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18 Sep 2023

Secret Singapore

We’re always excited for summer, and with Singapore Airlines adding even more direct summer flights we’re more excited than ever!

Singapore Airlines recently announced 40 extra direct flights between Singapore and Ōtautahi Christchurch. From 19 November 2023, they’ll be adding three flights per week in addition to their daily year-round service, for a total of ten direct flights per week.

Whether you’re hopping off at Changi Airport or connecting to another city in Asia or Europe, it’s such a bonus being able to jump on a long haul straight from Christchurch. In fact, you might be surprised by just how much there is to do in Singapore itself. If you have a few days or more to spare, it’s well worth a visit.

To whet your appetite we’ve put together six must-do’s (and six secret facts) about 'Singa Pura', the Lion City.

Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay is a vibrant waterfront precinct renowned for its bustling nightlife, diverse dining and historic ambiance. The area's beautifully restored shophouses and scenic riverfront come alive at dusk, serving up a lively atmosphere and fascinating blend of colours, sounds and aromas. We recommend combining a riverside stroll, sunset cruise and late night dessert for the perfect Singaporean evening.

Secret fact: Clarke Quay’s Central Fountain Square has been designed to provide a cooling effect in the immediate area. The Square’s eye catching water features create a microclimate that’s up to five degrees cooler than its surroundings. So if you’re feeling hot, go check out this ‘cool’ feature of Clarke Quay!

Emerald Hill

Ready to travel back in time? Step into the Emerald Hill enclave, just off the Orchard Road shopping district. Here, 20th century architecture keeps the past alive with rows of vibrant façades and intricate details. Today these well preserved buildings are home to a range of boutique shops, hip bars and private residences. Well worth a visit by day or by night.

Secret fact: Emerald Hill started life as a nutmeg orchard before taking shape as a residential neighbourhood in the early 1900s. Emerald Hill was originally occupied by Peranakan families. Also known as Straits Chinese or Babas, Peranakans are the descendants of early Chinese immigrants who intermarried with Southeast Asian locals. 

Gardens by the Bay

Singapore is famous for weaving technology and greenery together, and Gardens By The Bay is a captivating example. Here, futuristic “Supertrees”, towering vertical gardens, and two vast conservatories – the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest – showcase a huge diversity of plant life. Kids and adults alike will love exploring this awe-inspiring environment. Don’t forget to return after dark for the light and sound show. Simply magical!

Secret fact: Tucked away within this horticultural wonderland you’ll find the Victoria Lily Pond – look for it between the Golden Garden and the Tadpole Play Garden. Here you can capture a shot of incredible contrasts, with the futuristic Marina Bay Sands rising out of the pond’s natural backdrop. Snap it, post it and watch the ‘likes’ count up!

Haji Lane

Nestled within the Kampong Glam neighbourhood lies Haji Lane, a true hipster’s haven. Packed with street art, eclectic boutiques, vintage clothing and hole in the wall cafes and bars, it’s well worth an explore. Check out the Arabic wares and treat yourself to a Turkish kebab or Moroccan mint tea. While you’re in the area be sure to check out the nearby Sultan Mosque, one of Singapore’s most impressive religious buildings.

Secret fact: At just over four metres wide in parts, Haji Lane is said to be Singapore’s narrowest street. The laneway once provided accommodation for Hajj pilgrims passing through Singapore. Pilgrims would often stop and work in the area as hawkers in order to save enough money to continue their journeys.

Island hopping

You might not expect it, but Singapore is the perfect spot for some tropical island hopping. Jump on a ferry and be transported from city bustle to island bliss. Southern Singapore offers you a choice of stunning islands including the easily accessible St John’s and Kusu Islands, Lazarus Island, Sisters’ Island, Pulau Hantu, Pulau Tekukor and Pulau Seringat. If you’re a fan of sandy beaches and turquoise waters, you’ve come to the right place!

Secret fact: Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong revealed in his 2018 biography that at one point Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew considered creating a nudist resort on Sentosa Island in order to attract tourists. The motion was ultimately vetoed (or perhaps there’s a secret to Singapore that even we haven’t heard).

Shiseido Forest Valley (Jewel Changi Airport)

We love our living wall here at Christchurch Airport, but have to admit that Jewel Changi Airport’s Shiseido Forest Valley offers a ‘next level’ natural experience! One of Singapore's largest indoor gardens, this remarkable place houses over 900 trees, 60,000 shrubs, up to 100 bird species and a network of pathways. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in a real forest – that is, until you look up to see the toroid shaped dome above. The Shiseido Forest Valley is open 24/7 and is a must-do for anyone travelling to or through Jewel Changi Airport.

Secret fact: The HSBC Rain Vortex is the world's tallest indoor waterfall, standing at 40 metres high. The water cascades all the way from the roof down to Basement 3 where the catchment area is. This water is then pumped back up to the ceiling and the cycle repeats itself.

One more fact, just for fun!

Singapore's name is derived from 'Singa Pura', which means ‘Lion City’. According to Malay history, the prince Sang Nila Utama bestowed this name on the island after he came ashore and saw a creature he thought was a lion.

Singapore Airlines, a member of Star Alliance, flies daily from Christchurch to Singapore and beyond, connecting you to over 70 destinations around the world. To support the increased demand for travel over the New Zealand summer period, Singapore Airlines will mount an additional three flights a week from Christchurch, providing New Zealanders with a total of ten flights a week between the two garden cities, delivering a range of options to meet your travel needs.