For many UK travellers, Singapore is simply a stamp on the passport en route to some far-flung corner of the southern hemisphere. But instead of passing through, why not stay and discover the unique charms of this former colonial trading post with its beguiling cocktail of empire and exoticism. Cheap flights to Singapore deliver you to a cosmopolitan crossroads that’s forged its own fascinating identity over the decades since independence. China, India, Malaysia, Japan and Britain have all played their part in creating its world-famous cuisine and contributed to its cultural diversity. New-world skyscrapers provide a dramatic backdrop to the old-school charm of colonial mansions, the buzz of hawker food markets contrasts with the tranquillity of Buddhist temples, and the world’s top designer labels sit happily side by side with artisan craft stalls.
Singapore is one of the main transport hubs in Asia, so there’s no shortage of competition, especially for the lucrative route between London and Sydney. This means it’s usually possible to find budget flights to Singapore all year round, although prices are liable to rise over the popular Christmas holiday period when British families flock to the Australian sunshine. Chinese New Year in late January/February sees a huge influx of visitors to Singapore from around the world, so if you’re planning a visit at this time of year it’s essential to book well in advance for the best availability. The months of August and September are a good bet for finding cheap deals to Singapore, as this is traditionally the low season for tourism in the republic – however you can still enjoy pleasant weather while benefitting from cheaper accommodation and fewer crowds.
Changi Airport is the international gateway to Singapore and one of the world’s busiest airports. This is the home base for national carrier Singapore Airlines, which operates a competitively priced direct service from London Heathrow in around 13 hours. British Airways also flies direct from London Heathrow. The choice widens considerably if you opt for a one-stop strategy, with the world’s major airlines routing via their home hubs – for example, Turkish Airlines via Istanbul, Vietnam Airlines via Hanoi and Qatar Airways via Doha all offer great deals from London Heathrow. Departures from UK regional airports include Birmingham via Dubai with Emirates, Belfast via Amsterdam with KLM and Glasgow via Paris with Air France.
Changi Airport, just over 10 miles from downtown Singapore, is used to handling high volumes of travellers from all corners of the globe, so not surprisingly its onward transport facilities are second to none. Luggage-friendly trains link Terminals 2 and 3 with the Tanah Merah MRT (mass rapid transit) station, a major intersection for the state network. There are also frequent buses into the centre of Singapore with a typical transfer time of around an hour. Alternatively, cut the journey time in half with a comfortable taxi ride straight to your hotel – cabs can be booked in advance at an agreed price for convenience and peace of mind after a long flight.
Singapore is fondly known as the Red Dot, referring to its tiny size compared to the vast continent that it abuts. But this island city-state manages to pack in more attractions per square mile than many of its larger neighbours. Discover a treasure trove of Southeast Asian art in the National Gallery, a breathtaking conversion of the city’s historic city hall and courthouse. Familiarise yourself with indigenous cultures in the Asian Civilisations Museum and admire the unique collection of rare orchids in the UNESCO-listed Botanic Gardens. Share breakfast with the friendly orang-utans in Singapore Zoo, lunch on a bowl of spicy laksa in Tiong Bahru Market, sip a Singapore Sling in the legendary Long Bar at Raffles Hotel and dine on chilli crab under the stars in a Clarke Quay restaurant. You’ll be glad you stopped over in Singapore.
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