View to a thrill in island city's sky-high pool says DAVID SNELLING
GLIDING through the water towards the dark, glossy skyscrapers, I paused to peer down at the street...200ft below.
Carlsberg donít do swimming pools but, if they did, they would probably be the best swimming pools in the world Ė just like the
one at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. Click here now for amazing offers to Singapore!
At 150 metres long (treble Olympic sized) this infinity pool takes your breath away.
As you slip through the water you get a sense of flying, with only the edge of the pool separating you from those skyscrapers.
It is just one of the attractions of the new £3billion Marina Bay Sands Hotel, built by the Vegas Sands Corporation. And it has all the grandeur and bling youíd expect from a Las Vegas company.
The hotelís three towers rise above Singapore and, floating on top like the Starship Enterprise, is the SkyPark.
This is where those who donít suffer vertigo will find the pool Ė plus restaurants, a viewing deck and beautiful landscaped gardens.
The hotel itself is like a small country with just about everything you could wish for under one roof.
In addition to the 2,500 luxury bedrooms there are seven top restaurants, each with a celebrity chef, a spa, designer shopping mall,
bars and a huge casino. Want incredible deals to Singapore? Click here now...Cheap
Plus thereís a 4,000-seat theatre which will stage The Lion King next March.
If you manage to find your way out of this mega hotel, thereís fascinating Singapore to explore. Getting around is pretty easy. Singapore is a compact place and cabs are plentiful and cheap. No hailing, though Ė you have to wait at designated taxi points.
Much of the city is westernised but heading into Chinatown there is a real Asian feel.
Its narrow streets are packed with brightly-coloured clothes and oriental souvenirs.
The food market is interesting, although the RSPCA might not be too impressed. Live frogs, turtles, eels and fish can all be purchased Ė although what youíre supposed to do with them Iíve no idea. In the centre of Chinatown is the Thian Hock Keng temple, the oldest in Singapore, with its stunning architecture.
For shopping, on Orchard Road youíll find every designer outlet you could wish for...plus good old M&S.
Top tourist attractions include the zoo, with its night safari where you can check out what the animals get up to after dark, the Singapore Flyer Ė which is like a bigger London Eye Ė and the Botanical Gardens. Cocktail
But the city really comes alive after dusk. Everyone should treat themselves to a Singapore Sling at Raffles hotel. Invented by a
bartender in 1915, this gin and pineapple-based cocktail is a great way to start (and finish) an evening.
Drinking alcohol is not cheap, with local beers costing around £7 a bottle. Perhaps this isnít such a bad thing Ė the islandís tough laws mean being drunk and disorderly could land you in big trouble. Grabbing a bite to eat is a real experience and thereís nowhere better than one of the many hawker centres.
These huge food courts sell local delicacies such as the very spicy (and delicious) laksa soup. One of the best hawker centres is Lau Pa
Sat, inset. Built as a market in 1825, its vibrant atmosphere attracts locals as well as tourists Ė always a good sign.
The climate is a hot and humid 30oC all year, so it can be thirsty work wandering around the city. But the street vendors are always happy to hack open an ice-cold coconut for you. Much more refreshing than water or beer.
If youíre travelling with kids, Sentosa Island is the place to let them blow off some steam. Just south of Singapore and accessible by car, monorail and cable car, it has plenty to keep all the family entertained with beaches, nature trails, a Universal Studios plus
many other attractions.
The average UK visitor spends around four days in Singapore and itís the perfect place for a stopover if youíre travelling on to Australia.
Or it can be a base for seeing other parts of Asia.
It is truly an amazing city thatís getting bigger by the year Ė and hosting the only night race of the Formula One calendar has really
put Singapore on the map.
Wherever you decide to stay you simply must visit the Marina Bay Sands and its SkyPark.
But if you do go for a dip, be careful not to swim off the edge! FactFile ■ROOMS at Marina Bay Sands start at £160 per night. Get 15% off the best available rate when you book at least 14 days in advance. The hotelís autumn special offer includes rooms from £150 per night and a £24 destination credit per night (to be used at the hotelís restaurants). SkyPark entrance for non-guests costs £9.50 per person. See marinabaysands.com for more details. ■Qantas operate a double daily service into Singapore, including selected services on the award winning A380. Return flights with Qantas to Singapore start from £570 for travel 11 Oct - 30 Nov 2010. Book now at qantas.com or call 08457 747 767. ■See yoursingapore.com for ideas on how to plan your visit.