singapore-marina-bay-sands

Lee Kwan Yew (LKY), Singapore’s founding father just passed away last week and his guidance and love of Singapore will be sorely missed by citizens and Permanent Residents (like myself) alike.

Having lived, worked and started a business here in Singapore since 2000, I can attest to the ease and business friendly environment that is LKY’s legacy.

Here are my top tips on doing business here in the Lion City whether on a short stopover or for an extended stay:

Where to stay

There are many options for where to stay in Singapore, from serviced apartments to 6 star hotels. If you are looking for a central location but are on a budget, check out 3 star hotel Ibis at Bencoolen Street.

It’s in a central location within 5 minutes of the MRT (Underground) system, rooms are clean and relatively spacious with free Wi-Fi. It also gets great reviews on trip advisor for a nice breakfast. If your budget can stretch a little further and you are looking for a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore during your down time, I highly recommend the 5 star The Sentosa Resort and Spa at Sentosa Island. About 25 minutes’ drive from the city center, it is an oasis of peace and calm with a great spa and a lovely quiet beach nearby.

If serviced apartments are more your thing, Fraser Suites on River Valley Road are a great choice. Centrally located with a lovely pool, gym and a little boutique shopping centre next door, this is the ideal place to stay for a quieter but still very central location close to the highly acclaimed Roberson Quay. Fraser suites also have great amenities for children, so this is the perfect place to stay if you are bringing your family.

Getting around

Getting around in Singapore couldn’t be easier. The MRT system is second to none and you can get a 1 (S$10), 2 (S$16) or 3 day(S$20) tourist pass which will take you to most places you want to go in Singapore. For more information on travelling around Singapore and where you can buy the tourist pass, check out Your Singapore.com. The taxi system is also cheap and efficient but it can be difficult to get a cab when it rains. You can pre-book taxis and of course your hotel will be happy to do this for you.

What to Eat

Singapore is world renowned as being a food mecca and I can attest to this. There is a huge variety of delicious food assaulting you from every direction. From local hawker style food to gourmet restaurants, the choice is endless. Having lived here for many years, I have my favourites which have stood the test of time. My number one favorite for Italian, is Petes Place at the Grand Hyatt on Scotts road. For vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, try Original Sin at Chip Bee Gardens in Holland Village. For local food try out any of the local hawker centres. The hawker at Zion Road tends to be very popular with tourists and locals alike.

Must Sees

There are many places to see and fun things to do in Singapore but top of my list when I have family and friends in town are:

  • MBS (Marina Bay Sands) with its sky-high Ku De Ta Restaurant and infinity Pool. It also has an amazing shopping center with high street to high end designer wear. I do love to sit and people watch at the Coffee Bean café alongside the Venetian style canal that flows through the middle of the shopping mall.
  • Anywhere along the river for a walk, to people watch or for great wine and food options. I especially like Robertson Quay for breakfast and lunch. Clarke Quay and Boat Quay tend to be busier and are livelier at night.
  • Tiong Bahru, China town, Arab Street and Little India are other great ethnic areas to wander around and get a feel for the local way of life as well as to pick up some authentic souvenirs.
  • If you have the family in tow, be sure to visit the night safari zoo (one of a kind) and of course Universal Studios at Sentosa Island.

Business Etiquette

Singapore is one of the easiest places to do business and the government is very pro-business. All business is conducted through English so language is rarely a barrier. The weather is hot and humid in Singapore pretty much all year round so work wear tends to be less formal than most cities in the world.

While most men forgo a tie and jacket, dress pants, tailored shirts and polished dress shoes are considered the norm. Business cards are always exchanged and it is considered polite to offer and accept business cards by holding card with both hands. Take your time in reviewing an offered business card and handle with due respect.

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