At the Swissôtel Merchant Court, concierge Chor Yee Loh draws on four years of experience to recommend the best sights, activities and dining experiences in Singapore. Here she offers expert advice for business travelers.
What should business travelers bring when visiting your city?
“In sunny Singapore, it is warm and humid all year long. Pack clothes that are lightweight and airy so you’ll be comfortable at work or at play.”
What are your top restaurant recommendations for a business lunch or dinner?
“Equinox (2 Stamford Road, Singapore 178882; Ph: +65 6837 3322) at Swissôtel the Stamford is a top dining choice for business or leisure. It offers modern European cuisine and breathtaking views. For alfresco dining, Raffles Courtyard (1 Beach Road, Singapore, 189673; Ph: +65 6412 1816) at Raffles Singapore is a great spot. The restaurant serves delicious Italian cuisine amid lush greenery.”
What’s something that surprises guests about Singapore?
“Although English is Singapore’s dominant official language, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil are also recognized as official languages. In fact, Singapore’s national anthem is written and sung in Malay.”
If business travelers only have a few hours for leisure, what must they see?
“Business travelers who love nature could consider spending their time in Singapore Botanic Gardens, which dates back to the 1800s and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gardens played an important role in fostering agricultural development in Singapore. Today, you’ll find exotic plants, heritage trees, beautiful sculptures and an escape from the bustle of nearby business districts. If you prefer retail therapy to greenery, go to Orchard Road, our famous shopping belt.”
What’s the best option for outdoor exercise in Singapore?
“Stroll along Southern Ridges, a 10-kilometer walkway connecting several parks. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the city and harbor and cross the creatively designed Henderson Waves, the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore.”
Tip 1: Dress casually for after-work outings with colleagues. It’s warm here, and Singaporeans prefer to dress down for comfort.
Tip 2: Be aware of the ethnic culture of your colleagues and watch out for taboos. For example, an ethnic Chinese person may feel insulted if you give a clock as a gift, as this symbolizes death.
Tip 3: Learn a bit of “Singlish”—unique words derived from mixing our local languages. If you inject a few Singlish words or phrases in conversation, locals will feel that you understand our culture. Here’s a start: “Lobang” means business opportunity.