the Bay that host hundreds of rain forests, tropical, semi tropical and arid zone species one can learn a lot about plants and animals. It is one thing to read that cactus grow in desert but it is a totally different feeling to see a huge thorny ball smiling at you and suddenly you learn what is the meaning of adaptation to the habitat. What could be better than a family vacation with fun that also teaches you and your kids about various habitats, plants and animals around us? Singapore also has one of the first Elephant Parade sales and displays at Tangs a high street departmental store on Orchard Street. Read this earlier post of mine about Elephant Parade and how it is supporting conservation of Asian Elephants.
- Cultural Connect: For a small island nation Singapore has some of the most diverse cultural and religious diversity. From Buddhist temples in Chinatown to Tamil Hindu temples in Little India, Old Masjid Sultan and colonial-era churches Singapore has all. The communal harmony in Singapore is worthy of emulation by other nations. I was there during Ramazan and the streets around the mosque were full of people visiting to feast in the evening after fasting for the day. But along with those who were observing Ramadan, we also found tourists, locals thronging the street food stalls to cherish the delicacies. We learned a lot about the Indian and Singapore connect and how Indians have contributed to the Singaporean society at the India Heritage Center in Little India. For the first time in my life, I listened to the voice of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose from a recording of a radio broadcast he did around 1940s. Every nerve in my body had electricity passing on listening to him asking Indians to support the cause of an Independent India. Thanks a lot Singapore for preserving a piece of our history to share with visiting Indians and other nationalities.
- Food Food and some more Food: I think Singaporeans learned it a long ago that the way to a tourist / traveler’s heart is through his stomach. Name your cuisine and budget and you will get it. From molecular gastronomy at Indian fusion food at SAHA to street food at China town you are spoiled for choice. Vegetarian? Vegan? Pescetarianism, Ovo-Lacto vegetarianism, Jain, South Indian, Continental, Malay, Punjabi, Gujarati, Italian, Sushi, fine dine,QSR, street food, Martian, Venus (OK I made up the last 2, but you get the gist). Although I am a vegetarian by choice I never was short of choices at any of the restaurant we went from the Oasia hotel we stayed to the China town food street, there were choices for everybody and if you are traveling with fussy eaters, you are in luck because even they will have enough choices for food in Singapore they will not be able to say no to. Maybe we should start a new cuisine / diet:Fussyeatarian?
- Shopping in Singapore: Well which family does not want to shop? From designer boutiques to high street fashion, ethnic Chinese, Malay and Indian souvenirs to the latest electronics and gadgets, get ready to haul bags for the Missus and Kids. The best part is you get 7 % cash back at the airport as non-Singaporeans don’t have to pay Goods and Services tax on goods and services purchased in Singapore. When you buy high ticket items ask the counter for a GST return and they will guide you to fill a simple form and you can get cash refund back at the Changi Airport. So go ahead buy clothes for kids, designer perfumes for your beloved, latest cameras, laptops, Super Smart Idiot Boxes but don’t forget to claim your GST refund, to get some cash for some last minute shopping at the airport 🙂
- Some Selifies in Singapore: This is the age of selfies, I think I am from the dinosaur era, who has failed to evolve as everywhere around me I found people taking selfies.Selfie with Merlion, the selfie with friends, a selfie with Gardens by the Bay, Selfies with Marina Bay Sands, a selfie with hands, a selfie with Selfie Stick. As you pose with your family for selfies I can guarantee you that the memories will be cherished forever. Even if you are not much of selfie guy like me, just clicking pictures of your family around the world famous monuments of Singapore will be so much fun. For some fun images may I suggest Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum at Sentosa Island and Alive Museum at the Suntec Mall? Pose for pictures with Dinosaurs at Universal Studios or with the stars of the Waterworld show, all in all you will have a blast clicking pictures in Singapore.
And a bonus reason to visit Singapore with your family: Singapore is celebrating the 50th year of Independence and some fabulous deals are available for airlines, hotels and shopping in Singapore. Check Your Singapore website for more information. You can also follow #SG50 on twitter to keep yourself updated about 50th anniversary celebrations in Singapore.
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