A fast trip to Singapore

Rooftop bar, Fullerton Bay Hotel, Singapore.

CPA Australia celebrates 60 years in Singapore. Here’s our mini-guide to eating, sleeping and being culturally aware in this global financial hub.

Move

Changi Airport is 20km from the city centre. A taxi takes around 30 minutes and costs anywhere from S$18 to S$38, depending on the time of day (a surcharge of 50 per cent of the final metered fare is added between 12am and 6am).

Trains leave Changi Airport Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Station at the basement of Terminals 2 and 3. It takes 27 minutes to reach the city and costs S$1.30 for a one-way trip.

Taxis are an easy way to get around the city but also try out Singapore’s MRT system – it’s fast, efficient and incredibly clean.

Speak

English is the language most widely used for business but you may also hear some “Singlish” spoken in informal situations.

Singlish is a hybrid English-based creole that draws on words and expressions from Singapore’s four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

Relaxing on Sentosa Island

Eat

Maxwell Road Hawker Centre
1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore

A favourite hawker centre among Singaporeans, the Centre has more than 100 stalls offering delicious fare. Try the famous tian tian chicken rice or the fish soup noodles, a local favourite, at Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon.

Restaurant André
41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore
+65 6534 8880

Located in a 1920s shophouse just near Chinatown, André Chiang’s French restaurant has an elegant menu that makes it easy to see why it’s won so many awards.

It’s been listed in San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants for two years running.

Jaan
Level 70, Equinox Complex, Swissôtel The Stamford
2 Stamford Road, Singapore
+65 6837 3322

Located on the 70th floor of the Swissôtel, Jaan is among the city’s finest restaurants with surely the finest view.

The restaurant has a delicious three-course lunch menu during the week (the organic lamb is something special). Its wine list includes nearly 500 different labels.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel: a city icon

Sleep

M Hotel

81 Anson Road, Singapore
+65 6224 1133

The M Hotel is about as good as a business hotel can get. It has rooms catering for conferences, launches, or smaller seminars and workshops. It’s also close to key government offices, major banks and tourist attractions including Chinatown and Clarke Quay.

The Westin Singapore
12 Marina Viewm Asia Square Tower 2, Singapore
+65 6922 6888

One of Singapore’s newest hotels, The Westin is on beautiful Marina Bay in the financial district. Its Executive Club Rooms include clever work areas, and guests staying in these rooms have access to the Executive Club Lounge, which includes a meeting room.

Four Seasons Hotel
190 Orchard Boulevard, Singapore
+65 6734 1110

Set right in the Orchard Road shopping strip and close to the financial district, the Four Seasons Hotel caters to the fit and savvy business traveller with a 24-hour gym and two indoor, air-conditioned tennis courts. It also boasts 24-hour business facilities, with translation and secretarial services.

The private dining rooms at the hotel’s Jiang-Nan Chun restaurant are a good choice for a business dinner.

Noodle soup: a local tradition

Play

Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore
+65 6688 8868

The multi-billion dollar Marina Bay Sands resort boasts a casino, museum, theatres, shopping and an incredible SkyPark garden with pool that spans the three towers of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. This is entertainment, Vegas-style.

Sentosa
This resort island off Singapore’s south is all about fun. As well as beaches, it has blockbuster rides at Universal Studios Singapore, historic Fort Siloso, the world’s largest aquarium and a butterfly park.

Singapore Zoo
80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore
65 6269 3411
The zoo looks more like a wildlife park, as the animals roam freely in open habitats. Its famous Night Ride section was the world’s first safari park for nocturnal animals.

Local Knowledge

Sheryl Koh, assistant marketing communications manager at CPA Australia’s Singapore office, suggests these spots for a quiet meeting:

The Boathouse restaurant – located in one of the oldest buildings in Singapore
3 Fullerton Rd #03-01
The Waterboat House, Singapore
+65 6538 9038

Fullerton Bay Hotel – restaurant or lobby bar
1 Fullerton Square, Singapore
+65 6733 8388

Two residents of Singapore Zoo

Good manners

For business meetings, punctuality is vital. Be patient through negotiations and try to never disagree directly with someone of a higher rank. Address people as Mr, Mrs or Miss and not by their first names, unless you are familiar with them.

Always dress conservatively for business functions, as people in the city-state take pride in their attire. And always give and receive business cards with both hands, as a sign of respect for the other person.

If you host a lunch, keep in mind that Muslims do not eat pork and Hindus do not eat beef. Chicken is a safe option. Alcohol is not common at lunch but acceptable at dinner.

Do not tip! Tipping is not customary in Singapore and is actually frowned on by the government. But there’s no need to feel guilty, as most service-oriented transactions already have a service charge included.

Don’t get physical, as public displays of affection are frowned on in Singapore. It’s also considered impolite to point at someone with your index finger. Never touch someone’s head – this part of the body is considered sacred. And do not show the bottom of your feet, or use your foot to point at something. 

Apps

YourSingapore Guide
Android and iOS / Free
Developed by the Singapore Tourism Board, this app lists more than 1000 things to see and do in the city-state.

NextRide
iOS / Free
Helps you plan your public transport trip and, importantly, ensures you won’t miss your stop. The app alerts you when you are approaching your destination. How helpful!

Singapore Zoo
iOS / Free
Make the most of your zoo visit with this handy app. You can create your own itinerary, find what might interest you the most, and avoid the queues by booking your ticket ahead of time. 

This article is from the September 2014 issue of INTHEBLACK magazine.

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