Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

Ask Away: What can we do in Singapore?

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Soak up the sights and smells of Singapore with these tips from Eli Orzessek.
Singapore's cuisine is worth exploring. Photo / 123RF
Singapore's cuisine is worth exploring. Photo / 123RF

We're soon to undertake a 14-day cruise from Sydney to Singapore and will have four days there, staying in the City Hall area. We know Raffles is close by for the famous gin sling, but what else would you suggest we do in the way of shopping and eating while there? Also what attractions are close by?

Jackie and Malc

I haven't been to Singapore since I was a kid, so all I can tell you is that there are some amazing toy shops. However, you might not be in the market for a set of Transformers, so I've asked around for more up-to-date information.

My Herald colleague Andrew Alderson was in Singapore for the Sevens and he speaks highly of the National Gallery Singapore. "A superb destination," declared the cricket scribe.

(You can find his list of 10 things to do in the city at nzherald.co.nz.)

My contact at House of Travel recommended staying at City Hall, as it's easy to get to most places in Singapore. Make sure you soak it all up through cuisine -- Hawker Centre's street style food is a must, as is Singapore chilli crab by the river at Boat Quay.

You'll always hear Orchard Rd recommended for shopping in Singapore, but try the Bugis St/Haji Lane/Arab St area for something a bit different, or Funan Digitalife Mall, a six-storey mall dedicated to electronics.

Many of Singapore's heritage sights can be found around City Hall.

It is also close to Marina Bay, with Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Flyer.

Make sure you take a "bumboat" ride on the Singapore River and pop over to Chinatown for a cultural change.

If any readers have further advice, please feel free to share.

Readers respond:

I received some great tips from our readers on visiting Borneo after Ann and Jamie's question last week.

Stacey Waldon just returned from a trip there with two young children.

"I'd say go to Kota Kinabalu over Kuching and from there fly to Sandakan and do a jungle river trip. We went with Sepilok River Lodge - it was fantastic and affiliated with National Geographic. We saw orangutans and proboscis monkeys in the wild, not to mention birds and other monkeys. Borneo Eco Tours also does trips to see the turtles."

David Rishworth spent August travelling through Borneo and he can't recommend it enough.

His main highlight was a boat trip on the Kinabatangan River where he saw orangutans, proboscis monkeys, gibbons, hornbill and other birds.

"Other highlights were staying in a sustainable forest - we saw Borneo elephants, spotted leopards, monkeys and orangutans. Visited an island, watched turtles laying eggs in the sand at night and also went on some wonderful walks in the rainforest and snorkelling at the tip of Borneo."

And reader Fiona Allen went to Kota Kinabalu almost 15 years ago and found it wonderful.

"We stayed at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and the Shangri La Rasa Ria Resort. The Rasa Ria has its own nature reserve and we were able, with guides, to walk up into the rainforest and watch from a distance while orangutans came down through the canopy for their 'afternoon tea'. No touching or interaction from us, but we stood there in awe.

"These orangs are being rehabilitated, as they were mostly former pets [often in apartments] and orphans," Fiona says.

"For keen golfers like my husband, there are some great golf courses nearby also. Kuching was very interesting and there is a major art and cultural festival there each year, called the Rainforest Festival, which is very popular."

Tweet us @NZHTravel or use the hashtag #NZHAskAway
Email your questions to askaway@nzherald.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

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