Ask a concierge: Singapore

Tips for business travel to one of Asia’s most important commercial hubs.

At the Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore, concierge Lydia Tang has spent six years guiding visitors on the best things to see, do and eat in this Southeast Asian commercial and cultural hub. Here she offers advice for business travelers.

What’s the most important thing for business travelers to pack?

Bring smart, casual outfits for an itinerary that includes business and fine-dining. Also bring a pair of comfortable sneakers for visiting attractions by foot. Don’t worry if you forget something. Everything can be conveniently found in Singapore, so it’s OK to travel light.

What are your top restaurant recommendations for a business lunch or dinner?

Singapore is a melting pot of cuisines, and visitors are spoilt for choice when deciding where to dine. To experience something with local flavor, head to National Kitchen by Violet Oon, located at the National Gallery (1 St. Andrew’s Road, #02–01). Oon, a local celebrity chef, specializes in authentic Peranakan cuisine. To impress, go to Lei Garden (located in Chijmes, 30 Victoria Street), a Michelin-rated restaurant that creates delicately flavored Cantonese dishes in a fine-dining atmosphere.

What’s something that surprises visitors about your hotel?

Our impressive high ceilings! We’re in two iconic heritage structures, Stamford House and Capitol Building, so our contemporary property inherited a generous layout. We have the luxury of space and a ceiling height that averages 3.2 meters, with some areas as high as 3.6 meters. This is truly unique in Singapore.

If business travelers only have a short time for leisure, what must they see in Singapore?

To understand the various cultures and history that shaped our city-state, visit the National Museum of Singapore, our oldest museum. Another great choice is Gardens by the Bay, a futuristic park with stunning structures such as the Supertree Grove of huge, tree-like creations beautifully lit up at night and the OCBC Skyway, a 22-meter walkway that offers spectaculars views.

What’s the best option for outdoor exercise?

Stroll through Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one of the oldest remnants of primary rainforests in Singapore. Walk or run at the Southern Ridges, a 10-kilometer stretch of green space connecting some of Singapore’s most popular parks and gardens.

Concierge Lydia Tang’s top tips for getting business right in Singapore:

  1. Be early or punctual for meetings.
  2. Arrange transportation for morning meetings in advance; traffic can be congested.
  3. Handshakes are appropriate greetings, and business cards play an important role at initial meetings. A business card is extended with both hands, with words facing the receiver.

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